Originally Posted by americangunner
Any truth to this stuff? Bias fanboys can keep their opinions out, I'm looking for info from people that know tech.
There's some truth... but not for the reasons he's saying. GDDR5 is used in video cards and not as system memory because it is more suited to GPU operations because of its higher latency. DDR3 is more suited to CPU operations. However, the differences here will be minor because the GDDR5 is a much higher speed, meaning the latency difference will be minimized, if noticeable at all. The end result will be that Xbox One may have a slight advantage with CPU operations, though we're talking NANOSECONDS here, so whether it will be anything noticeable is anyone's guess. The up side is that the slight boost in CPU operations could minimize the difference between the number of CPU cores available to games on each system. The key word there being COULD. Whether there's any difference in practice remains to be seen. But with the way each type of memory sends/receives data, the DDR3 will at least ensure better performance for the Win8 kernel side of Microsoft's 3-OS setup than if they had used GDDR5.
PS4's advantage with GDDR5 will be on the GPU side, however even that is a crapshoot. The Xbox One's ESRAM, if they use it primarily to cache out-of-order operations, will greatly minimize the differences here, since the 1920x1080 rendering target won't typically be bandwidth limited anyway (and both will have adequate framebuffer for 1080p). On the PC, that may not be as true, but in the case of these two systems, they're both directly accessing memory over a 256-bit data path. Once optimized on each platform, this will likely be a wash.
Where PS4 has the upper hand is in the additional shader cores, but not for reasons directly related to graphics (meaning you may still not see a difference on the screen). Looking at the way shaders are currently used on the PC, both systems should be very capable of handling the effects devs will be using. However, since both systems are using an APU, the PS4 will be able to directly hand off some CPU operations to those extra unused shader cores on the GPU, meaning they can leverage it for more of the back-end stuff like AI and physics (and it could also give them an advantage with particle effects, but again, at 1920x1080, this could be nigh imperceptible even if you had them side by side). People who are all focused on the "cloud computing" aspect of Xbox One will argue that this could make up that difference... but the fact of the matter is that we don't know that. We don't know just how much they will be able to pass off to the cloud to glean additional power from the system itself, and no one will be able to speak to that until YEARS into the system's lifespan, when developers start finding their groove with it. Even then, you'll likely only see that used for multiplayer games now, since with Microsoft's policy change, developers can no longer count on the cloud being an available resource for single player games (since they may be played offline, and they won't want to limit their potential audience by making a strictly single player experience REQUIRE internet connectivity to function). What you'll more likely see for now is stuff that simply couldn't be handled client-side, like the number-crunching required to create those AI profiles that Forza 5 is attempting to do. Making that a server-side operation actually makes a lot of sense, since they can do it when you're not even playing, then dump the updated profiles from the cloud storage back to the client (your Xbox One) the next time you connect to the internet to play.
Microsoft may get a slight advantage by leveraging the DirectX API on the Xbox One since PCs are the devkits for both consoles, while PS4 is confirmed to be using the latest iteration of OpenGL. DirectX is a bit more robust for most operations due to its widespread use and history (meaning it is easier for developers to implement), while OpenGL gives devs a little more freedom as far as direct access to GPU functions if the developer wants to expend the time coding items outside the existing OpenGL functions to specifically run off the GPU's shader cores. However, I don't expect we'll see much of that specific coding happen considering you wouldn't be able to do it easily on the PS4 devkit (which would make platform-specific testing unpredictable). You might see first-party Sony games do some of that though, if they're really trying to push the envelope. But by and large, DirectX will be the option more devs are familiar with implementing. That said, while OpenGL was notably less efficient than DirectX in past iterations, OpenGL's last few revisions have basically brought it up to speed, meaning (yeah, you guessed it) this will probably be a wash.
The bottom line is this: We're seeing a lot of people tossing around numbers from the known specs as if they really understand how these differences will actually manifest in the two systems, when the reality is that the two systems are not that far apart in power when optimized for each particular platform. Each will have its pros and cons for developers as far as ease of development goes, but that's far more minor to work around than what we saw with ports across PS3 and 360, which means this: Multi-platform games will very likely look near-identical between the two systems, and not just because one or the other might be lead platform the way we're seeing now (i.e. not because it was coded for the lowest common denominator). Where you're going to see the differences will be in the first-party games, where they're really able to focus on the individual system's architecture and optimize accordingly.
What I've told my friends who have asked about this stuff applies here. Both systems will be very similar in actual capability FOR GAMES at the end of the day. The questions you should focus on are:
1) Which one will my friends that I like to play with be playing on?
2) Which will have the superior online experience?
3) Which system has the exclusives that I care more about?
Outside of that, it's fanboyism. Choose based on the above criteria... or just buy both! WIN/WIN SITUATION!