The best of the best

As far as tech-heads are concerned, it's a done deal — Sony has won the war with Microsoft over who has the more powerful next-gen system. However, as is often the case with specifications, it's sometimes misleading to assume that pure numbers are going to result in better performance, and Microsoft executive Albert Penello feels that current claims are based on "mis-information".

Speaking on NeoGAF, Penello — who is Director of Product Planning at Microsoft — said:

I do want to be super clear: I'm not disparaging Sony. I'm not trying to diminish them, or their launch or what they have said. But I do need to draw comparisons since I am trying to explain that the way people are calculating the differences between the two machines isn't completely accurate. I think I've been upfront I have nothing but respect for those guys, but I'm not a fan of the mis-information about our performance.

So, here are couple of points about some of the individual parts for people to consider:

  • 18 CU's vs. 12 CU's =/= 50% more performance. Multi-core processors have inherent inefficiency with more CU's, so it's simply incorrect to say 50% more GPU.
  • Adding to that, each of our CU's is running 6% faster. It's not simply a 6% clock speed increase overall.
  • We have more memory bandwidth. 176gb/sec is peak on paper for GDDR5. Our peak on paper is 272gb/sec. (68gb/sec DDR3 + 204gb/sec on ESRAM). ESRAM can do read/write cycles simultaneously so I see this number mis-quoted.
  • We have at least 10% more CPU. Not only a faster processor, but a better audio chip also offloading CPU cycles.
  • We understand GPGPU and its importance very well. Microsoft invented Direct Compute, and have been using GPGPU in a shipping product since 2010 - it's called Kinect.
  • Speaking of GPGPU - we have 3X the coherent bandwidth for GPGPU at 30gb/sec which significantly improves our ability for the CPU to efficiently read data generated by the GPU.

Hopefully with some of those more specific points people will understand where we have reduced bottlenecks in the system. I'm sure this will get debated endlessly but at least you can see I'm backing up my points.

Now it's understandable that a Microsoft employee would want to defend a Microsoft product, but do you think Penello has a point? Has the press and public been guilty of just looking at the specs and picking a winner? It's not always that simple, as the battle between the PS Vita and technically-inferior Nintendo 3DS has proven.

Drop a comment below and tell us what you think about Penello's comments, and the technical contest between these two next-gen systems.

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