Dreamcast and PS2 Specifications in Detail [LONG!]

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D. Cousins

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Oct 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/13/99
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OK, people have been spouting this that an the other thing about PS2 and DC.
Few people have bothered with nailing down any specifics, and making good
comparisons, so here I go. What entails is a complete run down of the
technical specifications of both machines, and personal notes and
explanations of each section. I encourage anyone who wants to enter the "My
system is better", to relate to this as a basis, and add their machines (I
don't have any N64 specifics yet, nor anything on the Dolphin). I don't know
if this should be expanded to be an end-all be-all comparison, so for now,
I'm just limiting to the two major ones in the immediate future.

PlayStation2 (PS2) vs. Dreamcast (DC)

Suggested Retail Price (Japan)
PS2: 39,800 Yen (March 4, 2000, estimate about $299US by release in late
2000)
DC: 19,900 Yen (Current, estimate about $149US by early/mid 2000)
Notes: Sega's hardware is much simpler, and their profit margin is much
higher on a per machine basis. Expect Sega to bring down prices upon PS2's
launch.

Media:
PS2: CD (660Mb) DVD (5.4Gb)
DC: CD (660Mb) GD (1.2Gb)
Note: While GD has more space and is cheaper to produce than CD's, DVD
has the edge is just raw amount of space. When double density DVD's come
around, the capacity will grow to 8.5Gb. Double sided DVD's will still
require flipping, so is no less convenient than having two GD's.

Interfaces:
PS2: 2 x Controllers, 2 x Memory Cards, AV Output, Digital Output, 2 x
USB Ports, I-Link (IEEE1394), Type III PCMCIA
DC: 4 x Controllers (each controller has two spaces for add-ons), AV
Output, Serial I/O, Expansion Connector
Note: The VMU is a great idea, and the four controllers is a must in
current hardware design. Some people speculate that Sony may up the number
or ports to four, but nothing has officially come forth. The USB, IEEE and
PCMCIA ports add additional complexity and cost to the PS2 and pulls it a
bit further away from the "pure" console market. The Sega expansion
connector is more flexible than PCMCIA and far less costly due to larger
packaging. The to be released Zip drive adds USB to the DC, as well as huge
amounts of storage space.

CPU:
PS2: 128-bit "Emotion Engine*", 294.912 MHz (300MIPs, 6.2GFLOPS), 32-bit
MIPS R4K/IOP (50MIPs)
DC: 128-bit Hitachi SH4 200MHz (360MIPS, 1.4GFLOPS)
Note:The 6.2 GFLOPS in the Emotion Engine (EE) accounts for the ten
multiply and accumulate units, four divide units and two vector units, which
artificially inflates the FLOPS count, which is normally measured across all
fpu functions, including transcendental. This limits the PS2's floating
point ability, even with regards to 3D geometry. Advanced math routines are
beyond the simple multiply and divides, slowing performance in regards to
anything non-3D (like physics modeling, and AI routines). The somewhat
poorer MIPS performance is enhanced ever-so-slightly by the MIPS processor.
The SH4 is a tad faster in integer performance, but suffers in the math
department. Like the EE, the SH4 incorporates a multiply-and-accumulate
engine, but only one. It has a vector engine as well and a more
"traditional" FPU, allowing for greater flexibility. Additionally, unlike
the EE, very little of the 3D processing is done by the CPU. See table:
Bezier Curve Conversion into polygon strips: PS2 CPU, DC CPU
Transformation & Rotation in 3D space: PS2 CPU, DC CPU
Perspective Transformation (3D to 2D conversion): PS2 CPU, DC PowerVR
Clipping (screen edge) and Sorting (to reduce z-buffer abuse): PS2 CPU,
DC PowerVR
Lighting: PS2 CPU (basic lit surfaces, software volumes), DC PowerVR
(also volumetric lights and shadows)
Fog: PS2 CPU/GS (hardware alpha blending, mask generated by CPU), DC
PowerVR (including volumetric effects like smoke and variable fog)
Filtering, Rendering, etc: PS: GS, DC: PowerVR

As you can see, the PS main CPU has to do everything except the final
rendering. This means that the SH4 is freed up to do other tasks, while the
EE spends a lot of it's time handling 3D geometry. For more information, see
the graphics section below.

RAM:
PS2: 40Mb Total; (32Mb Main Memory, 4Mb Video "Cache", 2Mb Sound, 2Mb
IOP Memory)
DC: 26Mb Total; (16Mb Main Memory, 8Mb Video, 2Mb Sound)
Note: The PS2 has the edge here, allowing for more complex games to be
programmed. The 2Mb IOP memory is for the PS MIPS CPU. The only weak area is
the 4Mb of video "cache". Since the PS2 uses z buffers, the largest screen
is about 640x400 (not 480, like the Dreamcast) at 32-bit colour. This would
also preclude the ability to hold texturemaps, since a 640x400x32b screen
would eat up the whole 4Mb. Thus textures have to be offloaded to system
ram, and pulled up as they are needed. This is potentially a big slow down,
since the EE and GS must now fight for system ram. The bandwidth required
for effective rendering can eat up the whole bandwidth available to system
RAM, locking the CPU out. This is but one area where the PS2 is hard to
program for. At 512x384x32b the PS2 uses 1.5Mb of video RAM for the frame
buffer and z buffer, allowing for more texturemap space. Expect a lot of
early PS2 games to be lower res until programmer can better deal with bus
contention.
The DC employs 8:1 texture compression, and has twice the video RAM.
Additionally, the PowerVR does not use z-buffers, and eliminates over draw,
reducing bandwidth requirements (see below for more details). At 8Mb, a
640x480x32b image consumes 1.2Mb of video RAM, leaving 6.8Mb for textures
and shape data. With compression, this could easily be equivalent to 56Mb of
video RAM. The PS2's implementation of compression is limited to MPEG2 only,
and uses considerable CPU resources, so it is not effective for in-game
animated textures, or texture compression.

Drive:
PS2: 24x CD-ROM/4x DVD
DC: 12x CD-ROM
Note: PS2 wins here, being twice as fast as the DC. Keep in mind though,
that on PC's, CD's rarely have the opportunity to achieve 24x, let alone
12x. The DC's CD as 12x is fast enough to make load times very small (Sonic
Adventure levels load in about 1-2 seconds), to the PS would reduce it to
about 1/2 to 1 second for similar amounts of data. In DVD mode, the transfer
rates are a but higher (about the same as a 44xCDROM), cutting loading times
to the sub-second. Expect many first-gen PS2 games to be released on CD and
"backwards compatible with PS" (ie: game is made for the PS, with PS2
improvements)

Sound:
PS2: 48 Channel, SPU2 (Yamaha?)
DC: Yamaha "Super Intelligent Sound Processor", 64 Channel, Hardware 3D
sound
Note: Little is known about the PS2's sound engine. Though I would
expect, that under ordinary operation, the MIPS processor handles DSP and
sound effects, whereas the DC's sound chip has onboard support for 3D sound,
and DSP effects. The PS2 would ultimately be more flexible. As an aside,
note how the older CPU is delegated to I/O and Sound. Sound familiar (hint:
Motorola 68000)


Graphics:
PS2:Sony Custom Graphics Synthesizer, 32bit colour, 32bit Z-buffer,
Built-in functions (texture mapping, bump mapping, linear fogging,
alpha-blending, bi- and tri-linear filtering, mip mapping, anti aliasing,
multipass rendering up to 16 channels), 2.4gigapixel fill rate (pixel
overdraw reduces practical rendering speed to less than 600fps), 75 million
polygons per second peak* (no effects, "very small polygons"), 25million
polygon's per second (effects enabled, 48-pixel quad), 18.75 million 2D
sprites per second (8x8 pixel), 1280x1024 max resolution

DC: NEC Power VR-DC (special edition for Dreamcast), 32-bit colour
(optional 16-bit dithered output to frame buffer), no z-buffer memory
needed, Built-in functions (full 32-bit floating point geometry setup,
hidden surface removal, tiling, modifier volumes, translucency, 8:1 texture
compression. perspective correct deferred texturemapping with ARGB gourad
shading, specular highlights, environmental mapping, full scene
anti-aliasing and supersampling, bi- tri- and ansiotropic filtering, YUV-RGB
colour space conversion, ROP and text and line primitives, motion
compensation acceleration, colour key overlay, per pixel table fog,
multitexturing), 200megapixel fill rate, 3.5 million polygons per second
peak (effects enabled, 100 pixel quad), 1600x1200 max resolution. Notes:
memory bandwidth requirements are independent of polygon count or polygon
per second figure, and between three to ten times lower than traditional
three-dimensional systems (i.e.: PS2), texture compression adjusts bandwidth
requirements by up to six times lower than traditional systems (i.e.: PS2).

Note: Egad. Well to summarize, the PS2 handles everything needed to
render 3D graphics, and that's about it. The EE sends polygon data (three or
four 2D coordinates, and pointers to texture, bump, light and dark data),
and the GS pumps the data to the screen. It offers little in effects, and
places the burden of rendering on the CPU. The 75 million polygon figure is
out-to-lunch, since the EE at full bore is unable to provide new polygon
position and data fast enough (about 66 million at no detail). Since the
bottle-neck is with the processor, I'll take a moment here to discuss this
further. The EE can render 36 million polygons with some effects on (though
it still doesn't do many things the PowerVR can). This is full bore, which
means the CPU is doing nothing but dumping polygons. With game physics and
AI bundled into the mix, expect polygon counts to drop. More complex games
will hurt more in the graphics department. Of course, the polygon count,
even in the potential worst case (all bezier surfaces, 50% CPU spent on AI
and physics) is still faster than the PowerVR. In fact, about twice as fast.
What does this mean. Well, look at the current DC game models. For every
straight edge you can see, subdivide it once (so that each edge is broken
into two), and that's the detail improvement you'll see. Pretty substantial?
Of course, as game developers make better use of the CPU(s), I'd expect
polygon performance to increase.
On the DC or PowerVR's side, the 3.5 million polygon count allows for
scenes of up to 58,000 polygons (about 4x's the detail in Quake 3). At
640x480 the pixel fill rate can redraw the entire screen at 650 fps. Unlike
the EE/GS, the PowerVR only draws a pixel once per frame. This is called
overdraw, and in Quake 2, costs performance of about 1/3 (that is, each
pixel is typically redrawn about three times). The PowerVR also handles
subsampling and has the video ram to do so. Games could be rendered
internally at 1280x960, and down sampled to 640x480 for television output.
This produces images with less pixelization. 8:1 texture compression
increases the effective amount of video ram for storing of textures,
allowing for incredibly detailed characters and backdrops (something the PS2
may have trouble with, or eat up valuable system ram). As noted earlier in
this text, the fpu that is on the PowerVR eliminates several steps from the
CPU's burden. And most importantly, while currently no game is known to
fully support this, the DC can use modifier volumes. Effects such as light
beams, shadows, lasers, and glowing suns are all possible with this, which
would otherwise require significant CPU effort, and visual tricks to
accomplish (such as using a flat polygon for fake shadows). Also, the
polygon per second count is for drawn polygon's only. Polygon's that are
buried under other ones are not drawn at all, nor are polygons that are to
far left/right/up/down to be seen on screen, nor are polygons which are
facing the other way (about half).

Bonuses:
PS2 will come with an 8MB Memory Card
PS2 can play DVD movies
PS2 is backwards compatible with PS (though old peripherals only work
with old games)
DC includes a 56K modem
DC uses "VMU"s allowing for micro displays on each controller, and mini
games (ala Gameboy)

Summary:
The PS2 can handle 1280x1024 that it can't display due to video RAM
limitations, has a rendering chip that can render more polygons than the CPU
can create and with a faster framrate than is supported by any monitor with
enough detail that each pixel can be potentially realized by a single
polygon but lacks the memory to handle such detailed models. An overpowered
brute in some respect, yet obviously crippled in others, the PS2 is a
complex beast, and will take a great deal of time before programmers can
utilize even a small amount of it's power. In comparison to the 16-bit
generation, this really reminds me a lot of the Sega Saturn, which to was a
complex beast to program for.
The Dreamcast is simple and elegant, and easy for programmers to
understand, and yet has several treasures yet to be realized. A shallow
learning curve with a long road makes for light travel. Of course, the
machine does lack the raw power that the PS2 has, though each component is
more balanced. While seeming limited in performance, the DC can potentially
display a screen full of 6-pixel polygons at a resolution of 640x480 at
60fps, with power to spare for special effects like real shadows and volume
lights. Additionally, unlike the PS2, the DC has the video memory to handle
such complex models, at such high resolutions.

Fundamentally, the success or failure of the Dreamcast and Playstation2
can be boiled down into these points:

1. Do developers support the machine - this killed the Saturn as it
was selling poorly due to high retail cost, and was vary hard to program
for. Only Sega themselves could make a game that pushed the polygon's like
VF2. Most developers greatly dislike the steep learning curve of the PS2,
though they do like the power available. Some developers have stated that
the PS2 compares on-par with the DC, or slightly better (over all), so the
developer community is split right now.

2. Can the public afford the machine - price point is very important
to everyone except hardcore games and loyalists. Sure, there will be people
that will spend the $300 (...) on the PS2, but it wasn't until the original
PS dropped in price in the US that it really sold well. PS2 will be
expensive, and for the Christmas 2000 season, about twice the cost of a
Dreamcast (retail). The profit on each PS2 sold will probably be negative to
sell the machine at the $300 point, which means the PS2 will never be able
to break the sales record of the fundamentally more (at all) profitable
Dreamcast.

3. Does the public like the machine - games sell systems, obviously.
The cry form the PS2 towards backwards compatibility and that the PS2
already has a library of 600 games is crock. No one will buy a game machine
for $300 when all the identical games can be played with a $100 one. PS2
specific games may be few and far between at first, until developers figure
out how to program the machine

Oh yeah, and finally, the Dreamcast is grey. No grey machine has ever
failed :)

David Cousins

PS: Every thing is measured by the next milestone. I, and everyone else,
should expect as much effort into arguing their case as I have done. This
only took a few hours, so don't complain. People who present illogical "blah
blah is better than blah blah" should be ignored unless they can present
some degree of reason. I believe that I have done so.

Jason E.K. Brown

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Oct 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/13/99
to
In article <M18N3.1490$AX.3...@news1.rdc1.ab.home.com>, de...@home.net says...

>
>OK, people have been spouting this that an the other thing about PS2 and DC.
>Few people have bothered with nailing down any specifics, and making good
>comparisons, so here I go.

Sounds like a good idea...lets see what we have...

>PlayStation2 (PS2) vs. Dreamcast (DC)
>
>Suggested Retail Price (Japan)
> PS2: 39,800 Yen (March 4, 2000, estimate about $299US by release in late
>2000)
> DC: 19,900 Yen (Current, estimate about $149US by early/mid 2000)

I think its also worth noting that PS2 will supposedly come with a memory card
which is quite large, compared with a VMU or even a 4x DC memory card. Since
one is pretty much required to play I think that has pretty significant impact
on cost (if you bought enough DC memory cards to equal the 8M of the Sony
card!) Additionally, PSX2 "rumble pack" is built in...and it isn't in the DC
controller...so for comparable systems, thats another $15...

>Notes: Sega's hardware is much simpler, and their profit margin is much
>higher on a per machine basis.

No doubt simpler, but I'm not sure they are making much at all on the system.
Licensing, and accessories are where the dough is.

>Expect Sega to bring down prices upon PS2's launch.

It'd be smart!

>Media:
> PS2: CD (660Mb) DVD (5.4Gb)
> DC: CD (660Mb) GD (1.2Gb)
> Note: While GD has more space and is cheaper to produce than CD's, DVD
>has the edge is just raw amount of space. When double density DVD's come
>around, the capacity will grow to 8.5Gb. Double sided DVD's will still
>require flipping, so is no less convenient than having two GD's.

Getting up to change/flip the disc sounds like the same amount of convenience
to me. Actually the flip would be easier, since you dont have to grab the
case, put disc 1 in it, remove disc 2, close case, insert disc 2 etc.
Compare that process to just popping the lid and flipping the disc. Sounds
like a dual sided DVD would be much easier. Additionally...a 2 disc GD game
would be 4.4GB max...a DS/DL DVD 16GB. The way I look at it, with a dual layer
DVD, you wont NEED a second disc where as you might need 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6
GDs for a game of equal size! It'd have to be one heck of a BIG PS2 game to
fill both sides DS/DL.

>Interfaces:
> PS2: 2 x Controllers, 2 x Memory Cards, AV Output, Digital Output, 2 x
>USB Ports, I-Link (IEEE1394), Type III PCMCIA
> DC: 4 x Controllers (each controller has two spaces for add-ons), AV
>Output, Serial I/O, Expansion Connector
> Note: The VMU is a great idea

I guess I'm the only one that doesn't think so. It is OK for calling plays etc
in a sports game, but I could do without stupid little mini-games. I would
MUCH rather have a VMU that held more!

>and the four controllers is a must in current hardware design.

I don't see why. Just how cheap is a PS 4 player adaptor? If you want to play
4/8 players just get some adapters. I rarely even use a second port, so its no
biggie to me. Before someone goes off on the "but that costs to much" routine,
just remember that if you want all your DC controllers to have the rumble
function...and you are playing 4 player...that rumble just set you back
4x$15=$65. This is built in to a PS DS. That $65 is a lil more than an old
used PS1 multitap you have laying around anyway!

>The USB, IEEE and
>PCMCIA ports add additional complexity and cost to the PS2

A port is not exactly an outrageously expensive add on for a system. IMO it'd
be nice if DC had a USB port on it...then all they'd need to do is find a way
to use standard PC type accessories. Want a Zip drive? No problem, buy an old
used one on the net, presto!

>and pulls it a bit further away from the "pure" console market.

I'm sure there was a point there...assuming Sony doesn't put a toaster on PS2
I don't see PORTS as a problem. Is anyone really that pist that the NES had a
little expansion port on the bottom? How about the SNES one? Or the Saturn
one? The point being, a port doesn't mean much. If you don't want to add all
kinds of extra junk to your system, you wont have to!

>The Sega expansion
>connector is more flexible than PCMCIA and far less costly due to larger
>packaging. The to be released Zip drive adds USB to the DC, as well as huge
>amounts of storage space.

"to be released"? Is it announced? What is the release date? What is the
launch cost? Also...I thought you didn't want a USB port?

>CPU:
> PS2: 128-bit "Emotion Engine*", 294.912 MHz (300MIPs, 6.2GFLOPS), 32-bit
>MIPS R4K/IOP (50MIPs)
> DC: 128-bit Hitachi SH4 200MHz (360MIPS, 1.4GFLOPS)

<snerp massive numbers game>


> As you can see, the PS main CPU has to do everything except the final
>rendering. This means that the SH4 is freed up to do other tasks, while the
>EE spends a lot of it's time handling 3D geometry.

IMO numbers don't add up to a hill of beans. I have a DC now, and it looks
great. When PSX2 is actually out, we'll be able to see what the system can do,
until then its all numbers and speculation, neither of which has much to do
with the grahics during game play.

>Drive:
> PS2: 24x CD-ROM/4x DVD
> DC: 12x CD-ROM
> Note: PS2 wins here, being twice as fast as the DC. Keep in mind though,
>that on PC's, CD's rarely have the opportunity to achieve 24x, let alone
>12x. The DC's CD as 12x is fast enough to make load times very small (Sonic
>Adventure levels load in about 1-2 seconds), to the PS would reduce it to
>about 1/2 to 1 second for similar amounts of data. In DVD mode, the transfer
>rates are a but higher (about the same as a 44xCDROM), cutting loading times
>to the sub-second. Expect many first-gen PS2 games to be released on CD and
>"backwards compatible with PS" (ie: game is made for the PS, with PS2
>improvements)

Lets not skip over the fact that DVD is superior in error correction to GD.
IMO this may have a HUGE effect on the life spans of both systems.

>Bonuses:
> PS2 will come with an 8MB Memory Card

Cool!

> PS2 can play DVD movies

I don't really care, but most people dont have DVD players so its kinda cool.
I guess the way I look at it, DVD is the best form of media right now...and if
you are going to use it for a console, and you'll already have most of the
hardware you need..WHY NOT have flick ability?!

> PS2 is backwards compatible with PS (though old peripherals only work
>with old games)

What are the specifics on this? Does anyone know? For example, will PS1
multitaps be PSX2 comapt?

> DC includes a 56K modem

Some like it...I would have prefered a port...

>DC uses "VMU"s allowing for micro displays on each controller, and mini
>games (ala Gameboy)

micro displays are quasi-useful for a few games, the mini-games are a waste of
time.

> Fundamentally, the success or failure of the Dreamcast and Playstation2
>can be boiled down into these points:
>
> 1. Do developers support the machine - this killed the Saturn as it
>was selling poorly due to high retail cost, and was vary hard to program
>for. Only Sega themselves could make a game that pushed the polygon's like
>VF2. Most developers greatly dislike the steep learning curve of the PS2,
>though they do like the power available. Some developers have stated that
>the PS2 compares on-par with the DC, or slightly better (over all), so the
>developer community is split right now.

I'm not sure if I see it as "split" or not. There seem to be many developers
that are atleast partially supporting both. However there also seems to be
some that are passing on DC and waiting for PS2. You dont seem to hear of
anyone that will ONLY do DC stuff. (though there certainly may be some...)

>2. Can the public afford the machine - price point is very important
>to everyone except hardcore games and loyalists. Sure, there will be people
>that will spend the $300 (...) on the PS2, but it wasn't until the original
>PS dropped in price in the US that it really sold well.

Sure, but PS1 WAS launched at $300 and sold 60 million units...so...

>Does the public like the machine - games sell systems, obviously.
>The cry form the PS2 towards backwards compatibility and that the PS2
>already has a library of 600 games is crock. No one will buy a game machine
>for $300 when all the identical games can be played with a $100 one. PS2
>specific games may be few and far between at first, until developers figure
>out how to program the machine

No doubt, I think its a big factor that there are tons of games that will have
sequels for PS2. I know I'd like to play MGS2, GT2 etc.

>Oh yeah, and finally, the Dreamcast is grey. No grey machine has ever
>failed :)

Isn't PS2 dark grey? Kinda looks like it from the pictures... ;)

Jason
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Lord Cheez

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
What you have presented here is very compelling and complex...it sounds very
convincing but I really have to insist how you derived this
information...are you a computer technician?

Thanks for the educational post...

Lord Cheez

D. Cousins <de...@home.net> wrote in message
news:M18N3.1490$AX.3...@news1.rdc1.ab.home.com...

D. Cousins

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
> I'm not sure if I see it as "split" or not. There seem to be many
developers
> that are atleast partially supporting both. However there also seems to be
> some that are passing on DC and waiting for PS2. You dont seem to hear of
> anyone that will ONLY do DC stuff. (though there certainly may be some...)

Other than Sega themselves :) Midway has made no comments on the PS2
(which could be taken either way), though they will continue support for the
PS1. Other's I don't know about. Those who are passing on the DC and waiting
for the earth shattering PS2 may be in for a disappointment.

> >2. Can the public afford the machine - price point is very important
> >to everyone except hardcore games and loyalists. Sure, there will be
people
> >that will spend the $300 (...) on the PS2, but it wasn't until the
original
> >PS dropped in price in the US that it really sold well.
>
> Sure, but PS1 WAS launched at $300 and sold 60 million units...so...

It didn't sell 60 million units while it was $300. That was my point.

Dave Cousins

D. Cousins

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to

Lord Cheez <lord...@rocketmail.com> wrote in message
news:7u3oui$n0g$1...@ash.prod.itd.earthlink.net...

> What you have presented here is very compelling and complex...it sounds
very
> convincing but I really have to insist how you derived this
> information...are you a computer technician?

Much of the information was pulled from the appropriate links. Here's
the basic breakdown. For the Sony, I simply went to
http://www.playstation.com and got the spec for it. Some things regard the
summaries of the PS2 were pulled from extensive hardware study in 3D design.
Some facts were filled in from various magazines that have (accidentally)
published NDA information :) Sega isn't as forth comming as the PS2, inspite
of the fact that the machine is "out-there". But the guys at
http://www.ign.com give a good summary. Then spend a few minutes travelling
to http://www.hitachi.com to get info regarding the SH4;
http://www.powervr.com for infor regarding the Dreamcast graphics chip, and
finally http://www.yamaha.com for the audio chip. Other details were filled
in with the magazines I have (as for the PS2).

Yes, I'm a "computer technician", though more appropriately an
electronics hobbyist and professional electronics technologist, and have
worked for R&D companies who build computer systems from scratch (embedded
controller mind you). I have followed the 3D world since Lightwave (1) was
released on the Amiga, so many years ago. Nothing here was made up, though
my opinion is obvious in the "Note:" sections.

>
> Thanks for the educational post...

Your welcome :)

> Lord Cheez

Dave Cousins

D. Cousins

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
More specifics on the PS2. Some people were asking (or commenting) on
some more "real world" figures, since the MIPS and poly's per second can be
very misleading (which in the case of the PS2 vs. DC, they are). So here are
some PS2 numbers to crunch:

In the "head" demo, the following numbers can be seen:

EE: 31% to 32%
GS: 49% to 56%
Vertices: 76857
Rate: 1/60

Thus, at 31.5% EE (Emotion Engine, the CPU of the PS2) usage and 52.5%
GS (Graphics Synthesiser, the rendering chip) usage, the hardware can handle
a model of about 76,857 verticies while maintaining a frame rate of 60fps.
That detail level is about 5-6 times the detail seen in an average Quake2
level. Peak GS power could allow for up to 146,400 polygon's per frame
(total world detail about 10x's that of Quake2), or 8.8 million polygon's
per second. This would utilise about 60% of the CPU's resources, leaving a
small amount for basic AI and physics, etc. Of course, many effects arn't
present in the demo, which, of course, would require more CPU usage.
Now, until I have some number for some Dreamcast games, heres a
breakdown: a single vertex is rotated and transformed by multipling by a 4x4
matrix three times (once for each rotation of an axis), resulting in 27
multiplies and 27 adds (totally unoptimised code). That's 54FLOPS per vertex
or 29.6 million vertexes per second. Thus, at peak Graphics performance of
3.5 million polygon's per second, the CPU is at about 12% usage, leaving 88%
for AI, physics, etc.

Dave Cousins

Justin Larkin

unread,
Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
just one thing to say thew PS2 is black. and also PS2 is gonna be an online
capable system because square has already anounced Final Fantasy online for
the PS2..!!! YEAH!!!

Jason E.K. Brown <jekb...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:38053...@news.pacifier.com...

Pierre Roberge

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
Very interesting post. You could write for http://www.firingsquad.com.
Very easy to understand.

Sony likes to shout big numbers to attract attention. I heard that they
claimed the PS1 was pushing 4 millions polygons/sec.

Specs don't mean much by themselves, the whole console must be taken into
consideration (bus, memory, etc). I expect the PS2 to be a bit better than
the dreamcast, as much maybe as the N64 compared to PS1, which is not that
much.

Thanks for the reality check.

Pierre

D. Cousins <de...@home.net> wrote in message
news:M18N3.1490$AX.3...@news1.rdc1.ab.home.com...

James Davies

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
to
Excellent post David. I'm an electronic hobbyist too, and a keen follower
of technology.

Can I make a few points?

1 - The Hitachi SH4 Microprocessor is actually a 64-bit processor. The only
part of the Dreamcast that is 128-bit is the graphics chip. In comparison -
the Graphics Synthisizor of the PlayStation2 is 2560-bit. The following 2
URLs are my sources.

An excellent Dreamcast technical site is at:-
http://www.canadawired.com/~gvink/Sega/Tech/technical_index.html - all of
the info in this site is taken from official sources

An excellent Playstation2 technical source is:-
http://www.playstation2.com - this is the official site with many specs and
press releases

2 - You say that very little of the DC 3D processing is done by the CPU, but
I don't think this is the case. The PowerVR chip and the EE are both raw
polygon-pushing tools, with not much in the way of calculation capabilities.
The SH4 is a superb polygon-pushing CPU (around 5 million/sec i believe),
but the PVR chip can't keep up.
The Playstation2 is the first system in which the CPU doesn't keep up with
the graphics chip. A side-effect of this is multi-pass texturing. The
recent GT2000 demos were running at around 120FPS, rendered down to 30FPS to
introduce a motion-blur effect. I can't give you my source for this as he's
under an NDA.

Anyway - thanks for the info. Your post was very obviously DC-biased, but
don't take that as a flame. It was genuinely a good post.

James


----------
In article <M18N3.1490$AX.3...@news1.rdc1.ab.home.com>, "D. Cousins"

Lord Cheez

unread,
Oct 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/15/99
to
Its great to see two guys who know their stuff...most of the crap u read in
usenet is just that--people thinking they know what they are talking about,
backing it up with paraphrased questionable info from unknown sources....

I guess D.Cousins was a little DC-biased, but based on the facts that both
of u agree on, it would appear that the DC is a bit more developer-friendly
and more evenly designed, no?

At any rate, thanks again and please linger around here...these kids need
schooling! Im an artist, so I know very little about these chips and
stuff...^_^

-LordCheez

James Davies <jda...@gromwin.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7u57uc$p4e$1...@soap.pipex.net...

D. Cousins

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Oct 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/15/99
to
James Davies <jda...@gromwin.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7u57uc$p4e$1...@soap.pipex.net...
> Excellent post David. I'm an electronic hobbyist too, and a keen follower
> of technology.
>
> Can I make a few points?
>
> 1 - The Hitachi SH4 Microprocessor is actually a 64-bit processor. The
only
> part of the Dreamcast that is 128-bit is the graphics chip. In
comparison -
> the Graphics Synthisizor of the PlayStation2 is 2560-bit. The following 2
> URLs are my sources.

Yes, sorry, that was a mistake on my part. Mind you, bit-widths are
becoming rather redundant these days. After all the Jaguar touted 64-bits,
though the 32-bit machines of the time over power it. The 64 bit Nintendo is
only slightly better than the Playstation (hardware filtering and mipmapping
is the only really _visible_ one).

> 2 - You say that very little of the DC 3D processing is done by the CPU,
but
> I don't think this is the case. The PowerVR chip and the EE are both raw
> polygon-pushing tools, with not much in the way of calculation
capabilities.
> The SH4 is a superb polygon-pushing CPU (around 5 million/sec i believe),
> but the PVR chip can't keep up.

According to the PowerVR pages which describe the techniques used for
the PowerVR, the PowerVR does incorporate an FPU on board which handles
polygon sorting (to eliminate z buffers), clipping, 3D to 2D perspective
transformation, and backface culling. Modfier volumes are also implemented
at the hardware level, but like ansiotropic rendering and lighting, require
a degree of CPU assistance. However, for all of these things, the EE must do
all the work.

See my back up post giving some more "real world" figures for the PS2.

> The Playstation2 is the first system in which the CPU doesn't keep up with
> the graphics chip. A side-effect of this is multi-pass texturing. The
> recent GT2000 demos were running at around 120FPS, rendered down to 30FPS
to
> introduce a motion-blur effect. I can't give you my source for this as
he's
> under an NDA.

Yes, I've heard that some games might be able to employ such a feature.
Motion blur does help mke animations seem smoother, even if "limited" to 30
or 60fps. Of course, we've seen other games use motion blue to limited
success, for example Rollcage. Now, while it was a limited effect motion
blur (not true interpolation), it did enhance the whole smoothness of the
game; so it's not impossible with the DC, especially considering that the
rendering portion of the PowerVR can still render at 650fps.

Additionally, with the EE some games may find ways to "cheat" with
vectorizing techniques, to push more polygons at once, making better use of
the hardware, instead of just motion blurring.

> Anyway - thanks for the info. Your post was very obviously DC-biased, but
> don't take that as a flame. It was genuinely a good post.

Well, yeah. Just trying to show that while the PS2 is better, it's not a
whole lot better. At the 60fps of games like Soul Calibre, would you really
benefit by having motion blur? I doubt it.

Dave Cousins

de...@norsystems.remove_me.co.uk

unread,
Oct 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/15/99
to
Justin Larkin staggered into alt.games.video.sega-dreamcast, ordered a
pint and whispered to the barman...

> just one thing to say thew PS2 is black. and also PS2 is gonna be an online
> capable system because square has already anounced Final Fantasy online for
> the PS2..!!! YEAH!!!

PINCH ME!!!
--
__________________________________
-DeepT

deept@.norsystems.REMOVE_ME.co.uk
__________________________________

Justin Larkin

unread,
Oct 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/15/99
to
*pinch's deept*
<de...@norsystems.REMOVE_ME.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MPG.12710fa7f...@news.demon.co.uk...

> Justin Larkin staggered into alt.games.video.sega-dreamcast, ordered a
> pint and whispered to the barman...
>
> > just one thing to say thew PS2 is black. and also PS2 is gonna be an
online
> > capable system because square has already anounced Final Fantasy online
for
> > the PS2..!!! YEAH!!!
>

de...@norsystems.remove_me.co.uk

unread,
Oct 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/15/99
to
Justin Larkin staggered into alt.games.video.sega-dreamcast, ordered a
pint and whispered to the barman...

> *pinch's deept*

ARRRGGHHOOWWWWW!!

Not that bloody hard!!

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