I've been thinking about the upcoming Xbox / PS4 releases and how it relates to this topic. Most of this is common sense, but that doesn't mean it isn't the future of hardware.
IMO, gaming drives GPU advances primarily, but I'm sure it influences CPUs to some degree as well. What we already know is that the new consoles will be x86. That means much easier porting to PCs. Game devs have two options with this opportunity:
1) Better optimize for the more powerful PC hardware since the brunt of the "PC-porting work" is done by having the game originally coded for x86.
2) Redirect "porting costs" into things like better content/creativity/storylines/etc while taking an "its already good enough" approach to PC hardware optimization. Maybe even taking the time to eliminate signs of consolitis from PC ports??
Next, these low-power 8-core Jaguar CPUs and 7850-esque GPU are a hint at the future of gaming. More and more tasks are being offloaded to the GPU these days
("GPU controlled games") making raw CPU power less of an issue. Now, looking at new consoles with many weak CPU cores and a decently powerful GPU by todays standards coupled with the emergence of higher resolution displays and I see a couple things happening:
1) The demand for GPU horsepower is going to skyrocket - obvious if you look at the GPU prowess needed to do eyefinity gaming without the overhead of deciding what monitor to send each pixel to.
2) Given the weak IPC of the console Jaguar CPU, more tasks will have to be offloaded to the GPU. The reduced necessity of a high IPC will drive AMD/Intel to continue focusing on power efficiency over IPC gains in their quest to conquer the tablet market.
3) I'm not really sure where the need for 8 cores comes into play besides predicting better multi-threading implementation in the future (by games at least). If Haswell's TSX tech doesn't take off, I imagine we'll see 8-core Intel CPUs in 4 years.
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