Microsoft may be upgrading the specs of the Xbox One before its release
By James Plafke on July 12, 2013 at 11:53 am
The Xbox One reveal was so disappointing that it’ll likely go down in history as one of the gaming industry’s most memorable high-profile blunders. Microsoft’s decision to revise its mistakes will also likely go down in gaming history as unprecedented. Now, in what may end up another unprecedented move, Microsoft might be revising the Xbox One’s hardware before it even releases.
For the uninitiated, Microsoft took a few enormous missteps when it announced the Xbox One. The new console would be bogged down by always-online DRM, a mandatory Kinect that is always watching, listening, and can see in the dark, a system to curb the sale of used games, and the same Xbox Gold paywall that currently plagues the Xbox 360. On top of all that, it turned out the Xbox One’s hardware wasn’t all too impressive when compared to its main competitor, the PS4 — and it would cost $100 more than Sony’s more powerful, not-bogged-down-at-all console. After a couple months of standing staunchly against almost everyone’s wishes to knock it off with these restrictions, Microsoft finally caved and removed the always-on DRM and the used games restrictions. So, the Xbox One would no longer have draconian restrictions, but still suffered from the problem of being an underpowered, more expensive console than its competitor.
Consoles don’t usually go through major hardware horsepower revisions during their lifecycle — they generally just lose some weight and use your power more efficiently. It’s also extremely rare for a console to undergo a hardware revision after its official announcement. After Microsoft relented and gave up on its dream of a locked-down, heavily restricted console, reports are suggesting that Microsoft will now give up on its hardware dream before the console even releases, and change its specs in order to not only better compete with Sony, but to better justify that $500 price tag.
The Examiner is reporting that a source claims the Xbox One’s GPU will get a bump in clock speed, and the 8GB of DDR3 RAM will increase to 12GB. Additionally, the Xbone development team is asking designers what other changes to the console they’d like to see — which comes off as a little desperate, especially considering the hardware is supposed to release in around four months.
The RAM rumor seems to have originated from the Xbox One dev kits shipping with 12GB of RAM. However, the source claims that the retail kits do not pack that much RAM. The source also notes that the clock speed increase is the result of Microsoft “giving off the impression” that this took place.
While it may seem very odd for high-profile hardware to backtrack on its announced specs only a few months before its release, we wouldn’t be surprised by anything Microsoft does with the Xbox One anymore. Whether it’s a power boost, a price cut before release, or finally removing the Xbox Gold paywall, Microsoft still needs to clean up its image ever since it got tarnished from the console reveal. If there’s one thing Microsoft will surely retain, though, it’s that you can bet your Xbox One will have a lot of games that feature marines.
Okay, so compared to the PS4 they both have identical AMD Jaguar 8-core cpu's ( APU officially ) running at 1.6 Ghz. Both have 8 GB of ram ( unless M$ bumps it to 12 GB as rumoured above ) but Sony's is faster, GDDR5 vs slower regular DDR-3 ram on the Xbone. Yes, the Xbone does have a large fast sram cache to help the i/o, but we still have GDDR5 memory vs DDR-3 here ...PS4 has the edge of course. The PS4 has a better gpu as well, Radeon HD 7870 class versus the XBone's HD 7790 class gpu.
Xbox One current specs:
http://ca.ign.com/wikis/xbox-one/Xbox_O ... ware_Specs
PS4 costs $400 without Camera, add $60 for optional camera.
Xbone costs $500 but DOES include the Kinect 2 Camera bundled ( cannot buy separately ).
So the real price difference between these consoles is $40 or so once you factor in the price of the optional Sony Camera...
How can Xbone justify the higher price here?
Simple, ram is relatively cheap ( DDR-3 ) so give it 12 GB instead of 8 GB... most Console owners are fairly "non-technical" ( not all, but quite a few are, having worked for Xbox Live call center years ago I can confirm this as fact! ) , and BIG numbers impress them! So even though the actual performance benefits of bumping the ram up to 12 GB won't be that great/noticeable, the fact you just added 50% more ram and can advertise that fact will be a HUGE marketing factor for XBone here ( can brag their console has more ram than PS4 ).
Second, they are increasing the speed of their gpu. It is a shame they did not go with the exact same gpu design as the PS4 ( HD 7870 class gpu ), but went with smaller, slower, cheaper HD 7790 class gpu ( not a bad gpu, but this console is supposed to last many years, so you should go with a SOLID midrange gpu like Sony did, not the lower-midrange cheapass gpu that Xbone currently has ). Since M$ can't or won't change gpu design at this stage of the game ( it would be KILLER if they upgraded the gpu to the same one ( or slightly better ) than the one the PS4 will be using!! Doubt this will happen though...sadly...) then all they can do is overclock their existing gpu design. Fair enough, this is better than nothing and cost M$ nothing to do it ( unless better cooling is required for overclocked gpu, then miniscule amount per console for a better cooling solution to achieve this ).
M$ has learned NOTHING from Apple... I always laugh when I see iPhone/Ipod etc. pricing advertised. The ONLY difference between the different models is the size of the storage, the onboard internal Flash memory ranges from: 16 GB, 32 GB, to 64 GB with $100 price jumps between each model... there is NO way that simply doubling the size of the internal Flash storage from 16 GB to 32 GB costs Apple $100 or anywhere near that amount...outrageous!! Yet people are more than happy to pay it!! Why? Cuz they have no alternative from Apple, if they want more storage, they have to PAY for it, and very dearly too, but they still do it!!! ...people are damn lazy and want it handed to them on a silver platter and most are willing to pay gouging fees to achieve that ( Apple customers for example ).
Storage and SIM
An iPhone 3G with the SIM slot open. The SIM ejector tool is still placed in the eject hole.
The iPhone was initially released with two options for internal storage size: 4 GB or 8 GB. On September 5, 2007, Apple discontinued the 4 GB models. On February 5, 2008, Apple added a 16 GB model. The iPhone 3G was available in 16 GB and 8 GB. The iPhone 3GS came in 16 GB and 32 GB variants and remained available in 8 GB until September 2012, more than three years after its launch.
The iPhone 4 is available in 16 GB and 32 GB variants, as well as an 8 GB variant to be sold alongside the iPhone 4S at a reduced price point. The iPhone 4S is available in three sizes: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. All data is stored on the internal flash drive; the iPhone does not support expanded storage through a memory card slot, or the SIM card. The iPhone 5 is available in the same three sizes previously available to the iPhone 4S: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB.
So what M$ should be doing is offering a few more expensive versions of the Xbone... Say for example, how about an SSD as an upper-tier option??!!
The Xbone comes with standard 500 GB hard disk drive , but, people want more storage space than that ( since it is a "Media Center" pc basically, not just a "game console" ). Many voided their 360 warranties by installing their own larger capacity hdd's...so instead of forcing people to do that to get more storage space, why not milk it and charge them for more capacity??? Worked for Apple, will work for M$ too... I know that the Xbone has a USB 3.0 port, so people can buy External USB hdd's and connect them using that port, but some people do not want an extra clunky hdd enclosure cluttering up their living room space, they want it internal...all in one box...simple...
Something like this perhaps:
Standard Console with 12 GB ram and 500 GB hdd = $450
Silver Console with 12 GB ram and 1 TB hdd = $500 ( price difference between 500 GB and 1 TB is miniscule, good profit margin here)
Gold Console with 12 GB ram and 2 TB hdd = $550
Elite Console with 12 GB ram and 256 GB SSD = $600 ( for max speed loading games etc., use External USB 3.0 hdd for data storage )
Platinum Edition Console with 12 GB ram and 512 GB SSD ( Samsung 840 Pro or OCZ Vector would be nice here ) and custom paint job= $700
There IS a market for this sort of thing, lots of people are willing to spend a little extra for a console that has more storage space OR a fast SSD in it...and M$ could milk this all the way to the bank, just like Apple does with their products...
Don't just offer a SINGLE option ( one size fits all concept ) with your console, give the customers CHOICES!! Sony does with their optional $60 Camera, why can't M$ do something similar with their storage options!!!???