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XBox (Games) Graphics Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Relaxing Xbox One Kinect Requirements, Giving GPU Power a Boost? 220

MojoKid writes "News from gaming insider Pete Doss is that Microsoft is mulling significant changes to the restrictions it places on developers regarding the Xbox One's GPU. Reportedly, some 10% of total GPU horsepower is reserved for the Kinect — 8% for video and 2% for voice processing. Microsoft is apparently planning changes that would free up that 8% video entirely, leaving just 2% of the system's GPU dedicated to voice input. If Microsoft makes this change, it could have a significant uplift on system frame rates — and it's not clear that developers would necessarily need to patch the architecture to take advantage of the difference."
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Microsoft Relaxing Xbox One Kinect Requirements, Giving GPU Power a Boost?

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @06:24AM (#46078969) Journal
    " Toying with 8-10% GPU consumption is insignificant in the big picture."

    I suspect that MS (and Sony) have no expectation of pulling a miracle out of their hat, or doing anything about the fact that consoles always become increasingly unimpressive vs. PCs as their release period drags on. However, given that MS is currently facing a modest; but somewhat embarrassing, graphical prettiness gap vs. Sony, they have a certain incentive to free up what they can to ensure that any comparisons are as flattering as hardware choices far too late to change will allow them to be.
  • by Kartu ( 1490911 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @06:31AM (#46078995)

    Fact remains that even moderate PCs today outperform both the PS4 and Xbox One at a similar price point.

    I'm not quite sure about that.
    PS4 has a GPU that is between AMD 7850 / 7870, when building your PC you'd pay 150+ Euro for the GPU alone.

    Despite "common knowledge" that "PCs are faster", at least if we can trust Valve's statistics (about a third of their PC users run games on an integrated GPU!), no it isn't.
    7870 is a good mid range GPU these days even in PC world.
    One could argue about underwhelming CPU part , but 8Gb GDDR5 and software written to use most of it's 8 cores makes up for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @06:50AM (#46079071)

    My 7850 plays games quit well at 1080p at settings higher than condoles. Are there actually any standardized benchmarks showing that it's real world performance is in between a 7850 and 7870?

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @07:08AM (#46079123) Homepage Journal

    Despite "common knowledge" that "PCs are faster", at least if we can trust Valve's statistics (about a third of their PC users run games on an integrated GPU!), no it isn't.

    Consider how many laptops are out there... My laptops have both integrated and dedicated GPUs, depending on when Steam's survey comes up they can get quite different results. For that matter I've been playing quite a few 'casual' games that shouldn't stress ANY CPU on my laptop.

    Also, to echo the AC - Source on the 7850/7870 thing? I know that all of my cards from the last 5 years handles 1080P rendering just fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @07:20AM (#46079157)

    Don't kid yourself. Most devs still aim at DirectX 9 support and add any fancy crap on later. Well, admittedly that has been changing the past couple years, but that is still awful.
    We only have Microsoft to thank for this shitheap of an industry that we are in right now.

    Not to mention games still being made for crappy single-core. Wake up developers, we are in the multi-core age now. Multi-core isn't hard. Forget everything you know and just read the damn specs.
    It saddens me there are developers from the 80s and 90s that know better than all these awful developers of today, can't even write their graphics code separate from the game logic that would make it trivial to separate them for multi-core, bloated memory usage, terrible netcode (Quake ran on fucking dial-up with no lag! What the hell are games doing these days?!)
    The days of writing Good Code are over. It is all Enterprise Quality (read:terrible) code these days.

  • Price breakdown. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @07:46AM (#46079259)

    FX8320: 150 on sale, 170 Retail Pricing (This is the cheapest 8 core AMD offers and thus the closest CPU capacity to the xbone/ps4. Also power management allows underclocking down to at least 800 mhz, so you should be able to find an equivalent clocking to the 1.9 ghz one or both of those consoles uses.)
    MSI 970A-G43: 70 dollars on sale Maybe 80-90 Retail
    Hard disk: 50-150 for 500 gig to 4 terabyte.
    Memory: 8 gigs for under 100 dollars, including ECC (Kingston ram. Look under server memory on Newegg.)
    AMD GPU: XFX 7850 2gig 169.99 Retail @ Newegg.
    Case: 30-100 dollars depending on your preferences. I haven't bought one over 40 dollars in a good 10 years and most included a PSU.
    Grand total: Around 200 bucks more.
    This is still missing a kinect, keyboard, mouse, and controller, as well as OS.

    It's not quite as cheap as any of the consoles, but it's much faster cpu-wise, should spank the XBOne memory-wise, and should give the PS4 a run for its money when GPU prices drop again (7950's were going for ~250 just before Christmas, which would've added another gig of GDDR5 to help compete with the PS4's GPU/GPGPU processing capacity.) Combine it with SteamOS and you've got a competitive 'console' that will probably outlast the current generation consoles handily while allowing much more diversity in usage (and room for 32-64 gigs of ram and a much more powerful GPU before you are finished with it.)

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @07:53AM (#46079285) Homepage

    Or 1080p 30 fps to 60 fps?

    What really annoys me about this one is that plenty of games could happily run at 60fps for 80-90% of the time, but the developers don't want you thinking their game is slowing the system down when the action starts. So they just cap it to 30fps all the time for consistently crappy gameplay. I'd sooner do without a few effects.

    Bioshock on the PS3 springs to mind, only because they included an option to turn off the framerate cap.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @08:05AM (#46079321) Homepage

    From what I've seen the improvement in graphics from my PS3 to the PS4 or XB1 just isn't enough to justify spending the money on a new console. I think like a lot of people I'll be skipping this generation and seeing what comes around in the next 5-10 years.

  • by stdarg ( 456557 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @10:44AM (#46080265)

    The vast majority of my time on the Xbone so far has been in the Amazon Instant Video app. It turns out that the Kinect is (or rather, could be) a great tool for occasional user input. The irritating thing about using the controller in this scenario is that it turns off after some period of inactivity (which is still long enough that your battery drains pretty quickly). So if you want to pause, or move on the next episode, you have to turn on the controller and let it sync wirelessly with the console, which takes a good 5 seconds.

    Enter the Kinect.. now you can say "xbox pause" and it pauses. "Xbox play" resumes. "Xbox stop... yes... episode 6" goes to the next episode.

    In theory.

    The problem is, seemingly at random, one of the commands won't work. It opens up the xbox voice control screen which has some generic commands. It might say something like "Play is not available from here" or something. After many minutes of frustrating experimentation, it turns out that sometimes you have to say "select" before giving the same command that may have worked 2 minutes ago. So it's like, "xbox pause" then a few minutes later "xbox play... xbox.. xbox select.. play." That's dumb.

    The other problem is the app needs to be intelligently designed for voice control. Amazon Instant Video is NOT one of these apps. The voice commands map pretty directly to the controller commands, but of course the controller is much faster than the voice recognition. A good example of where that's annoying is rewinding and fast forwarding. "Xbox rewind" starts rewinding.. at 2x speed. So if you want to skip back 30 seconds, it'll take 15 seconds to do so. That's no good. So you can say "faster" which increases the speed. Of course, it takes the xbox a second to recognize the command. If you're rewinding 10 minutes, you end up saying "faster [pause] faster [pause] faster [pause]." It's obscene sounding and it takes forever. Then you let it go for a few more seconds... and "play!" But the voice control just timed out, so it's still rewinding. "Xbox play!" and a second later it starts, but you rewound a few minutes too far. And it's too much of a bother to fast forward.

    But that's mostly the app's fault, not the Kinect's.

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