What are teraflops and what exactly do they measure?

Sony and Microsoft are on the accelerator of the game consoles, and in this frantic battle to see who gets the most powerful there is a term that keeps repeating itself: the Teraflops. In fact, we could almost say that it has become a kind of new standard to measure the performance of consoles.

That is why today we are going to try to explain to you what FLOPS are and what exactly they measure. We will also explain to what extent is a reliable measure, and by the way we will put some context seeing how many have other devices that we usually use.

What exactly are Teraflops?

teraflops
Image Source: Google Image

The term FLOPS (Floating point operations per second) stands for “floating-point operations per second” and is a unit that is usually used to measure the mathematical calculations that a CPU and GPU can make per second. The floating point representation is a way to represent especially large or small real numbers so that computers can do arithmetic faster.

Thus, FLOP is a measure that uses as reference the number of scientific operations that can be performed in a second. Generally, in modern computing the Gigaflops have always been used, the calculation in millions, but with the advancement of the computing capacities of the processors in recent years we usually speak in billions of calculations per second, the Teraflops.

Until the current power war of the consoles, this was a unit of measure in which they were fixed mainly in the scientific fields to develop some of the greater supercomputers of the world. These currently have already left behind the Teraflops, and his career is now for the Petaflops.

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Over time, beyond their scientific and mathematical approach, FLOPS have become a benchmark measure of total system performance (CPU + GPU). Even so, it must be borne in mind that in ordinary non-scientific applications of processors, operations on whole numbers measured in MIPS are much more common.

Therefore, although we have all finished measuring performance in FLOPS, this measure does not accurately predict how fast a processor will do a task. In addition, not everything is power, and when valuing a device we also have to take into account other concepts such as the frequencies of their processors or ROM and RAM.

teraflops
Image Source: Google Image

A good example was given by Jorge Huguet, Director of Marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment: “It’s like the engine of a car. You have a motor like that that gives you 200 horses, or you have a small engine that for your Technology reaches 180 horses but in the end the speed that takes you is the same”. This means that beyond gross performance there are many other technologies that also influence the end result.

In any case, Teraflop is a reference measure with which developers can know how much computing power they can count on when creating their games on certain platforms. Therefore, the more Teraflops have a larger and more complex console will be the virtual universes that can be created for it.

How many Gigaflops does your mobile, computer or console have?

The best way to understand what this or that console means to have these and those FLOPS is to compare them to other nearby devices that we used conventionally. For this, a page that sure is more than interesting is GPU GFLOPS , which gives you the measure in Gigaflops of several types of device.

For example, and although it belongs to the high end of last year, a mobile with SoC Snapdragon 821 with Adreno 530 has a performance of 519.2 Gigaflops, and the Apple A9X chips of the iPad Pro reach 345.6 Gigaflops. For its part, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 has a power of 9000 Gigaflops, about 9 Teraflops.

As for the video game console market, you have the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with 1311.5 and 1840 Gigaflops respectively. The PlayStation 4 Pro will reach around 4200 GFlops, and Project Scorpio expects to reach 6000 Gigaflops. There are not yet too many benchmarks on the Nintendo Switch, but their specs suggest between 400 and 500 Gigaflops.

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