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Video game consoles have always managed to offer exceptional quality of graphics and details at launch since they were powered by custom-designed chips that usually that could provide more functionality than any off-the-shelf solutions and also were architecturally different. However, the age of fully custom integrated circuits (ICs) is over and going forward everything will be based on common architectures, believes the head of Nvidia Corp.

Nowadays graphics processing units and application processors are so powerful and their architectures are so efficient that it is possible to create virtually any quality of graphics and visuals. As a result, it does not make sense for game console developers to spend hundreds of millions onto creation of custom microprocessors with odd architectures, such as Cell chip developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM. Today, it is easier to use off-the-shelf chips or design around common architectures to get performance and feature-set necessary for almost any product.

“You cannot make a game console such as the PlayStation 2 anymore. When it emerged, PS2 had a 100 times higher performance than the most powerful PC. I wonder whether it is possible to make something 100 times powerful than GeForce GTX 680? If possible, Nvidia will make it,” said Jen-Hsun Huang in an interview with PC Watch web-site.

Mr. Huang is in many ways correct. The forthcoming Microsoft Xbox Next and Sony PlayStation 4 are based on custom chips heavily rely on PC architecture and technologies developed by Advanced Micro Devices. Even PlayStation Vita features system-on-chip with ARM Cortex-A9 general-purpose cores and PowerVR SGX 5XT series graphics. Not surprisingly that Nvidia designed its own game console around Tegra 4 application processor, which will power numerous tablets and smartphones this year.

Nvidia’s Shield will hardly compete against any portable game console simply because the latter feature exclusive titles that only work on them. Moreover, Nvidia does not rule out any possibility to develop custom chips (featuring its CPU and GPU architectures) for game consoles, should platform holders need.

“We will cooperate with the developer of any game console. I want to keep the relationship,” said Mr. Huang.

Tags: Nvidia, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, Xbox Next, Wii U, Orbis, Odin, Omni, Geforce, AMD, Radeon, ATI

Discussion

Comments currently: 19
Discussion started: 01/17/13 06:23:38 PM
Latest comment: 02/08/13 02:24:32 PM
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1. 
Why is Nvidia even bothering to comment on this..

They lost out to AMD for both the PS4 and Xbox720 AMD must be making VERY little profit on the contracts as they would have been in a bidding war with Nvidia. And the AMD 28nm products (GCN HD7770-7850) were ready sooner then Nvidia,s 28nm tech
6 2 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 01/17/13 06:23:38 PM]
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Little profit is better than no profit, any day of the week.

Also, having an architecture out there is very important, as it creates development support. If you're using the same general architecture for console and desktop, it can only help ports to the PC where your video architecture is used.

Also, if you start using tools in the game console to use the GPU for more tasks than just graphical, it certainly helps on the desktop that those tools and competency exists. Using the GPU on the desktop is important for AMD, as applications that use them can show AMD processors outperforming even the best Intel chips.

I'm very happy, as an AMD investor, that AMD chooses to compete effectively for the game consoles. I'd be very disappointed if they were not in either of the next products from Sony and Microsoft.
7 4 [Posted by: TA152H  | Date: 01/17/13 06:39:09 PM]
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March will be the month Sony and MS give official information on the PS4 and XboxNext

Current Rumored specs based off Software Development kits sent out have midrange 32/28nm CPU's and GPU's from AMD in both consoles.

We will no for sure soon i guess.
Fingers crossed for at least a GCN HD7850 equivalent GPU
4 1 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 01/17/13 07:06:38 PM]
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You can be assured IF AMD is making it for Sony and Microsoft the profitability will be healthy and the gross margins will not be as small people may think.
7 2 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 01/17/13 09:34:33 PM]
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Yes, because companies often make healthy profits from Microsoft.

It never happens. Microsoft is incredibly cheap and thinks they are the only ones that should make money.

2 4 [Posted by: TA152H  | Date: 01/17/13 10:06:28 PM]
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AMD is not interested in low margin business, the margins need to be sufficient to pay for equipment and head counts. Many personal in active testing roles, DFT, design etc in various parts of the flow have been let go and the positions have been closed they are not replaced. IF AMD is making it, its only after getting a fair deal on margins. There is no compelling reason to hold onto any market unless it makes them money. AMD is no longer interested in hallow product wars to maintain an image. Profitability is all that matters. Some don't like this approach but its the right one from a business point of view. Especially given's AMD recent earning.
6 3 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 01/17/13 10:36:24 PM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: TA152H  | Date: 01/18/13 11:01:12 AM]
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Also, if the development for the products has already been largely done, AMD would take the business because it helps get their products out there, and improves support.


No, you have an incorrect understanding of the flow of development then. Products for contracts for the customer's specific usage is done from the start even if it is re-using existing IPs in terms of core or GPU families.

I shall give you the over simplified flow for most companies. I know of AMD's exact flow but wont talk about any specifics as its not for public consumption.

Simulation models--->Design-->Verification->GDS/Tapeout-->Fabing>First silcion-->Post-silcion bring up-->Test program developments-more design changes if needed-more revs of silicon and fabing/testing - ATE/Yeild->Fusing->Ship

People have the misconception that you can just slap in cores and GPU families as they want and/or do process shrinks and ship a product. There is way much more to it than that.

The test program development phase for example it self takes almost a year in some extreme cases or as short as say 6-7 months if things go good (rarely it does), because test points for JTAG, SCAN, BIST their patterns, levels timing etc is different for the exact same core or GPU IP when mixed with other IPs.

When its a brand new project it takes about 4 years, when its re-using existing IPs it takes 2-3 years.

Again, who ever made a lot of money from Microsoft? It doesn't happen. Microsoft is known for wanting things for free.


Thats your assumption. It would help to know how you arrived at this.

No one is forcing anyone to sign a business loss generating or low profit deal with MS.

Low margins plus high volumes still make for reasonable profits.


Reasonable profits have been happening with their GPU division already, that was not enough as they have been bleeding out due to high investments into GPU/CPU divisions to keep their advantage and/or advance forwards while the CPU division was not bringing in the profits, infact now losses. You need much more to fund R&D developments constantly to maintain you technology edge. Having barely enough profits and continuing to move forward with limited R&D expenditure leads to complete loss of technology value in a short time.

Many research and development efforts are exploratory and are never productized but that doesn't mean you stop research to avoid looses to projects that never see the light of day. This all must be born from another misconception that engineers in what ever they do always result in productizable research.

Microsoft knows they can dominate AMD, and they have, and there is just no reason to give them healthy margins. It is well known they are ruthless negotiators, and AMD is used to bowing to them, and hoping for good will.


You make it sound like AMD is desperate for anyone to take up their products. Again as I said above they don't have a ready product until the customer gives their requirements. So there is no need to assume there is an automatic loss if MS doesn't sign a contract.

Secondly MS doesn't dominate AMD, if you are getting this impression from their move into tablets with Windows 8 only thats because the world hasn't yet heard of some key developments. All in due time.

They have been doing favors for OEMs who place orders at first and when the Llanos are ready to ship they cancel the order resulting in the last 100 million dollar worth Llano write off.

No more again, they wont horde units for anyone anymore until firms orders are received. Their BU is working with the OEMs on how the new business model will work. No more anticipation in orders.

MS's supposed ruthlessness is of no use, AMD is not interested in a deal where the gross margins do no meet their minimum requirements.

You are an investor in AMD shares? You of all people should know making a small profit is not enough to sustain a large operation and team of people for a project when they should be using gained profits to fund further innovations apart from paying for head count on the project and cdovering capex. AMD isn't a grocery store where the small margins are fine as they don't have to fund development of anything they just sell. AMD is not a grocery seller, they develop their technologies.

There are a lot of ways Microsoft can help AMD, besides paying reasonable prices for the processors in the X-Box. If you think both Microsoft or AMD aren't aware of this, and Microsoft isn't using this leverage to their advantage, I think that's a naive outlook.


This is all street gossip with not much truth to it. MS is not scary tyrant people make them out to be. They are struggling in several markets and none of their alleged ruthlessness is helping to gain a foothold.

Microsoft isn't anyone's friend. Nor have they ever been. They have always used their position in the market to extract every last concession, and to think they aren't now is a strange outlook, to me.


Yes and that is because your initial assumptions on how things get done where incorrect. Now that you know the flow you must re-analyze your findings.

None of this is confirmation or denial that AMD has snagged console orders, let me make that clear. I believe some posters in here who already know me, know that I am aware of who are the real companies and what the specs are of these consoles.
2 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 01/19/13 01:43:19 AM]
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2. 
i call total bs the ps2 had 100 times more performance then the most highend pc back when it debuted? come on i would love to see actual benchmarks to cite such far out claims.
9 1 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 01/17/13 09:19:59 PM]
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I think Mr. Huang may have unintentonally forgot a few words in his statement. Here's what I think we should have read:

"When it emerged, PS2 had a 100 times higher performance than the most powerful PC integrated graphic solution available."
1 0 [Posted by: MHudon  | Date: 01/18/13 07:54:09 AM]
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3. 
if I had to guess I'd guess that Sony & MS got similar deals comparable to the deal MS got last time when they used AMD/ATI gfx which was a one time payment for designing/building the GPU and a much smaller royalty on each one sold.

Nvidia may have walked away from that scheme as their position can afford them to pick and choose somewhat.

the inherent benefit gained by AMD by snagging both MS and Sony's consoles will be with the developers immediately optimizing all their gaming software for AMD first and then Nvidia, additionally Nvidia will have a harder time getting proprietary feature support for the next few years but as they are moving away from consumer and moving to portable and corporate I don't believe they care much.
1 0 [Posted by: clone  | Date: 01/18/13 12:45:03 AM]
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4. 
AMD are champions at offering a lot of value and performance for your money. It wasn't different for the ATI brand back then and it still is true today. You get a better performance for price ration when buying their graphic solutions.

Choosing AMD chips for the next gen consoles, in the present economical setting, a wise and cost efficient choice.
3 0 [Posted by: MHudon  | Date: 01/18/13 08:01:45 AM]
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5. 
Haters gonna hate.
3 0 [Posted by: KeyBoardG  | Date: 01/18/13 01:42:26 PM]
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6. 
Yes Jen-Hsun Huang especially if company name is Nvidia.
1 0 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 01/19/13 01:32:40 AM]
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7. 
AMD has the majority of all the consoles now yet they cant even break even. People tout that its all on their CPU division, that their CPU division is costing them their profits. While this may hold some water, AMDs graphic division is not making much money at all.

They have most of all the consoles: xbox360, Wii U, wii, etc. People are claiming that the consoles are such a huge cash cow but where is AMDs profits? Every Q they divide up their segments in their company earnings report. Their graphic division has consistently posted very low earnings barely breaking even. Where are these huge margins? AMD already has most of the consoles and it is obvious that the payout barely allows them to break even.
0 2 [Posted by: ocre  | Date: 01/19/13 08:38:30 AM]
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Don't be such a fool, the profits would only start to show Q3 of 2013, if the consoles make it to market for Q4 2013.
0 0 [Posted by: ericore  | Date: 02/08/13 02:24:32 PM]
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8. 
Typical Jen-Hsun Huang. Nvidia wins no next generation game console hardware contracts -> "the age of exclusive game console hardware is over".
5 0 [Posted by: lol123  | Date: 01/19/13 02:32:23 PM]
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9. 
Sounds like Jen-Hsun Huang is having a cry because AMD were able to offer a more advanced product at the time so now wee don't have NV in any current game platforms so what does Huang do................he makes his own game platform, what a tosser
5 0 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 01/19/13 10:07:12 PM]
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10. 
Jen-Hsun Huang must have been on mushrooms when he declared that PS2 was 100x time faster than any PC when it was launched. Because I have fresh memory of those times, in March 2000 when PS2 was launched, nVidia and 3dfx already launched GeForce 2 and VooDoo 5 cards which were wiping the floor with any console, including PS2 back then. Heck, even the Geforce and Voodoo 3 were faster than PS2, and those were from '99. Btw, do you remember AMD's Athlon??
Marketing BSer.
1 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 01/21/13 08:55:01 AM]
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