Hey Jimmy, Santa brought you a 1978 x86 console for you!
It seems that this Christmas holiday season everyone is clamoring for the next iteration of their favorite console. This year marks a special event in consumer gaming as both of the most popular game consoles are now running on x86 CPUs/GPUs from Intel/AMD. Only the WiiU is staying with a non-Intel part, the 1.25MHz POWER7 chip. The Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony Playstation 4 are now going to be sporting a zippy new hybrid APU, a CPU with integrated GPU . It’s hard to believe, but the underlying CPU architecture that will be powering up the games we’ll be playing in 2014 actually got their start in 1978. That’s the year that Intel rolled out the 8086 processor, a 16-bit grandfather of today’s 64-bit chip. It was also quite a bit slower than today’s chips. It initially was a 5MHz clock, yes that’s an M not a G. The two CPUs used in the Xbox One and PS4 will be clocked at a respectable 1.75GHz, or 1750MHz. Certainly, it’s a rather remarkable improvement in 35 years.
Another interesting fact that most of the gamers aren’t going to be aware of, nor care about, is that they will be connecting to BattleField 4, RYSE Son of Rome, Just Dance 2014 network gaming servers that will also share x86 DNA with their console brethren. Today’s typical gaming server is powered by a set of Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Series 10 core processor monsters that can address 512GB of RAM and drive 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections to manage all the incoming multiplayer maps, in-game transactions and ladder-board tracking of the world’s best at-home-break-dancing-king. The main difference between the PS4/Xbox One CPU and these server CPUs is the number of cores and the clock speeds. Expect today’s gaming server to show up sporting 10 cores, and with hyper threading turned on, it does the work of 20, and with 2 CPUs in the server, that’s a whopping 40 threads to handle all the gaming goodness online. 40 threads of 2.6GHz goes a long way in keeping score on how many flag capture ribbons SirMarksaLot gets on the latest China Rising BF4 64(!) player map. Psst, it’s currently at 30 but will be headed way up during the Christmas break coming up.
So if anyone out there needs 96 BattleField 4 gaming servers in one 25kW Cirrascale BladeRack 2 you come see me, right after I take out this annoying gnat of a helicopter AH-6J Little Bird with my shiny new FIM-92 Stinger that Santa brought me.
See you online!
Watch your 6!
Mark (SirMarksaLot) Skinner