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After two generations of PlayStation game consoles relied on high-speed memory designed by Rambus, Sony Computer Entertainment has decided not to use proprietary memory types inside its next-generation PlayStation 4 video game system that will feature-industry-standard GDDR5 random access memory.

In a bit to create memory sub-system with unprecedented performance and 3.20GB/s throughput, Sony started to use dual-channel 32MB of RDRAM memory designed by Rambus in its PlayStation 2 game console back in the year 2000. Since Cell processor only supported XDR DRAM, Sony also had to use 256MB of exotic 3.20GHz XDR memory developed by Rambus in its PlayStation 3 in 2006.

Thanks to adoption of custom AMD Fusion system-on-chip with eight Jaguar x86 cores and specialized Radeon HD graphics processor, the PlayStation 4 now relies on 8GB of industry-standard GDDR5, which Sony can source from three manufacturers (Samsung, Micron/Elpida and SK Hynix), instead of two (Samsung, Micron/Elpida). Usage of GDDR5 will positively affect costs of the new-generation console since unlike the XDR the GDDR5 is manufactured in high volumes and is used on add-on graphics adapters for desktop and notebook personal computers and is therefore much more cost-efficient.

Sony PlayStation 4 multi-channel memory sub-system will feature peak bandwidth of 176GB/s, a little higher compared to that of the Radeon HD 7870 (153.6GB/s on 256-bit GDDR5 at 4.80GHz) graphics card, and significantly higher compared to rumoured 68GB/s bandwidth offered by Xbox Next main DDR3-based memory sub-system as well as graphics-dedicated ESRAM with 102.4GB/s throughput.

Despite of the fact that Sony abandoned Rambus memory from its forthcoming consoles, it does not mean that the company will cease to use XDR completely. The company will continue to sell XDR-based PlayStation 3 systems for a while and it is nearly guaranteed that tens of millions of game consoles will be sold over the next years. Besides, since Sony will offer PS4 owners to stream games developed for the previous-generation systems from the cloud, the company will have to create servers featuring PS3 hardware to run appropriate games in data centers. Quite likely that Sony will have to install Cell processors along with 256MB of XDR memory into such machines.

Tags: Sony, Playstation, Rambus, XDR, GDDR, RDRAM, Samsung, Elpida, Micron, Hynix

Discussion

Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 02/21/13 01:02:01 AM
Latest comment: 02/22/13 02:45:34 AM
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1. 
The Playstation 4 would be using XDR2 if Sony were going for a Rambus memory technology.

"Memory controller compatibility with GDDR5 and DDR3."
- http://www.rambus.com/ass...2_memory_architecture.pdf

Which could explain why Sony is going for GDDR5 and Microsoft is going for DDR3.
0 1 [Posted by: seronx  | Date: 02/21/13 01:02:01 AM]
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Bandwith.

Sony is using lots of more expensive high speed ram while microsoft is using lots of cheaper lower speed ram in combination with a small super fast edram cache
1 0 [Posted by: sollord  | Date: 02/21/13 04:24:15 AM]
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Are you saying if they used XDR2 technology?.

I can tell you its not Rambus memory technology.
2 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 02/21/13 06:09:56 AM]
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And your point is....?
0 0 [Posted by: fdunn  | Date: 02/21/13 04:53:30 PM]
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XDR2 is faster then GDDR5 but at the same time cost a lot more per memory unit and you would be getting a lot less ram to compensate for the price if Sony went that route. i'm glad Sony went to GDDR5 because they can get 8GB of GDDR5 ram for the same price as they would get 2GB of XDR2 ram for.
1 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 02/21/13 10:43:26 PM]
Reply

2. 
So, both PS4 And xbox720 will have..

1) about the same total memory bandwidth
2) about the same sized SoC.

But the differences will be that PS4 will have 1.5x the shader power,
XboX720 will have cheaper external memory interface.

Where PS4 puts more shaders, xbox720 puts the internal SRAM memory and does not need so heavy external memory.
0 0 [Posted by: hkultala  | Date: 02/22/13 02:45:34 AM]
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