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Bishamon
04-23-2002, 10:21 AM
Here is the concluding comparative from AnandTech, a well respected PC-based hardware site:

CPUs
While the PS2's Emotion Engine has a lot of potential, developers have continuously stated that the platform is too difficult to program for. With both GameCube and Xbox using widely available and common CPU platforms, the real competition exists between the Cube's Gekko and the Xbox's Intel CPU.

In terms of raw performance, the Celeron 733 (4-way set associative L2) will outperform the PowerPC 750 running at 500MHz in any of the synthetic benchmarks we've seen. We can only assume that a 733MHz CPU with a 133MHz FSB and 8-way set associative L2 cache would only be faster than the Gekko giving the Xbox the CPU performance advantage.

Both platforms have good compiler support and the tilt of the hat goes to IBM's Gekko in terms of having a very flexible ISA.

Where the GameCube does clearly come out on top however is in heat production and die size. The Gekko produces around 1/3 the amount of heat as the Xbox CPU and measures in at close to half of the die size. This leads to tremendous cost savings in the production of the CPU that translates into the ability to price the GameCube at $199 instead of $299 like the Playstation 2 and Xbox.

GPUs
The PS2's Graphics Synthesizer is entirely too dependent on extreme parallelism in order to fill its 16 pixel pipelines which could be the cause of many of the slowdowns we've seen in games for the platform. Many of Electronic Arts' titles have been ported to both GameCube and Xbox and the first thing everyone seems to notice is that the slowdown problems that existed with the PS2 are now gone.

The GameCube wins in terms of GPU efficiency courtesy of the embedded 1T-SRAM from MoSys. However the use of a fixed function T&L pipeline is a bit of a turn off for the GPU. Again this is another situation in which it would have been beneficial to have ATI's input into the design of the product before it was finalized. It is a shame that ATI acquired ArtX after the design was already completed otherwise we might have seen a programmable T&L pipeline instead.

Raw GPU power and feature set does go to the NV2A core that is in the Xbox. Games such as Dead or Alive 3 are perfect examples of how easy it is for developers to write these custom pixel and vertex shader programs as well as how great the results can be.

Both Flipper and the NV2A support texture-compression which plays a major role in the use of higher-resolution textures in games. On the launch titles for the GameCube we've seen a number of lower resolution textures being used compared to the Xbox launch titles. That could just be a sign of the early adopters not taking advantage of the technology yet or it could be due to a lack of main memory bandwidth, it's too early to tell.

Audio & I/O
The clear winner when it comes to audio is the Xbox. While Dolby Pro Logic II support is great, it isn't widely supported by most of today's receivers and lacks many of the benefits of Dolby Digital 5.1.

Also from an I/O standpoint the Xbox comes out ahead as well because of its built in hard drive and Ethernet adapter. There have been too many failures in the past of console add-on products to expect incredible success from any add-on product to either of the competing consoles. What is interesting to note is that in spite of the hard drive and faster DVD drive, Xbox load times are still not dramatically better than the GameCube load times.

We have yet to compare one title on both platforms to figure out which one loads faster (in theory the Xbox should) but current GameCube titles experience much quicker load times than Xbox titles.

Final Words
Both the GameCube and Xbox are clearly superior to the PS2 in terms of the quality of the graphics seen in games available today. The transition from PS2 to GameCube and/or Xbox is a fairly large leap, but going between GameCube and Xbox is a bit less dramatic.

From what we've seen based on the launch titles that are currently available, the Xbox takes the crown in terms of visual appeal from games today. Titles such as Rogue Squadron II and Super Smash Brothers Melee for the GameCube do show off some of the Cube's power but the graphics quality does not match what titles like DOA3 are able to produce on the Xbox.

It's entirely too early to crown one platform a winner but based on specifications alone, Xbox is the more powerful console overall. Although the Flipper GPU's use of 1T-SRAM embedded into its die improves performance considerably, the overall package is not as powerful as the Intel/NVIDIA combination beneath the Xbox hood. Features such as real-time Dolby Digital Encoding as well as a very powerful programmable T&L core whose instruction sets have been publicly available for the past year now are only the tip of the iceberg. The inclusion of isochronous channels within the Xbox's HyperTransport link guarantee uninterrupted bandwidth to those tasks that require it which is very important when dealing with something like DD encoding, streaming off of the hard disk or network accesses.

What Nintendo has going for themselves is a console with tremendous amount of support, a history of great first party titles as well as a tremendous focus on gameplay and quality. The GameCube is very efficiently designed and is undoubtedly cheaper to manufacture because of the Gekko/Flipper chips; with the exception of the Xbox it is leaps and bounds beyond the other consoles and should be a healthy competitor in the future as well.

On the desktop side of things, Xbox gave us a preview of what to expect from the next-generation NVIDIA part but what does ArtX's Flipper design tell us about the direction ATI will be going in the years to come? It's clear that ArtX's technology could have benefited from ATI's intervention, but ATI acquired the company for a reason and it's what ArtX can contribute to ATI that we are most intrigued with.

As usual, only time will tell the outcome of this and many questions we've asked throughout this article and series. We hope you've enjoyed our coverage on both Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube.


******

For the full articles with VERY in-depth hardware reviews of THe XBox and GameCube, check out these links:

Part one: XBox (http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1561&p=1)

Part two: GameCube (http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1566&p=1)

oerjaN
04-24-2002, 06:13 AM
aah the lost article.

in any of the synthetic benchmarks we've seen <-- what are they
measuring?

and why the hell is common CPU's better than innovation?

and this article must be a bit old as developers are not really
complaining about PS2 devving anymore.

Donald Love
04-24-2002, 10:18 AM
Well that's nice, you logon to the Mb XB forum and the first post you check is about the hardware specs and not the games.

Now why am I not surprised.
And why did you post an age old article and what are you trying to say.

That I should get an XB? Sorry already have one.

Bishamon
04-24-2002, 10:34 AM
The article is from November, only 5 months old. Not very long ago, since most games these days have 18-24 month development cycles.

I agree that developing the PS2 was, by far, a greater technological feat than developing either the XBox or GameCube. The PS2 was an incredible piece of hardware in its day, and the fact that it can come close to competing on a graphical level with todays hardware (when in the hands of a gifted developer) is testament to its status as an engineering marvel. You have to take into account that it is two years older than the XBox and it does have its limitations, both in terms of design and in terms of graphics capability compared to the XBox and GameCube.

The PS2 and XBox (and even GameCube) are from two completely different design schools; the PS2 was designed from the ground up as a console with new cutting edge (for the time) technology. The XBox (and GameCube, but the XBox moreso) was designed with off-the-shelf components and as little engineering as possible to create a very powerful, yet inexpensive (relative to its capabilities) console that is easy to develop for initially. Both the XBox and PS2 can yeild more power when programmed skillfully, but the XBox is easier to come to grips with from the start because most developers are already somewhat familiar with the tools required.

I find it ironic that people who praised the PSX because of its ease to develop for and condemned the Saturn because it was difficult are now praising the PS2 because it is difficult (and more Saturn-like) and slamming the XBox because it is 'easy'.

Bishamon
04-24-2002, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Donald Love
Well that's nice, you logon to the Mb XB forum and the first post you check is about the hardware specs and not the games.

Now why am I not surprised.
And why did you post an age old article and what are you trying to say.

That I should get an XB? Sorry already have one.

Actually, as I said, I retrieved this information from an article on AnandTech that is only 5 months old; not very long when discussing consoles. What are you talking about?

All I did was post a non-biased article that I thought people might be interested in that might spark some discussion. Yeesh!

typexig
04-24-2002, 02:11 PM
i think ama go buy an Xbox now. thanks bishamon..hehe...=)

-Xig-

typexig
04-24-2002, 02:14 PM
ever since the thing called Xbox came out , peeps keeps on talking bout power power power. why why whyyyy? its all about graphics now a days..what bout gameplay and funfactor?


-Xig-

Bishamon
04-24-2002, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by typexig
ever since the thing called Xbox came out , peeps keeps on talking bout power power power. why why whyyyy? its all about graphics now a days..what bout gameplay and funfactor?


I agree it all comes down to games, but there are always titles that get purchased in the early days purely on graphics that years later it turns out had little gameplay. Battle Arena Toshinden is a good example from the PSX; man, I played that game a TON back when, simply because it was pretty and there was little else available on the system when it came out.

I always end up buying the systems when they first come out; I was #27 in line at the local Wal-Mart camped overnight for the PS2 when it was released over here and I imported a Saturn for Cdn$999.00 when it was released in Japan, etc. Some consoles succeed, like the PSX; some fail miserably, like the 3DO which also cost me Cdn$999, and the Atari Jaguar (two systems I sold many years ago); and still others fill a niche for hardcore gamers, like the Saturn and Dreamcast, never seriously threatening the 'top dog', but providing another source for titles unique to those systems. This third 'niche' is what I expect the XBox to become. It will never threaten Sony, but it will be an alternate platform for people who already own the other system(s) to play some unique and (hopefully) fun games.

oerjaN
04-24-2002, 04:10 PM
from a gaming perspective i still hold the Dreamcast as no.1!

but techie stuff is fun to discuss.

and Sega Saturn rocks! NiGHTS is waiting in the postal office for
me to pick up tomorrow or next week :)

Bishamon
04-24-2002, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by oerjaN
from a gaming perspective i still hold the Dreamcast as no.1!

but techie stuff is fun to discuss.

and Sega Saturn rocks! NiGHTS is waiting in the postal office for
me to pick up tomorrow or next week :)

Wicked! Yeah, the Saturn and Dreamcast have been my two favorite systems from the last 10+ years! I have more games for each of those systems than I do for anything I've owned since the Commodore 64.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for the Neo*Geo in all its guises. I wish I never sold my home cart system. :(

typexig
04-25-2002, 02:22 AM
yeah i think DC is a tight system.. DC has the best fighting game which is Soul Calibur..and Ready to Rumble was a tight game too.

-Xig-

oerjaN
04-25-2002, 04:04 AM
Originally posted by Bishamon


Wicked! Yeah, the Saturn and Dreamcast have been my two favorite systems from the last 10+ years! I have more games for each of those systems than I do for anything I've owned since the Commodore 64.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for the Neo*Geo in all its guises. I wish I never sold my home cart system. :(

aah Neo*Geo! i've never owned one, but i sure as hell want one!
i'm having pretty fun with my Neo*Geo Pocket Color tho, the one
thing that bothers me about it is that i can't find 'Neo Turf Masters
Pocket' :(
(anyone wanna sell that game? ;))

Bishamon
04-25-2002, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by oerjaN


aah Neo*Geo! i've never owned one, but i sure as hell want one!
i'm having pretty fun with my Neo*Geo Pocket Color tho, the one
thing that bothers me about it is that i can't find 'Neo Turf Masters
Pocket' :(
(anyone wanna sell that game? ;))

I have Neo Turf Masters for my Neo*Geo CD, but not for my Pocket Color. It's a great game!