Xbox Director of Development: Xbox One Effectively a Super-Computer Design

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Xbox Director of Development: Xbox One Effectively a Super-Computer Design

Xbox One cams

Xbox Director of Development Boyd Multerer speaks out on the Xbox One's resolution disadvantage, and claims the console design is "out of the super-computer realm."

While much has been said regarding the Xbox One's technical disadvantage in comparison to the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has been adamant that the 1080p resolution and 60fps (frames-per-second) differences between the two concosles are "pretty minor." In an interview with Total Xbox, Xbox Director of Development Boyd Multerer has commented on the resolution controversy.

Part of it is the obvious one where everyone's still getting to know this hardware and they'll learn to optimise it. Part of it is less obvious, in that we focused a lot of our energy on framerate. And I think we have a consistently better framerate story that we can tell.

Multerer then explains the Xbox One's CPU and how it can deliver "smoother" frame-rates; and asking whether it should concentrate on the quality or the number of pixels.

On the CPU side, we really pushed how fast the central processor is running, so you'll see much smoother framerates, you'll see much less hitching on the Xbox One, and that's a big deal in these games: you really want them to be smooth. On the number of pixels side, there's also a kind of change in the conversation - what's the right one to be focused on? Is it number of pixels or is the quality of pixels? And this gets into the way that the game engines run.

In the same interview, Multerer comments that the Xbox One's GPUs "are really complicated beasts," and how getting Xbox One games to run smoothly requires shuffling data between components with absolute precision, since even the smallest delay can up the process -- which he equates to the Xbox One being designed out of the "super-computer realm."

The GPUs are really complicated beasts this time around. In the Xbox 360 era, getting the most performance out of the GPU was all about ordering the instructions coming into your shader. It was all about hand-tweaking the order to get the maximum performance. In this era, that's important - but it's not nearly as important as getting all your data structures right so that you're getting maximum bandwidth usage across all the different buffers. So it's relatively easy to get portions of the GPU to stall. You have to have it constantly being fed.

This is a effectively a super-computer design..This is a design out of the super-computer realm. So I expect that we're going to continue to see fairly large improvements in GPU output as people really tune these data sets.

Based on Multerer's explanations, does this mean we should see parity between Xbox One and PS4 multi-platform games soon? For Xbox fans' sake, let's hope so. What do you make of Multer's statements? And more importantly, do you agree with what he said?

Source: Total Xbox via GearNuke

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Sounds a bit like they have repeated Sony's mistake with the PS3 and over complicated it?

This is the most pristine example of someone talking straight out of their ass I've ever seen. Just a bunch of "Oh, our console's too complex and amazing for it to actually be developed for properly, but once people figure it out? Your days are number Sony, hurr hurr hurr."

They have a worse off machine than the PS4 and they keep trying to justify it.

I'll give him credit in that it is true that there are likely a lot of tricks skilled coders could pull off that would get more performance out of the Xbone, but the simple hard fact is that the PS4 has a superior CPU, GPU and faster RAM. Any tricks that would work on the Xbone would also work on the PS4, and with its better hardware would give even more of an advantage there.

I expect that the two consoles will reach 'parity' soonish, but developers that are willing to invest in it will always be able to get a better performance on the PS4.

It will probably still mean that PS4 games will run in true 1080p whereas Xbones will have upscaled lower resolutions.

Daphuq is up with that picture?
Were the photographers told to pose like that?
Why are they even taking a picture of the console?
Have they actually seen in Xbox One before?
Why are some of them using a video camera?
Why are they so close to each other and the console?
Why was even a picture taken of them doing that?

Damn it I'm so confused.

Mega Messiah:
This is the most pristine example of someone talking straight out of their ass I've ever seen. Just a bunch of "Oh, our console's too complex and amazing for it to actually be developed for properly, but once people figure it out? Your days are number Sony, hurr hurr hurr."

They have a worse off machine than the PS4 and they keep trying to justify it.

I second this opinion. Especially since the GPUs for the PS4 and Xbox are the same gen AMD tech. The only difference being that the PS4 GPU has 50% more shaders while the Xbone GPU has a 6.63% higher clock speed.

Now I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume more mature coding and whatnot will eke out more power from this machine... but I recall a chart of AMD GPUs compared to the Xbone, and my years old second-hand card has something like 1.7x the power of the Xbone.

I remain unconvinced.

Aerosteam:
Daphuq is up with that picture?
Were the photographers told to pose like that?
Why are they even taking a picture of the console?
Have they actually seen in Xbox One before?
Why are some of them using a video camera?
Why are they so close to each other and the console?
Why was even a picture taken of them doing that?

Damn it I'm so confused.

It looks like it was taken during/after the Xbone reveal event, so they are taking pictures because it was the first time that journalists had access to one. Some have video cameras because they were probably using the same one to film the reveal. They're close together because they all want to get a decent shot and it was likely a total clusterfuck to get a good angle when they want to get a photo out quickly to beat the competition. And I'd hazard a guess that a Microsoft drone took a picture to show that people are super impressed by their VCR. Or someone really loves the various sockets on the back.

Both SOny and MS can come up with all the bullshit they want. Dont care about 1080 and 60fps. All i want it great games. Ive been gaming since the Atari, resolution and fps are a non issue for me.

Mega Messiah:
This is the most pristine example of someone talking straight out of their ass I've ever seen. Just a bunch of "Oh, our console's too complex and amazing for it to actually be developed for properly, but once people figure it out? Your days are number Sony, hurr hurr hurr."

They have a worse off machine than the PS4 and they keep trying to justify it.

Can't agree more. His last statement that it's a design out of the super computer realm is utter horse shit. It doesn't even make a lick of logical sense. And saying they really pushed how fast the CPU is running? The cores are running at 1.75GHz. Maybe they were pushing it as far as they could without the cooling system failing and the console melting, but that's not fast. The major benefit from the new CPU is updated architecture and 8 cores. Not clock speed.

This guy really is talking straight out of his ass.

CriticalMiss:

Aerosteam:
Daphuq is up with that picture?
Were the photographers told to pose like that?
Why are they even taking a picture of the console?
Have they actually seen in Xbox One before?
Why are some of them using a video camera?
Why are they so close to each other and the console?
Why was even a picture taken of them doing that?

Damn it I'm so confused.

It looks like it was taken during/after the Xbone reveal event, so they are taking pictures because it was the first time that journalists had access to one. Some have video cameras because they were probably using the same one to film the reveal. They're close together because they all want to get a decent shot and it was likely a total clusterfuck to get a good angle when they want to get a photo out quickly to beat the competition. And I'd hazard a guess that a Microsoft drone took a picture to show that people are super impressed by their VCR. Or someone really loves the various sockets on the back.

Yep, this was during the Xbox One reveal event. Used it since we've had enough of an image with just the console up front, no? :)

erbkaiser:
I'll give him credit in that it is true that there are likely a lot of tricks skilled coders could pull off that would get more performance out of the Xbone, but the simple hard fact is that the PS4 has a superior CPU, GPU and faster RAM. Any tricks that would work on the Xbone would also work on the PS4, and with its better hardware would give even more of an advantage there.

What will work for the PS4 wont necessarily work for the Xbone, there are some key differences between the two. There are some differences between the two APUs besides one having a few more stream processors that are active, a good portion of the die on on the Xbones APU is taken up by largely undisclosed stuff that only Microsoft and AMD knows the function of. Discounting the CPU & GPU blocks there are another 15 blocks on the die doing, well something. There are portions with on die memory, others with co-processors of some kind and other stuff people have only speculated about.

Maybe this has something to do with these comments about streamlining the interaction between the component parts, whether any developer will ever actually be able to leverage this into results players can actually notice like frame rates and resolutions is another thing entirely.

"I think we have a consistently better framerate story that we can tell."

You have a great framerate story! It just has to be told at a lower resolution. It's just like when I played the original Unreal at 320x240 pixel-doubled to really soak in all the graphical glory. It wasn't because my computer was crap. It had a great framerate story.

image
"Super-Computer Design."

"You don't understand! These are free-range, organic pixels...!"

Ahhhh, no. I think you can play it one way, or another. You can say you're not as good, but only in ways that don't matter. You can say you're better, but in ways no one has noticed. Or you can say that you're not as good, but you will be as good or better once the programmers learn the ins and outs of your particular hardware.

When you're trying to say all three simultaneously, it doesn't come off as honesty; it comes off as spin. I'm not saying all three couldn't have elements of truth simultaneously (though I don't think they do), but it sounds like 110% undiluted weasel.

Moreover, what I've been hearing doesn't sound like "XBox One has the FPS advantage, PS4 has the resolution advantage"; what I've been hearing sounds more like "PS4 has been cleaning XBox One's clock in both fields." Correct me if I've been hearing wrong. (Edit to add: reports on things like Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition seem to imply that this supposition has some basis in fact.)

And while coders will, almost inevitably, find ways to use the XB1's hardware more efficiently as time goes on, it's utterly ludicrous to suggest that those who code for the PS4 will be held in stasis while that occurs. The PS4 people may not have to race to catch up, but with independents already favoring the PS4 and larger companies starting to look askance at the PS4's larger installation base, it's likely that there will be plenty of optimization going on on the PS4 side as well.

I'm getting the impression from an interview like this that Titanfall, however good, wasn't quite the haymaker to Sony's advantage this generation that Microsoft was hoping for. There's nothing for it but to get more good games on your system, guys. And once again, I think you need to either put your talking heads on another track or silence them all together.

Vivi22:
[...] His last statement that it's a design out of the super computer realm is utter horse shit. It doesn't even make a lick of logical sense. And saying they really pushed how fast the CPU is running? The cores are running at 1.75GHz. Maybe they were pushing it as far as they could without the cooling system failing and the console melting, but that's not fast. The major benefit from the new CPU is updated architecture and 8 cores. Not clock speed.

My guess is he's trying to appease investors or other people that don't really care about tech specs so much, because I'm pretty sure nothing in either console compares even remotely to an actual super computer. Don't get me wrong, the US military has previously configured a bank of PS3s into a functioning super computer, but individually? Especially since he's using it in the context of graphical processing.

"Supercomputer", eh? That's why you basically put a beefed-up smartphone CPU and a budget level PC GPU in there...

HAHAHAHAHAHA OH GOD!

arent the xbox one parts like, almost identical to PC parts you can guy from your local PC store?

man this bullshit PR talk wouldnt be this hilarious if it wasnt comming from someone who works at the world's biggest OS developer

LMFAO holy shit.

If the xBone a supercomputer what does that make the PS4? A super-supercomputer? And I guess that makes my gaming PC something straight out of Star Trek.

I was beginning to think M$ was losing their stupid, but nope they still got it.

Dear MS,

Stop.

Please. Just stop.

Sincerely,
Deadish

Sorry...what?

Correct me if I'm wrong...but what the hell does 'quality of pixels' mean?

As far as I understand, the higher the resolution, the more pixels there are on the screen - resulting in a higher quality image.

Isn't the quality of the individual pixels on a screen determined by the quality of said screen and nothing to do with the input?

Are they saying that they're sacrificing the number of pixels to get better RGB or something? Isn't that just matter of calibration? What the hell has that got to do with performance?

This is a effectively a super-computer design..

Uh huh. You know, almost any GPU these days is a 'super-computer design'. They literally make super-computers out of them.

The PS3 was also a 'super-computer design'.

I could make a 1MHz 8-bit CPU with nice pipelines and ability to cluster and it woud be a 'super-computer design'.

More to the point, the PS4 has far better memory bandwidth than the XB1, making it even more of a 'super-computer design'... but this is all just marketing bullcrud.

Could somebody break it to the gentleman who said this, that it's rude to defecate in public?

Because that's what he just did - all of what he just said was nothing but male bovine excreta.

MS, give it up guys - the secret to the XBone's amazing graphics is obviously Blast processing.

No, Microsoft, a super-computer is a super-computer design. That is, a machine not made for commercial use that you would find, say, running the Large Hadron Collider, or acting as the central information hub of the Pentagon, or the Not-WOPR they have running a military base like Norad.

You have a media entertainment device. Show some perspective!

1. The Xbone is a pretty standard x86 architecture media encolsure made with tweaked variants of off the shelf parts.
2. As an x86 system with famailar parts there is far less room to adapt to the oblique hardware designs there used to be in the past. It is just a PC with a standardized spec. It even throttles through Direct X.
3. The words you are looking for are "parallel processing". Nvidia recently joined the retard train by calling GPU units working with a CPU "Supercomputing cores". Just because you have a modern amount of throughput does not make you a "Super computer", stop misrepresenting yourself. My that definition a modern i5 processor with GPU cores is a 'supercomputer'

SonOfVoorhees:
Both SOny and MS can come up with all the bullshit they want. Dont care about 1080 and 60fps. All i want it great games. Ive been gaming since the Atari, resolution and fps are a non issue for me.

For you sir:
A high five across the table.
image

Both of the now current gen systems have enough exclusives that they either own or have coming down the pipe to justify interest in them.

And if one thing is sure, it's that the first party stuff will almost always be the best looking of the stable.

And if there's a second thing that is sure, it's that Halo is still fun regardless of whether it looks good or not. InFamous: Second Son is fun in 1080p 60fps, but so were the previous ones fun and they never were the best looking games. Same with early Halo or Fable games.

Fun is fun and if they can keep cranking out games that excite me, I'll stay interested. If they can't, then it's irrelevant what they "can" do as opposed to what they are in fact doing in regards to gameplay.

"and how getting Xbox One games to run smoothly requires shuffling data between components with absolute precision, since even the smallest delay can up the process"

It's quite the achievement, but in this whole heap of unadulterated crud, this was the one line that made me laugh.

Seriously, the XBone is special because it requires data to be processed at high speeds and precision? I'd welcome him to twenty-first century computing, but it seems he flunked out halfway the 1800's.

Mega Messiah:
This is the most pristine example of someone talking straight out of their ass I've ever seen. Just a bunch of "Oh, our console's too complex and amazing for it to actually be developed for properly, but once people figure it out? Your days are number Sony, hurr hurr hurr."

They have a worse off machine than the PS4 and they keep trying to justify it.

This! I'm sorry but this!

Resolution and Frame rate are the core deliverable's for a gaming system. If your competition is doing that better than you, at a cheaper price point, YOU HAVE FAILED. And no amount of claiming that you failed because you are actually a SUPERCOMPUTER will disguise that. ("Nono we swear it is a magical flying unicorn. Please ignore the fact that it is going "Baaahhh!" and seems oddly wooly. That's just its winter coat. Once riders figure this out it will take off.")

And guess what? Why will developers even bother learning the complex dance to properly optimize for Xbone? As the PS3 showed, barring exclusive contracts they have no real reason to bother. They simply develop the game for the similar yet easier to develop PS4 hardware. Port it over without a lot of effort, and sell it. The gaming public will buy the game either way, because there aren't a lot of competing options on the Xbox One. You have a choice between "buy good game for XBone" or "Watch Netflix with XBone". The resolution and frame rate differences are a hardware manufacturer and hardware sales issue. Not a developer one. That decision point of "do I buy CoD on PS4 or XBone?" does not hurt Activision. It hurts Microsoft and only Microsoft.

For those not versed in market speak:

We released a console that is less powerful and more expensive than our competitor so here's a meaningless statement to explain why it is what it is.

Seriously he could have at least rolled out Kinect, or the fact that the XBone is better as an all round media hub, that Live is better than PSN but instead he choose a load of meaningless bullshit and then tried too see just how far he could push that bullshit before he got called on it.

Xbox Director of Development says Xbox One is Effectively a Shit-box.

Fixed that.

ZZoMBiE13:

SonOfVoorhees:
Both SOny and MS can come up with all the bullshit they want. Dont care about 1080 and 60fps. All i want it great games. Ive been gaming since the Atari, resolution and fps are a non issue for me.

For you sir:
A high five across the table.
image

Both of the now current gen systems have enough exclusives that they either own or have coming down the pipe to justify interest in them.

And if one thing is sure, it's that the first party stuff will almost always be the best looking of the stable.

And if there's a second thing that is sure, it's that Halo is still fun regardless of whether it looks good or not. InFamous: Second Son is fun in 1080p 60fps, but so were the previous ones fun and they never were the best looking games. Same with early Halo or Fable games.

Fun is fun and if they can keep cranking out games that excite me, I'll stay interested. If they can't, then it's irrelevant what they "can" do as opposed to what they are in fact doing in regards to gameplay.

1080p 30fps

Just nitpicking.

So let me get this straight. First they say that it's not a big difference. 30fps, 900p is no big deal. You can't even tell the difference. Then they say that the power is in "THE CLOUD". And now they're telling us that it's just super complicated and awesome?

NO IT ISN'T! It's actually very, very simple. It's a weak hardware. And no amount of tweaking o will make it stronger than it is. They might be able to squeeze more performance out of it in the coming years, but the same will happen to the PS4 and it's already a 50% more powerful system by it's very design.

deadish:

ZZoMBiE13:

SonOfVoorhees:
Both SOny and MS can come up with all the bullshit they want. Dont care about 1080 and 60fps. All i want it great games. Ive been gaming since the Atari, resolution and fps are a non issue for me.

For you sir:
A high five across the table.
image

Both of the now current gen systems have enough exclusives that they either own or have coming down the pipe to justify interest in them.

And if one thing is sure, it's that the first party stuff will almost always be the best looking of the stable.

And if there's a second thing that is sure, it's that Halo is still fun regardless of whether it looks good or not. InFamous: Second Son is fun in 1080p 60fps, but so were the previous ones fun and they never were the best looking games. Same with early Halo or Fable games.

Fun is fun and if they can keep cranking out games that excite me, I'll stay interested. If they can't, then it's irrelevant what they "can" do as opposed to what they are in fact doing in regards to gameplay.

1080p 30fps

Just nitpicking.

I'd be annoyed at that if it didn't perfectly illustrate my point that it's irrelevant to bicker over the numbers. :)

This interview is so full of bullshit I can smell it through my monitor.

Man MS, just shut up. It's a x86-64 PC made with mid range slightly customized AMD APU. The PS4 is nearly the same, with some extra power and less OS and hidden processes bogging it down. They'd probably have almost the same performance for the same price if MS wasn't obsessed with the foolish idea of a live TV Picture in Picture and force feeding the Kinect.

Vie:
MS, give it up guys - the secret to the XBone's amazing graphics is obviously Blast processing.

So, you're saying Sonic games will look better on the xbone? Neat. We'd better tell MS about this sales point for when the next Sonic comes out. At the rate they're going, I'd bet they would say something like that.

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