New PS4 Specs Leak, Hint At Tantalizing Possibilities

There have been a number of spec leaks around the PS4 and Xbox 720 in the last few days, including updated information on what the latest dev kits from Sony contain. We'll cover these first, courtesy of Kotaku and then offer our own analysis, HotHardware style.

According to Kotaku, the latest dev kits for Sony's PS4 contain:
  • 8GB of video RAM
  • 2.2GB of GPU memory
  • 4x "Dual-Core Bulldozers" (this is nonsensical as written but presumably refers to BD's "dual-module" design)
  • GPU: AMD R10xx (aka GCN, aka the Radeon HD 7000 family)

EuroGamer, meanwhile, says that the new device is built around an eight-core "Jaguar" CPU married to a cutdown variant of the 7970M. That makes sense as far as floating point targets are concerned (the PS4 is reportedly capable of 1.84TFLOP of single-precision math.)

Here's another entry in the "Oh God, please don't make it look like that" competition

According to EuroGamer, the PS4 will contain a second module that's designed to function as a dedicated GPU compute node for offloading physics calculations, GPU cloth, or other material interactions that are sometimes handled in hardware by Nvidia's PhysX. Including a second module for these sorts of tasks actually makes a lot of sense if the Jaguar rumor is accurate.

Jaguar, if you recall, is the follow-up to AMD's Brazos. Brazos was a well-balanced low-power architecture that's capable of decoding two instructions per clock cycle and has a short pipeline for execution efficiency. AMD estimates that Kabini, its quad-core follow-up to Brazos, will outperform the older 40nm chip by 15% clock-for-clock, with the quad-core SoC beating its dual-core predecessor by up to 50%.

That's a great achievement for a netbook, notebook, or tablet. As a CPU destined to sit at the heart of a console for 4-6 years, it's a bit underwhelming. Opting for a second compute module is one way Sony could have boosted the PS4's overall performance while sticking with a relatively svelte SoC at the heart of the device.

Rumor currently suggests a PS4 with 4GB of RAM total, but that it'll use 4GB of DDR5 rather than the Xbox Durango's 8GB of DDR3.

Ultimately, we still suggest taking these specs with a substantial grain of salt. AMD's conference call yesterday revealed that the company believes custom SoC work -- that means consoles -- will account for up to 20% of its revenue by the end of 2013. It's a given that the company has done custom work for both Microsoft and Sony on these projects, but exactly how those resources are allocated to developers and how flexible the systems are to program will determine a great deal of consumer uptake.