The games are what make or break a platform. You know it. I know it. But it’s still nice to look at something really pretty. And that’s why so much attention is payed to the hardware specs of a system. As a probable future PS3 owner, I am interested in what the PS3 will be capable of. The PS3 has many different parts to watch, of course, but graphics will always be the most interesting. And so I read bit-tech’s interview with NVIDIA‘s David Kirk with interest.
The 7800 GTX was recently launched (aka the G70), and it looks like a really nice piece of kit. The RSX is based on the G70, “But RSX is faster” Mr. Kirk said. “At the time consoles are announced, they are so far beyond what people are used to, it’s unimaginable,” David comments. “At the time they’re shipped, there’s a narrower window until the next PC architecture.” So when the PS3 ships, it will still have graphics better than anything available on the PC.
What does Mr. Kirk say about unified shader architectures (like that used in the Xbox 360)?
“Debating unified against separate shader architecture is not really the important question. The strategy is simply to make the vertex and pixel pipelines go fast. The tactic is how you build an architecture to execute that strategy. We’re just trying to work out what is the most efficient way.
“It’s far harder to design a unified processor – it has to do, by design, twice as much. Another word for ‘unified’ is ‘shared’, and another word for ‘shared’ is ‘competing’. It’s a challenge to create a chip that does load balancing and performance prediction. It’s extremely important, especially in a console architecture, for the performance to be predicable. With all that balancing, it’s difficult to make the performance predictable. I’ve even heard that some developers dislike the unified pipe, and will be handling vertex pipeline calculations on the Xbox 360’s triple-core CPU.”