NOTE: I originally wrote this review for the X Box One, but it applies here all the same I want to give you an objective review from somebody who owns a Wii U, PS4, X Box One, PS3, X Box 360 and 2 High end gaming PCs. I own all the major consoles and one, well actually two, of the fastest PCs that money can buy. So, first of all I want to give you a comparison of the hardware between these consoles. Because the hardware is what makes the difference. The Xbox One has an 8 core CPU running at 1.75 GHz, so that makes it great for multitasking. It works very well. You can switch between games and other apps like Netflix, Internet Explorer or pretty much any app available on X Box Live seamlessly. It's quick and very easy to learn. Another advantage of the 8 core CPU is when game developers are creating games for the Xbone, that's what I'm calling it, they can dedicate processes to an individual core making rendering and processing faster and more efficient. The Xbone has 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. Which in my opinion is plenty. However, speaking as somebody who has been into PC gaming for many years I know a lot about RAM usage. And games are continually using more and more memory, or RAM, as time goes on. For example, older Call of Duty games usually only require 1 or 2 GB of memory between the video RAM and the system RAM. Which is not an issue on the consoles as they share memory between the CPU and the GPU. The GPU is graphics processing unit. But newer games can easily use 6 GB of RAM, on the PC. I don't know for sure how much they use on the consoles, but it will never be more than what you'd use on a PC as PC games allow for much higher resolutions and other options you don't get on the consoles. So I can see the day coming when 8 GB of RAM won't be enough, it's not too far off. The GPU on the Xbone has 768 shader cores with a core clock of 853 Mhz. The GPU is made by AMD. All the newer generation of consoles use AMD GPUs making them much easier to compare. However, as somebody who has used a number of AMD GPUs I know that an AMD GPU with 768 shader cores is medium performance GPU. The core clock doesn't matter as much, the core clock is pretty close across all the consoles so that's not really much of a factor. The truth is that GPU will have a tough time rendering games at 1080p with a decent frame rate. Many of the games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 render at 30 frames per second or FPS. Which is far from stellar. 60 FPS is the desireable framerate. Most HDTVs will display 60 FPS at 1080P. For example, if you're playing a racing game like Forza 30 FPS is going to feel laggy. With racing games especially a higher frame rate is critical. I have Forza 5 and it actually renders at a decent framerate and plays very well, but there are 3D features that were left out due to resource constraints, such as anti aliasing. The game may have a low level of anti aliasing but it doesn't work very well at all. The Xbone has a Blu Ray disc drive so you will be able to use it to play all the newest movies, but it doesn't support 3D Blu Ray playback at this time. The Xbone does support games in stereoscopic 3D but it uses the side by side format, which doesn't render as well as the standard 3D alternative-frame sequencing that is used by the PS3 and PS4. Side by side 3D gives me a headache and doesn't give very good depth perception. 99% of 3DTVs render at 24 FPS at 1080P. So most games will drop to 720p to give you a smoother experience in 3D, which can render at 60 FPS on most 3DTVs. The audio on the XBone stands out. It can play native 7.1 with Dolby Digital or DTS. The sampling rate is still stuck at 48Hz, but regardless it has excellent sound quality. However I have read that higher sampling rates and audio settings may be unlocked with future updates. Apparently both the Xbox One and the PS4 support 4K resolution video output. I want to make it clear, they will put out a 4K video signal for Blu Rays and other videos with that option but they will never, not now and not 10 years from now, play games at 4K resolution. Maybe a game like Minecraft, but that's about it. Hardware limitations. If you want a system to play games at 4K then you're gonna have to spend at least $1000 or more, almost definitely more, on a custom gaming PC. A feature that I really liked about the Xbone was that you can set it up to turn on your home theatre and your TV when you turn on your console. Pretty cool. There are a lot of other options for media and cable TV, but I haven't used any of them. For me a game console is used primarily for gaming and not much else.
I also want to talk about the PS4. The PS4 also has an 8 Core CPU, this one running at 1.6 Ghz. A little slower than the Xbone's CPU, a minor disadvantage. It has 8 GB of DDR5 RAM. Which is going to be much, much faster than that of the Xbone. The Xbone has the memory integrated in such a way that the latency is much lower, giving it an advantage in some situations, but the superior memory speed of the PS4 will give it the advantage most of the time. The PS4 GPU has 1152 shader cores, 50% more than the Xbone. This is where the PS4 takes a huge leap above the Xbone. The GPU performance is the major factor when rendering video games and the PS4 GPU crushes the Xbox One. The PS4 also has a Blu Ray drive that does support 3D Blu Rays. The PS4 also has much better support for 3D gaming. One flaw that the PS4 for some reason integrated into its console is an internal power supply. Power supplies create a lot of heat, and all that heat is going to be radiating into the PS4s case and heating up your hardware. The Xbone played it smart and kept the power supply external. If you own a PS4, do like I did and either play it upright or use 4 small rubber boots underneath to prop it up about half an inch. It allows heat to flow much more freely, instead of trapping it under the console causing your PS4 to overheat. Both consoles are fairly quiet, but the Xbones power supply has a fan that makes a bit of noise. The audio on the PS4 so far is pretty good. I didn't have the option to increase the sampling rate above 48 hz like I did on the PS3, but you still get 7.1 lossless audio and they're supposed to activate more options as time goes on.
The controllers. The Xbones controller is almost the same as the 360s, but a little bit smaller. The bumpers aren't quite the same as the 360s controller, they don't really work well if you liked to press them like a normal button, you actually have to use the side of your finger to bump them as intended or they don't depress correctly sometimes. I find it irritating and imprecise under certain circumstances. The Xbone does not come with a rechargeable battery. So you'll either need to buy one or use AA batteries. Which is what I'm doing, I found that its much cheaper to just buy a couple sets of rechargeable AA batteries and use those. I don't know exactly what aspect of the Xbones controller it is, probably because its smaller, but I find it to be very uncomfortable compared to the 360 controller. My right hand will start to ache after an hour or more of game play. So I really don't like the Xbones controller. The PS4 has an excellent controller. It's got the same layout as the PS3 controller for the most part, it also has a touch pad that works very well and a share button. The share button is an interesting addition. It allows you to instantly save a screen shot at any time or record video that you can later review and post to online social media or just add it to your Playstation profile. The touch pad, well there's not a whole lot that can be said about it aside from it works pretty well and games are going to be integrating its use into future titles. In Killzone Shadow Fall you can use it to switch between modes for your drone. It basically just allows for a few more commands to be integrated into the controller. There is also a microphone that is fairly loud built into the controller. The PS4 controller also has integrated motion control and doubles as a motion controller for the PS4 Camera. For those of you with the PS3 Move camera, you will remember having to buy the extra controllers if you wanted to play Move games. Fortunately on the PS4 that won't be necessary. The PS4 controller has an LED light on it that acts as the beacon for the camera to lock on to and track movement adding another layer of value to the already very fairly priced PS4. The PS4 controller is fairly comfortable even over hours long gaming sessions.
I wanted to talk about the Wii U and PC gaming but they made me cut my review in half. Oh well, in the end I endorse the PS4 as the best system for any serious gamer on a budget.
If you want to talk about graphics, that's not really all that applicable at this point. Graphics will improve as time goes on. Killzone Shadow Fall has excellent graphics, very, very nice. Forza 5 also has very good graphics. So at this point a comparison by visuals doesn't really apply. In the end the hardware will be the deciding factor, and PS4 has Xbone beat where that is concerned.
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