The time where a console at launch could match a mid-level gaming PC is long gone and, according to Nvidia’s senior vice president of content and technology,Tony Tamasi, it’s not coming back.
“It’s no longer possible for a console to be a better or more capable graphics platform than the PC,” Tamasi told PC Power Play. “Certainly with the first PlayStation and PlayStation 2, in that era there weren’t really good graphics on the PC. Around the time of the PS2 is when 3D really started coming to the PC, but before that time 3D was the domain of Silicon Graphics and other 3D workstations. Sony, Sega or Nintendo could invest in bringing 3D graphics to a consumer platform. In fact, the PS2 was faster than a PC.
“By the time of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the consoles were on par with the PC If you look inside those boxes, they’re both powered by graphics technology by AMD or NVIDIA, because by that time all the graphics innovation was being done by PC graphics companies,” he added. “Sony and Microsoft simply can’t afford to spend that kind of money. They just don’t have the investment capacity to match the PC guys; we can do it thanks to economy of scale, as we sell hundreds of millions of chips, year after year.”
Of course, Tamasi has a vested interest in knocking this generation of consoles. Neither of them are running Nvidia technology. AMD outbid Nvidia to power both the Xbox One and Playstation 4. It’s hard to fault his logic, though.
“Everything is limited by power these days,” Tamasi continued. “If you want to go faster, you need a more efficient design or a bigger power supply. The laws of physics dictate that the amount of performance you’re going to get from graphics is a function of the efficiency of the architecture, and how much power budget you’re willing to give it. […] The consoles have power budgets of only 200 or 300 Watts, so they can put them in the living room, using small fans for cooling, yet run quietly and cool. And that’s always going to be less capable than a PC, where we spend 250W just on the GPU. There’s no way a 200W Xbox is going to be beat a 1000W PC.”
Even AMD aren’t talking in terms of PC-beating technology. Instead, they’re touting how their chips in consoles will improve their card’s performance in PCs.
Nvidia are all over the news today. They’re friends with Linux at long last.