Xbox One’s eSRAM Too Small for 1080p Games

xbox-one-console-bannerThe resolution, graphic quality and framerate differences between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games released on both platforms has been a big story since both consoles launched last November. It was expected that the PS4’s use of GDDR5 RAM would allow it to dance circles around the DDR3 RAM of the Xbox One.

However, one developer says that it isn’t that the PS4’s hardware is so much superior but that the Xbox One’s architecture is the issue. The small 32 MB of high-bandwidth eSRAM isn’t conducive to getting games to render at 1080p.

Talking to Gaming Bolt, Rebellion Games’ Jean-Baptiste Bolcato, whose current credits list him as the senior producer of Sniper Elite 3, said that having to buffer the game through the eSRAM causes the output resolution to be small because of how small the eSRAM in the system is.

In talking about the Xbox One’s architecture and programming it, Bolcato said:

“It was clearly a bit more complicated to extract the maximum power from the Xbox One when you’re trying to do that. I think eSRAM is easy to use. The only problem is…Part of the problem is that it’s just a little bit too small to output 1080p within that size. It’s such a small size within there that we can’t do everything in 1080p with that little buffer of super-fast RAM.

It means you have to do it in chunks or using tricks, tiling it and so on. It’s a bit like the reverse of the PS3. PS3 was harder to program for than the Xbox 360. Now it seems like everything has reversed but it doesn’t mean it’s far less powerful – it’s just a pain in the ass to start with. We are on fine ground now but the first few months were hell.”

However, despite the current limitation of the XB1’s eSRAM, Bolcato isn’t willing to write off the Xbox One. He still thinks it will soon be able to compete from a graphical standpoint saying, “I think the Xbox One is gonna catch up. But definitely there’s this eSRAM. PS4 has 8GB and it’s almost as fast as eSRAM [bandwidth wise] but at the same time you can go a little bit further with it, because you don’t have this slower memory. That’s also why you don’t have that many games running in 1080p, because you have to make it smaller, for what you can fit into the eSRAM with the Xbox One.”

The narrative about the PS4 being the superior piece of hardware has been one of the more prominent ones since specs were announced for both consoles. While the eSRAM helps keep the gap closer than a straight fight between DDR3 and GDDR5 RAM, it’s still not quite enough to bridge the graphical divide.

Still, it’s encouraging to see that some developers aren’t giving up on the Xbox One’s competitiveness against the PlayStation 4 yet. You kind of got the feeling that some developers are just getting the games to a certain level of quality now rather than really getting it to the same level on Xbox One as they can on PS4. Hopefully that firmware update that Microsoft has planned for March improves the performance. I don’t want to see one console blow the other out of the water. Competition pushes everyone to be better and the gamers win in the end.

Source: Gaming Bolt

About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on February 12, 2014, in Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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