Coders categorically refute claims of underperformance. By Jeremy LaMont - June 07, 2006 Recent reports from console gaming news outlets decrying the Sony PlayStation 3 as "slow and broken" have been denounced as gross misinterpretations by sources claiming to be deeply entrenched in the PS3 development process. The figures cited in these allegations are "entirely meaningless", according to these developers. Surfacing earlier this week on sites around the web, the rumor centered around an anonymous passenger on an airline flight to Japan who purported to have the inside track on some astonishing "news" about the Cell processor... according to this reputable source, the PlayStation 3 was able to perform at little more than half the rate of the Xbox 360 in the art of triangle setup (275 million/sec compared to 500+ million/sec). The rumor mill also churned out a rather damning assessment of the Cell processor's ability to access local memory. Altogether, quite a "steak [sic] in the heart" according to the reporting site. However, today comes the inevitable response from those in-the-know about this sort of thing, and it turns out that rumors of Sony's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Game news site GamesIndustry.biz had the reaction: "[The triangle setup figure] is just a pointless measurement. Where's the context?" one developer ranted. "How were these numbers measured? There are loads of different ways you can measure tri performance, and just putting up headline figures like that tells you nothing." "...the PlayStation 2 had better tri performance than the Xbox, on paper," the source asserted. "Everyone knows that the Xbox was more powerful at running real games, but if you just wanted to fill a screen with 2D, flat colour, unlit triangles, then the PS2 was much better at that, so it looked great in benchmarks. That just shows how meaningless this measurement is - it's really pointless." The allegations of slow local memory access were debunked as well. Again, not that the figures are wrong exactly, but rather in their actual significance... or lack thereof. Of a slide showing 16 MB/s read access to Cell's local memory (versus 25 Gb/s access rates for other components in the system), coders again jumped in with some context: "I didn't see that slide at Devstation, but all the numbers add up -- and it's a total non-issue," said one of the anonymous sources. "You never, ever need to access that memory from the Cell - I can think of some useful debugging things you might do with that access in the testing stage, but that's about it. In fact, on the PS2 you couldn't access that memory from the CPU at all, and it was never really a problem!" Another developer concurred with the assessment, illuminating the limited usefulness of that particular bandwidth. "I can see a couple of reasons why you might want to use it," he is quoted. "But really, they're pretty obscure, and you could probably do them on the RSX anyway, since it's quite flexible." The developers indicate that the faster (and more relevant) memory access bandwidth is really sufficient for any practical usage anyway: "...If you really need to access video memory from the Cell, you can use the RSX to copy it over into main memory really quickly - it's all there on the slide," they said. When put in context with other reports on PSINext and elsewhere, PlayStation 3 is really on track to be one of the more convenient and well-supported development experiences thus far. In this case, the sources agree. In comparison to the uber-successful PlayStation 2, PS3 seems to be stacking up quite nicely. "I'd say PS3 was a challenge to work on, but every new platform takes a while to get used to," reflected one of the informants. "Put it like this, I worked on early PS2 games, and those were a real nightmare - we're getting code up and running on PS3 much faster than we did last time around." He continued: "Once people start doing really impressive stuff on PS3 and Xbox 360, they're both going to be much the same. Sony's giving us better tools this time around - they're still not great at communicating and there are some weird holes in their developer support, but they've learned a lot of lessons from PS2." So, once again, the internet is left to simmer and calm itself... until next week, of course, when accusations of stolen (and broken!) Etch-A-sketch technology rock your world. See you then. http://psinext.e-mpire.com/index.php?categoryid=17&m_articles_articleid=584 The Inquire on Fire como sempre.