The hardware battle between Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One would seem, on paper at least, to be in Sony's favor. While both next-generation game consoles use AMD processors, the PS4's chip has 1152 GPU cores that are capable of generating 1.84 teraflops. The Xbox One GPU has 768 GPU cores that can only manage 1.23 teraflops. That means the PS4 should be able to outperform the Xbox One by 50 percent, in GPU performance.
That's the theory. In practice, the performance difference between the two systems in terms of the same game for both platforms may not be quite as large as the numbers suggest. Eurogamer reports that their Digital Foundry team decided to perform an experiment by building PC rigs with hardware that are based on the same basic AMD architecture as the PS4 and Xbox One.
After the rigs were built, several PC gaming benchmarks were run on both systems. The result was that while the system with the approximate PS4 hardware specs generated higher frames per second on those benchmarks than the rig with the Xbox One hardware, they didn't come close to a 50 percent increase. Indeed the percentages were between 17.6 and 33 percent.
The team then ran the PC version of Crysis 3 on both systems, since that game is perhaps the closest in terms of a next-generation console title that is currently available. Both rigs ran the game first with full 1080p resolution and in that test the PS4 test rig had only a 19.3 increase in frame rate compared to the Xbox One PC rig.
While the article admits it's still too early to come to any firm conclusions, they do say that for the launch period of both consoles, the differences between PS4 game performance and their Xbox One counterparts will likely be minimal. The hardware performance of both consoles may only manifest themselves in games during the third year of their lifecycles as developers learn to use more of their capabilities.