Originally Posted by d-range
Even with all these penalties and pipeline stalls a 1Ghz A8 is not going to come close to a single Xenon core or Cell PPE, not even on heavily branched code such as AI. The difference in clock speed, FPU throughput, cache architecture and memory bandwidth is simply too big. I know the PPC cores in 360's are incomparable in performance to e.g. a G5, but we're comparing against an ARM core about as fast as a single core Atom at 1 Ghz, which is hideously slow.
I'm really the first person to admit ARM designs are making huge inroads in terms of performance, and a dual core Cortex A9 is really starting to look very interesting compared to low end x86 chips, but a Cortex A8 beating a dual-threaded chip running at 3x the clock speed and pretty crazy FPU performance, on it's own game, that's really a bridge too far.
The Cell is a very good chip, but time does wonders to new technologies. Now that the Cell is over 5 years old, and has had no upgrades, it isn't as astounding as it once was. The same thing is true of console graphics.
While these devices as a whole are still better than current iPad2's, they aren't that much ahead. Other interesting facts are that much of the vaunted features of current high end graphics boards aren't even noticed during gameplay. We don't have the ability to see many defects in motion graphics that we notice in stills of the same scene. This is very well known in the motion picture and Tv industries, and it holds true for video games.
Once we got to a certain level, better effects simply aren't noticed. I know that gamers would disagree, but it's true nevertheless. I'm not talking about obvious things such as real time rendering of plant movements in the wind, or flags flapping and such. I'm talking about things such as anisotropic filtering etc. The details are too fine at the resolution so many monitors today to notice the effect of much of this.
At any rate, game consoles sit still as far as technology goes, while the world rapidly moves by. Now, we're hearing rumors that MS is looking for beta testers for some unannounced upgrade to the 360. This is interesting as a comparison to the past. If true at all, this is a very low level way of doing it.
In the past, no longer than three years into a console's run, and typically about two years into it, we would be hearing about new chip designs and architectures the companies were doing R&D on. A very big deal would be made of new cpu's and gpu's, memory architectures and the like. Then, after a very visible process, including descriptions in various game and computer magazines and sites, we would get interviews and then presentation at gaming expo's. This would all happen a year before the new consoles were expected to arrive.
It's been about five years since the last batch, and we've heard—nothing!
Meanwhile, there will be an iPad 3 early next year, at the latest. This will likely be much more powerful, and will probably sport the fabled 2000 x1500 screen. With what we're already seeing, with gameplay on your monitor or Tv, usi g the iPad as a controller, or a phone or two as a 3D controller, how will consoles compete when you consider that the iPad let's you take it with you anywhere, and a console doesn't?
The big three will have to scrap whatever they've been working on and confront this. And what exactly, if anything HAVE they been working on?