Console power actually better than Computer Power 40 replies

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random_soldier1337

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#1 8 years ago

I'm not talking about the whether the consoles are better or not in terms of the games they have or the gameplay, etc. I am simply asking in terms of pure and raw coding execution and graphics rendering speed and quality. I have heard that somewhere some people actually put a bunch of PS3 processors together to get something akin to a super computer but better. But at the same time I have heard that the quality of graphics in games like Crysis can not be reproduced in Consoles as it is in the most powerful PCs. I don't suppose you can really compare due to the fact that different games have different levels of optimization and porting from PC to console or vice versa can possibly impart such differences. But could you guys give me an estimate of some sort. Take the best PC you could get then compare it with whichever console has the most power (I don't know which has the most, PS3 or XBOX360??). Then take the most powerful supercomputer in the world (not made by sticking together a bunch of consoles) and compare it to the most powerful super computer made by putting together a bunch of console processors. What do you guys think?




Danny Über Admin

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#2 8 years ago

That's kinda difficult to quantify, they're two different machines designed to do different things.

Consoles are optimised to play video games, so they're really good at that, but they don't really move with the times whereas computers can be upgraded.


Danny King | Community Manager | GameFront.com



random_soldier1337

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#3 8 years ago

Well I don't know. How about we put it like this: Don't think of in terms of games but that the CPUs and GPUs of each are used to execute a certain piece of coding and/or then used to render an real-time image/video or whatever would be equal to the real-time constant rendering of graphics in a game.




Fyurii

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#4 8 years ago

Even when each of the current consoles came out, there were already CPUs and GPUs that could outstrip them in the "power" department.

Consoles are basically PCs that are never upgraded by us. (except for console modders that is.)

They're essentially "stuck in time" when it comes to hardware, when compared to what's available for PC.




Sheepeep VIP Member

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#5 8 years ago
have heard that somewhere some people actually put a bunch of PS3 processors together to get something akin to a super computer but better.

You can do this with just about any machine, from the PC to the C64.

When consoles are new, manufacturers historically tend to sell them at a loss, letting the games recoup that investment. At that point in time, consoles are better value for money in terms of raw computing performance. They do not compete with top-end workstation (desktop) offerings, however, as top-end equipment is not used (Or if it is, it's outdated by the time it comes to the market).

GPUs allow for different kinds of operations to be run a lot faster than on CPUs, but even laptops come with reasonable graphics cards. Some laptops will outperform most, if not all consoles. I haven't run benchmarks so I'm not prepared to tell you which. CPUs are better for raw number crunching, but GPUs offer a massively-parallelised approach that benefits certain algorithms. This fact is exploited by modern PC software, such as Internet Explorer 9, in order to vastly increase the browser's rendering speed. Paint.NET has an unofficial "Hardware-accelerated blur pack" plugin, which is literally thousands of times faster at the included blur operations than the CPU.

But since both consoles and PCs, and nowadays even iPhones contain a CPU and graphics processor, it's more a matter of raw horsepower and how it's implemented. A bottleneck in the design will impose a limit regardless of how much free CPU time is available, but if the machine is fast enough and the bottleneck small enough, that might not be a major issue.

At present, PCs vastly overpower consoles, but the application needs to exploit the platform properly for it to even matter.




gravy666

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#6 8 years ago

PS3s are a rather cheap way to build a sort of supercomputer. All of the hardware is the same, and the price of a PS3 (~$300) makes it relatively cheap compared to a PC, not to mention gives you better bang for your buck--because really, good PC hardware is expensive, no?

Besides, all of the hardware is being built on an assembly line, with the expectation that it will all work at peak performance from Day 1; if they ordered custom PCs, it could be significantly harder to get the parts together and in working order.

A console removes much of the hassles of a PC, and I would know because I just built my PC a few months ago. Most un-relaxing birthday present ever :lulz:




superwierdo024

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#7 8 years ago

if you are comparing them for usage i think console is not as powerfull than a computer cause computer can do many things. but if its only for games then thats another story.




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#8 8 years ago
gravy666;5393097not to mention gives you better bang for your buck

I decided to challenge that assertion, by doing as much research as I could about the Playstation 3 hardware and "buiding" an equivalent machine. All components and the PS3 are listed as "New", with Google Checkout as the main source of inspiration, as I'm not one to deal in US dollars and felt it unfair to convert the prices of computer components in the UK. As such, these are prices without shipping (Presumably you'd buy as one).

To start off with, here are the specifications I'm using for a PS3:

GPU As can be expected for a device that's several years old, it's based on an NVidia 7 series design. Unfortunately, this has the side effect of meaning that it's too old to actually buy, apart from legacy stores that overcharge for old hardware, so I've had to upgrade from the 256MB "Reality Synthesizer" to something that has roughly the same clock speed

RAM Surprisingly, the PS3 has only 256MB of system RAM, using a competitor to DDR2 RAM. Even laptops from that era were recommended to have more.

Hard drive My research suggested that the Playstation 3 hard disk sizes vary, which makes it harder still to compare prices. I'll pick something reasonably top-end.

CPU The CPU is the hardest thing to find a match for. On the one hand, it's a rather old design. On the other hand, it appears to have seven cores, so a well-optimised program can perhaps do many operations on it at the same time. The clock frequency is 3.2GHz, but the gigahertz war has been over for a long time now.

And so, I've gone with the following:

GPU - MSI GeForce 9500GT With a reasonably similar clock speed, double the amount of GPU RAM, and an upgraded feature set, the 9500GT should be an upgrade over the modified PS3 GPU. It's very hard to find anything of a lower series for a more direct comparison, but this should suffice.

This was not the cheapest 9500GT I found, with some being a full $10 cheaper. It was one of the cheapest by a recognised brand, however. ASUS also have a card at this price.

Cost: $50 ($40 if you've heard of Palit)

RAM I honestly expected this to cost more. Perhaps it's because my last RAM purchase was 4GB. There are two answers here - The cheapest DDR2 RAM I can find is $5, but one would realistically put PC6400 RAM in. The cheapest PC6400 RAM I could find was $10, so let's go with that.

Cost: $10

Hard drive - 250GB Western Digital The PS3 has many hard disks, ranging from about 40GB to about 250GB. In the interest of fairness, I've sought out a cheap 250GB SATA disk. There are all priced around the same. I could swear to finding one at $30 earlier, but I can't prove it now, so here's the next cheapest I found. This one would actually be cheaper if it were a laptop drive, which I found slightly odd.

Cost: $38

PSU - 500w "A-Power" brand First off, there's no way you'd need a 500w PSU for all of this, but I figured it was better to overdo it than to sit around working out exactly how much it would all need, so here's a 500 watt PSU to play with. You could knock $5 off, or buy a more expensive 400/450w/etc PSU if you wish. PSUs come in at around $10, but the first rule of PSUs seems to be never to trust the first page of results.

Cost: $21

CPU + Motherboard The motherboard here isn't strictly important. It needs to support the CPU, SATA, and PCI Express. This is also another way of saying that it needs to be a motherboard. Suffice it to say that I'm really not bothered in this instance what advanced technologies they claim to offer, or whether the board is supposed to be good for overclocking. The integrated GPU is useless to us, because we aren't using it, etc.

In the interest of shutting up the Intel/AMD fanboys, I've included the cheapest quad core CPUs I could find for both. I say nothing of their performance, besides them being more than a match for a PS3. Why quad core? Because the PS3 claims to have seven, so combating it with four more powerful cores seems appropriate.

AMD - $35 + $90 I'm going to hold off throwing links up here, because it's easy enough to look these up. Not only that, but the page would seem to become more links than substance. Suffice it to say that an MSI K9N6PGM2-V2 costs about $35 and a quad core AMD CPU will set you back $90. The next version up, clocked 200MHz higher will cost you $95. AM3 motherboards are a few dollars more expensive than AM2+ boards, but the difference is only about $3, so just get an AM3 (Although DDR2 RAM won't work in it, so...)

Cost: $130

Intel - $20 + $130 Curiously, Intel motherboards appear to be much cheaper, but the CPUs more expensive. Overall, it's not a huge difference, but individually they look pretty significant. As with AMD, the price increases between CPUs start off pretty small and then increase, but at the low end of the scale (Where we are) this doesn't matter. Note: I'm not sure about whether DDR2 is supported in Socket 775 machines, because I've always gone with budget CPUs. Whether or not the performance is there, AMD tend to have the cheapest overall CPUs.

Cost: $150

Since I can't be sure that our machine will work with DDR2 and a Socket 775 machine, I'll use the cheaper AMD machine for my totaling.

Above PS3 performance machine: $130 + $21 + $38 + $10 + $50 = $249

250GB PS3 MSRP $350 - Source

Based on the RRP, this gives someone a $90 leeway to upgrade their CPU, RAM, PSU, and board, perhaps $70 if you include a case and keyboard. I can't find a 250GB PS3 under $300, so I'd be inclined to go with this price.

So for more "Bang for your buck", you'd buy a PC. There was a point when the PS3 was being sold at a loss, but those times are no longer upon us. The PS3 is several years old, and though the fab process has been updated, the processing power remains the same as when it was released.




Junk angel

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#9 8 years ago

To be honest I remember that ps3's were indeed used to construct small clusters due to their multi core cpu. Which with a usefull OS could be harnessed for various calculations.

The thing is, unless I'm mistaken there's various different kind of calculation types, with different processors being useful for different tasks.

So while a contemporary cheap PC is effectively somewhat stronger, the ps3 in clusters was useful for those required tasks. Though keep in mind this was the reality of a number of years back. Today it might be not feasible to do so, or there are far far better options for the same price. Hardware really does advance at a horrible speed.




Sheepeep VIP Member

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#10 8 years ago

Also missing from all of this is the artificial limitation of the PS3 - The "Other OS" option, which was fortunately removed in a recent update, runs in a sandbox which (Amongst other things) denies full access to the hardware. The only way to get full use of a PS3's features is to program for the existing OS, which presumably requires permission from Sony.

I don't know too much about what PS3 development offers, particularly whether it allows connections outside of PSN. Presumably you could write a native clustering tool, but that's speculation.

Either way, PCs don't come with this limitation. Indeed, MSCS (Microsoft Cluster Server) is designed for clusters. The PS3 does not natively enable this, and is not designed to.