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Elite Won't Replace Premium or Core Skus 158

Posted by Zonk
from the get-thee-behind-me dept.
As the day has progressed, more information about the 'Elite' has become available. GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that the other two 360 skus will still be available. The Elite is not replacing either of them. Interestingly, there's no word on a price drop for them either. Major Nelson's most recent podcast has several interviews and details about the new offering, which you may find informative. There's more analysis available, if you find that interesting: CVG wonders aloud who is going to buy this thing, while a Wedbush Morgan analyst mentioned to GamesIndustry.biz that he thinks this validates the PS3 strategy. "'It appears to me that Microsoft sees the writing on the wall - Blu-ray is going to win the format wars ... Ultimately, Microsoft will likely offer a Blu-ray drive with the 360 Elite, and I think consumers will be able to select based solely upon other drivers.' Pachter also believes that although the Xbox 360 Elite will register with early adopters of hi-def content, the current 20GB model will still be sufficient for many consumers."
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Elite Won't Replace Premium or Core Skus

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  • Re:PS3 Advantage (Score:5, Informative)

    by kinglink (195330) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @04:11PM (#18519749)
    I work in a company that does open world games (and good ones actually). I have to tell you the "hobbling" isn't true. The 512 megs of ram that we have on the system is a bigger issue than anything that has to do with the media we are working on.

    Blu-ray sounds great but what do you need to fill it with. As it is the amount of money we pay to get the game shipped now is a lot. Cost is what's stopping us from making bigger or more diverse games, rather then size of the media again.

    The people who are hurt the most by this are the JRPG companies who just explode with FMVs, blue dragon is a 3 dvd game, other then them I've heard no complaints about the size of the media. Hell, The only reasons they are filling up Blu-rays are they are using "stupid" tricks like uncompressed audio for Metal gear solid. I just have a simple question. Now that both systems are out, and we already have seen that the 360's dvd has a higher read speed then the ps3's blu-ray device (overall blu-ray SHOULD be faster, but in these two actual system the 360's drive is faster). Why are you using larger files sizes rather then using the "extra" power of the ps3 to uncompress these files? The simple answer is no, the ps3 isn't that powerful (Insomniac today claims you have 8 cores? funny we only have access to 6 cores).

    In the end blu-ray isn't going to be the answer. Sony's system has some good marks, but blu-ray isn't necessary, and the Cell processor is doing more to hurt the developer than it is helping it.

    If anything the 360 developer's biggest problem has nothing to do with DVDs, it's due to the fact that the Hard drive is non standard and we can't guarantee using that for caching, but that's a relatively minor complaint in the long run.
  • Re:its a SKU ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:08PM (#18520495)
    ...just not a common term for it.

    SKU stands for "stock keeping unit". It has an actual meaning and proper use, but it's always struck me as ludicrous to use it outside of a store stockroom.

    When I was in high school (and this was 20 years ago now), I worked as a stockboy in an electronics store. We used "SKU" the way it was intended, just as stockboys probably still do now. Every product has a "SKU number" used like a UPC code to track stock counts, and that eventually got shorthanded to refer to the product itself. (Note that I'm not contradicting you, just adding a little more info.)

    It's always annoyed me when I see this in regular life, just like I see games now referred to as "IP's". In most cases, it's a vain attempt at looking "hip", as if you're cool enough to throw around industry-speak. Usually, though, the true origins of such terms come from marketdroids, lawyers, or worse.

    There's no reason even for an analyst to use the term "SKU". They're not tracking stock. It actually would make somewhat more sense to use UPC as a generic term meaning "product model". I think terms like this are always annoying, though, and would much prefer it if everybody could just settle on plain English outside of their work environment. Why do all of our casual conversations have to include so much meaningless industry jargon?

    "Model" is a perfectly fine word to use. #7 definition at dictionary.com: "a style or design of a particular product". There's no reason to repurpose industry acronyms when we have perfectly meaningful English words already. Unless you REALLY don't have time to utter that extra syllable.
  • by dnahelix1 (1060308) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @08:15PM (#18522851)
    Plus, the hard drive is 179. So, you have the core at 300 + the 179 hard drive. = Elite + headset + wireless controllers
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @04:55AM (#18525923)

    (1) They both have 512MB, but the OS on the PS3 permanently takes a much bigger slice of that, something like 128MB?? vs 32MB used permanently by the OS on the 360.

    It's 64MB main memory, 32MB vram. Yeah, kinda sucks. Funny thing is, the 360 only had 256 until they found out that the PS3 was going to have 512, so quickly matched that. Unfortunately, the chipset doesn't support anything larger than that, so all of the devkits are stuck with 512 as well. All of the devkits of the prior generation and all except for the 360 in this generation have a lot of extra memory for use in debugging - something which many developers have come to rely on.


    (2) The 360 has symmetric multiprocessors--3 dual-core PPC chips that use the same memory heirarchy, caches etc. That's 6 in-order execution pipes. Compare that to the PS3 which has *one* general processor pipe and *7* (not 8) SPUs which are basically DSPs. One of those SPUs is permanently reserved to the OS so you only get to use 6 of them. The SPUs have a stupendously tiny amount of RAM each (128 KB or something?) so you have to shuffle data back and forth from the main RAM with DMA in order to get anything done. That transfer can be fast but its still often a bottleneck.

    Like the other poster said, it's not 3 dual-cores, it's 3 hyperthreaded cores. And the PS3 core is hyperthreaded as well. Unfortunately, with the miserable caching architecture both of these platforms were designed with, the capacity of any given core is closer to 1 than to 2 due to cache contention between threads (especially the instruction cache). I've found that running two concurrent worker threads on a single core is barely faster than running them in sequence on a single thread.

    (Oh, and it's 256K of memory on the SPUs. This is effectively all L1 cache, but you have to manage it manually. Still, it's a dream compared to the 16K of memory on VU1 on the PS2).


    (3) The 360 is pretty flexible about letting you use any of your 480MB as graphics memory or for non-graphics stuff. The PS3 requires a fixed division. This combined with the OS memory usage means that when porting 360 games to the PS3, we usually divide all our texture sizes by 2.

    The GPU on the PS3 can load textures and geometry from main memory, at nearly the same bandwidth as from vram. In fact, it's on a separate bus, so it's actually beneficial to keep some assets in main memory. Since the bulk of your memory is going to be used for textures, geometry, and display buffers, you're not likely to exceed the 192MB of main memory with stuff that can only go in main memory. Of course, the overall size is still less, so you would naturally have to reduce texture sizes for a naive port from the 360 (we had to do this for PS2->gamecube ports a lot). The SPUs do let you perform some tricks to mitigate this, though. For instance, keeping vertex streams compressed in memory and decompressed on-the-fly during render.

    Oh, and another advantage of the PS3 is that you can render directly to vram, without having to perform a separate resolve from 10MB-render-target-only edram. If you want to do 720p with anti-aliasing or anything higher on the 360, you have to use tiled-rendering, which can easily consume many megs of main memory for the display-list cache.


    (4) The 360 has 48 unified pixel/vertex pipes. If you game heavily uses vertex shaders, more of the pipes will be doing vertexes at any one time, and if it heavily uses pixel shaders, more of them will be doing that--but you can easily get near-100% utilization of the hardware. The PS3 has classic dedicated pipes (I don't know how many) so you still have to balance that usage like you have to on PC video cards.

    I can't recall exactly, but I think it's 8/40, vertex and pixel pipes. The PS3 is really using a last-gen GPU, and I consider that to be it's Achilles' Heel in terms of performance. Probably had something to do with them slapping on the GPU at the last moment when they figured o

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