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Comparing PS3 and Xbox 360 - Console Differences and Challenges

by: Sheila Robinson ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Gamers constantly debate over which video game console is best. In this Xbox 360 vs PS3 review, backwards capability, Blu-ray, game development challenges and the differences in each system’s CPU processor are discussed.

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    The CPU Processor

    PS3   The CPU processor of both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are powerful units that enable these consoles the ability to play game titles with intense graphics, sound and multimedia capability. Let’s take a look at some of the differences.

    The PS3 console utilizes a Cell Processor that delegates 8 other SPC (Synegistic Processor Elements) vector processors which allow it to run multiple tasks at 3.2 GHz. (PS2 had a single processing 128-bit CPU that runs at a 294.912 MHz). It has the ability to deliver streaming video, surf the web and work well with many media devices. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the processor, it has delayed the development of game titles for the console. The PS3 has not been able to fully show off its power potential since programmers have only been able to utilize a portion of the system’s memory capacity to create the games. Since its release in 2006, (the Xbox 360 was released in 2005) the PS3 is still struggling to keep up with the number of game titles design titles released by the Xbox 360.

    Alternatively, the Xbox 360 utilizes a Xenon processor, which is based off of the IBM PowerPC architecture. It has three independent processor 64 bit cores which run simultaneously at 3.2 GHz. The development of game titles on the console is less of a challenge than on the PS3 since the design allows the utilization of almost the full memory capacity. This has given the console a bit of an advantage in faster release of game titles.

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    Blu-ray vs. the Red LED Laser

    A big feature difference when comparing the Xbox 360 vs PS3 is how they each read data. The Xbox 360 incorporates the use of the red LED laser. Since the release of CD/DVD media, a red LED laser has been the original standard to read these types of disks. The space on these types of DVD (and game) disks is 4.7 GB on a single layer format. This limits the Xbox 360 it to only playing DVDs and games in this standard format. (If you want to watch DVDs in HD-DVD format, you will have to buy the optional HD-DVD player and attach it to your console).

    The release of the Blu-ray laser has enabled DVD media to expand its space capacity to 25 GB on a single layer disk (50GB on a dual layer). The PS3 console has incorporated the Blu-ray into its design, which gives it the potential to create larger (and hopefully longer) titles with more space hogging intense graphics and game action capability. However, despite this great capability (which added an additional $100 to the cost of the console), players are still waiting for the release of game titles that fully utilize this feature.

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    Other Comparable Features

    xbox 360   Loading Games

    An interesting PS3 feature is that it does not have a disk tray. Instead, there is a slot in the front of the console that works like the CD player in your car. The Xbox 360 uses a standard disk tray to load games/DVD/CDs.

    Backwards Capability

    The PS2 has been known for its backwards capability feature (that allows gamers to play titles from earlier console versions). When the PS 3 console was originally released, gamers could enjoy playing their PS2 games on the 20 GB and 60 GB versions (the 40 GB model does not have this option).The newer release of the 80/120/160 GB models are not backwards compatible with play PS2 titles, but can play a limited selection of PS One titles (the early 80GB had emulation software which allowed the play of PS2 titles, but this version is no longer being produced). It was supposedly removed due to the high cost of adding to the console. Sony has tried to help gamers out by providing a support link that allows you to look up PlayStation titles to see if they are compatible with your console.

    The Xbox 360 has limited backwards capability. In order for it to work, you must have a hard drive in your console (the core system cannot play any original Xbox games). Since the release of the system, new updates have become available from Xbox Live (through your console) or downloaded from the web to enable your console to play specific original Xbox titles. The official Xbox website has a page where you can see a list of compatible Xbox titles .