While the talk of the town is about the potential power of the next-gen consoles, PC hardware and software company Nvidia says that the PS4 and Xbox One will never be able to compete with the PC platform in terms of graphical power.
“It’s no longer possible for a console to be a better or more capable graphics platform than the PC,” said Nvidia’s SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi.
“I’ll tell you why. In the past, certainly with the first PlayStation and PS2, in that era there weren’t really good graphics on the PC. Around the time of the PS2 is when 3D really started coming to the PC, but before that time 3D was the domain of Silicon Graphics and other 3D workstations. Sony, Sega, or Nintendo could invest in bringing 3D graphics to a consumer platform. In fact, the PS2 was faster than a PC.”
Tamasi said that Nvidia spends around $1.5 billion on research and development into graphics annually, whereas Microsoft and Sony can’t afford to spend that kind of money.
“By the time of the Xbox 360 and PS3, the consoles were on par with the PC,” he added. “If you look inside those boxes, they’re both powered by graphics technology by AMD or NVIDIA, because by that time all the graphics innovation was being done by PC graphics companies.”
“The most efficient architectures are from Nvidia and AMD, and you’re not going to get anything that is significantly more power efficient in a console, as it’s using the same core technology,” added Tamasi.
“Yet the consoles have power budgets of only 200 or 300 Watts, so they can put them in the living room, using small fans for cooling, yet run quietly and cool. And that’s always going to be less capable than a PC, where we spend 250W just on the GPU. There’s no way a 200W Xbox is going to be beat a 1000W PC.”
Tamasi said that the PS4 and Xbox One are about on par with the best PC on the market, but the competition doesn’t last very long.
“A year later it’s going to be slower, and it still wouldn’t be possible due to the power limits,” Tamasi said.
Nvidia also recently announced that their Linux development team will be assisting the open source community with documentation for better drivers to allow games on Linux to run better.