Sony Sheds More Light On PS4 Hardware

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 27 2013 8:39 PM
Sony shared more details on the PS4 today, including CPU specs, controller design decisions, and advanced information on the platform's API. We've known that the PS4 used an AMD Jaguar-derived core for months, but the new information today points to a standard implementation of AMD's reference design. The PS4 has two four-core Jaguar blocks. Each block shares a 2MB L2 cache and each core has a 32K L1 data cache.

That lines up with what AMD has said about Jaguar to-date and points to the chip's "semi-custom" status. What's more interesting is the API news. Sony claims that the PS4 will support a "DirectX 11.1+", with the plus standing for better debugger and more direct access to the shader pipeline. Exact details are few and far between, but since the GPU at the heart of the PS4 is based on Graphics Core Next, we don't expect enormous surprises.

That doesn't mean the Sony PS4 actually uses DirectX -- Sony's own API is dubbed the PlayStation Shader Language and dev tools for it run on Windows 7 64-bit. Virtual Studio plugins are also available for VS 2010 and 2012. Programmers will be able to talk to CPU and GPU simultaneously without suspending one task to run another.

Reading over the PS4's capabilities, it sounds as though the console implements some of the features AMD originally detailed for its 2013 HSA roadmap.



Sony's discussions of the PS4 continue to revolve around the console's memory capacity, and while that's partly smart marketing, it's also fair to say that it represents a major point of difference between the Xbox Durango and PS4. Microsoft's next-gen console doesn't offer nearly as much memory bandwidth, and Sony's talk of sharing function and synchronous operations implies it may be more advanced than what the Xbox offers.

According to Chris Norden, Sony Senior Staff Engineer, "you can't buy this [the system's RAM] for $50. That's why graphics card cost as much as they do." The system will also include a Blu-ray drive and a hard drive in every SKU, though these aren't surprising given that the PS3 also shipped with these capabilities first and foremost.

It still may take some time for developers to take full advantage of the PS4's hardware, but the company's early unveils are interesting. Microsoft's silence is increasingly letting Sony rule the communication roost and that may hurt the company in the not-too-distant future.
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sackyhack replied on Thu, Mar 28 2013 10:39 AM

Damn. I'm getting kinda excited by this upcoming generation of consoles, but they're all gonna come out when I start med-school so I won't have the time or money to try any of them. Looks like I'm gonna be pushing kids out of thee way at Walmart to play on the demo stands.

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turtle replied on Sat, Mar 30 2013 6:07 AM

"you can't buy this [the system's RAM] for $50. That's why graphics card cost as much as they do."

That's kinda here and there, and almost sounds like an excuse to jack the price over $400 as was obviously planned (with 4GB). Yeah, 8GB (especially low-voltage as they are using, which is probably similar-priced to their 1.6v 7gbps chips) probably costs a bit more at this moment, but we're also talking 4gigabit. While certainly early in the life-cycle (the stuff they are using will likely be hot off the mass production line), that's still 'only' 16 chips.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, no, it isn't $50 at this moment, but it can't be that far off. Currently doubling the density from 1GB to 2GB (using 8, 2Gb chips instead of 1Gb on a graphics card) is $20 more to the end user, and they're using 2x that amount with 2x density for 4x the buffer. The fact is it will indeed become $50 quickly with the new processes they are using for 4Gb at Hynix/Samsung (judging by the voltages and speeds planned by both) and it seems they will very much be a commodity as we go forward.

Also, let's be real. Nvidia put 2GB of the fastest stuff available at the time (6gbps, much of it from Samsung) on their 650ti (original) a year ago, and that can be had for peanuts (and is a low-end card). It doesn't cost THAT much, especially for a company using that many (like Sony), which probably signed an exclusive deal with Hynix (I would imagine cheaper than Samsung) saving them even more money, not-to-mention the chips will be plentiful because AMD's upcoming platforms will very much depend on that being the case.

PR guy just doing his job, and the ram is very nice, but let's be real.

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Have to agree with Turtle here. I would actually guess that you could have it for $50 at the quantities that Sony is buying it at.

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