Exclusive: Xbox One – Potential Impacts of DirectX 12, Asynchronous Compute and Hardware Specifications Explored; Compared with Sony’s PS4


Xbox One and PS4: Basic Hardware Specifications Comparison

At the heart of every gaming machine - is the hardware powering the games you see on-screen. Traditionally, it refers to the precise recipe of CPU/GPU horsepower and memory throughput. The previous generation of consoles - namely the PS3 and Xbox 360 were vastly inferior in terms of hardware power - but were designed as single purpose machines. With both the PS4 and Xbox One entering X86 territory now, the lines between a console and a small form factor PC are getting increasingly blurred - and separated only by software. Infact, most, if not all, of the hardware powering the consoles was originally intended for the personal computer.

PS4 and Xbox One hardware: navigating the architectural shift to X86

Both the Xbox One and PS4 have custom based APUs courtesy of AMD. Knowing the exact hardware specifications of a custom chip is usually a dubious proposition at best; but thankfully, in this case, we already know all the major features and architectures used. Given below is the publicly available specification of the graphics and compute parts of the APUs used inside the consoles:

Console Hardware Comparison Chart

WCCFTechXbox OnePS4
CPU CodenameJaguar Jaguar
Primary CPU Configuration4 + 44 + 4
Auxiliary ProcessorNoYes
Clock Rate1.75 Ghz1.6 Ghz
GPU CodenameBonaire derivativePitcairn derivative
Stream Processors (SP)7681152
Raster Operation Processor (ROP)1632
Texture Mapping Units (TMU)4872
GPU Clock853 Mhz800 Mhz
Memory Clock (Effective)1066Mhz (2132 Mhz)1375Mhz (5500 Mhz)
Memory Bus256256
Rated Floating Point 1.31 TFLOPs1.84 TFLOPs
Bandwidth 68.3 GB/s176 GB/s
Unified Memory 8GB DDR38GB GDDR5 (+250 MB DDR3)
eSRAM32MB (192GB/s)N/A

Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have the same CPU architecture – namely Jaguar (which is an improved version of AMD’s Bobcat). Although, the configuration of the CPU side is the same (dual quad-core modules) the clock speeds are slightly different. The Xbox One has a known clock speed of 1.75 Ghz, while as the PS4 has a [TBC] clock speed of 1.6 Ghz.

Now here is the thing, while the main configuration is also given responsibility for handling background tasks on the Xbox One, the Sony PS4 has a dedicated (and separate) low power processor (technically increasing its configuration to 4+4+1) for all these behind the scenes work. The Auxiliary Processor has its own pool of 256 MB DDR3 RAM. While that might seem insignificant in comparison to the 8GB of GDDR5 shared memory for the primary APU, it’s actually not. It was not so long ago that 256 MB was all processors of ‘current generation’ consoles (like the PlayStation 3) had.

So that’s the compute side of things for APUs of both consoles. It’s when we move on to the graphics side, that things get really interesting. While the Xbox One houses a Bonaire derivative with 768 stream processors, the Sony PS4 rocks a Pitcairn derivative GPU with 1152 stream processors. The Xb1 features 16 ROPs and 48 TMUs versus the PS4’s 32 ROPs and 72 TMUs.

This means that the Sony PS4 is inherently more powerful than the Xbox One in terms of gaming performance – and no amount of optimization or software updates can change this fact

The GPU of the Xbox One is clocked at 853 Mhz while as the PS4 GPU is clocked at 800 Mhz. The memory of the XB1 is clocked at 2133 Mhz effective while as the PS4 has a significantly higher 5500Mhz effective memory clock speed. The APU of the Xbox One will have about 68.3 GB/s total bandwidth while as the PS4’s (Primary) APU will have access to 176 GB/s of sustained bandwidth. Unlike the PS4 however, the Xbox One also has 32 MB of esRAM, capable of boasting bandwidth upto 204 GB/s – but depends on entirely on how the developers use it.