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Microsoft: We Could Have Used Variable Clocks for Xbox Series X, But We’re Not Interested in TFLOPS Numbers

Lort

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Jeez guy, at least try to reference something specific with your jokes, this is just aimless ranting.
Naw i did specifically mention the laughable ps5 design that everyone hates... and the rantings of desperate forum warriors about how 10 > 12 ... .. was that not enough laughs for you ... i have a thread for you if you want more .. its called xbox power king memes...
 

Tulipanzo

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Naw i did specifically mention the laughable ps5 design that everyone hates... and the rantings of desperate forum warriors about how 10 > 12 ... .. was that not enough laughs for you ... i have a thread for you if you want more .. its called xbox power king memes...
Boy, you mean this the usual quality of your posts? Like, on purpose?
 
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Lort

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If anyone is interested in how boost clocks work, this post by Liabe Brave is really informative.
tl;dr: it works to reduce unnecessary power spikes, allowing clocks to be higher overall for actual graphic processing



Sony did tell us how their design works. The thing you're missing is that the PS5 approach is not just letting clocks be variable, like uncapping a framerate. That would indeed have no effect on the lowest dips in frequency. But they've also changed the trigger for throttling from temperature to silicon activity. And that actually changes how much power can be supplied to the chip without issues. This is because the patterns of GPU power needs aren't straightforward.

Here's a depiction of the change. (This is not real data, just for illustrative purposes of the general principle.) The blue line represents power draw over time, for profiled game code. The solid orange line represents the minimum power supply that would need to be used for this profile. Indeed, actual power draw must stay well below the rated capacity. Power supplies function best when actually drawing ~80% of their rating. And when designing a console the architects, working solely from current code, will build in a buffer zone to accommodate ever more demanding scenarios projected for years down the line.


You'd think the tallest peaks, highlighted in yellow, would be when the craziest visuals are happening onscreen in the game: many characters, destruction, smoke, lights, etc. But in fact, that's often not the case. Such impressive scenes are so complicated, the calculations necessary to render them bump into each other and stall briefly. Every transistor on the GPU may need to be in action, but some have to wait on work, so they don't all flip with every tick of the clock. So those scenes, highlighted in pink, don't contain the greatest spikes. (Though note that their sustained need is indeed higher.)

Instead, the yellow peaks are when there's work that's complex enough to spread over the whole chip, but just simple enough that it can flow smoothly without tripping over itself. Unbounded framerates can skyrocket, or background processes cycle over and over without meaningful effect. The useful work could be done with a lot less energy, but because clockspeed is fixed, the scenes blitz as fast as possible, spiking power draw.

Sony's approach is to sense for these abnormal spikes in activity, when utilization explodes, and preemptively reduce clockspeed. As mentioned, even at the lower speed, these blitz events are still capable of doing the necessary work. The user sees no quality loss. But now behind the scenes, the events are no longer overworking the GPU for no visible advantage.



But now we have lots of new headroom between our highest spikes and the power supply buffer zone. How can we easily use that? Simply by raising the clockspeed until the highest peaks are back at the limit. Since total power draw is a function of number of transistors flipped, times how fast they're flipping, the power drawn rises across the board. But now, the non-peak parts of your code have more oomph. There's literally more computing power to throw at the useful work. You can increase visible quality for the user in all the non-blitz scenes, which is the vast majority of the game.



Look what that's done. The heaviest, most impressive scenarios are now closer to the ceiling, meaning these most crucial events are leaving fewer resources untapped. The variability of power draw has gone down, meaning it's easier to predictively design a cooling solution that remains quiet more often. You're probably even able to reduce the future proofing buffer zone, and raise speed even more (though I haven't shown that here). Whatever unexpected spikes do occur, they won't endanger power stability (and fear of them won't push the efficiency of all work down in the design phase, only reduce the spikes themselves). All this without any need to change the power supply, GPU silicon, or spend time optimizing the game code.

Keep in mind that these pictures are for clarity, and specifics about exactly how much extra power is made available, how often and far clockspeed may dip, etc. aren't derivable from them. But I think the general idea comes through strongly. It shows why, though PS5's GPU couldn't be set to 2GHz with fixed clocks, that doesn't necessarily mean it must still fall below 2 GHz sometimes. Sony's approach changes the power profile's shape, making different goals achievable.

I'll end with this (slowly) animated version of the above.

See where it says future proofing thats where the xbox is all the time.

the xbox will not throttle due to heat ever .. even when run in the desert where they tested it..

all this talk is comparing the slow ps5 to last years ps5 design which was even less capable.
 
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Tulipanzo

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See where it says future proofing thats where the xbox is all the time.

the xbox will not throttle due to heat ever .. even when run in the desert where they tested it..

all this talk is comparing the slow ps5 to last years ps5 design which was even less capable.
You know if XBox is at future proofing all the time it means devs can't write code that uses extra power, right?

I'm just kidding, we know you don't know what you're talking about. You just got lost on the way to the meme thread.
 
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Eliciel

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You say MS's messaging is mixed. I say it is not and they've been clear from the start. Let's leave it at that because you and I won't be able to agree.
I agree. Thanks!
 
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Sony

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See where it says future proofing thats where the xbox is all the time.

the xbox will not throttle due to heat ever .. even when run in the desert where they tested it..

all this talk is comparing the slow ps5 to last years ps5 design which was even less capable.
It's been explained in this thread multiple times how PS5's variable clocks work and it's a vastly different implementation that traditional throttling.
I think the best way to simplify PS5's "throttling" is to compare it so a shared RAM pool for CPU and GPU, als opposed to split RAM pools.
Depending on what kind of game a developers wants to make, they can choose for scene/level specific performance on GPU side or GPU side.
 

CrysisFreak

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Bro, you nailed it, for the most part. It was a low blow for sure. For me, when it first happened my reaction was "Oh shit...no they didn't just do that". It was cutthroat, petty and unbecoming of a company who more recently tries to place themselves on some type of culturally refined high ground (see "Flute guy, Cirque Du Soleil, censorship etc). They were basically trolling. A billion dollar game company...trolling. Was not feeling that one bit.

That being said, I don't really mind the SSD marketing so much. I mean the thing is state of the art...I mean let's not mince words here. Marketing should be playing to your strengths and though the previously described example was a poor representation of Sony, I feel the SSD deserves some recognition for sure.

I am looking forward to what Xbox has to offer. I think they're already keeping Sony on their toes. Let's see in July how much Xbox can make em dance.
LMAO my sides.
It was actually good that Xbox got curbstomped 2013 because that put those guys in their place after they shot themselves in the foot with TV and DRM. That was on them.
I don't want to see that delusion invading console gaming ever again.
And Sony's troll ain't shit in terms of cringe compared to Greenberg posting sales comparisons between Halo and Uncharted back in 2009.
Or Phil Spencer saying Sony is not his competition while getting outsold and outperformed across the board.

Or the absolute worst I've ever seen:
 

Lort

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You know if XBox is at future proofing all the time it means devs can't write code that uses extra power, right?

I'm just kidding, we know you don't know what you're talking about. You just got lost on the way to the meme thread.
Look back at my post history ;)

Im one of the most accurate predictors on this forum ...

But sure attack me ... because i hurt your feelings? I guess.

you made a lame old “joke” about hellblade .. i made a more recent double “joke” about ps5 design and 10tf ( sometimes). Really not sure what high ground your going for lol.. i never attacked you personally.

It's been explained in this thread multiple times how PS5's variable clocks work and it's a vastly different implementation that traditional throttling.
I think the best way to simplify PS5's "throttling" is to compare it so a shared RAM pool for CPU and GPU, als opposed to split RAM pools.
Depending on what kind of game a developers wants to make, they can choose for scene/level specific performance on GPU side or GPU side.
i know how it works i never said anything to the contrary i just said that the max performance of ps5 is below xbox series x.. which is true.

and that ms has confirmed that the xbox has no need to throttle due to heat ever even when stress tested... which is also true.
 

Lort

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LMAO my sides.
It was actually good that Xbox got curbstomped 2013 because that put those guys in their place after they shot themselves in the foot with TV and DRM. That was on them.
I don't want to see that delusion invading console gaming ever again.
And Sony's troll ain't shit in terms of cringe compared to Greenberg posting sales comparisons between Halo and Uncharted back in 2009.
Or Phil Spencer saying Sony is not his competition while getting outsold and outperformed across the board.

Or the absolute worst I've ever seen:
i think you just proved Alan Greenberg should post on neogaf ..right alongside everyone ese here who battles over sales figures and small graphical differences.
 

Tulipanzo

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Look back at my post history ;)

Im one of the most accurate predictors on this forum ...

But sure attack me ... because i hurt your feelings? I guess.

you made a lame old “joke” about hellblade .. i made a more recent double “joke” about ps5 design and 10tf ( sometimes). Really not sure what high ground your going for lol.. i never attacked you personally.
Well, the mark of a good joke-crafter is when they go back to explain their joke and call you lame for not getting it
 

t_wilson01

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Ah terraflops, the one thing nobody actually cares about but people arguing on the internet, and Microsoft.
MHz, bits, on-screen colors, polygons per second, instructions per second, etc. Resolution and TFs are just the weapons of choice nowadays, even though they mean little by themselves. One day they'll be replaced by something else.
 
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Xplainin

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That still doesn't change the fact that there would have been benefits to them implementing a variable clock over the fixed clock they opted for.

Which is my point. In the real world, fixed clocks > variable clocks is false narrative
So tell me what performance benefits Sony would have got by having a variable clock than going with the fixed clocks?
 
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"Without hardware acceleration, this work could have been done in the shaders, but would have consumed over 13 TFLOPs alone," says Andrew Goossen. "For the Series X, this work is offloaded onto dedicated hardware and the shader can continue to run in parallel with full performance. In other words, Series X can effectively tap the equivalent of well over 25 TFLOPs of performance while ray tracing."
It's easy to not be interested in the teraflops game if you have more than an RTX Titan when your console uses raytracing 🤷‍♂️
 

Snake29

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Another day, another Microsoft talk. Their talk is really all over the place.

The way the talk, they are making it only more confusing for everyone.
 
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vkbest

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But I thought the whole idea of a better CPU was that we could now have much more intelligent AI's, unique and diverse worlds that actually "live". If we are now going to use that power to put in the GPU to get better graphics then we still basically just got a gfx bump this gen.
Yeah, and you have that, you have a octa core Ryzen with SMT over 3ghz, vs a shitty Jaguar at 2.3 maximum (XBOX X). Even at 3ghz would be > 4x more powerful than Jaguar

Anyway, seriously you think better AI next gen? lol. We have the same AI levels than PS2 gen, with much better CPU's
 
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UnNamed

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MS still have room to improve its GPU clock since it is relatively little stressed at 1.8ghz.
 

Bumblebeetuna

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I read the source interview (reading the source, what a concept!), it was a good read. Some weird English because I had to run it through a translator. I don't get how anyone who reads the interview can come off thinking it's "cocky" or "arrogant". Anyone thinking that is simply reaching for an emotional reaction.
 

Dee Dah Dave

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They didn’t need to artificially inflate their spec sheet, it’s already solid.

We will find out in time just what the Sony machine is capable of by comparing to Series X and retail RDNA2 cards.
 
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pyrocro

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leaving potential performance on the table is "simply better"?
lol thats why nvidia gpus always have one clock speed.
wait the dont ...
they dont even ever use the clock speeds they advertise. they "boost" higher
The variables and parameters Nvidia GPU cards have to account for are very wide, much wider than any console.(PC case, the position of the card, airflow, power supply etc.)
You would also notice that the clock speeds are very conservative on Nvidia cards, and any given card may hit a different boost clock.
Making everything unknown, so YES leaving "performance on the table" to limit your liabilities and not lie to the consumer is "simply better"
if you play games on your Nvidia GPU in Sahara you will get a much different boost clock then if you play in Alaska.
Having said the above, Ms is putting out a more powerful box within the limitation of their acceptable failure rate, which is a smart business decision and is just being straight up with Devs and consumers.
How could anyone think this is bad?
 

ZywyPL

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Ah terraflops, the one thing nobody actually cares about but people arguing on the internet, and Microsoft.
Actually, TFlops meant A LOT in the next-gen conversation until the 13TF ship sank on 18 March 2020. They are still relevant on the PC market where everyone with a bit of common sense, knowledge and experience knows how important they are for generating real-time computer graphics, no one is denying the reality in the Radeon vs Geforce conversation.
 

Nikana

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Wishfull thinking. MS won't even any major title ready for at least the first year. Apart from Halo maybe.

So with 3rd party and (possibly) Halo, they're up against Spiderman, GT7 R&C and HFW during the first year.
You think it's wishful thinking the Microsoft has more than ONE first party title in a year then try to compare it to an expansion/smaller experience, a game from a studio that has never shipped on time, and two games with a target date of 2021.

We get it, you bleed blue.

This post will age well.
 
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scalman

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Ms allready had better specs with their first console, and happen then when much weaker sony console just had better games? They know what happened. Maybe they will change that
 

Gavon West

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I said, GOT DAMN! The defensive stand and salt in this thread is spectacular. Sony fans up in here straight triggered. Its not like the guy is lying. All he said was that they couldve done the whole variable thing if they wanted to. The just decided not to and still came out on top. Its just facts!

Why so damn triggered? Yikes!!!
 

Ascend

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Another day, another Microsoft talk. Their talk is really all over the place.

The way the talk, they are making it only more confusing for everyone.
I don't see how they are all over the place. Their messaging is quite clear. They didn't say they don't care about TF. They are implying that they don't care for having and advertising boost clocks so they can artificially pretend their console is stronger than it really is. It is clearly a snipe at Sony and the PS5, and they've been doing that a lot lately to Sony and the PlayStation brand in general.
 
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You gotta admit that used game bit, while savage was on point and funny as hell. Loved it.
Maybe they didn't need to do the video however they still needed to calm down people who were speculating that Sony had the same policies in place.

I'm pretty sure they made the video just for kicks.
 

sonomamashine

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That was a moment I remember sitting with some friends watching the beat down of everything Microsoft talked about, and that happened, and we were kinda speechless. LIke...did they really do that?
It was a perfect launch, price, used games etc... i loved it, competition is good but when i see MS doing the work i have no problem saying 12>10 i'm not attached to any brand, when i see BS i call BS.
 
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iJudged

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I said, GOT DAMN! The defensive stand and salt in this thread is spectacular. Sony fans up in here straight triggered. Its not like the guy is lying. All he said was that they couldve done the whole variable thing if they wanted to. The just decided not to and still came out on top. Its just facts!

Why so damn triggered? Yikes!!!
you have to understand, NEO is 80% Sony boys and Xbox 20%
 

Nikana

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It was a perfect launch, price, used games etc... i loved it, competition is good but when i see MS doing the work i have no problem saying 12>10 i'm not attached to any brand, when i see BS i call BS.
I have always been more into the business side than I am the tech side. Its fascinating to see how each company tries to sell their boxes that people drool over. THat E3 was a lesson in how to not sell a console and how to capitalize on marketing when your competition literally delivers you free advertising on a silver plate.
 
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Rob_27

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I missed where different profiles are being used.

I thought the dev didn't have to do anything and the smart shift? Tech did all the clever stuff instead of the devs. Now if it's only a few % why do they need profiles.

Im trying to think of the reasons not to start anything.
 

Mithos

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I missed where different profiles are being used.

I thought the dev didn't have to do anything and the smart shift? Tech did all the clever stuff instead of the devs. Now if it's only a few % why do they need profiles.

Im trying to think of the reasons not to start anything.
If you're talking about PS5 devkits, the early/first etc devkits do/did not have smartshift, so devs use/used profiles.
 

Jigsaah

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LMAO my sides.
It was actually good that Xbox got curbstomped 2013 because that put those guys in their place after they shot themselves in the foot with TV and DRM. That was on them.
I don't want to see that delusion invading console gaming ever again.
And Sony's troll ain't shit in terms of cringe compared to Greenberg posting sales comparisons between Halo and Uncharted back in 2009.
Or Phil Spencer saying Sony is not his competition while getting outsold and outperformed across the board.

Or the absolute worst I've ever seen:
If you think these tweets are trolling then you sir are very...VERY sensitive

Edit:
Also...#firegreenberg
Hate that guy
 
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NoMoChokeSJ

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Can somebody show me in the quote where MS says they aren't interested in TFLOPS? I see it in the article title, but neither of the quotes say they aren't interested in TFLOPS. It says they aren't interested in inflating their TFLOPS by risking ease of optimization with the usage of variable clock speeds. Outside of that I see 8 pages of memes, "MS is cocky statements", and "MS message is unclear" from people about something that isn't stated by MS. If anything their message is clear. It says still we have the most powerful console and don't need to inflate anything.
 

GODbody

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Shortcomings? I think people have lost their minds in this tread. Look what Sony achieved with 1.8 TF with the Last of Us 2. Now.........imagine what Sony can do with 11 TF and Ultra Fast SSD.

A lot of crow is going to be eaten next year........a lot!!
Shortcomings, as in downclocking the CPU and/or GPU in order to keep your device cool (which in turn keeps the fans quiet). I'm not sure in what realm that's normal behavior for a console.
 
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Journey

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They do care about the Tflop advantage, they just aren't interested in artificially inflating it with variable clocks.

Correct.

I should point out that some of the key advantages of Xbox One X was memory bandwidth when it came down to performance, probably more important the the TF difference.
 

Dontero

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So MS says that variable clockspeeds makes it harder to develop games, but PS5 is designed to make it easier.
Devs are also praising and being excited over PS5 architecture.
Something can't be easier to develop for if something is varied rather than stable.
Something can't be easier to develop for if hardware delivers less power with varied clocks.

Devs are also whores who will say anything to hype up things. Just read developer interviews about any other previous generation jump.