During Microsoft’s Press Conference yesterday, the specs for their next generation console, Xbox One, were revealed. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 contain greatly improved hardware from their current generation and are overall very similar in nature. Joystiq has already compiled a comparison chart that can be viewed below.
The choice to upgrade to an 8-core CPU and 8GB of ram was a great choice by both companies. It was also a necessary one in order to promote multitasking and to remove limitations on game development that current generation consoles greatly suffer from. The interesting choice, for both Sony and Microsoft, was the switch to AMD, likely do to its better price to performance ratio than the competitors.
The rest of the specs, with the exception of the graphics cards, are all relatively similar. Essential parts such as a Blu-Ray (an upgrade for the Xbox)/DVD combo drive, Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, HDMI input and output, 1080p and 4K support are all basically the same and the controllers/motion sensors will likely be up to individual users to decide which is preferred. The PlayStation 4 hasn’t announced a storage size, but since they are pushing for more digital downloads, anything less than 500GB would be surprising.
While the previously mentioned components are necessary for multimedia uses, the core-components of a gaming console are what allows them to physically play the games; this would mainly be the CPU and the graphics processor. Even though the full specs haven’t been released for the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4, an 8-core processor should be more than enough to not hinder system performance, even if each core isn’t producing a large amount of power itself.
The PlayStation 4 will be using a semi-custom, AMD Radeon graphics processor with around 1.9 TFlops. Other factors can greatly effect performance, but based solely on this number the processor will be slightly stronger than the Radeon HD 7850, which is a mid-range graphics card from last year. The Xbox One’s graphics processor will be built into the CPU, similarly to AMD’s APUs. APUs are great for conserving power while providing moderate CPU and graphics power, but they generally don’t produce as much raw power as having a seperate CPU and graphics processor. Because of this, we can expect the Xbox One to be slightly less powerful than the PlayStation 4, to which exact degree has yet to be determined.
Regardless of the slight differences in power that the two consoles might have, no one should expect mind-shattering graphics from either system. Since consoles have always been playing catch-up to PCs, in order to view “next-generation graphics” simply look at a current PC game on “high” settings. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with consoles, but no one should expect anything that hasn’t already been seen before when it comes to the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 in terms of graphical power.