"The Only True Next-Generation System"4.5 starson by anassassinoftime
Pros: Next-Gen CPU, Next-Gen GPU, Next-Gen Media, Next-Gen Memory, Next-Gen Everything
Cons: It will take a small leap of faith on the part of everyday consumers, given its probable price-point
Summary: Does anybody find it funny how MICROSOFT is showcasing their console's graphics on APPLE processors? Microsoft, which on any other day would tell you how inferior the Apple CPU is to their own, Intel-based bedmate, is going around the world unveiling their new Xbox on a black counter which, hidden within, houses essentially two Apple G5 computers.
I'm sorry - I needed to start with that.
Specifications and technological analyses are, at best, useless. At worst, they are an insult to anyone with even the slightest capacity for independent thought. It is never about the specs, or the numbers, or the "raw power". To me, personally, the PS2 is better than the Xbox. The Xbox has a better CPU - the Xbox has a better GPU - the Xbox probably even has a better fan. But, as an avid gamer and tech guru, all of that really doesn't matter.
What does matter, in my opinion, is that the next-generation wave of consoles truly do represent a new generation. It is easy for technological systems and devices to fall into a pattern of "rehash syndrome" - updating and upgrading existing products (yesterday's products) and pretending that they therefore represent new ideas (today's products). On the brink of the release of Xbox 360, PS3, and the Nintendo Revolution, the current-gen Xbox, PS2, and GameCube are all yesterday's products.
The battle between next-gen systems is not about the numbers (though, the PS3 does boast far better specs - for those of you who actually lend weight to this fact). To me, it is about which console will truly usher in a new generation. To me, the best console is not the one that makes yesterday's tech reusable today - the best console is the one that makes tomorrow's tech attainable today. The Xbox 360 will be nice - better graphics, better design, better interface - but in reality, it is little more than an upgrade to the current-gen Xbox. Improving graphics, performance, speed - such is the "rehash syndrome" technology trap that so many developers and system designers so easily fall into.
Consider, now, the PS3. First, we have Cell. There is a lot of technical jargon that could be thrown in here, but I'll spare you (and myself). The important thing about Cell is that it redefines decades-old "theory" about what a CPU should be. Everything - from the way it queues processes, to the way it handles memory, to the way it interacts with other key components, such as the GPU - all of it is revolutionary. Indeed, it is safe to assume that Cell will be the basis for a brand new line of chipsets that truly reinvent the CPU for every device, from PC's to video game consoles to even your coffee-maker. The efficiency and, dare I say, grace with which the Cell will operate will truly open up a plethora of new, previously unseen doors through which designers can explore. Xbox, on the otherhand, is simply using a more advanced modern-day processor (again, one chiefly modelled off competitor Apple's PowerPC line). A good way to assess the performance of these next-gen systems is to compare them to current top-of-the-line PCs. The X360 will, in truth, be using a processor that rivals the best in PC CPUs (all things being equal). The PS3, however, will be using a processor that is, at present, far more advanced and powerful than any available PC CPU. PS3 will introduce a truly next-gen CPU - X360 will "reintroduce" a current, albeit slightly upgraded CPU.
Next, let us look at graphic power. The PS3 GPU ("RSX") is, at present, twice as powerful as the most advanced currently available PC GPU. The X360 GPU (a remotely customized ATI project) is about as powerful as an upper-mid level PC GPU. Sony is taking an unprecedented step AHEAD of the PC world, introducing a GPU that, for the first time in console history, will actually force PC chip-makers to play catch-up. Microsoft is merely borrowing an existing GPU and adding a few sparks. Again, in my humble opinion, this demonstrates how Sony is thinking about tomorrow, whereas Microsoft is content with the technology available today.
Finally, we'll consider media. There has been a lot of heated debates over Sony's BD-ROM format (Blu-Ray Disks, one of two rival High-Definition, Next-Gen "DVD" medias under development). Many Microsoft fan-boys have gone on record saying that they would rather stick with the admittedly tried and true DVD format then venture a risk with a new, sure-to-be proprietary format. Again, I have to ask - in the battle of "NEXT-GEN" systems, which of these formats truly offers a 'NEXT-GEN" quality? The PS2 uses DVD. So does the current Xbox. In my opinion, a next-gen console that reuses a current-gen media format is, in truth, NOT a next-gen offering. Sony has made the decision to offer over and beyond what is available today - Microsoft would like to stick with what they've got. The BD format will usher in a new generation in media presentation - a Blu-Ray disk can truly be rendered in complete High-Definition, whereas DVDs often prove incapable. Sony is looking ahead to the real next generation, while Microsoft is still caught up in the nexus of today's current generation.
The downside? Cost. Blu-Ray will cost more than DVD. Two of the most powerful GPUs stacked together will cost more than just one, good GPU. A new, reinvented CPU will cost more than a reused, unoriginal CPU. But that's the nature of technology. You PAY for next-generation technology. You PAY for thinner, faster laptops. You PAID more for DVDs than you did for VHS. You PAY for handheld computers, smart-phones, and PDA-GPS hybrids. You PAY for new technology. The offset has always been that it is generally worth it. It is better to spend a little extra money to get better, newer products. You'll spend less on the X360, but all you are getting is an upgraded Xbox. You'll spend more on the PS3, but in that case, you're getting a revolutionary new product that will truly usher in a new generation of technology. And yes, you'll pay a lot for it - it really comes down to where you want to be. Do you want to stay in this generation, or do you want to venture where the "next-gen" consoles are supposed to bring us - the future.
In my opinion, X360 will be nice - but not next-gen. PS3 will be incredible - a system worthy of being coined a NEXT GENERATION console. And keep your heads up - it's only the beginning!