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The power of Wii U's CPU in comparison to the PS3

#1Teh evli cacterPosted 6/16/2011 4:46:26 AM
This conversation will not include talk of the GPU, as information pertaining to the R700 has been discredited (and it seems likely that Nintendo has not yet decided on the exact model and specification for the ATI GPU inside their new system).

As explained in the previous topic, the 'minimum' tech specs for a Power7 architecture CPU is 4 cores at 3 GHz. There are also configurations with 6 processors at 3.7 GHz each and 8 cores at 3.55 GHz each. The fastest 8 core Power7 CPU runs at an impressive 4.14GHz per core. Of course, the Wii U is not expected to have such a beast, and all indications point to a more 'realistic' set-up of 4 cores at 3.6 GHz each. In this set-up, I envision 1 core being 'reserved' for the tablet controller functions and the other 3 cores for the system itself.

If you want to read more information on the technical specs of the Power7 CPU, please follow the original (archived) topic at: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/213-nonstop-gaming-general/59366990

But, since I can't make a valid topic by talking about my own 'estimates' of the version of Power7 inside the Wii U, the following examples will be using the minimum possible specs of 4 cores at 3 GHz each. As you will see, Power7 is so impressive that it blows Xenon and Cell out of the water, even at its minimum specification.

Well, first of all, the ace in the pocket for Power7 is that each core can run assymetrical, out of order calculations, and also that each core can do several of them at once. While it is not certain how many functions can we expect under normal 'gaming' circumstances, it is safe to say that each core will be able to do at least two calculations at the same time. Also, it does not have to wait (unless explicitly designed so) for results or instructions from another core, therefore it can proceed as many such calculations as possible (out of order, assymetrical architecture).

To put this in context, the Xenon in 360 has 3 cores, which can run 2 simultaneous threads (in order): The system has to wait for them to be completed before issuing a next instruction -- at the proper cycle. The Cell in PS3 is a more complicated story: It consists of a single PPE core, which is tasked with 'organising' and 'maintaining' the functionality of the 8 synergistic SPEs, for a total of 9 theoretical 'cores'. But you have to be careful, it it sounds 'too good to be true', because much of what the Cell can do in theory is crushed in real-life.
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although i dont care what u do with your crappy wii. but if you like scanning(metroid) so much just get a job at walmart. you scan all u want. - tlundberg85
#2Teh evli cacter(Topic Creator)Posted 6/16/2011 4:46:42 AM
irst of all, the PPE, as a processing unit in itself is pretty simple. In fact, it can only handle two instructions at the time, and it processes them strictly in order. The end result is a CPU that is technologically less advanced than Athlon64. Luckily, the PPE is not supposed to do (much) on its own: It has the SPEs to fall back on. Each SPE is a fully independent microprocessor... but even more simplified than the PPE. The other problem is that neither the PPE or the SPE has a branch predictor, which means that a lot of the functionality that would have been expectedly incorporated in the chip design, has to be provided by software. This, amongst many other reasons, is why Cell has a significantly different theoretical and actual GFLOPS calculation. Keep this in mind when looking at the following numbers, which show theoretical and actual numbers for various CPU designs.

CHIP NAME | CLOCK SPEED -> THEORETICAL -> [ACTUAL]

Intel Core i7 980 XE | 3.33 GHz -> 107.55 GFLOPS -> [99 GFLOPS]
Intel Core i7 920 | 3.4 GHz -> 80+ GFLOPS -> [69 GFLOPS]
Broadway (Wii) | 729 MHz -> 2.4 GFLOPS
Cell (PS3) | 3.2 GHz -> 230.4 GFLOPS* -> [20.8 GFLOPS]
Xenon (360) | 3.2 GHz -> 96 GFLOPS -> [well below 57.6 GFLOPS**]
Power 7 (Wii U) | 3 GHz -> 99.36 GFLOPS -> [between 95-98 GFLOPS***]

* : The Cell has an extremely inflated 'theoretical' peak performance, which is impossible to be achieved due to the restrictions on PPE (and the way it is issuing orders to each SPE), bandwidth, as well as the limitation of only executing 'in order' instructions. Hence the huge differences.

** : The Xenon essentially is the Cell PPEs minus the SPEs. It has many of the Cell limitations, but it alleviates them considerably by being a more 'traditional' multi-core architecture. Still, it's 'practical' GFLOPS number is contested. It is definately however not above the 57 GFLOPS ballpark, and more likely in the 30-40.

*** : The Power7 is a huge improvement in terms of chip design over both Xenon and Cell. In fact, it is a superior chip design even when compared to the current state of the art Intel Core i7 series, which it manages to 'beat' on the same clocks. Additionally, due to its capability to run asynchronous, out-of-order instructions, it manages to eradicate many of the problems Cell fell into, and therefore it comes very close to maximising its theoretical GFLOPS figure. Do note that Power7 was designed to be able to do many things at once without problem, and this explains its superior performance.

tl;dr version: Just the CPU inside the Wii U, running at the most basic (minimum) speed of 3 GHz per core, will still be able to outperform PS3 by a factor of at least 4:1.

And let's not forget the GPU, which is also going to be a lot more advances than the disappointing GPU inside the PS3, and you are looking at a system that could in theory be at least 4 times stronger.

Note: Reduce numbers accordingly, if my scenario that 1 core is reserved for tablet-functions is correct, to 3 times stronger. Also, if my prediction that the system will run at 3.6 GHz instead of 3 GHz, then increase numbers and potential accordingly.

*Topic originally by GreyRainCloud on the NonStop Gaming board, thought we could use it here*
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although i dont care what u do with your crappy wii. but if you like scanning(metroid) so much just get a job at walmart. you scan all u want. - tlundberg85
#3KarmicAwesomeDJPosted 6/16/2011 5:11:54 AM
This was an interesting read ^_^
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I bet the service doesn't improve. At all. Someone can sig that if they want. - Turtlemayor333
#4Solid LinkPosted 6/16/2011 5:27:23 AM(edited)
Aha, nice copypasta.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/213-nonstop-gaming-general/59412374

...No, I didn't read your message at the bottom of the post, but I figure I'll leave the link for the original thread anyway (as it's gotten up to 14 pages of discussion now, almost half of that being a back and forth about the potential CPU power).
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CM HAF 912|MSI 890FXA-GD65|AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE @ 3.4GHz|XFX HD-6870 1GB
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#5TheTTLegendPosted 6/16/2011 5:32:38 AM
If what you said is true than that is very interesting indeed.
#6KarmicAwesomeDJPosted 6/16/2011 6:27:51 AM
I like how a topic like this, on the Wii U board, gets virtually no attention at all.

I guess most people here aren't actually interested in the Wii U or what it can do.
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I bet the service doesn't improve. At all. Someone can sig that if they want. - Turtlemayor333
#7KarmicAwesomeDJPosted 6/16/2011 7:09:49 AM
I think this topic scares people :(
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I bet the service doesn't improve. At all. Someone can sig that if they want. - Turtlemayor333
#8Solid LinkPosted 6/16/2011 7:12:49 AM
I think this topic scares people because there are facts to back it up. It's not so much the rumor mill, which either side can use against one another.

And I already posted my thoughts on the matter in the original thread.
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CM HAF 912|MSI 890FXA-GD65|AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE @ 3.4GHz|XFX HD-6870 1GB
Patriot 8GB DDR3 1600|1TB SATA Spinpoint HDD|XFX 650W PSU|ASUS 23" LED LCD
#9TottentanzPosted 6/16/2011 7:21:07 AM
KarmicAwesomeDJ posted...
I think this topic scares people :(

Even though this thread seems to bolsters positives for the U, I just see it as troll food. Any speculation as of now is pointless without the facts and allow enough wiggle room for a troll to come in here to set up camp.

In any case, it will not be the power of the machine but how well developers work with it that will matter. The PS3 might not have as many issues if the developers favored it more instead of just porting 360 games to it; if you have seen such games you would note the graphics tend to suck and can be a bit buggy because of the translation.

What worries me is not the power of the U but the support. Will developers take the time to master the U's system so ports dont like as crappy as they do on the PS3 or at least make specific games for the U as opposed to the ports that the Sony fans are stuck with.
#10darkbringer3dPosted 6/16/2011 7:24:57 AM
We also need to know transistor count, it could be using a custom chip with half the transistors as the weakest commercially available models.
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Also, they are now trying to find new colors by accelerating crayons with the LHC.- Megaman Omega