From Generations to Iterations – Part 2

As we know both Nintendo and Sony are working on new consoles to be released within the next 12-15 months.  It has been rumored on numerous occasions that Microsoft would also be working on a new console as well.  We’ve heard the rumored specs of the PS NEO of it having 36 CUs and 4.1 TFLOPS.  Now there is a rumor that Microsoft’s rumored new console will best that with 10 TFLOPS.  Is that even possible assuming this rumor was true?  Let’s tackle this.


An “unidentified source” (you know you better have your galoshes on when a rumor starts off with that) told an Italian games insider names ‘x-ray’ that Microsoft is looking to join Nintendo in jumping to the 9th generation.  Here are the words of the unidentified source.
 
 
“I got to to read some slides from Microsoft and AMD about the new Xbox, it is in effect a new model, not a re-visitation of one. They should announce this year at a separate event at E3 2016, but still a few days before fair. the announcement will be made this year but the release of the Xbox next is expected no earlier than next spring, to read the roadmap. It will be open to change hardware, I did not understand if via upgrade or if talking about modifications which may operate on-the-fly, before the release, it will be already extremely powerful starting, I think 5-6 times PS4 Neo, we are something in the order of over 10 TFLOPS, or so. “

“Well, [Xbox] One was a definite step forward as chipset, still has not been exploited even at 80%, there is still room for improvement to see the maximum from ‘existing console, but talking with developers the Xbox team has noticed that you have focused too much on innovation and less on brute force, then I can tell you even now that will be a cross between one and a stark PC if we want to count the numbers. I mean that everything will be balanced as the current One, but each element will be equipped with large RAW Force starting from the system to the integrated HBM DDR4 memory in GPU. There will be discharge chips, but for lazy devs you can also bet on the computational power without incurring large compromises, the opposite situation to that of One. Panos Panay is overseeing the project and aesthetics of the console, I think it will be staggering. “

“The chip is based on the family Arctic Island of AMD 14-nanometer FinFET or Polaris-11 Vega, GCN 4.0 in production for this summer, will be custom-class, x86-x64 and always backward compatible with either 360 with One, in fact, the SO will always be virtualized, Win10 Redstone 2 the core of the operating system of choice. it will be sold at a loss; these two years are working, almost immediately after the arrival of One “.

“I can guarantee that the new Xbox One is in pre-production, AMD has signed three new agreements for this year and one last year. What the past year concerned the tax for the Slim model of One SoC, what this year is the three big industry, including Microsoft for the new console. There are four agreements, three only for this 2016 “.Credit: Tweaktown.com
 

Now this falls in line with comments Phil Spencer made awhile back of not being interested in a XBOX 1.5 which would be a minuscule upgrade.  To answer the question at hand, is 10 TFLOPS even possible?

nVidia’s new GTX 1080 is capable of 9 teraflops, however that card will retail for $699.99 MINIMUM.

AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X weighs in at 8.6 teraflops.  Again, a $699.99 price tag.  The ‘Vega’ GPU spoken of in this article is not even scheduled until 2017 for a release which is the successor to the Polaris GPU which was just announce a few weeks ago and won’t even hit the market until later this year.

There is no way, shape, form either on those cards wind up in ANY upcoming console.  Just too expensive.  Now, obviously GPUs can be customized to have certain features more prominent than others.  SuperMetalDave64 did a recent video explaining how the AMD Polaris GPU is more likely going to be in the NX than PS Neo.  


 

While I draw different conclusions based on the information provided, he did do a good job of explaining the benefits of using the Polaris GPU in terms of cost effectiveness and low energy consumption which is paramount for a gaming console to lessen the opportunity for costly hardware failures.  While everyone gasped at the 36CUs and 4.1 TFLOPS of PS Neo, in actuality it may not give that much of a performance boost to the PS4.  While nothing is substantiated in ANY of this and probably won’t be until E3, both developers and consumers have voiced displeasure concerning PS Neo.  One developer went on record to say that “it’s no different than developing for two different consoles” which was my fear about this console upgrade stuff.  You still also have the bottleneck issue as well with a more powerful GPU but just an overclocked CPU that is 4 years old.

I agree with Jon Shaw that if you are starting from the ground up and saying here is our next-gen base console which is substantially more powerful than previous gen, yet going forward it will be upgradable then that is a good way to go.  However, if your console is only somewhat more powerful than the previous iteration and there is no seamless compatibility between the former and the newer than it is a major problem.

I don’t believe the rumor of the new XBOX having a 10 TFLOP GPU.  In order to pull that off in customizing a cost-effective GPU you would have to nerf so much of the GPU in other areas to where it wouldn’t really be a benefit. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  All these companies know what each other are doing even when we don’t.  IF…..this rumor of a 10 TFLOP GPU for the next XBOX is true (and if the rumors of the PS Neo specs are true) that might just explain a few things about Nintendo’s strange behavior recently.  It seems like Nintendo had plans to do a lot more at E3 than they are doing, yet the just folded up shop and are treating E3 like a “Going Out Of Business” sale.  If NX was perhaps on-par or slightly better than PS4 how big of a disaster would it be for them at E3 to unveil that with NX only to have two consoles that smash it in power?  Remember, Kimishima has stated that NX will be around for a long time.  If these rumors are true then NX would be D.O.A. if it had underpowered specs.  Even if Nintendo was using “industry leading chips” as the Wall Street Journal report claimed, we all know that specs depreciate in value very quickly.  What was “industry leading” last September 2015 might be underpowered by the time the Holiday season hits of 2016.

Who is to say that Tatsumi Kimishima didn’t call an audible?  While having a lot of games at launch and no more droughts is indeed a VERY important task for Nintendo to accomplish, the real reason of the NX delay and pulling out of E3 except for Zelda is because Nintendo needs to beef up the specs of NX to compete with Microsoft and Sony.

This is highly speculative and none of these situations may have anything to do with one another.  I will say that if iterations rather than generations are the future I feel that the big three need to make it known that there is a paradigm shift in the gaming industry and this is the way it is going to be form now on.  I can respect the company if they are honest about their doings.  That means Nintendo needs to say something about NX before the summer is out.  Waiting until the fall is not a smart idea because the NX announcement will have just as much of a chance to get lost in the shuffle with all this new hardware being launched this Holiday as an NX launch would have.  Also, with the next XBOX possibly targeting the spring for launch as well, there goes your opportunity to have the floor all to yourself.  So Nintendo has backed themselves into a corner.  They’d better come out swinging and real soon otherwise it’s curtains.



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