In the eternal debate of PCs versus consoles, the talk often turns to the hardware and how PCs are generally better equipped. For the past several years, it was an easy argument for PC advocates to win, given that the PlayStation 3 is pretty ancient at this point. But what about the recently announced PlayStation 4
(PS4)? Have things changed?
As we pointed out before
, the PS4 is essentially a PC platform in a console skin. It sports a x86 foundation -- AMD 8-core Jaguar APU -- with a graphics engine that's roughly equivalent to a Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition video card. The thing that's most intriguing, however, is the 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory. Having access to this super fast RAM is something developers are excited about.
"It’s a perfect fit for the types of games we do, and we are confident that we’ll bring open-world gaming to a whole new level because of it. I’m glad Sony decided to go with 8GB RAM because it means that the PS4 will out-power most PC’s for years to come," Linus Blomberg, CTO and co-founder of Avalanche Studios told Gaming Bolt
Blomberg isn't the only one excited about the PS4's unified memory. Pound for pound, Braid developer Jonathan Blow believes the PS4 is a superior gaming platform than the PC, both because of the RAM and because it's not being held back by Windows.
"For The Witness we’re mostly interested in the base machine and how fast it is – the fact it has faster RAM than a PC, which really helps in shuttling graphics resources around, and since it’s not running a heavyweight operating system like Windows that gets in the way of your graphics," Blow told Edge
in an interview. "Rendering stuff through Windows has an impact on performance. Since a console is just about games, that doesn’t happen, and the equivalent game will run faster. And if you can target to specific hardware you can make it run faster, too."
The Internet is filled with developer praise over the PS4's hardware. Christophe Carrier, lead level designer for Dishonored, is another one that emphasizes the importance of RAM.
"As a level designer we are struggling against memory every day. We cut things, we remove things, we strip things, we split the levels, we remove NPCs from levels because there's not enough memory," Carrier explained to Eurogamer
. "So knowing that memory is something that is going to be improved in the next generation of consoles: to us, it's a joy. It's something that we were waiting for."
Given all the hype over RAM, it will be interesting to see who Microsoft approaches the Xbox 720