Microsoft: Wii graphics worse than first Xbox

Posted on Sunday, May 13 2007 @ 12:04 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Earlier this week in an interview, Microsoft's entertainment division president Robbie Bach said that the graphics capabilities of the Nintendo Wii console are worse than Microsoft's Xbox 1:
“The video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting,” Bach said in an eWeek interview. “They don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had.”

Bach’s comments meant no disrespect to Nintendo, as he stressed heavily his admiration for the rival company’s innovation and even predicts success for the Wii. What has raised a few eyebrows, however, is his comment that the Wii wouldn’t even be able to produce graphics that we saw from the original Xbox – a system released five years ahead of the Wii.

J. Allard-dreadlock-pusher N'Gai Croal of Newsweek sought to test the validity of Bach’s claim and polled a couple third party developers for their anonymous comments. One of the original Xbox’s greatest strengths was its NVIDIA GPU’s programmable shader capability – something that the Wii’s ATI GPU does not have.

“The Wii's GPU has fixed functions for vertex, lighting, and pixel operations,” said one of the developers. “All 'programmable shaders' means is that the code you write for the shader gets run on the vertex and pixel hardware of the GPU. This is how it works on the high-end ATI and Nvidia GPU parts. The Wii is an older fixed function design where you have lots of operations but the pipelines are not programmable in the sense of downloading shader code to run [on them].”

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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