ATI calls PS3 tragically unrefined

This article is very interesting… and is found here: http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/678/678377p1.html

The basics NVidia did not design the chip for the PS3, they’re using mostly off-the-shelf tech for it and that will make the hardware very unrefined… as opposed to ATI, who built their XBOX 360 vid chipset from scratch.

ATI knows the in-ands-outs of the PS2 and how Sony operates, so this information could be more than just marekting doubletalk. I’d like to hear what you all think?

Thanks! :)

Why would ATI know the ins-and-outs of the PS2 or how Sony operates?

Huddy didn’t call it “tragically unrefined,” he said it’s a tragedy that it’s not refined. Don’t mean to pick nits, but there is a difference. :)

For what it’s worth, I have heard as well that Nvidia came into the PS3 picture late in the game. The way I hear it, Sony was convinced about three years ago that the Cell was going to be the Uber-chip that shall destroy all, and the plan was to do all the PS3’s graphics with it - every last thing, with possibly a simple raster op chip or something. This is why some of those early PS3 tech demos actually do everything on the cell, including all 3D graphics rendering (I believe the demo that converts sattelite imagry and topographical data into a real-time 3D landscape is one of them). If you were going to have a 3D graphics chip in there all along, why would you even code a demo like that? Anyway, sometime early last year, maybe late 2003, Sony sees how fast GPUs are progressing and how well the Cell is turning out and says “oh crap, we need a graphics chip! and we can’t design one ourselves in just a year that will be at all competitive” so they went looking for partners. Nvidia says “well, it takes at least 2 years to design a new custom graphics chip from scratch, so you can forget that. But we have this G70 architecture coming up that’s pretty swell, so we can modify it to have a bus capable of communicating with the Cell. Of course our memory controller can’t handle XDRAM, so now you’re looking at splitting your RAM to both XDRAM and GDDR, since your Cell can’t talk to DDR memory types.”

And basically, that’s what the PS3’s graphics situation is. They’ve got a GeForce 7800 chip in there, running at 550MHz, but with a 128-bit memory interface instead of the 256-bit one in the PC. Only the “RSX” has a different host bus, one that talks nice with the Cell instead of a PCIe bus.

Granted, that’s all just the rumor I heard. That’s not from Sony or Nvidia. Take it with appropriate salt. :) I personally find it a believable rumor, for two reasons:

  1. Sony likes to make their own stuff. Even the CPU is a joint-venture, they can’t just contract out to IBM or something to make a design for them. It really surprised me that they outsourced the graphics chip design, and it seems kind of like an admission of failure or something on their part.

  2. The split RAM just doesn’t make sense. GDDR3 isn’t faster than XDR, and though it’s cheaper, in the long haul it would be less expensive for Sony to have one RAM supply to worry about and buy in larger bulk. Plus it makes the system less flexible (what if you want 400MB of textures for some reason?).

People at ATI may know that kind of insider information, but this PR flunky obviously doesn’t. For one thing he’s simply wrong about UT 2007 people demoed at E3 on a PC. In fact what I think he’s actually remembering is the Gears of War Xbox 360 demo which was running on a PC with SLI’d 6800s. The irony of course people that back in the spring ATI didn’t have any hardware that could run games designed for the ATI powered console. Wasn’t even on one of those dual G5 devkits, Epic just demoed a PC build on PC hardware.

I also think it’s pretty silly to bash Sony for doing something this time, using a somewhat standard graphics solution, which they get bashed for not doing last time. In fact, Xbox fanboys are making the exact same arguments this round the Playstation fanboys made last time, and visa-versa.

Anyway, we know so littel about the RSX at this point I think it’s pretty early to be condeming it as an ugly hack. As to the RAM, I’m not knowledgable enough about the performance profile of GDDR3 vs XDR. I know XDR is higher frequency, smaller pincount. But stuff like latency, or other tradeoffs, I’m not sure. It may be it was cheaper to not replace theGDDR controller hardware on the GPU with an XDR memory controller, or maybe GDDR3 is just better for Graphics stuff. Or maybe they were worried about production capacity for XDR modules at launch and decided to diversify their interest with an industry standard.

ATI develops chip for 360, ATI badmouths competitor’s chip for PS3. Do we need to know more than that?

Scry - that’s a given. The challenge is to see if there’s a small shard of truth in there somewhere.

Jason Cross - That’s an excellent description. Wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right on.

ATI has been pretty condemning of the PS3 hardware. Looks like they wanted to be in all three consoles, not just two.

Also from Kotaku

An industry insider who goes by the name Fishie (how very appropriate) says that he got some hands-on time with Playstation 3 games in Japan and wasn’t too happy with what he saw.

From his comments:

PS3 Info Before I Head Out Of Japan Friday Towards Noon, Thats Tokyo time. Have fun waiting a while longer boys. No way that thing is coming out in March. The games just arent there and lots of other isseus I cant delve into right now.

Before you start thinking that Fishie’s post is, um, fishy, he has earned himself a tad more credibility than the typical poster by reporting dead-on facts about the 360 a few weeks before E3. Back then he called the 360 titles underwhelming and said that while there may be some kickass stuff, most people won’t be floored.

Someone should tell Fishie that Spring lasts Until June 21st.

Why would it be released then? It’ll be next fall, just like everything else big.

Cause Sony keeps saying spring. Lots of people tend to forget that seasons actually last a whole 3 months. Maybe it won’t be ready by march, but Sony never said march and they have another three months to play with.

But the March launch date comes from Wil Wheaton. I can’t imagine a better source.

I didn’t realize that information came from a man with his own blog!

It’ll be march / june for japan sure.

I nominate this post for Best of Sho… err Thread.

Next up Nvidia calles the Xbox360 Xbox 1.5…what will we do!?!

You want to see tragically unrefined? Take a look at the Catalyst Control Center.

rimshot

Burn!

Be scared. :(

Sony finished their big E3 unveiling last year with a slide that said, in big-ass letters, “SPRING 2006.”

My prediction is that it’ll ship in Spring (ie - before June 21st) in Japan, with a limited amount of software boosted mostly by some fairly simple gambling/mahjong type games and a handful of Blu-Ray movies. Quantities will be fairly limitied, but it’s for Japan only so all 500-600,000 units will be for just that region and it’ll sell out in one day instantly despite having some pretty weak games. Then it’ll launch in the US in Sept or October with a much better software lineup. Europe will be lucky to get it in 2006, but it’s not out of the question.

Just my guess, though. I’ve got no inside scoop on this.

I heard Sony was also going with the “Worldwide launch”. I may be wrong, though, it’s second-hand information.