Whereas ATI developed the graphics processors for both the Xbox 360 and Wii, nVidia is responsible for the RSX Reality Synthesizer chip in the PlayStation 3. It was widely publicised by nVidia back in 2005 that the RSX GPU would be more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultras in SLI, but considering that the 6800 Ultra was launched three years ago, that’s nothing to sing and dance about anymore. The RSX GPU is a very close relation to nVidia’s GeForce 7800 GTX PC part, which was a pretty stunning graphics solution in its day. But even the 7800 GTX is almost two years old and has been superseded many times since then. The RSX GPU runs at a core speed of 550MHz and has 256MB of GDDR3 memory supporting it.
The RSX Reality Synthesizer shares much with the GeForce 7800 GTX.
By contrast, ATI’s Xenos GPU that’s found in the Xbox 360 was actually far more advanced than any PC based graphics solutions at the time. In fact, the Xenos chip was the first to incorporate a unified shader model, something that didn’t appear in PC graphics until nVidia’s most recent GeForce 8800 chipset! So, despite the fact that the PlayStation 3 is launching well over a year after the Xbox 360, its GPU isn’t as advanced. That said, the Cell Broadband Engine has a huge amount of potential and could easily make up for the dated graphics architecture, especially once developers really start to understand how to code for it.