Engadget: The PS4 Processor And Performance What We Know

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#1 Posted by -Renegade (8340 posts) -

1. These Chips Ain't Chip

AMD. APU. Six letters which would normally spell out the word "cheap." But in the case of the PS4, we can be pretty sure of the opposite. In fact, from the data Sony has revealed, the PS4's APU actually sounds like a serious investment -- not only in terms of R&D for the semi-custom design, but also in terms of raw components.

It's true that AMD is known for undercutting Intel in the marketplace, usually with the sacrifice of some general computing power. And among AMD's offerings, the APUs -- which combine CPU and GPU on a single piece of silicon -- generally hit the lowest price points, maxing out at a retail price of around $130. Merging processors is a tried-and-tested way of reducing costs -- that's why Microsoft did it with the Xbox 360 slim in 2010.

But here's the thing: AMD's current top-end APU only delivers around 700 GFLOPs of compute power from its CPU and GPU combined. We're told the PS4's processor delivers nearly 2 TFLOPs from its GPU alone. In other words, we're looking at 3X compute performance before we even get to the eight-core CPU.

To get a similar level of graphical power to the PS4, you'd need to spend at least $200 on a Radeon HD 7850 graphics card and splash out extra on a processor. But even then you'd only have 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This type of memory tends to be slightly more expensive than regular DDR3 system memory, and Sony tells us the PS4 comes with 8GB of the stuff. There's no way on earth that could come cheap.

As to how much we loyal gamers will be asked to cough up for a PS4, we can only hope that it'll be less than the burdensome $499 starting price of the PS3. Sony has only hinted that it "hopes" to bring it in under $599. Perhaps Sony will take on a short-term hit to its margins in return for the long-term gains of building the PlayStation ecosystem. AMD may also shoulder some of this responsibility, since it also stands to gain strategically from this deal -- an idea we'll return to shortly.

2. NOTHING ELSE COMPARES

Now that we've mentioned parallels with some existing PC components, why don't we go whole hog and design a PC rig to match the PS4's basic specs? It'd be a fun way to spend a weekend, but alas it'd also be spurious. A total waste of time.

How come? Because the PS4 is a true next-gen device. It'll be built around AMD's Jaguar core, which is still a long way from being available on the PC market. We know that Jaguar is an evolution of the Bobcat core found in relatively low-powered netbooks, but that doesn't mean we can use any Bobcat device for comparison. Existing Bobcat netbooks generally have two cores, while the PS4 has eight.

And here's another good reason to be wary of parallels with existing PC components: Sony's use of GDDR5 "unified memory." We've already mentioned the fact that it comes in an expensive 8GB dollop, but we also need to bear in mind its speed and the way it's going to be used.

In PCs, the CPU generally uses lower-bandwidth DDR3 memory, while the graphics card (if there is one) uses faster GDDR5. The Xbox 360 went the "unified" route, using 512MB of GDDR3 for both the CPU and GPU. The PS4's memory will also be unified, but it'll be faster than anything that has been used for this purpose before, so it could potentially remove bottlenecks and improve performance in ways that are hard for us to anticipate. Equally, there may also be drawbacks that are hard to predict, for example with regards to memory latency.

3. It'll change the way games are made

AMD has staked its future on a certain philosophy that has sometimes left it looking isolated. Unlike Intel, which throws its billions into putting ever-greater numbers of transistors into its cores, AMD reckons that there are smarter ways to use and arrange these transistors.

Having many weak cores instead of a few strong ones is a classic example. It's a pattern found in AMD's FX range of PC chips and now in the PS4's spec sheet, but game developers just aren't used to it. They're accustomed to good single-threaded performance, so they'll have to adapt if they want to the push the PS4 to its limits. They'll also have to look into tricks like GPU compute, which can allow a strong GPU to help a weak CPU on certain non-graphical tasks.

All of this will be good for AMD, since games will run better on its hardware. But in the long-term it could be a good thing for anyone looking to play games on a low-cost, low-power device. 

Source

thl&shbo :lol: :lol:



#2 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38216 posts) -

The proof is in the games, not the speculation

#3 Posted by lx_theo (6211 posts) -

The proof is in the games, not the speculation

seanmcloughlin
This excuse coming from a PC gamer? Damn, it must look good, then.
#4 Posted by yellosnolvr (19302 posts) -
the fact that the processor uses GDDR5 is the only thing i need to know
#5 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38216 posts) -

[QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

The proof is in the games, not the speculation

lx_theo

This excuse coming from a PC gamer? Damn, it must look good, then.

Sony promised a whole lot last time and everything always sounds good in paper and in conferences. But what matters is what types of games are made out of it, no more corridor shooters or linear platformers. Use the power to do something great. We don't need more Uncharteds or Crysis'. I want something new

#6 Posted by yellosnolvr (19302 posts) -

[QUOTE="lx_theo"][QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

The proof is in the games, not the speculation

seanmcloughlin

This excuse coming from a PC gamer? Damn, it must look good, then.

Sony promised a whole lot last time and everything always sounds good in paper and in conferences. But what matters is what types of games are made out of it, no more corridor shooters or linear platformers. Use the power to do something great. We don't need more Uncharteds or Crysis'. I want something new

more planetsides imo.
#7 Posted by Riadon2 (1609 posts) -

It will do 5D 240 FPS at 7680x4320.

 

Get ready, Hermitz!!!!111

#8 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38216 posts) -

[QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

[QUOTE="lx_theo"] This excuse coming from a PC gamer? Damn, it must look good, then.yellosnolvr

Sony promised a whole lot last time and everything always sounds good in paper and in conferences. But what matters is what types of games are made out of it, no more corridor shooters or linear platformers. Use the power to do something great. We don't need more Uncharteds or Crysis'. I want something new

more planetsides imo.

Planetside has a tonne of stuff wrong with it. But yeah bigger games like that would be cool

#9 Posted by lx_theo (6211 posts) -

[QUOTE="lx_theo"][QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

The proof is in the games, not the speculation

seanmcloughlin

This excuse coming from a PC gamer? Damn, it must look good, then.

Sony promised a whole lot last time and everything always sounds good in paper and in conferences. But what matters is what types of games are made out of it, no more corridor shooters or linear platformers. Use the power to do something great. We don't need more Uncharteds or Crysis'. I want something new

Well, that's totally up to what the consumers buy, isn't it? Hopefully its something good this gen.
#10 Posted by KarateeeChop (4651 posts) -

sony promised a lot of tech for the ps3 but ended up only delivering a fraction of said promises. i hope the ps4 conference was more than just lies. :(

#11 Posted by tagyhag (15867 posts) -
I'm still waiting for 120fps on the PS3.
#12 Posted by SaltyMeatballs (25150 posts) -
PS4 sounds like a great piece of hardware, I have no doubts it will deliver.
#13 Posted by -Renegade (8340 posts) -

I'm still waiting for 120fps on the PS3.tagyhag

http://www.gamespot.com/super-stardust-hd/

#14 Posted by superclocked (5823 posts) -
Next gen will likely be like this gen, with the PS4 having the superior CPU and faster RAM, and the XBox 720 having the superior GPU with load reducing upgrades. In the end, both consoles will likely perform about the same again...
#15 Posted by tagyhag (15867 posts) -

[QUOTE="tagyhag"]I'm still waiting for 120fps on the PS3.-Renegade

http://www.gamespot.com/super-stardust-hd/

That's 60fps. Why can't I play Uncharted 2 at 120fps? Is it because 30fps offers a more cinematic experience?
#16 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38216 posts) -

[QUOTE="tagyhag"]I'm still waiting for 120fps on the PS3.-Renegade

http://www.gamespot.com/super-stardust-hd/

That sh!t ain't 120 fps

#17 Posted by Kakarot316 (5 posts) -

What I'm interested in is if we'll see an improvement in game performance from AMD chips on the PC side if developers are concentrating on that architecture now.

#18 Posted by II_Seraphim_II (20494 posts) -
I kinda feel like we should atleast wait for MS to show off its console before completely discounting it.
#19 Posted by kuraimen (28078 posts) -
Poor shlems :(
#20 Posted by -Renegade (8340 posts) -

Next gen will likely be like this gen, with the PS4 having the superior CPU and faster RAM, and the XBox 720 having the superior GPU with load reducing upgrades. In the end, both consoles will likely perform about the same again...superclocked

doubt. it's already confirmed that ps4's gpu is 50% faster, ps4 has better ram and it's easy to develop for. watchdog developers have already said the ps4 version of the game will be the definitive version to get because of this. we will probably see alot of games not even being made for the weaker nextbox. sony back to it's ps2 roots but this time with the leading tech. :cool:

#21 Posted by hrah (1372 posts) -

[QUOTE=""]1. These Chips Ain't Chip

AMD. APU. Six letters which would normally spell out the word "cheap." But in the case of the PS4, we can be pretty sure of the opposite. In fact, from the data Sony has revealed, the PS4's APU actually sounds like a serious investment -- not only in terms of R&D for the semi-custom design, but also in terms of raw components.

It's true that AMD is known for undercutting Intel in the marketplace, usually with the sacrifice of some general computing power. And among AMD's offerings, the APUs -- which combine CPU and GPU on a single piece of silicon -- generally hit the lowest price points, maxing out at a retail price of around $130. Merging processors is a tried-and-tested way of reducing costs -- that's why Microsoft did it with the Xbox 360 slim in 2010.

But here's the thing: AMD's current top-end APU only delivers around 700 GFLOPs of compute power from its CPU and GPU combined. We're told the PS4's processor delivers nearly 2 TFLOPs from its GPU alone. In other words, we're looking at 3X compute performance before we even get to the eight-core CPU.

To get a similar level of graphical power to the PS4, you'd need to spend at least $200 on a Radeon HD 7850 graphics card and splash out extra on a processor. But even then you'd only have 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This type of memory tends to be slightly more expensive than regular DDR3 system memory, and Sony tells us the PS4 comes with 8GB of the stuff. There's no way on earth that could come cheap.

As to how much we loyal gamers will be asked to cough up for a PS4, we can only hope that it'll be less than the burdensome $499 starting price of the PS3. Sony has only hinted that it "hopes" to bring it in under $599. Perhaps Sony will take on a short-term hit to its margins in return for the long-term gains of building the PlayStation ecosystem. AMD may also shoulder some of this responsibility, since it also stands to gain strategically from this deal -- an idea we'll return to shortly.

2. NOTHING ELSE COMPARES

Now that we've mentioned parallels with some existing PC components, why don't we go whole hog and design a PC rig to match the PS4's basic specs? It'd be a fun way to spend a weekend, but alas it'd also be spurious. A total waste of time.

How come? Because the PS4 is a true next-gen device. It'll be built around AMD's Jaguar core, which is still a long way from being available on the PC market. We know that Jaguar is an evolution of the Bobcat core found in relatively low-powered netbooks, but that doesn't mean we can use any Bobcat device for comparison. Existing Bobcat netbooks generally have two cores, while the PS4 has eight.

And here's another good reason to be wary of parallels with existing PC components: Sony's use of GDDR5 "unified memory." We've already mentioned the fact that it comes in an expensive 8GB dollop, but we also need to bear in mind its speed and the way it's going to be used.

In PCs, the CPU generally uses lower-bandwidth DDR3 memory, while the graphics card (if there is one) uses faster GDDR5. The Xbox 360 went the "unified" route, using 512MB of GDDR3 for both the CPU and GPU. The PS4's memory will also be unified, but it'll be faster than anything that has been used for this purpose before, so it could potentially remove bottlenecks and improve performance in ways that are hard for us to anticipate. Equally, there may also be drawbacks that are hard to predict, for example with regards to memory latency.

3. It'll change the way games are made

AMD has staked its future on a certain philosophy that has sometimes left it looking isolated. Unlike Intel, which throws its billions into putting ever-greater numbers of transistors into its cores, AMD reckons that there are smarter ways to use and arrange these transistors.

Having many weak cores instead of a few strong ones is a classic example. It's a pattern found in AMD's FX range of PC chips and now in the PS4's spec sheet, but game developers just aren't used to it. They're accustomed to good single-threaded performance, so they'll have to adapt if they want to the push the PS4 to its limits. They'll also have to look into tricks like GPU compute, which can allow a strong GPU to help a weak CPU on certain non-graphical tasks.

All of this will be good for AMD, since games will run better on its hardware. But in the long-term it could be a good thing for anyone looking to play games on a low-cost, low-power device. -Renegade

Source

thl&shbo :lol: :lol:



I See You Conveniently Left This Part Out Of The Paragraph To Better support What You Wanted People To See (Half Truth).



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#22 Posted by superclocked (5823 posts) -

[QUOTE="superclocked"]Next gen will likely be like this gen, with the PS4 having the superior CPU and faster RAM, and the XBox 720 having the superior GPU with load reducing upgrades. In the end, both consoles will likely perform about the same again...-Renegade

doubt. it's already confirmed that ps4's gpu is 50% faster, ps4 has better ram and it's easy to develop for. watchdog developers have already said the ps4 version of the game will be the definitive version to get because of this. we will probably see alot of games not even being made for the weaker nextbox. sony back to it's ps2 roots but this time with the leading tech. :cool:

First off, there is no confirmed information comparing the GPU's in the PS4 and XBox 720. From what I've seen, the XBox 720's GPU is more advanced. And Remember these days? PS3: 2 teraflops vs XBox 360: 1 teraflop. Using unachievable, theoretical maximum performance numbers, the RSX in the PS3 looked much faster on paper than the Xenos in the XBox 360. In reality, the Xenos is far better, and it took years for the Cell CPU to pick up the slack...