A very, very hypothetical comparison of the PS4 and Xbox 1

2 min read


Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry put together two PC’s built using parts that they believe are analogues of the components that will be found in Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles, and compared them. According the the specs we know so far, Sony’s console has up to a 50% GPU clock speed advantage over the Xbox One.

The result of course, is that the target PS4 runs things a little faster than the Target Xbox One – but really not by much. It’s also worth noting that this is base PC hardware, without any of the hardware tweaks and optimisations that the consoles will be getting, running current-gen  games that haven’t been optimised for the respective systems.

In the end, they seem pretty pleased with the target hardware, saying that:

”At the 1080p next-gen console standard, that level of texture quality looks simply phenomenal and the overall experience is completely transformed from the compromised current-gen editions. Assuming the CPU power is there, the graphics hardware of both consoles should be able to sustain a 1080p30 performance level on this demanding game with just minor fluctuations, and that’s before we factor in the benefits of closed platform APIs and console-specific optimisation. And as a starting point for performance in the next-gen era, that’s not too bad at all.”

In the end, real-world performance between the two consoles is likely to be nigh imperceptible. Until you factor in the amazing power of the cloud, of course. 

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Last Updated: August 1, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief Minion 47


    (Currently playing that, so yeah, Miranda has been de-throned as DAT ASS)

    • mmmm wingardium leviosaaaaaaaaa!

  • Melasco

    I believe the next gen consoles will be capable of more than enough in the graphics department. I’m still happy with my old PS3, so it will be a huge step up. I also believe the first party studios will release some jaw dropping titles in a few years going well beyond what we think will be possible on PS4 / XBOX One.

  • Hammersteyn

    My expression when I hear about cloud power

    • Rinceandwhere’smyFingT-shirt?

      WIN! Any DUDE reference is automatically a WIN!

  • Rinceandwhere’smyFingT-shirt?

    Lara, my future wife. True story.

    • DBL_ZA

      aaaaaand……. FIGHT!!!!

      • Rinceandwhere’smyFingT-shirt?

        Hahaha! Did you SEE the ginger picture I posted? lol BRING IT!

        • DBL_ZA


          EDIT: Gets popcorn

          • Rinceandwhere’smyFingT-shirt?

            Make it a small, I’ll smite anyone with my axe and then go on to sing ‘I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay’…

          • Trevor Davies

            …more terrifying than Ginger Spice it’s… GINGER SMITE!

          • RinceThisAndGingerSmite

            Ohhh, I like that!

          • Trevor Davies

            lol @ new nick

          • RinceThisAndGingerSmite

            I thought so too 😉 TOTALLY of my own making… *hides behind curtains

    • TiMsTeR1033

      but they change lara every few years……. sooooooo you get a new wife every few years too? or you give her plastic surgery?

    • Unavengedavo

      With today’s technology that might become a reality…

      Ju-C air penis controller
      Oculus Rift

    • Ultimo_Cleric N7

      Lol ^^

    • TiMsTeR1033

      your wife in the future.

      • ElimiNathan


  • DBL_ZA

    Proof is in the pudding… I’d rather wait for an actual side-by-side. The speculation is always fun to watch though 🙂

  • HvR

    This is actually a useless console comparison, it just makes the point that 50% for GPU power doesn’t mean 50% higher frame rate or better graphics.

    The interface between GPU and CPU and memory systems on the consoles and the PC’s is still to far apart to make a direct comparison and the GPU and memory on the consoles are multifunctional.

    The optimization they disregard will probably play the most important part in the quality of graphics and gameplay in the end (as always) it will come down to exclusives and which of “extra” features you will useful.

    • theDude

      Thats not 50% gpu power (not sure what you actually mean by that) it’s 50% more clock speed.

      Optimization will not play the biggest role in the quality of graphics, the hardware will, that is why consoles are getting a hardware boost. There will always only be soo many numbers a gpu can crunch. Console devs are very clever about where they spend there time crunching but that does not mean you will get magic from the optimization gods; something always has to give.

      • HvR

        NO I meant computational power, 1.2 TFLOPS verses 1.6 TFLOPS. Floating point operations per second, a very rough/raw measure of computational power.

        With optimization I mean hardware optimization of the two console in regards with data pipelines on the silicone which will vary quite a lot between the two consoles due to the use of 2 different types of RAM. This is where the overall performance of each will be determined and probably the highest development cost for each.

        In regards to game and game engines devs I was referring to whether they will go the extra mile to make use of the possible extra processing power available on the platform. Or will they do the minimum to keep the experience similar on all platforms.

  • My money is still on the PS4, come on time, fly past…

    • InsanityFlea

      It will be sad to see my xbox360 gathering dust in the cupboard. Oh well. If i was going to buy a console it would be the PS4.

      Sticking to PC here on out. I don’t game that much anymore.

      • TiMsTeR1033

        Gonna give my xbox 360 away to sister in law. Gonna be a sad day that!

        • @InsanityFlea and TMTR1033, my kids are getting the 360 (without Gold)

          • InsanityFlea

            I just can’t get rid of mine you know, it’s like losing an appendage. Both the kids have their own 360’s as well.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Well they dont need to play online so its cool then.

  • Trevor Davies

    Did they give a cost for building those 2 PCs?

    • TiMsTeR1033

      this comparison isnt the best but it will give you an idea of how the xbox one will show its age sooner than the ps4 will and as Geoff said the power of the cloud, wonder what good it will do for offline games. Building those 2 pcs must cost a pretty penny though

      • Trevor Davies

        Yes, and I’m guessing there won’t be much noticable difference anyway.

        I’m just curious to see what a similarly specced box would cost in comparison to the consoles. I just scanned through their article & didn’t see anything. Don’t want to look at retail components because they wouldn’t pay retail.

        • TiMsTeR1033

          I for one actually think we will see a difference in games a few years down the line I think ps4 will pull away even more from xbox one. I mean esp for multiplatform titles. textures I think will be a little worse on xbox one. Unless they dont use the extra power of ps4 in those situations, but would show case why people should get a ps4 then.

          • Trevor Davies

            I suppose it depends on the art direction of the game, if they move closer to photo realism like they’re always shouting about then more power is your friend. If it’s something more stylised like Borderlands you probably won’t see any difference. But like you said, doesn’t matter how much power you have if you don’t use it.

          • theDude

            Texture quailty has nothing to do with extra processing power. It’s memory, if they both have the same memory they will be able to use the same texture quality.

      • Uberutang

        Core i7 3770K overclocked to 4.3GHz and 16GB of DDR3 memory running at 1600MHz.

        Choosing the right graphics hardware would be somewhat more challenging. On the face of it, Microsoft’s GPU sounds remarkably similar to AMD’s Bonaire design, as found in theRadeon HD 7790, while Sony’s choice is uncannily like the Pitcairn product, the closest equivalent to the PS4’s graphics chip being the desktop Radeon HD 7870, or closer still in terms of clock-speed, the laptop Radeon HD 7970M

        So no, not really that expensive. They cheated on the CPU’s though. The consoles will have no where near that powerful CPU’s,. but their reason for doing so is pretty sound.

    • Uberutang

      You can build same spec for around 6-7k.

  • Pieter Kruger

    Basically saying a 500hp Super car will out perform the 450hp one which is not always the case! Good effort by Digital Foundry but not taking each console specific specifications into consideration, rather meaningless unfortunately! Saw a video on textures for “The new order” on PS4 and it looks amazing but with nothing to compare against on the Xbox One, I cannot yet state that the PS4 is the better console graphic wise! Personally I’m still leaning towards the Xbox One and that’s mainly because of all the new features and Exclusives lined up! Also, I play on a 52″ plasma and not a LED, so not sure I’ll ever be able to spot the difference between the two consoles? Anyway, I think now that MS have decided to pull their heads out of their asses, the “console war” is so close it can only lead to healthy competition, which will mean a win win for everyone!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    The cloud is a lie. It’s just DRM wearing a different dress.

  • Unavengedavo

    But how much resources would all the new “features” of the Xbox One use?

    • Pieter Kruger

      Xbox One will use 3Gb RAM for OS, apparently less than the PS4?

  • ALKi1234

    So this just shows “yes” the ps4 has an advantage,and doesn’t really mean anything to me. But ND’s next game will show me what the PS4 can do.

  • justerthought

    Although this comparison was mildly interesting, I don’t think it accurately reflects the reality at all. The way PS4 is designed as a whole is not taken into account. The hardware features reinforce each other in order to maintain the differential. Just taking one feature, the GPU, without linking it to the 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and super fast data bus, dilutes the impact the GPU will have. The whole system is optimised so that it runs like a sports car with zero bottlenecks. That ensures that the PS4 will maintain that 50% performance lead.

    Removing the other features from the equation by running the test with both using a super fast CPU and exactly equal RAM spec and data speed, gives XB1 an advantage it does not have. Such as the fact that the XB1 has zero GDDR5 RAM available to the GPU, and yet for the test, it was given a GPU with GDDR5 RAM onboard narrowing the performance gap.

    Both consoles have a lot of RAM but when you travel around an open world, that RAM has to be filled very quickly on the fly with streaming high resolution textures and objects. XB1 is going to find life very hard trying to fill its slow DDR3 RAM and avoid the pop-in delay of shallow draw distances. The XB1 eDRAM is not going to help fill the RAM any quicker because it’s only small in size so it’s limited to very fast bursts of small data chunks. It cannot speed up the loading of a huge rock texture into RAM. This is where PS4 will be blisteringly fast in comparison and run open world games smooth as butter with huge immersive draw distances.

    The test avoided such a comparison. No open world footage was tested where the XB1 would need to stream data extremely fast into the RAM. Instead we got preloaded cut scenes that only showed a minor boost for the PS4. What do you expect. Open world games will be the future for next gen and PS4 is equipped to handle it with perfection. If the test had been able to give PS4 8GB GDDR5 RAM and take it away the from the XB1, the difference running an open world game would have been huge. The 50% lead enjoyed by the GPU would have been maintained. In fact I believe it would have been higher if the player had been running around a huge varied open world environment.

    I’m not a fan of MS but I would be sad if XB1 failed because competition is healthy for gamers. The XB1 will be a capable games machine and have lots of great games experiences, especially FPS multiplayer with it’s low lag dedicated servers, but it won’t be able to match PS4 overall. If you are a hard core gamer and want the best at a cheaper price without gimmicks, the choice is clear. Get a PS4.

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