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Ps3 Hardware Slow And Broken


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#1 KAGE360

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:53 AM

Ok have two articles here about the ps3 hardware. All the first one tells me is that the GPUs in the "final dev kits" are not really up to speed. However the second article tells a tale of memory issues within the ps3 that was expressed at a dev conference. Take is how you wish, would love some tech-heads to include their input, things cant really be this bad can it?......

QUOTE
Documents shown to us on the trip showed that there were two versions, labeled 'CEB' and 'DEH'. The earlier CEB has a chip called CBE (yes, I know) connected to main memory and to a south bridge. The SB is then connected to a chip labled 'NV4x' over a PCIe link. The upcoming version DEH has the CBE and main memory, but the NV4x/SB combo is replaced by the RSX. If you wanted to know what makes RSX more than a GPU, it looks like it is SB functionality.

The slightly more curious bit, encouraging and disturbing at the same time, is the current state of RSX. The disturbing part is that the slide I was shown had "Current DEH's aren't final spec or speed" in bold letters. Speed, OK, but not final spec at this point in time leaves precious little room for debugging before the console release. On a different note the current ones are running the RSX core at 420MHz with 550 expected for launch. Memory is set at 600MHz with 700 hoped for as final.


http://www.theinquir.../?article=32159

Nothing big really, but it makes you think of how they are going to raise the speed of the GPU if already there are comments of how loud and hot the dev kits are already.

QUOTE
With the movie selection still making my brain throb from the glances I caught, I furiously took notes on what the source was saying. He started out saying that the RSX can only write about half as much vertex data as it can fetch, not an ideal situation by any stretch, but survivable.

Then came the horrible news, RSX appears to be limited to setting up 275 Million triangles/second, anemic compared to the 500+ million in XBox360. When asked about this apparent thumping dished out by MS, the reply from one notable ISV relations boffin was a terse 'What a Piece of Junk'. Talk about a steak in the heart.

Half the triangle setup capability in the PS3, could things get worse? Yes, far far worse, how about another disparity of three orders of magnitude? No, I am not joking, looking at Sony's own figures, Cell appears to be pretty badly broken.

IPB Image
QUOTE
For main memory, it looks like Cell has about 25GBps of main memory bandwidth, and RSX is about 15-20GBps. Achievable bandwidth is between about two thirds of that and nearly 100%, clearly the elves in the caves surrounding Rambus central did something right with XDR. That is the happy news.

For local memory, the measured vs theoretical bandwidth is missing, I wonder why? RSX is at a solid 22.4GBps for both read and write, good job there green team. Then comes the blue team with Cell. Local memory write is about 4GBps, 40% of the next slowest bandwidth there. Then comes the bomb from hell, the Cell local memory read bandwidth is a stunning 16MBps, note that is a capital M to connote Mega vs a capital G to connote Giga. This is a three order of magnitude oopsie, and it is an oopsie, as Sony put it "(no, this isn't a typo...)".


http://www.theinquir.../?article=32171

I'm not sure to believe all of this info, but if this article is true in every sense then it would explain one thing that has been bothering me. Sony is never slow to state bloated specs but in every spec sheet/list shown by sony, not one had a polygon count on it, ever. I only assumed that it was either around the same as the 360 (500 million/secon) or polygon counts mean very little with this generation since both display so many its not worth mentioning. Well maybe its because it was below MS's count and just decided not to reveal that info. hmmm

Edited by KAGE360, 05 June 2006 - 06:02 AM.


#2 calderra

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 12:14 PM

As I'm currently saying elsewhere on the net, this article doesn't have to be "true" to be right. It looks like the facts are all there, and all of this would certainly explain why the system is so hard to develop for and has underperformed so badly so far (compared to Sony's promises at least).

#3 KAGE360

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE(calderra @ Jun 5 2006, 07:21 AM) View Post

As I'm currently saying elsewhere on the net, this article doesn't have to be "true" to be right. It looks like the facts are all there, and all of this would certainly explain why the system is so hard to develop for and has underperformed so badly so far (compared to Sony's promises at least).


i understand what you mean but i knew sony was stupid, i also knew that the ps3 was suffering from bottleneck, but i think this is damn horrible and interesting at the same time. Even though i dont think Ill ever get an answer, this looks to be the closest explenation to why sony has always hid the ps3's polygon count.

#4 Xeriak

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

I enjoyed that read, it was informative.. But now it remains to be seen if things will change at launch or not.. If we see the same specs/techs after its finally launched, then I'll be stunned. lol..

I mean, what good is the Cell processor(tho Sony claims the Cell processor can do anything and that its like a super computer processor.. uhh riight..) if everything else is under-powered and constrained by bottleneck issues?? Nothing good about it.. Either there is some system unity/harmony or there isn't..

#5 calderra

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:17 PM

The problem is that PS3 IS like a supercomputer- meaning it's designed for "straight-line" mathematical computation, not general-purpose computing and multimedia. It's sort of like AMD vs Intel processors (does this rift still exist?). Intel processors have higher clock speeds across the board, but they can't really bring all that speed to you unless you're only doing math, so an AMD processor that's 2-300 Mhz slower in clock speed is just as fast (or faster), because the AMD is more balanced.

Thus why after PS3's tech specs hit the net, many sites hosted breakdowns that said the 360 could be as (if not more) powerful, for lots of reasons.
-Unified memory architecture means basically everything can access memory anywhere anytime it needs it, instead of having to pray every little piece's own dedicated memory can handle that piece's needs. (yes, I'm being simplistic)
-3-5x greater bandwidth between many parts of the motherboard mean the 360 can always perform at full potential, whereas the PS3's bottlenecks mean devs have to find ways to schedule around traffic jams or even potentially inaccessible parts of the hardware as pipes clog.
-etc.

So again, even if this article is "fake" (it's from the Inquirer), I wouldn't doubt if the actual contents were true- meaning that Sony was hiding a seriously terrible bottleneck from the public. It just explains too much. And yes, it would explain polys, because I bet the 360 can do more. Cell could handle the math for tons of polys, but how would you push that data to the screen with the broken pipes?

There is a valid argument against poly counts anyway- technologies like bump/normal mapping mean drastic reduction in poly counts for the same quality, so polys don't matter as much as they used to. But still- if your system can do more, that's less worry for the developers.

#6 twistedsymphony

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE
...The SB is then connected to a chip labled 'NV4x' over a PCIe link....


That's what got me more then anything else.

While PCIe is one of the best interfaces available in PCs today, part of what makes consoles great is that they don't have to be bottlenecked by such interfaces. If anything this just shows that the RSX in general was an after thought. If it had been planned from the start wouldn't it have used a superior proprietary interface as opposed to one that's slower but standardized for PC unreadability?

Couple that with the fact that the GPU is pulling south bridge duty through the same interface and it's no wonder the bandwidth is crippled... There's a reason PCs build the south bridge into the mobo... because it needs the bandwidth that only an integrated proprietary interface can provide.

... November will be interesting indeed

Edited by twistedsymphony, 05 June 2006 - 03:28 PM.


#7 decapkris

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:45 PM

This would explain why Sony has be playing a game of smoke and mirrors recently. However just because the ps3 polygon count is half of the 360 doesnt mean we will see graphics half the quality since it will still utalise features as calderra has mentioned. It would be games similar to dead rising that has massive amount of bodies we would see a big difference.


#8 calderra

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 04:06 PM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Jun 5 2006, 03:34 PM) View Post

... November will be interesting indeed


[totally offbeat rant]
I'm reminded of a post I did myself, breaking down "what if the PS3 is only as powerful as 360" and "what if it were to cost the same". Problem is, I may have only been right about part of that.
laugh.gif

I couldn't help but stop by some PS3 news sites yesterday and actually look at some screencaps...
*shakes head*
The line between what's REALLY on the hardware and what's still f*** far off in the land of target renders and daydreams seems brutally obvious.

Now I'm really rooting for Sony- because this is just getting ugly. Their PR masters are slitting their own wrists with BS that would make politicians proud (rumble is "last gen", we didn't lose to Immersion at all...) and the system is underperformign terribly. Not to mention the losses of exclusives like GTA.

Even better- maybe I should stop rooting for Sony and start rooting for SEGA or some of the other oldies that have had a chance to be out of the hardware market for a while. Open some new studios, get the research rolling, and there might be a nice gap to fill in the next console wave.

It'd take some work- but maybe in a generation or two we could see SEGA (or insert company) versus Nintendo versus MS. That sounds more like a console race I'd like to see. Oust Sony and bring out somebody- anybody- that trades in the BS for bringing back the fun of gaming and the joy of being in front of press that just wants to ask you what games you can give to the world.

And yes, SEGA. Sure, key players are gone, but some are still around and some could be recalled. Admit the Dreamcast was what it was- a bad marketing move in a market the company couldn't possibly win. At that time. But the Wii is showing everyone that games (and not hardware) are really what drive the market, and SEGA could swing in a console that parlays their incredible skill with games into an exclusive-light but affordable re-entry. "Tie your shoes just to finish second place in the marathon", as MS put it. Gotta take the beating on the entry to stay in the long run.

Not to mention, Sonic's making his way back with the big upcoming multiplatform release. Give people a taste, and make it exclusive next gen. "First taste's free". Incredibly farfectched, but so is the idea that Sony might be losing market share to a non-game company (MS) and an enemy they almost strangled to death two generations running (Nintendo). But that's looking more and more likely. And it doesn't have to be SEGA- they're just a company I'd really love to see back in the game. REALLY like to see. Desperately like to see.

And that's a recurring thing at the moment. Some of my coworkers originally voiced it to me, so I'm really relaying it here. But my girlfriends' coworkers have thought of it too. And so have customers (we both work in retail).

If Sony's broken, nobody really wants to fix it. They want someone to replace them and to be the "new kid" for the next gen. Unless Sony learns to fix that flapping lip they can't seem to fasten down, but that's a different story. And everyone wants that "new kid" to be SEGA. Unless someone else can make a better offer. Nintendo, MS, and SEGA. Has a helluva nice ring to it, even if it is impossible.
wink.gif
[Totally offbeat, but this whole debacle brought it to mind for some reason, and I didn't think it was really a new topic kinda thing.]

#9 KAGE360

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 04:25 PM

what i dont understand is how the system can be so limited with polys. we have read developers talk of it being a poly-monster and the Cell chip alone can display polygon objects with no help from the RSX chip.

#10 twistedsymphony

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:35 PM

QUOTE(KAGE360 @ Jun 5 2006, 11:32 AM) View Post

what i dont understand is how the system can be so limited with polys. we have read developers talk of it being a poly-monster and the Cell chip alone can display polygon objects with no help from the RSX chip.


I seem to remember that too, the RSX was to be used just as a shader.... but if the Cell is busted then they don't have much to stand on... what good is a shader if you've got nothing to shade.


As for Sega getting back into the console market, I'd love to see it too but unfortunately they suffer from "The Sega Effect" which means the better the game the worse it sells.

My latest OXM had a rundown of "the 20 Best Original Xbox games you never played" more then half of them were Sega tittles and the better the game the worse it sold. That seems to be the Story of Sega's life... The Saturn was awesome and had an awesome catalog of games and it sold like total crap the Dreamcast was even better and sold even worse.

Sony seems to forget that they won the PS1's generation by being cheap (to beat out Sega) without seeming archaic (to beat out the N64), they wont the PS2s generation by launching early (to beat out MS and Nintendo) while having good 3rd party support (to beat out Sega).

Now they don't have cost, or launch position, 3rd party support seems to be much more spread around this time. They're basically banking on winning by being technologically superior, which it looks like they're really not. If that ends up being the case the only thing they'll have left is brand loyalty... which will only ever take you so far.

#11 calderra

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 12:12 PM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Jun 5 2006, 07:42 PM) View Post

I seem to remember that too, the RSX was to be used just as a shader.... but if the Cell is busted then they don't have much to stand on... what good is a shader if you've got nothing to shade.
As for Sega getting back into the console market, I'd love to see it too but unfortunately they suffer from "The Sega Effect" which means the better the game the worse it sells.

My latest OXM had a rundown of "the 20 Best Original Xbox games you never played" more then half of them were Sega tittles and the better the game the worse it sold. That seems to be the Story of Sega's life... The Saturn was awesome and had an awesome catalog of games and it sold like total crap the Dreamcast was even better and sold even worse.


And that was sort of my point- the various parts of the console can all technically do great things... but they just can't push them out to each other or to the user very well. Problematic, indeed. And that's without this newfound problem.

And meh, there are a few sides to SEGA's story though. For example- SEGA nearly went bankrupt trying to push the Dreamcast in Japan despite having absolutely no chance there and essentially just turned on the afterburner while they were plowing into a mountain. And that all started with the Saturn, I'll let Wikipedia sum it up...

In North America the Saturn was a failure partly due to its initial high $400 price tag, (compared to $300 for the PS1 and $200 for the N64), its programming difficulties, and perhaps because of the poor support for previous [add-ons].

Sound familiar? How about:

Many programmers found the complex hardware (including dual Hitachi SH-2 central processors) difficult to master and instead opted to develop games on the Playstation. Unlike Sega, Sony made programming libraries readily available to third party developers. Thus, developers found the Playstation a more attractive machine to develop for.

XNA, anyone?
laugh.gif

Meh, it's all wishful thinking anyway. The real reason for SEGA's failure was piss-poor management. The hardware was there, the developers were there, and stupid business decisions messed it all up. And it'd be very hard to reorganize management on a scale such as this. And I almost forgot, the final proof that SEGA could do this if they really put some thinking into it:

"On February 16, 2006, Sega once again began selling Dreamcast consoles through its online store, Sega Direct of Japan. It is a package deal that comes with a refurbished Dreamcast, a cell phone card, and Radilgy - a new 2D shooter game. G-Rev followed up with a second new 2D shooter game called Under Defeat in March. Both releases are for the Japanese market only."

Edited by calderra, 06 June 2006 - 12:18 PM.


#12 KAGE360

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:00 PM

QUOTE(calderra @ Jun 6 2006, 07:19 AM) View Post

And that was sort of my point- the various parts of the console can all technically do great things... but they just can't push them out to each other or to the user very well. Problematic, indeed. And that's without this newfound problem.

And meh, there are a few sides to SEGA's story though. For example- SEGA nearly went bankrupt trying to push the Dreamcast in Japan despite having absolutely no chance there and essentially just turned on the afterburner while they were plowing into a mountain. And that all started with the Saturn, I'll let Wikipedia sum it up...

In North America the Saturn was a failure partly due to its initial high $400 price tag, (compared to $300 for the PS1 and $200 for the N64), its programming difficulties, and perhaps because of the poor support for previous [add-ons].

Sound familiar? How about:

Many programmers found the complex hardware (including dual Hitachi SH-2 central processors) difficult to master and instead opted to develop games on the Playstation. Unlike Sega, Sony made programming libraries readily available to third party developers. Thus, developers found the Playstation a more attractive machine to develop for.

XNA, anyone?
laugh.gif

Meh, it's all wishful thinking anyway. The real reason for SEGA's failure was piss-poor management. The hardware was there, the developers were there, and stupid business decisions messed it all up. And it'd be very hard to reorganize management on a scale such as this. And I almost forgot, the final proof that SEGA could do this if they really put some thinking into it:

"On February 16, 2006, Sega once again began selling Dreamcast consoles through its online store, Sega Direct of Japan. It is a package deal that comes with a refurbished Dreamcast, a cell phone card, and Radilgy - a new 2D shooter game. G-Rev followed up with a second new 2D shooter game called Under Defeat in March. Both releases are for the Japanese market only."


i thought much of the same when the DC and the ps2 were still new.

I was dumbfounded to how the complaints geared towards the saturn were nowhere to be found for the ps2. The system was bigger, black, hard to program for, bigger CD jewel cases, lack of software early on, and was more expensive were all the comments i read/heard about the saturn and were present on the ps2. the system was bigger then the DC, the system was black (no biggy to me), the DVD cases were bigger then the DC CD cases, it was more expensive then the DC, developers hated the difficulty of prgramming compared to the DC, and there were no good games for about a year when the DC already had a great library available. It amazed me in disgust of how the gaming world turned into zombified hypocrites.

I do however understand why a lot of what took place happened. the ps2 was the only system on the market for a good while, forcing developers to learn its architecture and securing a foothold in the development community. Now its different, the ps3 isnt out way before the competition, FINALLY consumers are starting to wisen up, and the developers now have other cheaper options. In a lot of ways the 360 is another DC in essence, however unlike sega in the red, MS is poised to draw blood.

To me it is starting to sound like sony built the ps3 around the Cell chip and Blue-ray which should have been built around gaming and development. However sony had to make use of spending billions of dollars it took to develop both technologies and of course they are going to use their trump card in pushing these technologies. the end result though seems to be a horribly designed console, disregardng the developers just to include what sony wanted.

If these numbers are correct then i am very confused about many things. How are they going to raise the clock speed of the GPU if the system is already loud and hot, even if they raise it will it matter much other then frame rate speeds, and why would developers even bother working on a system that is powerful but expensive and crippled at the same time??

this next gen race will be a huge showing for us all pop.gif


#13 KaRiL

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 09:07 PM

reponse from retric 704075 at /. re: same article:

"The "Local Memory" is the RSX graphics memory. The Cell shouldn't need to read this. The PS3 would still work even if the Cell couldn't read this memory at all. This memory is where you store textures and other graphics data."

"IMO it's reasonable to have asynchronous communication with the graphics subsystem. The only stupid thing going on is calling graphics cards memory "Local Memory". It suggests that the X-Box got it right by having one big chunk of memory that is read by both the CPU and GPU even if most developers will make the same basic split anyway."

not my quote, just thought I'd toss it in

linky

#14 pimp555

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 04:37 AM

June 7, 2006 - On Monday, European tech blog/news site The Inquirer reported that the PS3 was "slow and broken." The site claimed that massive flaws with the console's hardware mean that it is "hobbled" in comparison to MS's Xbox 360.



A correspondent for the Inquirer, who obtained his information from some guy sitting next to him on a flight to Japan, wrote that the PS3's NVIDIA-designed RSX graphics unit has a slower triangle setup rate -- a specific function of a console's graphics hardware -- than the ATI-designed part in the Xbox 360.

In an article released today on GamesIndustry.biz, anonymous developers who are familiar with the PS3 hardware have dismiss the Inquirer's article as being "entirely meaningless."

According to one developer it seems to come down to a simple question. "Where's the context? How were these numbers measured? There are loads of different ways you can measure tri performance, and just putting up headline figures like that tells you nothing."

Curiously, the GamesIndustry article goes on to refute the critiques of the PS3 hardware by comparing current-gen consoles. "The PlayStation 2 had better tri performance than the Xbox, on paper," said another unnamed developer. "Everyone knows that the Xbox was more powerful at running real games, but if you just wanted to fill a screen with 2D, flat color, unlit triangles, then the PS2 was much better at that, so it looked great in benchmarks. That just shows how meaningless this measurement is -- it's really pointless."

Hackles were really raised over the Inquirer's claim that the PS3's Cell is being "hobbled" by slow memory access -- a claim based on a Devstation slide featured in the accusatory article. "It's a total non-issue. You never, ever need to access that memory from the Cell -- I can think of some useful debugging things you might do with that access in the testing stage, but that's about it. In fact, on the PS2 you couldn't access that memory from the CPU at all, and it was never really a problem!"

Although the anonymous developers quoted GamesIndusty.biz article clearly dismiss the Inquirer's claims, they also say that were the claims accurate the flaws would be so serious that Sony would not be able to release the PS3 with that Cell chip. One developer even went on to say that developing for the PS3 has been a challenge, but that is true of all new console architecture. "Sony's giving us better tools this time around -- they're still not great at communicating and there are some weird holes in their developer support, but they've learned a lot of lessons from PS2," another secret developer explained.

Sony has not yet responded to our requests for comment on either article



From :http://ps3.ign.com/articles/711/711617p1.html

#15 KAGE360

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:39 PM

yes i saw the article at gameindustry.biz myself and i will be the first to admit when i posted wrong info. well while my source wasnt entirely accurate, the slide was. it was just a misunderstanding because the slide labeled the video memory as "local memory" and these were the read, write speeds for the Cell to the local memory not the main system memory.

while this does clear up some confusion, it still doesnt explain anything about the estimated ps3 poly count which i would still like to know.

also the there is part of the article which states about how the ps3 and 360 will end up being the same in programming (he also refers to difficulty which makes me question how much he really knows) which further proves that this wont be a technology battle like sony originally stated.




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