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The best ENGINEERED console of each generation

PS2, 360, PS4, XB1X, XSX.

The Switch is an odd thing. Is it last/current gen? i'm not looking for an argument but whatever you think it is....it's the best engineered console. It might be "weak" or low powered but god damn it still impresses me almost 5 years on. Nintendo fucking nailed it with the Switch.
 
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PS2, 360, PS4, XSX.

The Switch is an odd thing. Is it last/current gen? i'm not looking for an argument but whatever you think it is....it's the best engineered console. It might be "weak" or low powered but god damn it still impresses me almost 5 years on. Nintendo fucking nailed it with the Switch.
Yeah the Switch is an odd one like the Wii was. There is no doubt Nintendo makes the most innovative consoles.
 
Yeah the Switch is an odd one like the Wii was. There is no doubt Nintendo makes the most innovative consoles.
yup they might be hit or miss but good on them for trying something different but i hope Nintendo play it safe and do a simple Switch 2 for the next console. it seems the Switch is the thing they've been dreaming of for years (since the Famicom) and they've finally achieved it. No need to do something radical. Put out a more powerful Switch 2 that plays Switch (1) games and they'll be good.
 
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yup they might be hit or miss but good on them for trying something different but i hope Nintendo play it safe and do a simple Switch 2 for the next console. it seems the Switch is the thing they've been dreaming of for years (since the Famicom) and they've finally achieved it. No need to do something radical. Put out a more powerful Switch 2 that plays Switch (1) games and they'll be good.
The funny thing is I believe that Nintendo actually has a really good long-term strategy even though they took themselves out of the tech arms race.

Eventually, this will be sooner rather than later.... Technology will be so good that the discernible difference between high-end and low end won't be noticeable. So in the end, a Nintendo console is going to be able to stand up to the likes of the Xbox and PlayStation regardless of its specs, unless something else is brought to the table besides resolution and frame rates.
 
The funny thing is I believe that Nintendo actually has a really good long-term strategy even though they took themselves out of the tech arms race.

Eventually, this will be sooner rather than later.... Technology will be so good that the discernible difference between high-end and low end won't be noticeable. So in the end, a Nintendo console is going to be able to stand up to the likes of the Xbox and PlayStation regardless of its specs, unless something else is brought to the table besides resolution and frame rates.
i agree. the PS5/XSX are great consoles but not really much of a significant improvement over PS4/XB1. i know it's still early but shit even i felt the PS4/XB1 weren't that big a step up over PS3/360. we really are in the point of diminishing returns. Raytracing is probably the most important thing going forward. These consoles are too weak for proper raytracing. other than that what can we expect? higher resolution/framerate? people seem to think that we'll be getting consoles soon that can play in 8K lol. what's after 60fps? 120fps? what about the actual tech behind the games in the engine?
 

Romulus

Member
I'm not sure about some of these exotic chipsets like the ps2. That thing was an absolute nightmare for developers. That's not good engineering when you make things difficult for people working on your machine, and there is plenty of info out there about the struggles of ps2 developers. It sold extremely well, so it forced developers to figure it out.
 

StormCell

Member
I'm skipping reading a lot of replies. I saw that OP considered GameCube best engineered. I loved the games for that console, and it's true that the core hardware went on to be used in the Wii console. However, there were design decisions around that core that were just maddening. The discs were smaller in capacity. The memory cards were laughably small -- I had to buy a third party card for sports games. The 24 MB of RAM were less of an actual technical issue, but being outside of the 'norm' was one more hurdle for porting to the console.

Nintendo is consistent with doing things that leave folks asking questions. Were it not for Capcom, Switch would have a paltry 1 GB of memory instead of 2 GB.

I'm a Nintendo fan, and personally I would give the nod for best engineered to Xbox with PS2 getting lots of honorable mention. I really appreciate that OG Xbox had a hard drive and was designed with online play in mind. For PS2, its design was sufficient to punch above its weight against vastly more modern hardware that was just around the corner. That console played nearly everything for a really long time.
 
I'm skipping reading a lot of replies. I saw that OP considered GameCube best engineered. I loved the games for that console, and it's true that the core hardware went on to be used in the Wii console. However, there were design decisions around that core that were just maddening. The discs were smaller in capacity. The memory cards were laughably small -- I had to buy a third party card for sports games. The 24 MB of RAM were less of an actual technical issue, but being outside of the 'norm' was one more hurdle for porting to the console.

Nintendo is consistent with doing things that leave folks asking questions. Were it not for Capcom, Switch would have a paltry 1 GB of memory instead of 2 GB.

I'm a Nintendo fan, and personally I would give the nod for best engineered to Xbox with PS2 getting lots of honorable mention. I really appreciate that OG Xbox had a hard drive and was designed with online play in mind. For PS2, its design was sufficient to punch above its weight against vastly more modern hardware that was just around the corner. That console played nearly everything for a really long time.
I believe the Switch has 4 GB of memory and the GameCube had 48 MB overall more than PS2, and less than the Xbox which had 64 MB.

Ironically, the smaller discs was an engineering decision to combat piracy. For 3D graphics, you don't actually need that much memory, particularly with their S3 compression that was built into the hardware to allow for larger textures. It's a problem that can be solved by multiple disks like resident evil 4.

Also, it was much cheaper than the competition.

These in many other reasons or why? I think the GameCube was not only the best engineered console of its day but one of all time.
 
This is a great read and the best answer I've heard so far.

Thanks. It's always tricky to define what "engineered" means in specific context because I've come to see it not just about the system architecture/visual capabilities, but also the build quality/durability/ergonomics and with more modern systems (particularly 7th-gen onward) QOL/ease of accessibility/user options including peripheral support, etc.

So for some gens, depending on what's the focal point in terms of the engineering in question, it can definitely be one system in one aspect but a totally different system in another aspect.

I agree with all of that... EXCEPT N64... that hardware had such extreme bottlenecks it is ridiculous and is the reason less than 5% of all the games on it are 60fps, while 60fps was a common thing on PS1.

This was never true, in fact that entire gen had way less 60 FPS games compared to 30 (or lower) FPS games. You only got 60 FPS on PS1 with 2D fighters (many of whom had to pare down certain graphical features), most racing games, shmups and most 3D fighters (even some of those were 30 tho).

Other genres like JRPG, action games, action-adventure, survival-horror, etc. were commonly 30 and a lot of those struggled to maintain 30 in fact.

while it had the better 3D GPU it also was held back by basically EVERYTHING else

also you can't call the N64 the best designed system of its gen when the hardware was literally the reason Capcom and many others almost completely jumped ship and went with Sony for that gen as the main system to develop on

It wasn't really the hardware per se; it was because Nintendo stuck with cartridges and the high costs (for publishers) that came with them. The only two big hardware shortcomings you could potentially pin on it were the RAM setup, and lack of a dedicated audio processor. However, if it had a CD-drive built in natively games would've been able to use a lot more textures, and if more companies wrote microcode similar to Silicon Graphics you would've seen N64 games approaching Panasonic M2 levels of visual quality by late 1997, far ahead of what PS1 or Saturn could've done 3D-wise.

Yep... N64... Another crap console... only Nintendo and RARE games were are the exception.

Uh, no. The Ganbare Goemon games, Mischief Makers, Space Station Silicon Valley, Iggy's Wrecking Balls, Hybrid Heaven, Beetle Adventure Racing series, Cruis'n series, Quake 64, Turok series, Glover, Snowboard Kids 1 & 2, Wonder Project J2, etc.

The system has quite a few good/great games not from Nintendo or Rare.
 

Kilau

Gold Member
Yeah I've been a hypocrite a little bit here I admit. I'm just having fun with the idea and it's tough to kind of parse out these generations. It just came out so much later than the hardware that the NES was based on AKA the Famicom. Sega had a system that released day and date in Japan with the Famicom and that was the SG 1000. That's why I didn't include it.
It’s no big deal, I’m just protective of my beloved Master System.
 

SlimySnake

Member
PS1
GameCube $199 for those graphics? Fuck me.
N/A wii was weak trash, ps3 was over engineered, 360 had rrod with a 60% failure rate
PS4
PS5 DE (ps5 physical is too expensive for its tflops to dollar ratio)
 
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GymWolf

Gold Member
Switch? You mean the console with the shittiest controllers ever made and a cheap plastic stand that scratch your screen? And i saw a video with the oled version where it seems like nintendo cheaped out even more...
Being hybrid at the cost of having the worse base controllers of all time, 2005 level of performance and the cheapest dock you can imagine is considered good engineering?

Are you people for real?
 
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twilo99

Member
From what I've seen the xsx might be the best engineered console ... ever. I'd actually say its actually overengineered for what it is.
 

Fredrik

Gold Member
No idea about the early gens, I played on Commodore computers, but for the others:

PS1 - Launch unit incl controllers still works
DC - Unique, online, great image, loved the VMU
Wii - Unique and small and had Commodore VC
Xbox One X - Silent and powerful, perfect midgen refresh
Xbox Series X - Silent and relatively small, the split motherboard chimney design actually works, love the external storage cards too.

Upcoming:
Steam Deck - It’s a portable PC, with dual boot capability, sd card boot, proper analog sticks, dpad, track pads, touch screen, gyro, haptics
 

MikeM

Member
PS2
Best selling console was fantastic. That mini version was wild.

PS3
Tough one. While 360 was the better system and obviously easier to work with, the RROD was a disaster. No standard blu-ray/HD DVD player.
PS3 was obviously more reliable. Brought in standard Blu-ray which would win over HD-DVD.

PS4
It was the better engineered console (except for cooling) including dev development tools. DS4 brought motion control.

XB1X
Obvious. Quiet, powerful, effective.

PS5/XSX
No winner here. Sony brought liquid metal to the mainstream, the fantastic Dualsense and 3d audio. Series X brought wild quality of life engineering to games such as autoHDR, FPS Boost, quick resume and general back compat. Yet to see any usage of mesh shading or primitive shaders. Both systems are silent.
 

Sophist

Member
Xbox was the best engineered console of its generation, both the hardware and the software, and was the first step at unifying PC and console architectures.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
With the 360 you have to take into account the RROD, and everything that went wrong, every generation SONY feels elite providing DVD, blue ray, potentially 8K graphics. Nintendo 100% takes advantage of creativity, and does it well. When they had Wii sports people went crazy.
 
With the 360 you have to take into account the RROD, and everything that went wrong, every generation SONY feels elite providing DVD, blue ray, potentially 8K graphics. Nintendo 100% takes advantage of creativity, and does it well. When they had Wii sports people went crazy.
RROD only affected units from launch to around mid-late 2007. Newer unit s made after that date had nowhere near the same risks for RROD. However, MS still had to provide extended warranties because so many at-risk units were still in the distribution channels.

Also, big lol if you're expecting ANY big-budget, AAA game this Gen to provide 8K; some are already struggling with native 4K as it is.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
RROD only affected units from launch to around mid-late 2007. Newer unit s made after that date had nowhere near the same risks for RROD. However, MS still had to provide extended warranties because so many at-risk units were still in the distribution channels.

Also, big lol if you're expecting ANY big-budget, AAA game this Gen to provide 8K; some are already struggling with native 4K as it is.
Tom Hardy Bait GIF
 

Romulus

Member
I do think the modern consoles ps5 and XsX/S are really good for the money, and well rounded. The issue is diminishing returns are very real and we won't see huge leaps anymore.
 

SpokkX

Member
Gen 2.

2600...this thing could take punishment and the damn things still work to this day without issue

Gen 3.

Defiantly the NES...the Sega systems were solid but nintendo really bought gaming back into the mainstream
and it had a solid library of games to back up the hardware which was always reliable

Gen 4.

i would actually say it was a Tie between the Megadrive and the SNES
both were solid systems and were absolute tanks in terms of reliability

Gen 5.

PS1...very simple console when you pull it apart but was actually the best made sony console

Gen 6.

Im gonna say Dreamcast..it took their learnings from their Saturn/megardive/mega cd and refined them into a sony beating console
its just a shame that the people steering the ship could not get it to hit the mark but this console was ahead of its time in many areas like Graphics/internet capability and accessories

Gen 7.

Wii ......first console which really bought motion controls into the focus again and was actually well made
and helped nintendo climb back to the top again

Gen 8.

Xbox one x ....takes everything that was wrong with the base xbox one and makes it better

Gen 9.

Series X...its Silent..much more compact and its functionality is much better fleshed out than the ps5 i think
going through multiple dual sense controllers and coil whine would really have me marking the ps5 as the worst made sony console
Agree with every choice and even the reason for the choice… except i would give gen 6 to gc.. dreamcast gdrom drive sounded quite a bit

btw anyone saying ps5 over series x is quite delusional. Series x is conpletely silent and way smaller/more compact. Ps5 has both coil whine AND louder fan - while still managing to be the biggest console i have ever owned. Oh and it looks like an asus router from 2005. Ps5 is easily sonys worst built console (behind even ps3 slim imo)
 
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BlackGauna

Member
The 360 was definitely not the best engineered system of its gen. Apart from the RROD problem and jet engine fans, there was the issue that when turning the console around while it is on, the disc inside would slip off center and get scratched to destruction. That is probably the definition of bad engineering.

I would say the PS3 was best in its gen. It was not flawless either (YLOD, but not as common as RROD of 360 afaik), but the Cell processor and especially the Blu-ray drive were innovative.
 
The 360 was definitely not the best engineered system of its gen. Apart from the RROD problem and jet engine fans, there was the issue that when turning the console around while it is on, the disc inside would slip off center and get scratched to destruction. That is probably the definition of bad engineering.

I would say the PS3 was best in its gen. It was not flawless either (YLOD, but not as common as RROD of 360 afaik), but the Cell processor and especially the Blu-ray drive were innovative.

I can't believe how many people said 360. That thing was a lemon. I think I had three of them before I decided to get a ps3 slim which was a great console.
 

Caio

Member
N64 : by far the best hardware with the best controller.

GameCube : very powerful and extremely efficient piece of hardware, and friendly to develop for.

XBox360 : a true monster considering the release date, very balanced and friendly to develop for.

PS4 base model / XBox One X mid gen upgrade, do not need any explanation.

PS5 and XSX are so close, with their respective advantages/features that I can't still decide.
 

6502

Member
2. 2600 (not had intellivision but 2600 still works fine)

3. Sega master system - reliable connector, better specs

4. Snes although could have been better without the 6xxx cpu (iirc a failed attempt to get bc). A faster cpu like the Mega Drive would have been fab.

5. PSX well balanced, low cost.

6. Gamecube based on bang for buck and results on screen.

7. Wii for what it was aiming for, xbox 360 for user experience and performance.

8. Missed

9. To be determined
 
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MrFunSocks

Banned
As a follow up to X360 being the best, the Xbox One is probably the worst designed console of all time.

They wasted this much of their die for SRAM. this thing could have been a 30 core GPU monster. They did this so they could cheap out on DDR3. Which I think was done during the time when DDR3 ram was being supply squeezed to inflate prices so they didn't even reap the benefits of cheaper memory. In the end the system's dimensions we're huge, the console was significantly less powerful than the PS4, yet somehow more expensive, had poor launch titles, a very poorly coordinated worldwide launch, and initially designed to have disc-based DRM. Even the name sucked Xbone.



So, so wrong lol.

They didn't do it so they could "cheap out" on DDR3 RAM at all. They did it because they were set on 8GB of RAM and could not be guaranteed production of the units that they needed in GDDR RAM. The SRAM was used to mitigate the slower speed of the DDR3. You're forgetting or overlooking the fact that Sony were launching the PS4 with only 4GB of RAM and then hit the jackpot in the lucky stakes by higher density chips becoming available shortly before mass manufacturing for launch began.

Had that not happened last gen would have turned out very different. Xbox having 8GB of RAM and PS4 only having 4GB would have led to games being significantly better on the Xbox.
 
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Romulus

Member
The 360 was definitely not the best engineered system of its gen. Apart from the RROD problem and jet engine fans, there was the issue that when turning the console around while it is on, the disc inside would slip off center and get scratched to destruction. That is probably the definition of bad engineering.

I would say the PS3 was best in its gen. It was not flawless either (YLOD, but not as common as RROD of 360 afaik), but the Cell processor and especially the Blu-ray drive were innovative.


I totally agree about the 360, but the cell was not well engineered when its users struggled with it. Of course you can throw enough money at most anything and get good results and thats what happened... eventually.
 

Shrennin

Didn't get the memo regarding the 14th Amendment
I’ll start with the 5th gen…

PS1
Xbox (internal memory was awesome)
X360 (the Cell held the PS3 back by quite a bit)
PS4 (Wii U/Xbox One were troubled times, PS4 kept it simple)
Xbox Series X/Switch (this one is hard, so they kind of tie right now)
 
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nkarafo

Member
How is the 360 a good engineered console after the whole red ring fiasco?

Also, the SNES was in no way a good made console. Not with the shitty CPU it came with. Plus, the Genesis/Mega Drive was competitive even though it was 3 years older than the SNES.
 

6502

Member
How is the 360 a good engineered console after the whole red ring fiasco?

Also, the SNES was in no way a good made console. Not with the shitty CPU it came with. Plus, the Genesis/Mega Drive was competitive even though it was 3 years older than the SNES.
Game performance for 360. Perhaps people should have *post jasper* qualifier (still using mine since that chipset launched with no issues).

Snes had awesome sound chip, more colours and better pad design. Megadrive definitely had the better cpu though.
 

nkarafo

Member
Anyway, for the 4th gen i would pick the Neo-Geo. A 16 bit monster that could beat even the 5th gen consoles in 2D. Even the Saturn needed those extra Ram carts to compete.

Only the Dreamcast could match it and even that had to deal with loading times.
 
How is the 360 a good engineered console after the whole red ring fiasco?

Also, the SNES was in no way a good made console. Not with the shitty CPU it came with. Plus, the Genesis/Mega Drive was competitive even though it was 3 years older than the SNES.
I agree those are weaknesses, but the 360 was still a greatly designed console... Better multiplayer, better online, I preferred the controller and UI (and it's evolution). I just think the PS3 had more poor decisions and weaknesses. Imbalances in cpu vs gpu, divided ram pools, ylod, slow loading etc.

The SNES hardware is actually 2 years and 22 days newer than the Genesis. The SNES CPU was slow, bit actually performed more MIPS than the Genesis CPU. Regardless, I do think the Genesis CPU is better, but that's just one aspect of the system. In my opinion, literally every other aspect of the system is better on the SNES.... Colors, transparencies, mode 7, amazing controller (from the start!), Better sound (yeah the Genesis has a cool, distinctive sound but all you have to do is play Rock and Roll Racing or zombies ate my neighbors and understand what I'm talking about).
 
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NES
SNES
N64
Can't decide, all 4 were great
360
Xbox One X, because PS4 Pro was just too loud
Too early to tell
Later model ps4 pro wasn’t loud which I have but I actually ended up selling an OG as it was louder than the damn tv.
I don't get how the X360 is being considered the "best engineered console" of the 7th-gen when an engineering flaw in that console cost Microsoft over $1B in warranty replacements and refunds.
Perhaps there's some lack of understanding on what "engineered" actually means here?


Here's what Robbie Bach, the head of Xbox during the X360 era, had to say about the X360 in his book called "Xbox Revisited":



In terms of CPU+GPU architectures and performance I do agree it was the best console of its generation. Getting 3 of Cell's PPE in parallel together with ATi's R500 that was the first-ever implementation of unified shaders (ATi's own GPUs with unified shaders would only appear almost 2 years later) got them excellent results, especially when compared to the PS3's frankenstein mix of a forward-looking CPU focused on FP throughput and an old DX9 GPU.

But processing architecture and performance is not what engineered usually refers to.
Ps3 fat had the ylod as well. 360 just had it a bit worse.

If you want to crown the winner based on durability and longevity, the Wii would win. In terms of a balanced and modern architecture, 360 won.

That’s why I asked, best engineered in terms of what?
 
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SlimySnake

Member
I agree those are weaknesses, but the 360 was still a greatly designed console... Better multiplayer, better online, I preferred the controller and UI (and it's evolution). I just think the PS3 had more poor decisions and weaknesses. Imbalances in cpu vs gpu, divided ram pools, ylod, slow loading etc.

The SNES hardware is actually 2 years and 22 days newer than the Genesis. The SNES CPU was slow, bit actually performed more MIPS than the Genesis CPU. Regardless, I do think the Genesis CPU is better, but that's just one aspect of the system. In my opinion, literally every other aspect of the system is better on the SNES.... Colors, transparencies, mode 7, amazing controller (from the start!), Better sound (yeah the Genesis has a cool, distinctive sound but all you have to do is play Rock and Roll Racing or zombies ate my neighbors and understand what I'm talking about).
The 360 wasn’t just doomed because of the rrod, it also shipped without an hdd potentially holding back an entire generation of games. It also lacked a Blu-ray drive which also limited some games to just 7gb. Its better than the ps3 in some ways but at least the ps3 shipped with HDDs and included a Blu-ray drive with every console. The cell also let them produce some of the best looking games of the Gen despite the split ram pool. By the time the gen ended, the ps3 had far better looking games than the 360.
 
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