Nothing really new here seeing as how every spec has been leaked for these consoles already, but they do a really good job of comparing the two consoles in layman's terms. It's a good read if you care at all about which hardware will be more powerful. It's pretty much what I expected it to be from the leaked specs, but it's good to see Digital Foundry reaffirm Orbis' pretty significant advantage.
Full article here:
Some select quotes:
The raw technological building blocks powering each next-gen console are designed by the same people, and the raw architecture is almost identical in nature as a consequence. Digital Foundry
...both the next generation Xbox and its PlayStation competitor feature the same CPU - an eight-core AMD offering running at 1.6GHz and based on its forthcoming low-power, high-performance architecture, Jaguar. Digital Foundry
GPU rendering is all about spreading the computational load across many cores and we find that the new Xbox has 12 of these "Compute Units" (CUs), while Orbis has 18 - a 50 per cent advantage. These numbers have been hotly contested in the last couple of weeks but our Orbis sources confirm the Sony side of the equation, while SuperDAE's leak - in combination with proof of his claims supplied to us behind the scenes - confirms the Durango CU count. The information there is around nine months old, hailing from Durango's beta period - in theory, the hardware could be improved, but practically it's almost impossible for this to actually happen. You can't just slap on some extra hardware without setting back your production schedule significantly by many months.
So does the GPU difference translate into as large an advantage as it sounds? VGleaks' Orbis spec, again derived from platform holder documentation, suggests that four of these CUs are reserved for Compute functions, conceivably bringing the PlayStation's raw advantage down from 50 per cent to just over 16. However, while Compute is often used for elements like physics calculations, there's nothing to stop coders hiving off specific graphics features to this hardware - Just Cause 2, for example, used NVIDIA's own Compute solution, CUDA, for enhanced water effects, while a core element of Battlefield 3 - the deferred shading solution that power its beautiful lighting - is handled via DirectX 11 Compute shader code.
Other information has also come to light offering up a further Orbis advantage: the Sony hardware has a surprisingly large 32 ROPs (Render Output units) up against 16 on Durango. ROPs translate pixel and texel values into the final image sent to the display: on a very rough level, the more ROPs you have, the higher the resolution you can address (hardware anti-aliasing capability is also tied into the ROPs). 16 ROPs is sufficient to maintain 1080p, 32 comes across as overkill, but it could be useful for addressing stereoscopic 1080p for instance, or even 4K. However, our sources suggest that Orbis is designed principally for displays with a maximum 1080p resolution. Digital Foundry
On paper, Orbis looks like the tighter, more powerful, more games-focused design. With Durango, the astonishing lengths to which Microsoft has gone to accommodate 8GB of RAM adds further weight to the hypothesis that its plans for the Xbox hardware extend beyond gaming, that it wants the hardware to form a next-gen media centre. The question is to what extent its non-gaming plans impact on the processing resources available to developers...
Looking at nearly every aspect of these two consoles, from the GPU power to the RAM to DirectX VS OpenGL, everything seems to give PS4 an advantage. I think it will translate into better AA and a higher resolution for PS4 ports, but it's exciting to see what Sony devs will achieve on this will console their second or third time through. MS's specs are pretty decent too, so nothing to be disappointed about.