Balance or Power? Comparing Xbox One and PS4 Hardware

Which next-gen console will be better? Game Front gives the definitive opinion with our massive Xbox One vs. Playstation 4 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide..

Kudos to the folks at Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry. The tech geeks not only went in-depth with the Microsoft Xbox One architects over the weekend, they put one of the designers’ biggest claims to the test. A balanced design allows the Xbox One to bridge the gap the PlayStation 4 enjoys in terms of raw power, Microsoft claims. But does it really?

Here’s the deal: while the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 feature nearly identical AMD-designed custom eight-core CPUs, their GPUs are very different. The PS4′s GPU features 18 compute units to Xbox One’s 12. This is the critical hardware differential cited when anyone says the PS4 is more powerful than the Xbox One.

Digital Foundry asked Microsoft’s Xbox One designers about this differential, and in a highly detailed response, the architects explain at length why balancing memory, CPU clock speeds, and raw GPU power is the real key to avoiding bottlenecks and achieving peak performance. With plenty of time to tweak their design (and boost the Xbox One CPU’s clock speed) ahead of launch, MS says it has found that perfect balance, essentially negating the PS4′s GPU advantage.

So Microsoft says that game performance doesn’t truly scale with the number of compute units you have. Is that true? Digital Foundry put that claim to the test:

In their tests, Digital Foundry found that 50% more compute power (the same advantage the PS4 enjoys) actually yielded an average of 24% improvement in game frame rates. That’s a real, significant advantage.

To be fair, these tests were done using hardware that mimics what we know about the consoles, not the consoles themselves. However, if the Xbox One really does keep up with the PS4, it will have to feature some pretty amazing balancing to overcome that 24% advantage.

We’ll finally get to see how these consoles perform for ourselves when the PlayStation 4 launches November 15 and the Xbox One follows a week later on the 22nd.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

10 Comments on Balance or Power? Comparing Xbox One and PS4 Hardware


On September 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

You should also show how the WiiU compares.

A lot of people would laugh at that thought, but honestly the WiiU is more powerful than people give it credit for being.

On another note, grats to Sony and Microsoft for making their next gen consoles almost as good as my three year old PC. Of course with AMD’s next lineup of vid cards coming out, it will be time again to upgrade just for the hell of it.


On September 24, 2013 at 1:29 am

And I bet you spent more than the cumulative total of these two console on your little pc. Seriously man, no one gives a sh*t about your computer! Pretentious pc elitists, pfft….


On September 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Don’t burst into years because you’re too poor to buy a PC.

If anything, you’re fortunate to not know what you’re missing out on.


On September 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Burst into years, tell me how that works out man. Fact is games made for a specific console use the hardware closer to its full potential, unlike games built for PC made to support a wide variety of hardware, low-high grade.

You can gloat all you want about your pc, I honestly don’t care. Just take into consideration that people have different preferences when it comes to anything tech, instead of looking so ignorant.


On September 25, 2013 at 6:19 am

God forbid someone makes a typo. If that’s your whole argument then clearly you have nothing to go on.

How is it ignorant of me to state a fact? You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

Besides, if you didn’t care like you claim, you wouldn’t be so upset that you have to result to insults because you’re upset that your next gen consoles are dated hardware before they’re even released.


On September 25, 2013 at 6:42 am

Dang if your not one stupid individual. (Gadflyzim and name). I bought my second computer for $125, and it runs everything I own (over 300 games). So don’t spout your little bs about price. Your just to freakin lazy to look for one.
Like the man said. Don’t cry. You be able to afford one someday. Until then, be happy with your console. It may just be a cheap as.s comp. wanna be, but you can still have fun with it. Just don’t try to integrate with it. Might hurt yourself.
Your right. People prefer different levels of tech. just like some people prefer a corn dog to steak. Enjoy your corn dog dude.
Now for the rest of you out there. Enjoy you consoles. I’m not a pc elitist. I just don’t like people making pathetic attempts at slamming pc users. And really, those were both sad. So I just give them a little credit for the lame little attempt, so they feel wanted, and not ignored. Hate to see such pathetic wretches ignored. Party on.

Ron Whitaker

On September 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

Call him a PC Elitist if you like, but SupremeAllah makes a completely valid point. If you look into what current gen PC hardware is capable of, you’d be able to see that it’s already ahead of what the PS4/XB1 will be capable of. My current PC, which I paid around $800 for 18 months ago, is still more powerful than either of the next gen consoles. That doesn’t mean that the new consoles won’t be big upgrades over the current gen.

No one is saying that you can’t play games on consoles, have them look good, and enjoy the hell out of them. All that’s being said is that next-gen console hardware is less powerful than current gen PC hardware. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact, and not up for debate.


On September 25, 2013 at 7:52 am

All that aside, it isn’t to say that consoles can’t be enjoyable. I own every console except any form of Xbox, because I don’t believe in their policies, nor do I care for anything in their library. I’m a happy owner of a Wiiu, and may get a PS4 if they give me a good reason to do so.

But any chance to get a PC version of a product, I will take. It will always be better, because that is the nature of things. Not just because the version itself is generally better across the board, but because of the community involved. To me, Skyrim for example, would be a boring game if you just played it as it was released. Modding the game is what makes it worth playing, and less bland. Being able to change your experience in thousands of ways is what makes replay value mean something.

On another note, people often throw around the word “entitlement” but if anything, Microsoft is the most guilty of having that label, yet nobody gives it to them. They have policy in place that states that if a game is a multi-platorm product, that nobody can have any extras that Microsoft’s version can’t have. Take the Metal Gear HD collection. Lots of things were left out of the HD collection from the original games (Snake vs Monkey) because it was based on a Sony product, and obviously Sony wouldn’t let one of their products appear on another system. Due to Microsoft’s BS policy, it had to be removed from the HD collection because Microsoft would have just not released the game for their system. The game literally has to be the same, if not better, than the competition or they reserve the right to stop it from being published on their hardware. Talk about strong-arming developers. Not to mention, Microsoft is the company that charges you money to use the internet that you already pay for on your X-Box console. Locking out features for the sole purpose of having you pay for them. This is the kind of thing you don’t have to deal with on the PC platform.


On September 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

Lets be honest people. What do you find when you open up a console? A motherboard, ram, video chip, sound chip. hdd, cpu. Sounds just like a pc to me, just different OS. And the latest console coming out use even more pc architecture. So when you call someone a pc elitist, you should really look in the mirror. Just a different kind of pc. We’re all brothers and sisters here. Can’t we all just get along?


On October 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Everything tech you buy nowadays is outdated in a month or two anyway. I love pc’s (except apple) and consoles (except Xbox one at the current moment). I like playing fps’s and various others on console. Flight Sims (mainly lockon), Bethesda games (the mods, damn I can’t live without the mods) and arma. The only thing I hate about pc is having to tweak every game before I play it for the first time and trying to keep up with the hardware. Consoles just throw in a game and play away, only tweaking is controls. All in all whether you like it or not everything is based on pc technology but really we should be helping each other and enjoy games together instead of tearing each other apart. Let corporations tear each other apart and lets all sit back and enjoy the show together. Just my opinion.