NGP: Is ~PS3 power good enough?


The NGP is estimated to be nearly identical in power to the PS3. That’s amazing, I didn’t realize portable tech had come that far, but why don’t they spec this new platform to be just a little bit better than than the PS3? In other words, rather than 90% of the PS3, how about 115%? Either give Moore’s law another few months and use better silicon, or just stick more RAM in it. From a user’s perspective, seeing hardware and graphics better than the PS3/360 would be a huge deal. That’s the difference between “good for a handheld” and “the best console device out there”. It wouldn’t just merely serve the portable crowd, it would be the definitive console until the next wave of systems ships. That would be an industry first for a portable handheld.

What do you think? Is it more important to ship soon or keep production costs low or would it be better to surpass the PS3/360 and deliver the ultimate console for both portable and home use.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by Luke on February 6th, 2011

    Darrin if they want to compete with the 3DS they really can’t wait that much longer. Plus if they added more powerful tech I am sure the price would be a lot more than people would be willing to pay for it. With these graphics and a decent price I am sure a lot of people would love it.

  2. #2 by TeX on February 6th, 2011

    Qoute: The company has also declared that PS3 games will be able to run on NGP without any graphical changes.

  3. #3 by Jay on February 6th, 2011 [ 83111 Points ]

    It’s a bit risky to go balls-out on the tech like that with direct competition coming out sooner as it is. Not only that, adding that extra power will likely add to the price as well, and to stay in competition, the price needs to be within reach of those who would, otherwise, be willing to spend the $250 on the 3DS.

    Handhelds are a smaller market as a hardcore game platform as it is, hence why the PS3 launching at an extremely high price still managed to be competitive at the time of launch (since home consoles had more of a core gamer crowd). The PSP was better technology-wise than the DS, but the higher price and the lack of core titles was it’s downfall.

  4. #4 by Blue on February 6th, 2011

    its good the way it is to me just add 4g

  5. #5 by sol on February 6th, 2011

    If that 90% is true, that’s a nice point you’ve made. And should it be able to pull off everything that ps3 dpes (media, controllers, internet, …), I could imagine some people switching from dedicated consoles to handheld ones. Imagine being able to take your ps3 with you and continue your console game whenever you’ve got a few minutes to spare. You’re right, there is a great difference between 100%.

    That’s definately the future, but somehow I just don’t see it happening quite yet. I also agree with Luke, the old PSP has stepped out of the cool zone and they really need something new and hot to compete with smartphones (which already get carried everywhere and lie in your pocket just waiting for those few spare minutes).

    But this raises another question: What’s the next generation of consoles going to be if a handheld is just about to beat PS3?

  6. #6 by xDeFcoN_2FasT4Ux on February 6th, 2011 [ 2160 Points ]

    Luke: Darrin if they want to compete with the 3DS they really can’t wait that much longer. Plus if they added more powerful tech I am sure the price would be a lot more than people would be willing to pay for it. With these graphics and a decent price I am sure a lot of people would love it.  ^

    I couldn’t agree more.

  7. #7 by Sylvrfonic on February 6th, 2011

    The thing that will make or break the NGP is developer support. To make games for a system more powerful than the PS3 and look “next (next) gen” would cost a lot of money. Here we have system in the NGP that developers are excited about because the work that they put into PS3 titles can translate nearly directly into the NGP. Parallel development becomes a reality and the overhead for developing for the NGP is reduced. Not only that the tools and engines developed for the PS3 may have an extended life because of the NGP (who would complain about the possibility of a greater return on investment for research costs?)

    Nearly as powerful as a PS3 is plenty powerful for the near future.

  8. #8 by Darrin on February 6th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Jay:The PSP was better technology-wise than the DS, but the higher price and the lack of core titles was it’s downfall.

    The problem with the PSP wasn’t cost, it’s that it wasn’t really good at any of the major uses:

    for enthusiast gamers, 360/PS3 are way better, for small child entertainment, the DS is way better (DS also excels at Japanese imports), and for web and portable media functionality the iPod is way better.

    PSP has a really narrow niche between all that. If you really want enthusiast console type games, but are willing to drop down from 360/PS3 to a sub-PS2 level device, then PSP is your system. Almost no one wants that.

    Luke:
    Darrin if they want to compete with the 3DS they really can’t wait that much longer.

    Adding more RAM would increase system power without increasing production time; it would add to the production cost – and Sony could choose to swallow that or pass that on to the consumer.

    Sylvrfonic:
    To make games for a system more powerful than the PS3 and look “next (next) gen” would cost a lot of money

    Development costs ballooned as games went from simple pac-man type fare to the elaborate games we play today. But nicer console hardware doesn’t cost more by itself. Take a console/PC game for example, like GTA4. Did the graphically superior PC version cost more to make? Of course not, they used the exact same core game and assets.

    TeX:
    Qoute: The company has also declared that PS3 games will be able to run on NGP without any graphical changes.

    Even if that is the case, and the NGP is 100% of the power of the PS3 rather than 90%, so what? It’s still just replicating the content we’ve gotten used to. If the NGP is noticeably better, that gives opens the NGP up to a much larger audience.

  9. #9 by Emrah on February 7th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    Wii and Nintendo DS should have proved without doubt that powerful hardware is not where it is at, it is the innovation and appealing to masses and probably some other things I have no idea of :)

    Also, higher detail results in more development time, there’s no two ways around it. You have to match the details of every part of the game. PC version of GTA IV not taking extra time (maybe it did, they had higher quality assets for it and it took them longer, we don’t know) only means they didn’t take the time to make it better on the PC, just take a look at realistic modes for GTA IV, the massive improvements made to the PC version by modders.

    So, to conclude, yes, it is good enough, if it can come close to PS3’s power, especially running on batteries.

  10. #10 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    One thing we should set aside is the myth that this thing is anywhere nearly as strong as the PS3. It is most certainly no where close. The GPU is somewhere near the GameCubes as far as power goes. The processor can’t hold a finger to the Cell. Throwing RAM at this thing won’t make it any better either.

    Now all that aside doesn’t mean the NGP doesn’t have some bonuses to it as well. THe NGP’s Cortex A9 procesor probably can offer better general purpose computing then the Cell because its an out of order CPU. The SGX543 might be on equal or better grounds than the RSX footing raw fillrate wise.. SGX543 supports shader model 4.1 opengl 2.0 on at least the hardware level, the RSX did not feature full shader model 3.

    Those are some things I dug up about it. In the end…this is the most powerful portable gaming unit ever made. Its using similar technology as the next gen of mobile phones are rumored to be using. With mobile phones crossing with mobile gaming lately, I’d say the NGP is a generation ahead of itself already.

  11. #11 by Skott on February 7th, 2011 [ 1380 Points ]

    Really? Complaining about a pocket sized machine that ONLY does PS3 graphics? No other news worthy items on the docket today? Maybe you should skim over this article from Cracked. 5 Complaints About Modern Life (That Are Statistically B.S.): http://tinyurl.com/49wh4sz Here’s the picture I found that relates to this tirade: http://cl.ly/2n3D0Y3m0g0N3l1y0h2f

  12. #12 by pedro on February 7th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Eddie: One thing we should set aside is the myth that this thing is anywhere nearly as strong as the PS3.It is most certainly no where close.The GPU is somewhere near the GameCubes as far as power goes.The processor can’t hold a finger to the Cell.Throwing RAM at this thing won’t make it any better either.Now all that aside doesn’t mean the NGP doesn’t have some bonuses to it as well.THe NGP’s Cortex A9 procesor probably can offer better general purpose computing then the Cell because its an out of order CPU.The SGX543 might be on equal or better grounds than the RSX footing raw fillrate wise..SGX543 supports shader model 4.1 opengl 2.0 on at least the hardware level, the RSX did not feature full shader model 3. Those are some things I dug up about it.In the end…this is the most powerful portable gaming unit ever made.Its using similar technology as the next gen of mobile phones are rumored to be using.With mobile phones crossing with mobile gaming lately, I’d say the NGP is a generation ahead of itself already.  

    That’s impressive.

    I agree it’s impossible to fit so much power into such a small handheld and I’ve been thinking if that story was really true. And obviously (I’m taking your word for it) it’s an exaggeration.

    I do think fitting more power then the PS3 into a small portable (with many other qualities) would not only increase the price exponentially but also might be technologically challenging at the time (considering a product development it’s not only deciding on which hardware to use and it takes years).

    Also it’s important they create a solid ground base from the start (so a six months/year delay would not be advisable) in order to decently compete with Nintendo, a company that has always dominated the handheld market. And of course the crescent mobile and tablet markets, which are growing into a powerful gaming crowd.

  13. #13 by TeX on February 7th, 2011

    ***Post removed due to trolling***

    Please keep the conversation friendly on PS3blog.net.

  14. #14 by Abkanis on February 7th, 2011 [ 1064 Points ]

    I’m one of those niche-psp people, and I can tell you that I easily use it more than the PS3; portability is great when you spend most of your time at college on breaks, and home is on the other side of town.

    Throw in MGS4, the 3g network (if possible, this will actually be my first cell phone), and old psp adhoc compatability and this will be like a personalized gift for me.

    One last thing; in general we don’t hold portable graphics up to the same standard as the console ones, thats why so many people (like myself) thought the psp was pretty awesome: it was PS2 in your hand. especially compared to the DS and its variants which were almost entirely spritebased.

    I’m not entirely sold on the dual touchpad things though. seems unneccessary.

  15. #15 by Kratos on February 7th, 2011

    Has battery life been mentioned yet? I’ll bet it’s abysmal.

  16. #16 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Please keep the conversations friendly.

    This is completely a hypothetical conversation to discuss the pro’s and con’s of making it even more powerful

    Kratos, according to rumors based on hardware, the battery life will be 4-6 hours, about the same as the 3DS. Especially since OLED screens tend to be pretty good on saving power.

  17. #17 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Abkanis: IOne last thing; in general we don’t hold portable graphics up to the same standard as the console ones.  

    This is only partially true. We never had a system that we could compare to consoles as far as graphics go….until now. The NGP is already being compared to console graphics. I’ve seen stories and videos already. Killzone NGP vs Killzone 3 video…yes it is out there right now. I’ve seen people comment on the lack of AA in the Uncharted video, the lack of shadows in High Stakes Pool, etc etc. This will be the first handheld system to where the graphics will be compared and held up to a certain standard.

  18. #18 by Mike on February 7th, 2011

    I’m not sure they are going to be able to give this thing a reasonable MSRP as it is, making it even more powerful would just make that situation worse. It probably gets to the point of diminishing returns on a screen that small (unless it is going to be able to output to a TV @ 720p… haven’t heard anything like that though). Also a large section of the handheld market is parents buying the system for their children. They cannot price this thing $499 to $599 and hope that people will just lap it up like something with an Apple logo stamped on it.

    I also hope they do a better job of gradually reducing the price as time passes than they did with the PSP. For something that has been on the market for six years, the price has not gone down a whole lot despite how much the hardware sales have slowed down outside of Japan.

  19. #19 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Sony has already stated that this thing will not be priced at 499. On top of that, Ubisoft has came out to say that this thing will be reasonably priced. My guess is $299 for the non 3G version still.

    If you remember when the PS3 was announced, devs were up in arms about its price saying that its too expensive etc etc. We have just the opposite happening here which leads me to believe that it will be reasonably priced.

    Remember, the very first customer you have to sell on a new console is the developer. Normally when they are sold, the consumers generally fall in line.

  20. #20 by Darrin on February 7th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Eddie:The GPU is somewhere near the GameCubes as far as power goes. The processor can’t hold a finger to the Cell.

    Do you have anything to back up these dramatic comments? Specs? Dev Commentary? We’ve all seen the Wipeout example of PS3 assets porting directly without any downgrade. The Gamecube sure couldn’t do that.

    Eddie:Throwing RAM at this thing won’t make it any better either.

    Lots of game devs have stressed RAM as a limiting factor on PS3. More RAM would absolutely make a difference; it may not be the same as a better GPU though.

    Skott:Really? Complaining about a pocket sized machine that ONLY does PS3 graphics? No other news worthy items on the docket today?

    Actually, I’m extremely impressed that they plan to ship a PS3-level portable. I’m just saying, why not push it that extra bit and deliver the defacto console? That’s really not a complaint.

  21. #21 by EdEN on February 7th, 2011 [ 142681 Points ]

    Sony is doing something right this time around (the touchscreen and the pad on the back) but making the exact same mistake as before (the console experience in your hand!). PSP promised us the PS2 on the go and we all know how THAT did last time…

  22. #22 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    @Darrin the specs for the video card have been known for some time now so it is easy to do a direct comparison. There is a lot more to making good graphics other than some souped up GPU. Resolution is probably one of the biggest reasons games today look good.

    Here is a good read on it from Digital Foundry http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-sony-ngp-analysis?page=1

    “It’s not just about the raw power as such, but also about the feature-set of the chip”

    “the PowerVR SGX543 MP4+ chip in a quad-core configuration offered a kind of halfway house in terms of performance between the original Xbox and the massively superior Xenos GPU found within the Xbox 360.” (the original Xbox was not as good as the Gamecube, hence the gamecube remark)

  23. #23 by Beastxjason on February 7th, 2011 [ 26201 Points ]

    I for one want a lower price point. Theres no point in having some super tech crazy powerful machine if people can not afford it

  24. #24 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Beastxjason: I for one want a lower price point. Theres no point in having some super tech crazy powerful machine if people can not afford it  

    there is absolutely no reason you can’t have both.

  25. #25 by Jonaskin on February 7th, 2011

    I’m more than happy with 90% PS3 power from a handheld…

  26. #26 by Darrin on February 7th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    @Eddie,

    Digital Foundry:
    “VR SGX543 MP4+ chip in a quad-core configuration offered a kind of halfway house in terms of performance between the original Xbox and the massively superior Xenos GPU found within the Xbox 360.”

    Digital Foundry didn’t mention any original tests or research, they are just offering their own Xbox fan boy opinion.

    Do you believe that the MGS 4 and Uncharted demos were that close to Xbox 1 level GPU? Or how about the Wipeout quotes and Tim Sweeney comments.

    SCEE developers:
    “The WipEout HD PS3 engine running on [NGP] with no changes to the art platform. That means full resolution, full 60fps. It looks exactly the same as it does on PS3—all the shader effects are in there.”

    Tim Sweeney:
    “This is made possible by Sony’s multi-core GPU, which is roughly four times as powerful as any portable we’ve previously seen.”

    Digital Foundry is always filled with hyper-opinionated pro-Xbox commentary. And I call bullsh*t on their NGP “analysis”. All the shader effects of the PS3, full PS3 geometry and art assets, at full 60 FPS? This doesn’t sound like halfway between Xbox 1 and Xbox 360 to me.

  27. #27 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    You can port any game to any console almost unchanged as long as its in a screen resolution (not art resolution as Wipeout eludes to) capable of the machine and other hardware assists.

    We already know that Cell with its multiple SPU’s being utilized will not transfer over to a quadcore with no changes. As the Cell helps with rendering images for the RSX, it is a different set up than the NGP and will not transfer over without multiple changes.

    We already know that game engines are designed to be flexible so seeing the Wipeout engine ported over is not surprising at all. UE3 works on 360/PS3/PC/iPod…

    but lets put it this way… the SGX543MP4 is capable of 133 million polygons per second….the GameCube is capable of 80-120 raw polygons per second. Thats not to say it won’t look better though. Power is not completely =\= how good a game looks.

  28. #28 by Darrin on February 7th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Eddie:
    You can port any game to any console almost unchanged as long as its in a screen resolution (not art resolution as Wipeout eludes to) capable of the machine and other hardware assists

    Wrong. This is absurd. You think the PS2 could render the high poly-count models used in PS3 games with a lower screen resolution? Um, that’s crazy.

    UE3 can support a high end PC and a much lower spec iPad with the same “engine” programming layer, but they don’t use the same assets. The SCEE guys said they could run PS3 Wipeout with no changes to their art platform (which means the same polygon complexity, same textures resolution) and same shader effects at the same frame rate. That’s much more significant.

    Poly count stats are much less meaningful than real world game metrics. One big reason is they are “theoretical” polygon counts which often have little relation to polygon rendering throughput inside a full game. Also, that doesn’t account for texture, shader, AA, and effect processing features and performance.

  29. #29 by Eddie on February 7th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    there is not one effect that has been done on the PS3 that hasn’t been done on earlier systems.

    as far as assets go, Wipeout is not the pinnacle of graphics/shaders/textures etc.

    Blow the NGP games up on a big screen…it will look like crap.

  30. #30 by Darrin on February 8th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    To summarize: I’m inclined to believe that the NGP is near PS3 level power based on the Uncharted/MGS4 demos and game developers who commented on actual dev experience with it.

    You said this is a complete myth and the power is well below a PS3 based on theoretical fill-rate/triangle specs and a Digital Foundry op-ed article.

    Is that accurate?

  31. #31 by Eddie on February 9th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Mostly correct. But before we continue (this is getting over my head now, you may be more knowledgeable on the subject) why does Uncharted NGP look like crap compared to Uncharted on PS3?

    http://www.gamesthirst.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/uncharted-ngp1.jpg

    I could stand on the shoulders of people smarter then myself and spout off things that I did not discover for myself in this case but should there be a rebuttle for those things, I couldn’t respond back.


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Like trophies? Like giveaways? Want to speak your mind? Register here!