28 March 2020

Analyse This: The Next Gen Consoles (Part 9) [UPDATED]

So, the Xbox Series X is mostly unveiled at this point, with only some questions regarding audio implementation and underlying graphics architecture remaining. The PS5 is partly unveiled with questions surrounding physical makeup and operating system "costs". I want to place a caveat here that these are very complicated technical discussions - I'm not an expert and it's possible I've misunderstood something but, where possible, I take my information from multiple sources and viewpoints in order to understand a problem from both a top-down and bottom-up approach - something that I think you can see in my meanderings.

Let's take a look at what each system has confirmed and how those specs may effect the user experience...

22 March 2020

Analyse This: The Next Gen Consoles (Part 8)... How the predictions stacked up...

So, yesterday, SONY surprise revealed some of the PS5 specifications - a couple of days after Microsoft surprise revealed a tonne of information about the Xbox Series X. While I won't summarise the information (you can find that elsewhere), I am going to do some navel-gazing and take a look back at my predictions and see how they square against the released information and in the next article think about how this all comes together in comparing the two consoles. So feel free to skip this blogpost!

11 March 2020

Analyse This: Performance VS Processing power... (I was wrong!)

The Xbox Series X SoC in all its glory...
This post has been in the works since I last posted and in response to certain comentators on the merits and accuracy of that post. I'll get around to the full Xbox Series X and PS5 reveals this week but for now, let me indulge in a bit of naval gazing and shoulder shrugging...

Recently, I had a certain post about the potential CPU performance of the Xbox One Series X, based upon statements issued from the official Xbox news blog. This, of course, caused some waves. Many people were unhappy with the theoretical performance of the proposed CPU - despite the fact that it would be incredibly performant by any console standard - i.e. it would be the most powerful CPU ever to be placed into a console form-factor! This is not a "weak" CPU and the Ryzen 5 1600 AF is not a weak CPU (though not what we'd be getting!) and an underclocked 4800H would also not be a weak CPU...

The second most common refrain was from people saying that 4x the processing power correlates with 2x clock speed, combined with 2x the number of processing threads. This argument is flawed on several levels but, aside from that it's nonsense. Here's why:

25 February 2020

Analyse This: The Next Gen Consoles (Part 7) [UPDATED]

Within yesterday's information release from Microsoft had one final tidbit of information that I didn't address and that was the allusion to the fact that the Xbox Series X is four times as powerful, in terms of CPU power, as the Xbox One:
"Delivering four times the processing power of an Xbox One and enabling developers to leverage 12 TFLOPS of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) performance – twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One."

Yes, it isn't specifically stated that this is the CPU improvement but by a process of elimination (4x GPU performance is below the One X TFLOPS value) it appears to refer to CPU processing power. So what, exactly, does this mean and how does it fit into the information we have for current Ryzen APU offerings?

24 February 2020

Analyse This: The Next Gen Consoles (Part 6)

So, as we head further into the year with worries surrounding the spread and control of the COVID-19 variant of coronavirus as a backdrop to the convoluted next generation console battle that is playing out between Microsoft and SONY. I mentioned previously that it looked like Microsoft were working towards an earlier release date than SONY and whilst that's still the case, potential (and almost guaranteed) supply shortages for components and final console builds are likely to play a part in both companies' plans.

However, time marches on and waits for no one... so Microsoft have issued a low-key article on their Xbox website that details pretty much all the "confirmed" leaked information that has been circulating over the last two months. So let's have a look at it....

23 January 2020

Analyse This: Next Gen Consoles (Part 5)

Last time I wrote about the possibility of the next gen consoles utilising the latest NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD controllers from Phison and SMI. There's an update to this rumour taken from the work profile of an ex-employee of Phison where the person mentions that they worked on the project team that were designing the controller that would be used in the Xbox Series X (labelled as Xbox Scarlett by the engineer). The controller in question is, according to the profile, the PS5019-E19. Unfortunately, this is a bit disappointing.

15 January 2020

Analyse This: Next Gen Consoles (Part 4)

It seems there has been a couple of further developments over the last few days for next gen console news. First off, Digitmes reported that both Phison and Silicon Motion Technology (confusingly, SMI) are both linked to the next generation consoles. Secondly, there was a leaked estimate of the relative size of the PS5 die size compared to the Xbox SX.

I had noted previously that I didn't believe that current write and read speeds were adequate for the types of experiences hinted at by SONY and Microsoft... well it appears that I missed this article from Anandtech and this article from TweakTown where Phison reports their E18 controller can do 7.0 GB/s sequential writes and 1 million 4 KB random IOPS and SMI can do 6.5 GB/s sequential writes with 0.7 million IOPS (I presume they're also using a standard 4 KB package size).

10 January 2020

Analyse This: The Next Gen Consoles (Part 3) (UPDATED)

CES is here and we were almost losing our collective minds over "will they or won't they" commentary regarding peeps from the next generation of consoles. Of course, there were/are no reveals. However, there are some interesting tidbits regarding AMD's platforms which could provide some further insight to the nature of the CPU/GPU (or APU) inside the consoles from Microsoft and SONY.

9 January 2020

The End of an Era...

There are few items of PC paraphernalia that you don't replace or fiddle with very often. Sure, you can keep a PC for 4-5 years without having to mess around with internal components and, with some luck, you can potentially get away with only messing around with a GPU upgrade in the 6-10 year period. I've never been that lucky and there have been component upgrades or replacements due to wear and tear over the last 10 years. However, I have been using the same mouse during that period.

Now its time is up...