…But, and there’s always one, The PS4’s GPU is significantly better than the one in Microsoft’s console. Of course, this is hardly a surprise to anybody who’s actually paid much attention when the new consoles’ specs were being touted. Here though, is some hard proof, courtesy of Ubisoft, whose own internal testing has shown that for the purposes of general purpose computing – using the GPU’s as a way of offloading CPU tasks, the PlayStation’s 4’s hardware was nearly twice as good at the job.
A GDC presentation from Lead Programmer at Ubisoft Montpellier Alexis Vaisse, showed some interesting results. Ubisoft’s Motion Cloth, a sub-engine that does (as its name suggests) cloth simulation, was used as a way to test the CPU and GPU’s in the new and old consoles. Using the engine, they were able to do cloth simulation on a number of dancers. On the Xbox 360’s CPU, they hit a max of 34 before it all crumbled. Interesting, using the PS3’s Cell processor and its SPU’s they were able to hit 105 dancing ladies with cloth simulation.
On to the new gen, the PS4 was surprisingly only able to support 98 dancing cloth simulating ladies. The Xbox One, however, was able to handle 115. Offloading that to the GPU, however, produced quite startling results. According to Vaisse, they were able to get up to 830 on the Xbox One’s GPU. On the PlayStation4, however, that number was as high as 1600.
Xbox 360 CPU: 34 dancers
PS3s Cell: 105 dancers
PS4 CPU: 98 dancers
Xbox One CPU: 113 dancers
Xbox One GPGPU: 830 dancers
PS4 GPGPU: 1600 dancers
Much of it has to do with memory bandwidth, and that’s where the GDDR5 in the PS4 really shines. Couple that with the number of compute units in the respective GPU’s and it’s increasingly plain to see that the PS4 is a more powerful system. In the end, it means very little for consumers, as developers have to balance things between the CPU and GPU. It does imply that if any system’s holding back the CPU-bound Assassin’s Creed Unity from hitting 1080p it’s actually the PlayStation 4. In the long run though, as the generations drags on, you’ll find games looking better on the PS4 than the Xbox One, purely because it’s GPU is more than just a little bit more powerful.
Last Updated: October 16, 2014