PS4 VS Xbox One GDDR5 RAM debate rolls on

By Alan Ng - Oct 7, 2013

If you enjoy reading about the technical sides of the Xbox One and PS4 and have been intrigued about hearing about the pros and cons of each respective console, one particular story over the weekend may just take your interest.

It’s a known fact that the PS4 will support 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, while the Xbox One will instead utilize 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Gamers and critics alike have been saying that this will result in an obvious advantage for the PS4, but one Microsoft developer in particular has been keen to defend the advantages of using DDR3 instead GDDR5.

That man is Nick Baker and he is the manager of Xbox’s hardware architecture team. He looks after all of the available technologies in the system and has spoken to Eurogamer about their memory setup in the Xbox One, which obviously differs to the Sony PS4.

In an interesting statement, Baker has actually been quoted as saying that using GDDR5 “takes you into a little bit of an uncomfortable place”. To explain his words, he followed it up with this:

“ESRAM costs very little power and has the opportunity to give you very high bandwidth. You can reduce the bandwidth on external memory – that saves a lot of power consumption as well and the commodity memory is cheaper as well so you can afford more. That’s really a driving force behind that. You’re right, if you want a high memory capacity, relatively low power and a lot of bandwidth there are not too many ways of solving that.”

What does GDDR5 RAM mean to you?

What does GDDR5 RAM mean to you?

The fact that he calls GDDR5 uncomfortable is likely to resonate among some tech-minded gamers, especially since we have heard of many stories actually stating that GDDR5 is the more beneficial memory to use rather than DDR3 combined with ESRAM.

It’s a very interesting read, so check out the whole thing over at Eurogamer and then let us know what you think about it. Do you think it will ultimately make a big difference in the graphics performance of games between the two systems or not?

Is GDDR5 still the superior technology in your eyes?

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  • Jacob S

    DDR3 with Esram is better. Esram is a frame buffer and handles a large part of the GPU memory allocation saving it from using the sdram- freeing up that ram for the system. 10mb of dram used in 360 gave it 720p with 2xAA – the WiiU 32mb of dram lets the WiiU hit 1080p60 – on it’s gen of games. 32mb Esram is the new and improved dram; even Nintendo thinks MS is smart for going this route. It uses less power than Gddr5 and creates a lot less heat – less heat= better performance/longer life of the internals, esp with PS4 lap top design. Esram has direct access to the GPU- and doesn’t have to travel across a bridge= lower access times and faster draw rates. Gddr5 runs way faster than CPU can even handle and is more of a hinder to the CPU than a aid. Games are becoming more and more CPU bound ‘multi threaded’ – you need a CPU/GPU balance… PS4 is going to fail to deliver unless the do use GPU cores for all major calculations and then there goes your GPU pwr no longer hitting 1.88tf and dropping the FR even more because it’s CPU is already dropping the ball killing frame rates.

    • John Scafidi

      I don’t think it matters that Nintendo agrees with Xbox because all Nintendos after the 64 have just sucked

  • Zakk Sinurge

    this should be simple for any layman to figure out all the best graphics cards in the world run on (fill in this blank space on your own kids) memory
    it is uncomfortable for microsoft at this point i imagine it is very uncomorting that playstation one upped them at every turn including the camera

    • George Sumpner

      “including the camera”

      Please elaborate?

    • xbone sam

      Funny, how this is a repeat of 2006/07 when people were saying the cpu of the ps3 makes the ps3 22X more power then xbox 360 with 80% more power; yet 360 3rd party games look better on the 360 then the ps3. Also, kinect is better than the eyet and thats a fact. Furthermore, sony is hardware company whereas Microsoft is a software company. Sony puts in more power in the hardware while Microsoft puts more power in the software. These to systems are going to be identical.

      • John Scafidi

        PlayStation 3 was more powerful than Xbox 360. The only reason why third party games looked the same on both systems was because they were made in Xbox 360 format and ported over. But mark my words, the new standard format for these next gen consoles is going to be PlayStation 4 because it’s easier to create the games for it, just like it was easier to create the games for xbox 360

    • Jacob S

      CPUs run on dram and ddr3. The G stands for GRAPHICS. GPU process parallel so imagine 3 lanes of traffic. Lanes 1+2 are jammed cause Gddr5 has high latency it’s ok cause it can work on lane 3 that’s still moving while lane 1+2 free up. CPU is a one lane road with a high speed limit- it needs the ram to be accessed fast/direct costing BW(1lane road). With high latency the speed drops and CPU becomes bottlenecked. Even Steam knew with ‘Steam Machine’ – but instead used separate ram for CPU/GPU using DDR3/CPU – GDDR5/GPU.

  • gilgamesh

    Funny thing is it’s stated just like most xbone head comments as either uncomfortable or you shouldn’t do that speaking of ps4’s integration via xbone hdmi or the fact esram was and is stated as a pain to program for I wish people would research this hogwash and see that it’s all pr spin and bull esram is redundent memory it does not replace fast read ram clouds is not proven and m$ has yet to release any compelling footage or specs surrounding their hard on for cloud based tech

  • Herve Shango

    yes gddr5 is the superior tech