In an interview with Edge , Jonathan Blow has been talking about how the PS4's hardware stacks up against the PC. From the sounds of it, he's impressed, saying that "the equivalent game will run faster." Let's couch that in a heavy caveat before you rise up in righteous fury: Blow's area of interest is less in how many raw explosions a GPU can push into your eyes. "For The Witness we're mostly interested in the base machine and how fast it is – the fact it has faster RAM than a PC."
"[RAM] really helps in shuttling graphics resources around, and since it's not running a heavyweight operating system like Windows that gets in the way of your graphics," Blow says. "Rendering stuff through Windows has an impact on performance. Since a console is just about games, that doesn't happen, and the equivalent game will run faster. And if you can target to specific hardware you can make it run faster, too."
Which sounds fair enough, really. Windows, bless its socks, isn't a particularly considerate landlord - happily barging in to divert memory while you're busy killing aliens or creeping through air vents. Nevertheless, if your rig has enough power to take the Windows hit, you have to wonder how much of a problem it is. Especially given how much of a game's performance is defined by other components.
This isn't the first time the PS4 has been praised for its 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, and certainly the knowledge that it'll be a constant across the system - in contrast to the vastly varied hardware of PC users - must be helpful for developers. Will it really have a marked effect on the performance of games across platforms? Ultimately we're not going to know for sure until they've been released for comparison.
And, as Blow points out, targeting specific hardware really can make the difference. Most mid-range PCs can easily outperform the current crop of consoles, but that hasn't stopped all manner of shoddy ports resulting in games that run like treacle, regardless of the components running them.