About a month ago I was told by an unnamed source that Microsoft was having heating issues with the Xbox One. There wasn’t enough details to go forward with a story so it was kept under wraps until more information surfaced on this issue. Today, a completely different source close to the Xbox One project, informed me that Microsoft will have to under clock the Xbox One about 100-200mhz to fix the systems heating issues.
What does this mean to developers? Well we already know that the PS4 is more of a powerhouse than the Xbox One. It has faster RAM and bus bandwidth than the Xbox One already. Under clocking the system will widen the gap between the two consoles, but at the same time will keep the failure rate on the Xbox One very low. The last thing we need is another RRoD fiasco. In terms of games, you will see a significant difference in multiplatform titles. Lower clock speed means lower frame rates. This means that a game running 60fps on PS4 may only run at 30fps on Xbox One. Even given the current specs, this would probably still be the case except now we are under clocking the GPU. This could affect other things like the Peak Shader Throughput. If Minecraft were to be released for both Xbox One and PS4, you’d see no difference. A game like Battlefield 4 my run at a lower framerate on the Xbox One than it does on the PS4. We still don’t know how much the eSRAM is going to boost or hinder performance of the Xbox One. We also can’t leave out the fact that every developer, every game and every engine runs differently. They could theoretically boost frame rates on the Xbox One to match PS4 by turning off AA effects and lowering resolution.
I’ve received this information from two different sources, but I would still chalk it up as a rumor until we are able to get more information from Microsoft. Things could still change between now and launch. I wouldn’t worry too much about this problem because under clocking the system is the safest route to go when issues like this arise. The biggest test will be when Digital Foundry gets their hands on the first multiplatform next generation title.