Both next-generation consoles may be powerful pieces of kit, but both companies are reserving quite a bit of resources just to keep the operating system running. Xbox One reserves 3GB of RAM for its OS, and also holds on to 10 percent of GPU resources. Why? To run Kinect and apps while you play games.
"Xbox One has a conservative 10 per cent time-sliced reservation on the GPU for system processing. This is used both for the GPGPU processing for Kinect and for the rendering of concurrent system content such as snap mode," Microsoft technical fellow Andrew Goossen told said.
Of course, it's early days for the Xbox One OS, and Microsoft isn't discounting the possibility of reducing the overhead in the future. "The current reservation provides strong isolation between the title and the system and simplifies game development--strong isolation means that the system workloads, which are variable, won't perturb the performance of the game rendering," Goossen told Digital Foundry. "In the future, we plan to open up more options to developers to access this GPU reservation time while maintaining full system functionality."
Early reports suggest that PS4 is noticeably more powerful than Xbox One, in spite of Microsoft's attempts to boost their console's specs. However, an early look at Xbox One's Dashboard was quite convincing: the ease of multitasking and the smoothness of switching between games and apps on Xbox One was appreciated.