Xbox One gets GPU upgrade ahead of PS4 battle

Microsoft has confirmed that the clock speed of the Xbox One GPU has been increased to help the console compete with the PS4.

Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer for Xbox One and Corporate Vice President of Xbox, has announced during a Major Nelson podcast that the Xbox One GPU speed has been increased by around 6.6 per cent.

Althoguh this may not seem like much, it is Microsoft’s attempt to draw closer to the speeds achieved by the PS4. The Xbox One GPU is now clocked at 853MHz rather than 800MHz, but is still 40 per cent behind the PS4 in terms of raw graphics power.

“This is the time where developers have the final dev kits in their hands, they’re really working closely with us on how things have come together,” said Whitten.  “There’s some things that have really started to come together quite well.”

The PS4 currently has a greater memory bandwidth and a faster system memory type, but Microsoft has introduced eSRAM which has a higher speed with lower latency to combat the Xbox One’s lower-speed RAM.

“Since E3, an example is we’ve dropped in what we internally call our mono driver. It’s our graphics driver that really is 100 per cent optimised for the Xbox One hardware. You start with the base Direct-X driver, and then you take out all parts that don’t look like Xbox One and you add in everything that really, really optimises that experience. Almost all of our content partners have picked it up now and I think it’s made a really nice improvement.”

This mono driver will help minimise any potential performance issues, but of course it will be up to developers how they use the hardware contained within both consoles.

“That’s the time where you start tweaking the knobs. Either your theory was right dead on, or you were a little too conservative, or you were a little too aggressive. It’s actually been really good news for us, an example of that is we’ve tweaked up the clock speed on our GPU from 800MHz to 853MHz.”

As the Xbox One and PS4 release dates draw ever closer, the two next-generation consoles are certainly looking very similar on paper, but expect the games libraries, future updates, software, apps, entertainment features and accessories to influence which console will with the next-gen war.

Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison.

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