Editorial: Why the PS4 is 50% More Powerful Than Xbox One

Featured PS4 vs Xbox One

It’s pretty obvious by now that the Xbox One reveal was anything but good for Microsoft. I’ll leave my critique of the event, both positive and negative, for another article but as it stands right now, pre E3, gamers and press are simply not impressed. After the lack of clear focus on gaming, more damming news came out about the potential, or lack thereof, for the Xbox One. Thanks to developer knowledge and architecture breakdown of the new Xbox, it’s now widely believed that the PS4 will be 50% more powerful than the Xbox One. So how have we come to this 50% in performance difference between the two machines? After the jump, we discuss the math.

If you’ve been keeping up with gaming news the past week, this probably won’t be the first time you’ve heard the 50% performance difference number thrown around in headlines. Unfortunately, many sites have simply run with the number without actually explaining how this number came to be. This in turn either turns into a rallying cry for diehards on either side and even worse, leaves the readers with little new information to walk away with. Thanks to friend of the site MvdMigans who pointed us in the right direction, we can now properly break down the difference and go beyond blind claims.

As you can see from the above chart, the PS4 and Xbox One share many things in common. Both utilize an 8-core Jaguar CPU from AMD, capable of running at 2GHz though each company is opting to push them to 1.6GHz. Both systems will also offer 8GB RAM and 2 X 2MB L2 Cache, indicating a similar vision early on for the two consoles. From here on though, things begin to look very different between the two. While it’s true that both systems offer 8GB RAM, the PS4 utilizes next generation 8GB 5500MHz GDDR5 RAM while the Xbox One opts for off the shelf 8GB 2133MHz DDR3 RAM. Early on in the creation of the PS4, Sony took a gamble that GDDR5 production would begin to ramp and higher module RAM would become available. Microsoft, on the other hand, went with a safer approach and stuck to DDR3. Those who might remember early leaked information about the PS4 will recall the system’s RAM being pegged at 2GB RAM which at the time was the most GDDR5 could offer. Sony in turn took a gamble that by the console’s launch, higher channels of memory would be available while Microsoft played it safe and in turn hoped that Sony would be stuck at 2GB of RAM. As we can see, things turned out quite different.

As AnandTech points out, Sony’s approach with the PS4 SoC was to use a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface running somewhere around a 5.5GHz datarate, delivering peak memory bandwidth of 176GB/s. The Xbox One motherboard reveals Micron DDR3-2133 DRAM on board (16 x 16-bit DDR3 devices to be exact). A little math gives us 68.3GB/s of bandwidth to system memory. At any given moment, the PS4 commands an additional 107.7GB/s bandwidth. But the difference doesn’t end there.

With similar CPU choices, both companies also opted for a very similar GPU when it came time to power their console. Housed inside of each gaming console is an AMD GCN-based GPU but again the similarities end there. Sony opted for an 18 Compute Unit GCN configuration which equates to 1152 shader processors/cores/ALUs. Microsoft on the other hand went for a far smaller configuration: 768 (12 CUs). This means that the PS4 is capable of 1.84 TFLOPs while the Xbox One peaks at 1.23 TFLOPs.

It should be noted that the PS3 similarly was more powerful than the Xbox 360. The difference this time around is that while the PS3 was more powerful, it was also more complicated to design games for. This led to lazy developers who didn’t want to take the time to master the system. Thus, why first party titles from Sony always looked superior like Uncharted and Killzone, most third party games looked exactly the same or at times slightly worse on the PS3, due to developers designing for the 360 and porting to PS3. This generation, with both systems using the same CPU/GPU, developers can easily design the game for both systems without needing to tweak it. The only difference will be that the PS4 will have more power than its counterpart.

In the end, it’s simple to see why the PS4 is 50% more powerful than Xbox One. With more raw shader performance (768 SPs @ 800MHz vs. 1152 SPs & 800MHz) and faster RAM bandwidth (1.84 TFLOPs vs. 1.23 TFLOPs), the PS4 outclasses Xbox One in every way possible and no conversation of PowerPC vs. Cell processor is needed this time around.

Discuss:

Do you think it matters that the PlayStation 4 is more powerful than Xbox One?

  • Swisher Sweets

    If the developers dont take advantage of the extra power than no. It will end up being like xbox360 and ps3 all over again. Just this time they will not have any excuses for “its too hard to develop for talk.” In the long run i could see game makers pushing the limits and the ps4 having a longer life cycle, but maybe around that time xbox will be forced to pump out another system as even this system they are making now is getting such terrible press and reception from gamers and even the developers that make the games for them.

  • arsefumble

    They both have AMD Jaguar? Erm.. nope…

  • lujic

    PS4 has more ROP’s ( Render OutPut unit ) than Xbone 32 vs. 16

  • Michael Clanton

    this is nonsense, the ps3 vs 360 debate on power is the same now. put the best ps3 developed game against the best developed 360 games and the difference is what it should be on paper. MS has a custom chip, so we don’t know the ins and outs of it, the ram….really, the development tools are more important then all of that, the support given to developers is more important. Just like last cycle, on paper the PS is more powerful, and just like last cycle, MS chose to put attention in areas it felt was good for game development, and just like last cycle people will forget about the on paper specs and buy something based on the games.

  • Michael Clanton

    longer life cycle..due to power? that is so asinine, longer life cycle will be due to sales sales sales, 360 was less powerful, but won the biggest market with the most money(U.S.A). The people complaining are the same people who complained… the indies, everyone is complaining because Microsoft did what they said they would… show games at e3. So like everything else, when big games are announced people will stop complaining….if that was the case the 360 would of failed…its a very entertainment oriented system for a long time…but because games sell well, and Microsoft markets well, the system sells well. This of a halo launch…only GTA and COD beat it in hype and launch numbers.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I don’t disagree with that but I believe the difference around last gen to this gen is that the PS3 was ‘harder’ to develop for. This time around, both units are more or less a PC from a developer standpoint. This should make developing for both systems very easy with the only difference being that one is more powerful than the other.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    This is absolutely true. In the end, much like the PS3, it will certainly come down to developers.

  • Dimitris

    I agree that the developers will get lazy and will not use 100% of the ps4 capabilities (plus, the x1 being less powerful and M$ having a lot of cash will make it the reference platform), but, this time I’m almost sure that the ps4 will have the best multiplatform versions. The thing is that I don’t know if this will be the case for future. I know that the full capabilities of ps4 will be better explored but then x1 being always on-line (for better or for worse) and been designed for cloud services (DDR3 timings and M$ servers) will end up with better visuals. The problem is the DRM… and the cost of use!! For both platforms…

    I’m quite comfy with my ps3 and 360 for now…

  • Swisher Sweets

    If a developer has more power and ease to develop in one system over another, then it will equate to bigger better games that will spark attention in gamers. This will create sales. Look how the graphical standouts of uncharted 2 resurrected ps3 almost dead streak. Having more power to the punch with the right developers can give them a longer life cycle.. if the games end up getting bigger and better and need more power to run then, the weaker systems games will suffer. in the long run no one is going to want to buy another system to match the graphical limits another one is currently doing. It is not asinine to think ahead. part of 360 success if you read the article was due to its first launch jump and that it was easy to develop for. Ps3 ended up with alot of 360 made ports. When it came to exclusives ps3 blew away 360. This isnt fanboyism this is just fact. Your drivel you mention is nothing but fanboy bs.

  • Ian

    You are right about most things, but you have overlooked one thing for the Xbox: eSRAM. The 32 MB of eSRAM brings the cumulative bandwidth of memory closer to the PS4, albeit still slower. It’s still a little disappointing.

  • GRIDLOC

    You guys are forgetting about the power of the cloud. Three times the power of the XBox One. My invisible friend says the cloud is king and don’t worry about Kinect spying on you…

  • Mitchings

    The thing is, in the PS3 vs 360 debate, PS3 is undoubtedly more powerful overall but it was an exotic, complicated, hard-to-harness architecture.

    This time around they’re effectively the same system in terms of architecture; except Sony’s is as they say–”supercharged” with 50% extra shader performance, 2x the fill-rate, a RAM architecture that is considerably faster, simple and a Unified Address Space. Plus there is additional Compute/GPGPU capabilities on the GPU with the PS4; none of which have MS alluded to for their system at this point.

    The power is easily tapped this time around. On the PS4 we’ll likely see tighter performance and image quality on third party titles with first/second party pulling away considerably by the time the second generation of software hits.

    Multiple developers have also cited Sony/PS4 as having the more mature tools at this point.

    Sony bet on GDDR5 and while that in itself is a good thing; it’s also allowed them not to use fast embedded RAM as a band-aid like MS have; something which has cost them about a third (approx. 1.6 Billion) of their transistor budget, some of which Sony used for an extra 6 Compute Units/384 GCN Cores, additional Compute Capabilities (and their die likely remains a good bit smaller still).

    Sony are pretty much ahead on every front.

  • hesoyamdonMonster

    ps4 can do the same think, they also have cloud system – gaikai — which will make ps4 even better

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    As others have pointed out, Sony was actually the first to talk about their cloud service so it’s not as if the PS4 won’t have it. Currently all we can judge by are the specs given and not what the cloud ‘may’ do.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I believe the right scenario to look at it is when a game like Crysis comes to consoles and PC. The PC version tends to always be superior. There is no reason for the PS4 version to now not be superior over the Xbox One if they share a similar design bases.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ana.helusic Ana Helušić

    PS4 FTW

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    But there in lies the difference, you can’t rely on the cloud yet. What about the poor soul who has DSL with 1.5 or 3 down? If you have to rely on that to make your games look better, the Xbox One graphically will be crippled from day one and such a feature will be useless in many parts of the world.

  • Nick Nemati

    The difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 was minimal, only slightly in the PS3s’ favour. In this case it isn’t even a debate, PS4 DOMINATES. It’s kind of pathetic.

  • Milan

    Well sony spoke about using cloud for saving games and rendering old ps3 games but MS spoke about using it for games and also improving the process of the system thus pushing its specs to the limit.

  • Mithan

    And will it make a difference? No. Just like now when the PS3 games are the same as the 360 games. Articles like this are crap.

  • andy

    They said they would focus on the console. How can talking about a thing that is broadcast through wireless signals to your roof for half an hour of the reveal be considered talking about the actual console?
    For example they touched on being able to record achievements and moments. Do they think it would have been stupid to give a little insight into something like this and that gamers didn’t want to hear more about this “CONSOLE” feature???
    Stop trying to defend it. They absolutely failed to talk about the actual console at all. They didn’t even release the full specs of the console to the world in an official pdf like Sony did back in February right after their conference.
    We KNOW there will be games at E3 but they forgot to talk about the console at the reveal last week which is why it was a disaster.
    Oh and 10 of those 15 games at E3 will be Arcade games just like every year.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I think those who’ve played games like Uncharted & Killzone would beg to differ. Equally, the point of this article is to put into context the claims made.

  • chris

    so what does the 8gb of ddr5 ram cost as 8 gb of ddr3 cost. what system is going to be cheaper to make. people tend to forget its about the games. I own the xbox and the ps3 I will admit the ps3 collects dust cause I play all online games on the xbox. but I can not play cryses socom on the xbox and can not play halo, gears of war on the ps4.

    xbox has its pros and cons and so does the ps4. who cares. its like my dad can beat up your dad. in the end does it really matter that much.

  • Axe99

    While there is a difference, and a significant one, 50% is overdoing it. The 50% is just the strength of the GPU, the overall system performance includes the CPU and the RAM (and the eSRAM and the move engines help MS compete better here, although their more memory-hungry OS will hurt them).

    Overall, to most gamers, the difference will be in faster framerates or slightly higher resolutions. It won’t be a huge difference, and nowhere near 50% perceptually, but there will be a noticeable difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derick.wiebe Derick Wiebe

    MS is going for a cheaper box, but it will still have power. Just wait for pricing and parts analysis to see who is actually doing good…

  • OnlyWar

    PS4 is better

  • Shawn Pearson

    Make ur voice heard as a gamer not a console fanboy it the xboxone is a success our hobby as we know it is in trouble so please take 2 mins and sign the petition ur info is secure god bless u https://www.change.org/petitions/xboxone-no-always-online-no-forced-kinect-support-used-games?utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

  • Kenny Stimmel

    but what if your not around internet for games that use the cloud to make them better, then what? either you cant play or it looks like crap. claiming the cloud is their way of 1. forcing almost always on internet on the consumer and 2 . an excuse for why they didn’t build a system made FOR GAMES. not to mention the ridiculous amount of data microsoft wants to collect on you. a camera thats always watching and listening & that can track if & how many ppl are looking at the screen along with their heart rates. no company making a GAME SYSTEM or CABLE BOX as it may be( until e3 at least) need this amount of very personal data on you.

  • Rtec

    Xbox is getting annoying now with this whole all-in-one entertainment box. I dnt get the point of shoving a kinect for every xbox one… I honestly dnt ever even ended up using it. If they made kinect optional for xbox one, they could of improved on the technical specs of xbox one… but unfortunately they kept pushing kinect. And why is MS spending 400$ million dollars on this whole NFL deal for xbox one? I mean really?? They do know that this would only contribute to so little audience, hence the fact that people from other parts of the world wouldnt really use the whole fantasy football feature. Like this just makes me mad that they are willing to spend half a billion of these stupid features yet not giving a gamer what they really want and that is next gen graphics. MS should also know that the first few 2-4 million units sold of xbox one are gonna be bought by gamers, not by one guy who wants to get a xbox one to replace his DVR and to watch/play fantasy foot ball….

  • QwietStorm

    Care to explain what you mean?

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Seeing some of the spec differences makes me think that there will be a $100 price difference between the two machines at launch.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Well and the irony of it is that the Xbox One has no DVR features. You still need your cable provider DVR or a Tivo unit. All the features shown only work on live TV.

  • snuggles

    Oh…a ps site…how funny.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I’m going to assume you didn’t actually read the article.

  • Michael Willey

    There won’t be much price difference, the XBO Will have the new Kinect and probably more software stuff on it, The PS4 will have the new PS Eye but over all I figure only $50 difference at most.

  • Ratta237

    What if you have a shitty internet connection? Less than 25 mbs wouldn’t be sufficient.

  • Ratta237

    You’re falling for micro’s marketing. The ps4 has 176 GB/s bandwidth for it’s system memory. Even though micro claims to have 200 GB/s, it’s actually only 166 GB/s for the eSRAM then the extra bandwidth comes from the DDR3 RAM.

  • DigitalSyrup

    Windows Azure is Microsoft’s mature and stable cloud infrastructure. Gaikai appears to just be able to stream gameplay to end users. For every XBOX ONE, Microsoft has said they have THREE XBOX ONEs in the cloud to handle processing of physics and other CPU intensive tasks.

  • joe

    cant wait for PS4

  • themuIe

    They made it huge like a VCR to avoid a RROD melting disaster, but still all they could manage to cram in there was this pathetic excuse of console hardware. They suck at designing consoles. On top of having such scarce memory resources the THREE Operating Systems it uses will suck up most of it. So they also suck at designing the software!

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I personally hope so but seeing how MS also is now selling the 360 with annual subscriptions to reduce the price, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar with the Xbox One. So got stuck in the price debate once before and they really need to do everything they can to avoid it this time around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Badassbab Babs

    While it’s obvious the PS4 > Xbone in terms of performance how come there’s no mention of the ESRAM to somewhat mitigate the lack of bandwidth?

    Also regarding the PS3 vs 360 and lazy developer argument you can’t still be playing that card after 6-7 years! The 360 has a better GPU with unified shaders and unified memory plus EDRAM which gave it way more bandwidth. It wasn’t just because then PS3 was a complex machine but also because the 360 had some advantages.

  • DemonRoach

    Someone add the SHIT U to that chart.

  • Shark

    Lol…..

  • Mithan

    Ya and those games represented what? 2 games. Who gives a shit.

  • Geeds

    I’m looking forward to buying both, but clearly the PS4 has more muscle for gaming. Opting for GDDR5 Ram was an inspired decision by Sony.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    They took a big gamble with it and it paid off. Could have backfired but luckily the advancement for the RAM fell into the PS4 release timeframe.

  • Peter Vallance

    Nope, Resistance 1, 2, 3, Uncharted 1, 2 ,3, Killzone 2, 3, God of War 3, God of War: Ascension, Infamous, Infamous 2, Infamous: Second Son (upcoming), The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls (upcoming)…

    The Last of Us is receiving universal praise and is currently being touted as the best game this generation by many critics.

    The great thing about PS3 exclusives is that they take advantage of the Cell processor and developers offload graphics calculations on the Cell freeing up the RSX gpu. This is why PS3 exclusives look superior to 360.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Thank you for that. Exactly. Then we can throw in Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet, Flower, Journey, Warhawk, Starhawk, Twisted Metal and so on and so forth.

  • Milarecs

    I was thinking about buying the Ps4 but i just recalled that i live in Brasil and here every single game cost 270 reais (140 dollars) So its pointless to buy a console if you can´t afford more that 1 game per trimester

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Well what’s interesting is that the PS3 will be built there soon. Maybe the same for the PS4 which will help bring down prices.

  • Jeff Rideout

    It’s region free, so import your games from other countries where they are cheaper

  • Brian Kim

    It’s Microsoft, what do you expect? 3 OS’s that are inefficient and bloat-y? It’s how they like to do things. It also has to be really proprietary and run on some form of Windows of course.

  • Brian Kim

    Really? Good gravy, what’s the point of it then? Might as well just use a DVR then. Which is what I do now anyways.

  • SlypDrip

    Until year 2020 System Memory Bandwidth and GPU Cores will mean about as much as how big Stephen Hawkins’ Calf Muscles are.

  • SlypDrip

    It has a Built-in DVR you dipshit, how else would they stream to twitch without getting any frame drops…
    Also that DVR is also used to record your gameplay and it’ll be saved on to the HDD

  • Robb

    Wasn’t the PS3 more powerful than the 360? Didn’t seem to matter much…28 straight months as the #1 console. Oh and didn’t the PS3 come out AFTER the 360? I’m not even a microsoft or xbox fanboy, I’m just irritated that people are trashing this system that they haven’t even tried. PC all the way. Xbox 2nd.

  • Andrew J.

    The ps3 is more powerful but sony made it really hard to make a game on it because of it complicated architecture. Now the PS4 is 50 x more powerful, with new features, and made it for gamers and developers. Which is the easiest platform to make a game on now. It will beat Xbox Without a doubt.

    Again only reason why xbox 360 won is because it was hard to make a game for the PS3 because of its complicated architecture.

    PS4 over powers Xbox One in every aspect.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Please read your facts before posting. Xbox One has zero DVR functionality for television.

  • Francisco Garay

    I’m not sure what this has to do with this article, but the reason I’m interested in it is because the PS4 is $100 cheaper. So, that’s why I’m here.

  • Christopher Styles Bell

    It wont really matter. Unless your downloading full games for digitial download. But even that doesnt even take long and i steal my internet. Muaahahahahaha but yeah even then you could always buy the disc for faster installation. Cloud is going to make the huge difference here.

  • Christopher Styles Bell

    Laws were passed to prevent spying for companies such as MS and Sony. Federal law made sure no class action lawsuit prevention will save them from this wrath.

  • Christopher Styles Bell

    But did that extra graphic power make them money or made them lose money in the long run.

  • Christopher Styles Bell

    I doubt developers would develope the game twice.. Most likely it will get developed for the weaker system and get ported. Exclusives are already set and if your a killzone person your going PS4. if your halo or gears person ur going to X1. And Im pretty sure your going to enjoy the way your game looks.

  • Michael Reese

    I don’t know about the new systems but 360 was way better than ps3 , I think the sales numbers proved that.

  • Frozt

    You mean the total numbers where PS3 outsells the Xbox 360?

    http://www.itworld.com/personal-tech/335129/idc-total-ps3-sales-top-xbox-360

    Totally.

  • m4a4

    Yeah…… just look at the market share between the original xbox and the ps2. Then look at the market share between the 360 and ps3. Xbox stole quite a bit of market share from the ps, so your point is hollow.

  • Theo Rodos

    ps3 77mill – 360 75 mill (came 1 year earlier)

  • m4a4

    I know. My point was that with how good the ps2 did, they should’ve kept a MUCH bigger market share…….
    Sony was expected to sell more…

  • Eric Swolley

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Windows 8 can run on as little as 64 mb’s of ram, and the Xbox OS runs on sub 128 MB’s of ram on the 360 (I imagine it will be slightly higher on the one due to new instruction sets to take advantage of the more powerful hardware, but probably not more than 512 mb), the disparity is nowhere near 40% more ram available on the PS4, beyond that, the 7870 in the PS4 is only capable of taking advantage of ~3 gb’s of GDDR5 before the point of no return, and the One’s less powerful 7790 GPU will be able to utilize approximately 4.5 gb’s of the DDR3 in it before it also sees diminishing returns due to bandwidth limitations of the GPU’s, not the ram itself.

    Its also obvious that none of you are PC gamers, or you would realize that both systems GPU’s are actually mid range cards, and that while technically the PS4′s is “50%” more powerful, in real world game comparisons on the PC, it rarely offers more than 8 or 9% more performance. The average gamer, even hardcore gamers won’t notice a difference without an FPS meter running, which won’t happen on either system.

    Also, since the One no longer requires an Internet connection, the idea of a “spying” camera is also moot and pointless, as it doesn’t have to be online, therefore it can’t possibly be “spying” on you. Also, the one looks like it will actually be the better ventilated machine this time around, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony has more overheating issues due to the higher wattage GPU running in a more confined space….I think I’ll play a wait and see this gen and might get both machines in a year or two, or neither ever.

    That all being said, go back to flame bating, both systems will be more than powerful enough to impress your average Joe, and still fail to impress any real PC gamer.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Windows 8 cannot run on 64MB of RAM. Maybe some stripped version of the OS can but lets not kid ourselves.

  • Eric Swolley
  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    Bootup and running are two different applications.

  • Eric Swolley

    Fair enough, but that evades the point, many people are clamoring that the one is going to sacrifice 3 gb of its ram for the “3″ OS’s in the system, which I call bogus, first off, the xbox version of Win 8 will be a stripped down version, and secondly Xbox OS (which is currently in use on the 360) very rarely exceeds 128 mb usage, I highly doubt all 3 OS’s combined will sacrifice more than 1.5 GB of ram from the system, and if if they did, the GFX card wouldn’t see any performance boost past about 4.5 GB’s..the comparisons are weak one sided arguments with little value on both sides of the equation, and regardless of the mindless fanbois on both sides, the PS4 will have very slight advantage performance wise, but it won’t be enough to make any difference. It will be exactly like this generation. PS3 was technically capable of about 35% more ROP’s than the Xbox 360, but real world performance difference was 6-8% at best and completely unnoticeable at worst.

  • Zheka

    $100 cheaper and 50% more powerful! PS4 all the way!!!! I’m a PC guy btw :D