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Posted

 

Some interesting news from this past weekend may bring to light some changes in design direction for the Xbox One though, as new rumors not only counter the previous "down clock" rumors, but also show that Microsoft is listening to developers input while they finalize the hardware specifications.

The rumors state the following:

  • The Xbox One GPU is getting an increase in clock speed
  • The Xbox One DDR3 RAM will increase from 8GB to 12GB
  • The Xbox One development team is asking for developer feedback on changes they would want to see hardware wise.

As I have said in the past, these rumors come and go and it's hard to justify reporting on every one. But when I approached a trusted source of mine regarding them... I was surprised by the answer, to say the least.

Essentially, my source has confirmed that the increase in GPU clock speed is 100% true, with the increase happening in direct response to the PlayStation 4. The increase has been a reality since before the reveal, as they have "been reacting to Sony ever since the first leaks of both systems." The news of this bump in clock speed was announced to first parties only, as they "actively spread disinformation to 3rd parties just before reveal to prevent leaks."

This is where things start to stray from the original rumor though. When asked about the increase in RAM (from 8GB to 12GB), the response I obtained was simply "I have heard nothing like that, the development kits have 12GB of RAM, but as far as I know the retail kits are locked in at 8GB."

The source also went on to state that "it wouldn't be much use given the actual speed (of said RAM)." As for current projects, they also are "too far gone for a bump to be beneficial" as many developers have been developing for the currently announced set of Xbox One specifications. He did mention that the possibility may still be there though, as the increase in RAM would help development of games 2014 and beyond when taking second screen gaming into consideration - something many developers have been focusing on.

But what about poaching developers for suggestions regarding the increase? Well, from my sources understanding, Respawn Entertainment may have been the ones lobbying for the RAM bump. This would actually make sense, as Respawn has been very clear and vocal about how the 5GB of RAM allotted for gaming on the Xbox One has already caused issues in development of TitanFall.

Like I said though, these are just rumors, and as the past has proven, rumors come and go while changing on the fly - please take all of these with a grain of salt.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/article/xbox-one-rumors-point-to-a-higher-clock-speed-but-doubtful-on-increase-ram

 

This is very interesting and even though this rumor has spawned from a developer on a forum, I can see it coming reality. The exact same thing happened just before the 360 release. This would line up with all the developers mentioning how the systems are comparable. This would also benefit the PC and PS4 massively when it comes to third-party titles.

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Posted

If true, that's cool

If not, then so be it.

 

I'm sure Microsoft's R&D team have test setups with configurations of 4, 8, 12, 16 GB of RAM.  And varying clock speeds as well

And put them through their paces with the alpha software, and then probably broken down to the pros and cons of each setup.

If this is a valid rumor, MS needs to let developers know asap. So they develop with a concrete setup in mind.

 

Would be interesting if Microsoft does go this route.  Would the XB1 stay at $500?

Or would they say screw it and take a loss on the memory increase? Or would price not matter much since the are not using custom processors this time around?

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Posted

If true, that's cool

If not, then so be it.

 

I'm sure Microsoft's R&D team have test setups with configurations of 4, 8, 12, 16 GB of RAM.  And varying clock speeds as well

And put them through their paces with the alpha software, and then probably broken down to the pros and cons of each setup.

If this is a valid rumor, MS needs to let developers know asap. So they develop with a concrete setup in mind.

 

Would be interesting if Microsoft does go this route.  Would the XB1 stay at $500?

Or would they say screw it and take a loss on the memory increase? Or would price not matter much since the are not using custom processors this time around?

 

A good question, something I've been pondering myself. However, considering they announced the price, upping it now (even if it is for better specs) will not go down well with consumers. If anything, they'll just take it as a loss and make it up in software sales like they always do.

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Posted

Memory is so cheap now. They should just up it to 32GB and throw in a GTX Titan and sell at a loss.

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Posted

The price difference from 8-12 in the quantities they are buying , would be barley noticeable.  The clock speeds increase, sounds like software changes relating to an increased clock speed.  They probably have till around Mid-September to lock it down before they need to go to production.  

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Posted

Faster RAM is much more important than a jump from 8-12GB. If the rumour about the Xbox One OS needing 3GB is true however, that might be the real reason. Only having 5GB available against the rumoured 7GB on the PS4 (PS OS 1GB).

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Posted

They really need to do more than simply increase the clock speed, as there's no realistic clock speed boost(for a console) that would be able to completely make up the difference on gpu performance. But i guess by the time they found out sony was significantly outpowering them it was already too late to do more than just overclock a little.

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Posted

They added more RAM to the 360 because EPIC asked for it, if they add more to the XB1 because Respawn asked for it then it wouldn't surprise me there's already a precedent.

 

As far as speed, it's not going to be a issue as some make it out to be.  The new APIs and abilities in DX 11.2 are meant to counter slower RAM speeds and overall hardware, allowing for more flexibility.  People should read up on the new Tiled resources option on 11.2 and how it can be used.

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Posted

Faster RAM is much more important than a jump from 8-12GB. If the rumour about the Xbox One OS needing 3GB is true however, that might be the real reason. Only having 5GB available against the rumoured 7GB on the PS4 (PS OS 1GB).

 

No version of windows needs 3GB of RAM to run and version in the xbox one is strip down so i fail to see that, even with the 2 OS. 

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Posted

They really need to do more than simply increase the clock speed, as there's no realistic clock speed boost(for a console) that would be able to completely make up the difference on gpu performance. But i guess by the time they found out sony was significantly outpowering them it was already too late to do more than just overclock a little.

 

They don't need to do jack because YOU nor I actually know what the end products are nor how any of the games will play. What needs to happen is people need to wait and see instead of assuming they know everything.

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Posted

No version of windows needs 3GB of RAM to run and version in the xbox one is strip down so i fail to see that, even with the 2 OS. 

 

It has 3 OS - http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/21/xbox-one-runs-three-operating-systems/

 

In fact MS have apparently confirmed it needs 3 GB - http://gimmegimmegames.com/2013/05/microsoft-confirms-xbox-one-os-uses-3gb-ram-5gb-ram-for-games/

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Posted

They really need to do more than simply increase the clock speed, as there's no realistic clock speed boost(for a console) that would be able to completely make up the difference on gpu performance. But i guess by the time they found out sony was significantly outpowering them it was already too late to do more than just overclock a little.

 

This could of happened ages ago, it actually could of happened before the actual release and MS could of acted on the leaked specs like Sony did. If you read any developer interview, they say the boxes are comparable in terms of raw power which gives this rumor more weight. Even Hideo Kojima has said it, who is the PS developer.

 

I'm more worried about the PS4's release due to the FPS games are reaching. There's a lot more to it than a TFLOPS number.

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Posted

No version of windows needs 3GB of RAM to run and version in the xbox one is strip down so i fail to see that, even with the 2 OS. 

...and the Xbox OS also shuts down when not in use. The original hypervisor, which shipped on Windows server, was about 1MB in size, so you are correct. But the 3GB is reserved for performance reasons, instead of having to page the HDD as much. Apps reside in that space as well.

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Posted

Let's not forget that if development units are 12GB it could be because of debug reasons.

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Posted

It doesn't matter though. Because the Xbox OS no longer deal with low level I/O, it could be significantly shrunk down in size. I can't see the hypervisor being more than 4mb in size. People forget apps also reside in that space. This is done to increase multitasking performance.

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Posted

 

It doesn't NEED 3GB.  MS is using that as a worst case scenario so that devs don't assume that the entire 8GB is available to them.  A bump to 12GB would completely alleviate that situation.

I've read other rumours that MS would just use the motherboards out of the dev machines which already have 12GB.

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Posted

Do you only prefer selective marketing bullshit? The "3rd" OS is just a HyperV hypervisor and you should read on the RAM requirement for it. The 3 OS thing is nothing but a PR spin on it.

They are reserving 3GB for the "other" virtual machine (most likely a variant of Windows Runtime - WinXRT in addition to WinRT and WinPRT). The Xbox 360 OS is very small to beginwith so the XB1 shouldn't have that large of a footprint.

So the "need" is by design and not a necessity. They can always tweak it down(reduce the number of apps running in the background for example) or increase hardware RAM.

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Posted

Windows itself has always "reserved" RAM but that doesn't mean it's in use or can't be used by something when needed.   I believe in most cases if a game does need more that apps running in the background will just be paged out and that any additional reserved RAM will be freed up for the game to use. 

 

Anyways, DDR3 is cheap, going from 8GB to 12GB just to allow for very little paging to take place even in worst case scenarios won't add much to the cost.   But it's still a rumor, I think upping the GPU clock is more than possible though. 

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Posted

Do you only prefer selective marketing bull****? The "3rd" OS is just a HyperV hypervisor and you should read on the RAM requirement for it. The 3 OS thing is nothing but a PR spin on it.

They are reserving 3GB for the "other" virtual machine (most likely a variant of Windows Runtime - WinXRT in addition to WinRT and WinPRT). The Xbox 360 OS is very small to beginwith so the XB1 shouldn't have that large of a footprint.

So the "need" is by design and not a necessity. They can always tweak it down(reduce the number of apps running in the background for example) or increase hardware RAM.

 

Why are you getting annoyed at me? It's MS releasing these marketing/PR statements.

 

Quite funny when it's about the cloud marketing/PR it's "shutup and listen" and when it's about the 3 OS potentially needing 3GB its "don't be stupid it's just PR speak".

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Posted

RAM increase sounds unlikely given that they most probably "bought" a large number of chips for 8GB configuration already. Clock increase sounds possible but I still doubt the rumor.

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Posted

Sounds good if true. But I would have thought the consoles were being manufactured by now? How late can they leave it before they have to start being churned out?

 

If this is true, then along with Microsoft's other changes I am slowly being tempted to get an Xbox One. Only two things are holding me back - games (from the exclusives shown it is still only Forza that interests me :( ) and some sort of Sky DVR functionality in the TV integration (would be entirely useless to me otherwise as I record nearly everything I watch).

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Posted

Why are you getting annoyed at me? It's MS releasing these marketing/PR statements.

 

Quite funny when it's about the cloud marketing/PR it's "shutup and listen" and when it's about the 3 OS potentially needing 3GB its "don't be stupid it's just PR speak".

Annoyed? No. Amused? Yes.

 

I didnot say shutup and listen on most of cloud PR so not sure there.

You on the other hand laughed at every XB1 PR statement that you possibly can except this 3 OS thing now. Me and others have been saying this from the start that the 3 OS term is technically true but is still PR because the 3rd OS is a hypervisor.
 

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Posted

Yeah the 3 OS thing needs to be cleared up.

 

I think MS decided to use that line simply to cut down on the technical jargon they would have to include in their pr statements.

 

If you look into it further, you find out that the reality is not straightforward. You have a Hyper V OS environment that runs two virtual machines or OSes. One is the Xbox OS and the other is Win 8. The Hyper V part isn't an os in the traditional sense, its more of a virtual os manager in the background.

 

So the reality is that there will be 2 OSes running on the box, Xbox OS focused solely on gaming, and Win 8 to handle everything else.

 

I agree with others that the 3gb rule is in place for multitasking reasons, not due to any OS needing it performance wise. I'm all for upping the total ram, it just makes it more future proof.

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As far as I can tell the 3GB requirement isn't for the OS. It's for the entire Windows environment including apps running there like Skype (both when snapped, running background tasks, or just suspended in the background but ready to go immediately). It may also be including some amount of memory for the Xbox "gaming" OS.

 

I don't think it's quite accurate to say that it has 3 OSes anymore than you'd say a Windows PC with a hypervisor installed has 2. Unless there's something I'm missing, it sounds like 2 OSes + hypervisor.

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Posted

...and the Xbox OS also shuts down when not in use. The original hypervisor, which shipped on Windows server, was about 1MB in size, so you are correct. But the 3GB is reserved for performance reasons, instead of having to page the HDD as much. Apps reside in that space as well.

Ok cool that makes more sense.

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