Former IBM Engineer Discusses PlayStation 3 And Xbox 360 CPU Performance


Posted January 16, 2009 - By r_pad

Gamasutra has an excellent interview with former IBM technical architect, David Shippy. As you might recall, Shippy recently co-authored a book detailing the creation of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 CPUs. In this interview, he talks about their relative performance. First, he addressed the PlayStation 3:

"So in the PS3, you've got this Cell chip which has massive parallel processing power, the PowerPC core, multiple SPU cores… it's got a GPU that is, in the model here, processing more in the Cell chip and less in the GPU. So that's one processing paradigm -- a heterogeneous paradigm."

Next, he discussed the Xbox 360 CPU:

"With the Xbox 360, you've got more of a traditional multi-core system, and you've got three PowerPC cores, each of them having dual threads -- so you've got six threads running there, at least in the CPU. Six threads in Xbox 360, and eight or nine threads in the PS3 -- but then you've got to factor in the GPU. The GPU is highly sophisticated in the Xbox 360." 

So which one is more powerful? His answer is after the jump.

"At the end of the day, when you put them all together, depending on the software, I think they're pretty equal, even though they're completely different processing models."

Shippy also talks about coding for each system. You might recall that The Last Remnant director Hiroshi Takai boldly stated that the Xbox 360 is "a lot easier to work with than PlayStation 3". However, it was easy to dismiss his comments, since his game was plagued by technical flaws that tarnished the whole experience. While Shippy isn't a game creator, his background gives him a strong understanding of what it's like to work with these CPUs. He said:

"I think some of the bigger game houses that will write more high-level code would really prefer an Xbox 360 -- right out of the chute, it's easier to write code for. I think you can really leverage the Cell hardware technology -- but it is harder to get your head around."

What do you make of Shippy's words? I'm very interested to hear, so leave a comment!


Former IBM Engineer Discusses PlayStation 3 And Xbox 360 CPU Performance


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