Planning Your Entry Into Next-Gen 101

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With just over two months left until the next generation of video game consoles hit the market, it’s time to start laying the ground work for our entry into the next-gen.

At this point some of you may be thinking to yourself “Ummmmm…didn’t the next generation kick off with the launch of the Wii U?”

To answer your question, I’m sure Nintendo thinks so…but no one else does.

Class is now in session kids, be sure to take notes as there will be a quiz at the end…

 

teacher1. How Do The Consoles Stack Up (It’s Thunderdome Bitches!)

Absolutely the most important step when approaching a purchase of this kind.

The Playstation 4, and Xbox One are rather large investments.  The two consoles clock in at $399 and $499 respectively.

If you are one of the lucky few who have the means to purchase both consoles, or have wealthy parents who enjoy showering their pride and joy with high end entertainment devices, then feel free to skip ahead in the reading.

The majority of us live on a budget though, so we will be forced to make the difficult choice of choosing one over the other…

There are many factors that one must consider before choosing a console that is right for them.  It’s not always about price, although that is a big part of it.  One must look at what both consoles are capable of, the features that both consoles are shipping with, and most importantly which console’s exclusive titles match up best with the type of gamer they are.

This generation looks to make it a tad easier on the gamer who wants to see how these two consoles stack up against one another as they are remarkably similar, unlike last generation where the Playstation 3′s and Xbox 360′s architectures differed pretty wildly.

Here is what each console is packing under the hood…

Playstation 4

Playstation-4

  • CPU: x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” Single-chip custom processor
    • Number of Cores/Threads: 8/8
    • Estimated Frequency: 1.6Ghz
    • Shared L2 Cache: 2 x 2MB
    • Manufacturing Process: 28nm
  • GPU: AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine
    • Peak Shader Throughput: 1.84TFLOPS
    • GPU Cores: 1152
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR5
    • Frequency: 5500MHz
    • System Memory Bus: 256-bits
    • System Memory Bandwidth: 176.0GB/s
  • Storage size: 500GB hard disk drive, user removable*
  • External dimensions: Approximately 275 x 53 x 305mm
  • Mass: Approx 2.8kg
  • BD/DVD drive (read only): BD x 6 CAV, DVD x 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: Super-Speed USBx (USB 3.0) port x2, AUX port x1
  • Networking: Ethernet x1, IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
  • AV output: HDMI out port, DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
  • Included: PlayStation 4 system x1, Wireless controller (DualShock 4) x1, Mono headset x1, AC power cord x1, HDMI cable x1, USB cable x1

Xbox One

Xbox-One

  • CPU: x86-64 Custom AMD processor
    • Number of Cores/Threads: 8/8
    • Estimated Frequency: 1.75Ghz
  • GPU: Custom AMD GPU
    • Clock Speed: 853 MHz
    • GPU Cores: 768 (reportedly)
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR3
    • Frequency: 2133MHz
    • System Memory Bus: 256-bits
    • System Memory Bandwidth: 68.3 GB/s
  • Storage size: 500GB hard disk drive, non-removable*
  • External dimensions: Approximately 26.3 x 8x 34.3cm (estimated)
  • Mass: Approx 2.8kg
  • BD/DVD drive (read only): BD x 6 CAV, DVD x 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: Super-Speed USBx (USB 3.0) port x2, AUX port x1
  • Networking: Ethernet x1, IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • AV output: HDMI out port, HDMI in port, DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
  • Included: Xbox One system x1, Wireless controller x1, Mono headset x1, AC power cord x1, HDMI cable x1, Kinect 2.0

While the Playstation 4 does seem to have an edge over the Xbox One in raw processing power, it should be noted that while the Playstation 4′s GDDR5 memory is faster, it also causes more latency.  This means that the Xbox One might have the edge in how efficiently it handles games.

Microsoft also announced that the Xbox One will support cloud technology for its games.  This would result in some of the heavy lifting a console does in rendering games being offloaded to the cloud.  Considering what we have seen from cloud gaming to date, many are skeptical on whether this would end up being a positive, or a negative in regards to the console’s performance.  We do not have many details on how, or when this will be implemented, as Microsoft’s strategy for the next generation seems to constantly be in flux.  We’ll get to that a bit later though.

Since we are speaking about hardware, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the competing hardware manufacturers track records in regards to how long of a lifespan we can look forward to.

Anyone who has owned an Xbox 360 is familiar with the Red Ring of Death.  It was the plague of 360 owners throughout the last generation, and ended up costing Microsoft over 1 billion dollars to fix.  At one time it was reported that the launch line of Xbox 360s had an astonishing failure rate of 54%, although that number was never confirmed through an official source.  The Playstation 3 on the other hand carried a failure rate of around 10% since launch.

If you’re looking at which console offers more horsepower and reliability, the Playstation 4 is the clear winner.  While the Xbox One doesn’t pack as much power as the Playstation 4, it does come with the Kinect which may sway some potential customers to join the Microsoft camp.

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