(Wii U reported dev kit GPU pictured above)
(Xbox 720 reported dev kit GPU pictured above)
This is going to be an interesting bit of speculation since last night IGN announced the specs GPU powering the next generation Xbox and the net went ablaze with comments and opinions.
IGN reported that the Xbox 720 will be about 20 percent more powerful than the Wii U making it around six times more powerful than the original Xbox 360. What is most interesting about this article is that IGN also made the statement that the Wii U will be five times more powerful than the Xbox 360 which surprised a lot of people who originally thought that Wii U would only be fifty percent more powerful current HD systems and focus on easy ports with marginally better graphics.
It was already reported a few days ago that developers have received final Wii U dev kits and that they seemed to be more powerful than expected. The final GPU and specs have not officially been released for the Wii U so it could mean a lot of things. The last reported dev kit GPU for the Wii U had a Radeon HD 4850 powering it but needed to be underclocked due to overheating. The developers have said that the target specs were going to be the HD 4850 but dev kits were still being modified; which probably means size, RAM and clock speeds.
What the "more powerful than expected" statement could mean is that Nintendo was able (with help) to develop a highly modified Radeon HD 4850 or something that is the equivalent and shrink it down to fit the smaller console environment. Nintendo most likely told developers that performance would be very close to the HD 4850 but the actual chip would be something totally new.
So now we move on to the Xbox 720's GPU target for it's dev kits: the HD Radeon 6670. This GPU is a bargain bin type GPU that was released last year and can play most games at a decent frame rate at medium settings. The information when comparing these two GPU's of the Wii U and the 720 leaves me a little confused.
Take a look at the direct comparison of both cards performance and specs :
"The Radeon HD 4850 1GB comes with a GPU clock speed of 625 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR4 memory runs at 993 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 800(160x5) Stream Processors, 40 TAUs, and 16 Raster Operation Units.
Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB, which features GPU clock speed of 800 MHz, and 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory set to run at 1000 MHz through a 128-bit bus. It also is comprised of 480 SPUs, 24 Texture Address Units, and 8 ROPs.
(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)
Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks
Power Consumption (Max TDP)
|Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB||63 Watts|
|Radeon HD 4850 1GB||110 Watts|
Performance-wise, the Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB should theoretically be a little bit better than the Radeon HD 4850 1GB in general.
|Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB||64000 MB/sec|
|Radeon HD 4850 1GB||63552 MB/sec|
Texel RateThe Radeon HD 4850 1GB is quite a bit (more or less 30%) more effective at texture filtering than the Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB.
|Radeon HD 4850 1GB||25000 Mtexels/sec|
|Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB||19200 Mtexels/sec|
Pixel RateIf using lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 4850 1GB is a better choice, by far.
|Radeon HD 4850 1GB||10000 Mpixels/sec|
|Radeon HD 6670 (OEM) 1GB||6400 Mpixels/sec|
Please note that the above 'benchmarks' are all just theoretical - the results were calculated based on the card's specifications, and real-world performance may (and probably will) vary at least a bit."
Even though this is a theoretical benchmark, the specs of the HD 4850 do heavily out number that of the HD 6670. I'm not really sure what this says for the 20 percent difference in power that IGN is stating that the Xbox 720 will have over the Wii U since these specs seem to show that the Wii U's GPU will actually be the better performer. The extra power that the next Xbox may have more over the Wii U could possibly be more RAM and a higher CPU clock speed or more cores to work with, but overall it looks like the Wii U will be able to stand proud on it's own for quite some time.
Remember that the Wii was the only system that Nintendo intentionally made under-powered in specs when compared to other systems. How quickly people forget that back in 1996 when the Nintendo 64 was released, for a couple months Nintendo had the most powerful piece of tech available because the first 3DFX Voodoo cards for the PC gamer were just starting to barely make it to the market.
For the gamer that played Wii and only Wii this generation, the leap graphically to the Wii U will be as massive as the Super Nintendo to the Nintendo 64.
There were more rumors posted yesterday about the Wii U only being 2x as powerful than the Xbox 360. It seems that the comments were made by a developer or someone close to development late last year before final dev kits were received. The article posting the rumor also said that the new IGN information was pretty much correct.