I have been following the console war for the past year and there is one thing I have learned, the marketing folks for the respective consoles lie through their teeth. Everything from Peter Moore's "lucid dream" comment to Ken Kutaragi's various overzealous comments. On second thought, I really shouldn't say lie, Peter Moore's example was just his own deranged opinion and Ken's boasts just weren't realistic for the developers to fully take advantage of. But whatever. They got my hopes up, and then they were crushed by the reality of the situation. I own both consoles. As you may have already guessed, I wasn't around for the last console generation when I was still a pretty casual gamer. I bought an Xbox because my friend had one and I liked Halo. Now I take more joy in understanding the intricacies of the technology powering the consoles. Now that I have seen the forums with tons of comments by fanboys about how their console is better, I want to share what I found and consider the true facts. Check out these links:
Two things I am just going to say off the bat (although there are many more to be said), is that the Xbox 360 has a GPU with a unified shader architecture, an advantage to certain games that would benefit from that. The unified shader architecture was included in the DirectX 10 standard. It basically means that instead of their being dedicated vertex and pixel shaders, each unified shader can act as either. It gives a lot more flexibility and options to developers.
The other thing is that the Playstation 3 (as you may have doubtlessly heard) has the Cell processor which has 8 cores. But the Cell is a strange beast, and very different from a normal CPU. CPUs are good at performing a large range of things at an average speed, while a GPU excels at doing a very small range of operations that are parallel in nature. Now the Cell is a bit of both. There are eight SPEs (7 of which are available to developers) and one PPE. PPE stands for "power processing element" and is much akin to a PowerPC general purpose CPU except it has two threads (much like a dual core CPU). This does the general purpose stuff and is clocked at 3.2GHz. SPE stands for "synergistic processing element" is more specialized like a GPU processer core (or shader), there are 7 of these available to the developers (one is reserved by the console OS) and they can be used for a variety of things including doing graphics and effects. They are each also clocked at 3.2GHz.
So to develop for the Xbox 360 you have a triple core PowerPC CPU and a unified shader graphics card. To develop for the Playstation 3 you have the Cell cpu/gpu, and then another normal GPU. Since the Cell is new and harder to write code for by nature, it's developing enviorment is not as mature. So even though the PS3 has more horsepower than the Xbox 360, most games are written for the 360 and port the PS3, so they lose frames whatever the Xbox could do better, and don't take advantage of the intricacies of the PS3.
Anyway I wish I had the time to write more thouroughly about this, but I can't. Thanks for reading. I hope this cleared up at least a few questions you guys (or gals) had. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.