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Xbox One vs PS4: ESRAM slower than GDDR5, It's Bottleneck"

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All that talk about RAM... Seriously, memory is the smallest issue. The biggest problem of the Xbox is just the way slower GPU. Developers will find ways to get by with esRAM just fine. But the GPU will stay slow. Devs use it better, sure, graphics will improve somewhat. But that is also true for the PS4 so in comparison, X1 will always look weak and have inferior Multiplats.



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Delays for a redesign might be from:
A) Redesigning the APU to not include ESRAM/MoveEngines (adding more GPU cores, etc).
B) Needing to re-factor both the OS and allow games to be re-designed around different memory architecture.
C) MS would have already had high volume contracts for certain components,
and NOT have high volume contracts for other components they weren't using (e.g. GDDR).

The last is probably by far the largest problem, Sony and other OEMs would already have most GDDR volume sewn up, so it would be either very expensive to buy large volumes in the short term (assuming that's even possible), or else they would need to delay to achieve a viable over-all price. On top of the fact that MS would already be contracted for the DDR, so would lose money by either needing to sell that or (if they went with split pool DDR+GDDR) purchasing DDR earlier then they needed to. But crucially, ANY delay would have strongly detrimental effects re: marketshare vs. Sony. Perhaps a delay might be justifiable if they felt they could get a SUPERIOR console vs. Sony, but a delay just to have parity is very dubious. Sony's come from behind performance with PS3 and proven global advantage in demand/brand perception just makes any delay a no-go for MS, even if they might gain some marginal performance advantage.



OdinHades said:
All that talk about RAM... Seriously, memory is the smallest issue. The biggest problem of the Xbox is just the way slower GPU. Developers will find ways to get by with esRAM just fine. But the GPU will stay slow. Devs use it better, sure, graphics will improve somewhat. But that is also true for the PS4 so in comparison, X1 will always look weak and have inferior Multiplats.

Yes, the point being that ESRAM takes up room on the die that would otherwise be used for GPU cores. 

It's a direct trade off when cost is fixed.

Conversely, had PS4 ended up with only 4GB total RAM (GDDR), that would have directly constrained games as well.

See the linked article quoting Thuway re: original Sony devkits with 4GB GDDR.



Pemalite said:

Then you need to elaborate.
No point claiming someone is "wrong" and not even bothering to back up such claims, you just wasted my time with reading that for no gain or benefit to any parties involved.

drkohler said:
binary solo said:

If MS did actually think about delaying Xb one in order to put in GDDR5 ..

That never happened. Once they decided on the memory system (which likely was the second decision after the cpu decision), there was absolutely no way of changing the path. This is so fundamental in the whole process that if they changed that, they'd have to go back to blank sheets of paper.

No they wouldn't.
It would literally be as simple as swapping out the DDR3 with GDDR5 memory chips, Kaveri/Jaguar has dual-memory controllers which supports both memory technologies.
They might need to revise the PCB at most.

The latest Kaveri has two ddr controlers and two deactivated gddr controlers. That combination would get you nowhere console-wise (and this kaeveri is a low-end product). I'm not going to lecture about ram technologies, you can assemble the knowledge on the internet. However, these things are absolutes if ms switched from ddr to gddr memory at some point in time:

a) Complete redesign of the apu. Check the sizes of the four ddr3 and gddr5 controlers in the apu pictures posted on the web.

b) complete redesign of the motherboard (and to that effect the entre cooling system e.g. the whole system).

c) Find a customer for the terabytes of ddr memory you already ordered

d) Find a manufacturer for the terabytes of gddr memory you do not have.

To sum up again: Once a manufacturer has decided which cpu/memory path to take, there is no way back, come rain or storm. If in the end, it turns out you made the false choise, the usual thing happens: The guilty get promoted, the innocent get punished.

In this whole ram debate, there was one crucial mistake made that could have changed the entire situation. Likely due to cost considerations, it was mandated to the engineers that the apu was to be designed as one single die (probably the high cost of the Kinect2 was a major obstacle here). Had they decided to go the Intel path (apu on a die + daughter edram die), they could have come out with a "fatter" apu and a daughter edram die the size of their choice. Probably even like Intel with a 128Mbyte daughter die if they wanted to take a higher loss.



Pemalite said:
drkohler said:

Ok, people, calm down for a while.
Pretty much everything that was written in the past three or so posts is dead wrong. The situation is a lot more complex than what your posts seem to imply but it would take a very lengthy and technical post to clear up the mess we are currently steering into. (And the same errors would pop up again in one or two weeks in another thread...)


Then you need to elaborate.
No point claiming someone is "wrong" and not even bothering to back up such claims, you just wasted my time with reading that for no gain or benefit to any parties involved.

ok, I will explain just one point most people got wrong (I have no hope this point will stick, though). I'm trying to be as "non-technical" as possible so that everybody can understand the conclusions.

One of the big question is: Who "does graphics" faster, the XBox One or the PS4 ? (without specifying what "doing graphics" exactly encompasses).

The correct answer is simple: It is the XBox One. Now this will confuse a lot of people. So in my endless patience, I'm going to tell you why and you will hopefully see why the esram is there. (As a sidenote, it is esram and not edram simply because the manufacturer doesn't have the 28nm technology, same reason the WiiU was designed in 40nm).

First we do the numbers game: We know the PS4 gpu has a specified bandwidth of 176GB/s into gddr5, and the XBox One gpu  has a bandwidth of 109GB/s into esram or a combination of esram/ddr3 (! a crucial point of the design that often gets overlooked, but that would be anther long lecture...). Now these numbers mean one thing, and one thing only: AMD's engineers tell us there is an absolute guarantee that in no way you can shuffle more GB/s than those numbers. What these numbers do NOT tell us how fast you actually shuffle memory around. So at first sight, we all agree: 176 > 109.

Now we take a second look and find that in reality: 176 < 109.

Now that may seem rather puzzling, but reality says it's true. Those numbers 176 and 109 come from the idea that you can shuffle data with every clock cycle. Unfortunately, noone is able to do this but in a mode that lasts just a few clock cycles. This mode is called burst mode and both apus can handle burst lengths of 8 (which means for eight clock cycles you get the stated maximum GB/s). After that, all hell has broken loose in the memory and you have to do a "calm down fellows detour". Now, without going into complicated explanations of how diffferent memory types are addressed, the "calm down detour" for the gddr5 chips (which in their hearts are just ddr memories) is much longer than the detour for esram. In a rather clumsy comparison, this looks like:

XBox: Grab with 109 GB/s  / wait a little / Grab with 109GB/s / wait a little / ...

PS4:   Grab with 176GB/s /  wait quite some long time / Grab with 176GB/s / wait some long time / ....

As you can see, the PS4's line is much longer in the end (in this cheesey comparison). The overal effect is that, on averafe, you grab less GB in the second case than in the first case.

Now it seems I have just written that XBox "does graphics" faster than PS4. Unfortunately there is another key element not yet mentioned.  "Does graphics" mainly means doing texture stuff and raster stuff. The PS4 has more of those than the XBox One. Twice as many rasterisers (very generous and maybe overkill) and 50% more texture units in the PS4 more than offset the slightly higher clockrate of the XBox One. What you want in the end is nicer/more pixels than the other guy and there is no way the XBox One can overcome the lack of TMUs/ROPs. So while it really can "do graphics" faster, it just doesn't have enough of those "does praphics" units to beat the PS4.

 

edit: corrected since the editor auto-removed some important info..



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drkohler said:
Pemalite said:

Then you need to elaborate.
No point claiming someone is "wrong" and not even bothering to back up such claims, you just wasted my time with reading that for no gain or benefit to any parties involved.

drkohler said:
binary solo said:

If MS did actually think about delaying Xb one in order to put in GDDR5 ..

That never happened. Once they decided on the memory system (which likely was the second decision after the cpu decision), there was absolutely no way of changing the path. This is so fundamental in the whole process that if they changed that, they'd have to go back to blank sheets of paper.

No they wouldn't.
It would literally be as simple as swapping out the DDR3 with GDDR5 memory chips, Kaveri/Jaguar has dual-memory controllers which supports both memory technologies.
They might need to revise the PCB at most.

The latest Kaveri has two ddr controlers and two deactivated gddr controlers. That combination would get you nowhere console-wise (and this kaeveri is a low-end product). I'm not going to lecture about ram technologies, you can assemble the knowledge on the internet. However, these things are absolutes if ms switched from ddr to gddr memory at some point in time:

a) Complete redesign of the apu. Check the sizes of the four ddr3 and gddr5 controlers in the apu pictures posted on the web.

b) complete redesign of the motherboard (and to that effect the entre cooling system e.g. the whole system).

c) Find a customer for the terabytes of ddr memory you already ordered

d) Find a manufacturer for the terabytes of gddr memory you do not have.

To sum up again: Once a manufacturer has decided which cpu/memory path to take, there is no way back, come rain or storm.

I will ignore "a" it's mostly assumptions.

Redesign the motherboard? For what? Redesign the cooling system? For what? TDP isn't going to get much higher, Microsoft and Sony over-engineer their cooling systems anyway for worse-case-scenarios, hence why Microsoft was able to do the upclock.

C and D are valid points.
However, the DDR3 memory can find a home in Microsoft's other products, so it doesn't necessarily go to waste.

Besides, we were thinking in terms of theoreticals, a what-if scenario, it didn't happen and certainly can't happen now anyway, we have to put up with these underpowered consoles for several years now.

drkohler said:

ok, I will explain just one point most people got wrong (I have no hope this point will stick, though). I'm trying to be as "non-technical" as possible so that everybody can understand the conclusions.

One of the big question is: Who "does graphics" faster, the XBox One or the PS4 ? (without specifying what "doing graphics" exactly encompasses).

The correct answer is simple: It is the XBox One. Now this will confuse a lot of people. So in my endless patience, I'm going to tell you why and you will hopefully see why the esram is there. (As a sidenote, it is esram and not edram simply because the manufacturer doesn't have the 28nm technology, same reason the WiiU was designed in 40nm).

First we do the numbers game: We know the PS4 gpu has a specified bandwidth of 176GB/s into gddr5, and the XBox One gpu  has a bandwidth of 109GB/s into esram or a combination of esram/ddr3 (! a crucial point of the design that often gets overlooked, but that would be anther long lecture...). Now these numbers mean one thing, and one thing only: AMD's engineers tell us there is an absolute guarantee that in no way you can shuffle more GB/s than those numbers. What these numbers do NOT tell us how fast you actually shuffle memory around. So at first sight, we all agree: 176 > 109.

Now we take a second look and find that in reality: 176 < 109.

Now that may seem rather puzzling, but reality says it's true. Those numbers 176 and 109 come from the idea that you can shuffle data with every clock cycle. Unfortunately, noone is able to do this but in a mode that lasts just a few clock cycles. This mode is called burst mode and both apus can handle burst lengths of 8 (which means for eight clock cycles you get the stated maximum GB/s). After that, all hell has broken loose in the memory and you have to do a "calm down fellows detour". Now, without going into complicated explanations of how diffferent memory types are addressed, the "calm down detour" for the gddr5 chips (which in their hearts are just ddr memories) is much longer than the detour for esram. In a rather clumsy comparison, this looks like:

XBox: Grab with 109 GB/s Grab with 109GB/s ...

PS4:   Grab with 176GB/s Grab with 176GB/s ....

As you can see, the PS4's line is much longer in the end (in this cheesey comparison). The overal effect is that, on averafe, you grab less GB in the second case than in the first case.

Now it seems I have just written that XBox "does graphics" faster than PS4. Unfortunately there is another key element not yet mentioned.  "Does graphics" mainly means doing texture stuff and raster stuff. The PS4 has more of those than the XBox One. Twice as many rasterisers (very generous and maybe overkill) and 50% more texture units in the PS4 more than offset the slightly higher clockrate of the XBox One. What you want in the end is nicer/more pixels than the other guy and there is no way the XBox One can overcome the lack of TMUs/ROPs. So while it really can "do graphics" faster, it just doesn't have enough of those "does praphics" units to beat the PS4.


The thing about the eSRAM is that if the data isn't in the eSRAM then it has to be retreived from system memory, it's not going to be anywhere near 109GB/s under those circumstances.
Where it does shine is in multiple reads/writes to the eSRAM to all the other various pieces of logic at the same time.

The Playstation 4's memory latency in terms of clockrate should in theory be higher than the DDR3 and eSRAM which is what will give the Xbox One an edge in very few real-world cases.

But, you're just reafirming what I have said in previous posts, no amount of bandwidth will make up for hardware deficiencies, RAM/eSRAM and it's derivatives doesn't do any form of processing that is responsible for drawing the pretty pictures on-screen, it just feeds the brain that does handle that.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

DonFerrari said:
g911turbo said:
Pemalite said:
Turkish said:


hmmm thanks for the explanation, you and drkohler. So the PS4 ram advantage is bigger than I thought.



It's actually not.

People are comparing bandwidth numbers and screaming "PS4 wins" but it's not as black and white as that.

The Xbox One by it's very nature of having less compute hardware, requires less bandwidth to begin with.

As for the eSRAM, it does have benefits, what and how big those benefits are won't become apparant untill another few years into the consoles life cycle, it's not a cure for all of the Xbox One's performance ill's however.

The point is all moot really in the end, the Xbox One is indeed slower than the Playstation 4, however it's still going to output fantastic games, first party developers such as 343 industries will still push the hardware, with a high probability of making them look better than the multiplats.

Still, the eSRAM isn't a bottleneck like many on this forum now are under the assumption of, it doesn't slow or hold the system back which is what a bottleneck implies, it does however make development harder, but if developers don't wish to use it, they have the choice not to, I would assume most developers would be using it for stuff like render targets, colour, depth, stencil buffers. etc'.

However with that in mind... Looking at this thread and seeing so many people worry about specifications and performance rather than the games... It makes you wonder why they bother with any console and thus by extension put up with only 720P/1080P resolutions.

Another good post.  I'm an electrical engineer, and I bought an Xbox One knowing full well what the system specs were (to be fair though, I plan to get a PS4 too down the road).  The reason I DID buy the Xbox One had nothing to do with power.  It had to do with friend network, controller, and my HOPE the Microsoft will really dig into their wallet to concentrate on the server side of things.  I have to admit, I couldn't give a rats ass about the Kinect at the moment.  Hopefully they can change that.


I tought you would say that you didn't bought because you didn't find any at the time =]

I had multiple PS4s but didn't keep any.  I might get one when infamous and the order are out.



mutantsushi said:

If Sony didn't luck out with GDDR prices moving down and enabling parity with 8GB RAM,
PS4 would itself have had performance bottlenecks and programming restrictions with 4GB of total RAM.
(although it's plausible that the end result would at least have been on par with XBone)

...

 


So if anything, it's odd that NEITHER Sony nor MS went with split pools, even though it was plausibly equal or superior benefits.... if anything that makes me wonder MORE why they didn't just take the truly conservative proven approach and use a split pool, for max RAM + VRAM + GPU cores/etc....


The answer is really simple why Microsoft went the "8 GB DDR3 + Esram" way instead of the more traditional split memort "4 GB DDR3 + 4 GB GDDR5" way. Because they have always applied the "unified memory architecture as it has traditionally been more convenient to developers, easier to manufacture, and cheaper to produce. This has been the case with original Xbox, X360, and they thought it would be the case for XB1 as well, to their mistake! The Esram just didn't improve enough to cut the deal from 720 to 1080p and it cost them arms and legs with the die space. They overestimated the gained performance and advantages of the unified memory through the bottleneck of esram. Yes it is the bottleneck because the whole architecture is wrapped around it yet it is too small to support the architecture.

PS4, even with 4 GB GDDR5, would still be a much better. Because

a) Most games even today, are 32 bit, and do not use more than 3 GB.

b) Hardly any of the games to be released in PS4 has had access to more than 4 GB.

c) For most games, which were prepared for 512 MB or less memory for the last decade, 4 GB will be immensely sufficient for a long time.

d) One way or another, no amount of memory is enough, but the difference between 8 GB and 4 GB is usually a matter of time to fit the data, which is usually done in terms of compression or decrease in quality in graphics. Lucky though, with this immense amount of memory (8 GB vs 4 GB), there won't be much of difference due to diminishing returns to scale.

e) Memory footprint vs Bandwidth or Speed is usually tradable. In other words, faster RAM usually makes up for more RAM; but it doesn't always work the other way around.

f) The only limitation would be respect to some first party titles which really would take advantage of the full potential of the console, graphics wise or content wise (down the road). For example, Killzone graphics could have been more compressed than it is today. Another limitation would be the non-gaming content & multitasking would take a hit.

Overall the gaming performance of PS4 with 4 GB GDDR5 would hardly be any different, but possibly slightly higher due to the unoccupied space on the die which can be used for extra compute units etc. However, we'd still see slight degradation in some 1st party exclusives, and a bit longer development time due to memory reallocation issues and degradation in non-gaming features.



Xbox One X (Scorpio) Prospects

Sales Estimations for 8th Generation Consoles

Next Gen Consoles Impressions and Estimates

Regional Analysis  (only MS and Sony Consoles)
Europe     => XB1 : 15-25 % vs PS4 : 75-85%
N. America => XB1 :  35-45% vs PS4 : 55-65%
Global     => XB1 :  24-33% vs PS4 : 67-76%

Ms should have used more then 32 mb.



VITA 32 GIG CARD.250 GIG SLIM & 160 GIG PHAT PS3

Such an unneeded post about something everybody knew. Something else everyone knows, both machines are going to produce great games with their respective hardware, haters gotta learn to stop hating.