Xbox 360 vs. PS3 (Part 1 of 4)

One of the great things about working at Xbox is that we have some of the smartest people in the world working on the Xbox 360. When Sony came announced the PS3, along with the product specs some of our team started looking at some of the numbers to see what they mean. Floating Point, shaders, bandwidth….what does it all mean. Clearly there are some numbers and stats that mean more to gaming then others, so the team cranked out some facts for everyone to absorb. Our world class technology team looked at the numbers and claims and decided to do what everyone else does: compare them to the PS3. The difference it that these guys are uniquely qualified to do so, and can cut through the smoke and mirrors to see what the real deal is. To that end, I present this summary, which I have broken up into four parts to make it more RSS Reader friendly.

Warning: Some of this stuff may make your head hurt, but these are the facts as they stand right now. Enjoy the read:


Now that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 specifications have been announced, it is possible to do a real world performance comparison of the two systems.

There are three critical performance aspects of a console:
? Central Processing Unit (CPU) performance.
o The Xbox 360 CPU architecture has three times the general purpose processing power of the Cell.
? Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) performance
o The Xbox 360 GPU design is more flexible and it has more processing power than the PS3 GPU.
? Memory System Bandwidth
o The memory system bandwidth in Xbox 360 exceeds the PS3’s by five times.

The Xbox 360’s CPU has more general purpose processing power because it has three general purpose cores, and Cell has just one.

Cell’s claimed advantage is on streaming floating point work which is done on its seven DSP processors.

The Xbox 360 GPU has more processing power than the PS3’s. In addition, its innovated features contribute to overall rendering performance.

Xbox 360 has 278.4 GB/s of memory system bandwidth. The PS3 has less than one-fifth of Xbox 360’s (48 GB/s) of total memory system bandwidth.

When you break down the numbers, Xbox 360 has provably more performance than PS3. Keep in mind that Sony has a track record of over promising and under delivering on technical performance. The truth is that both systems pack a lot of power for high definition games and entertainment.

However, hardware performance, while important, is only a third of the puzzle. Xbox 360 is a fusion of hardware, software and services. Without the software and services to power it, even the most powerful hardware becomes inconsequential. Xbox 360 games?”by leveraging cutting-edge hardware, software, and services?”will outperform the PlayStation 3.

I have closed comments on this series of posts, except part 4 in order to keep the discussion around this in one area. You can comment here