Sony and AMD Confirm Zen 2, Navi, 8K Support For PlayStation 5 Gaming Console

PS4 Pro
We’ve been hearing a lot over the past few months about the hardware that will power the next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Most speculation has centered around both consoles being powered by 7nm AMD Zen 2-based processors that are backed with 7nm Navi-based Radeon GPUs. Today, a new report is shedding more light on the hardware that will specifically be going inside the Sony PlayStation 5 – or whatever the gaming console will end up being called.

Wired has an exclusive sit-down with Mark Cerny, who serves as the lead system architect for the PlayStation 5 (it was also a title he held for the current generation PlayStation 4 family of gaming consoles). Cerny confirmed that the CPU that Sony has chosen for the PlayStation 5 is an octa-core Ryzen processor based on -- you guessed it -- Zen 2 microarchitecture. This assumption here is that it's a Ryzen 3000-class chip that will be capable of executing 16 threads.

He also confirmed that there will be a custom version of a Navi-based Radeon GPU handling graphics duties. Needless to say, this powerful duo should be enough to deliver some 4K gaming goodness at consistently high frame rates. And just like NVIDIA's family of GeForce RTX graphics cards, this Navi GPU will have hardware support for real-time ray tracing effects for more realistic shadows, lighting and water effects.

ps5 dev
Alleged PlayStation 5 devkit

For anyone that is a bit disappointed that not many advances were made on the audio front with the leap from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4, Cerny is promising that the AMD hardware will have a custom 3D audio chip for greater immersion into the gaming experience. "With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it,” Cerny explained. Oh, and the console will be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games.

But it's not just the CPU and GPU that will be far more powerful than what's available with the PlayStation 4 -- the storage subsystem is also getting special attention. That means that we're moving away from hard drives (finally) to SSDs. In this case, Cerny claims that the SSD used in PlayStation 5 devkits has more raw bandwidth available than any current SSD available on the consumer market -- that's quite the claim given some of the amazingly fast SSDs that we've tested over the past year. It's not just the SSD that is blazing fast; the entire I/O system has been reimagined to take advantage of that added speed to improve overall performance.

We should note that it isn't just Sony that is talking about the PlayStation 5. AMD CEO Lisa Su tweeted this morning confirming the details of the Wired story and elation about Zen 2 and Navi hardware being included.

As for when the PlayStation 5 will be available, Cerny isn't giving any specific details, but it won't be any time in 2019. So, we're probably looking at a 2020 release if all the stars align.