Sony: Game Developers Demanded x86 CPU and Industry-Standard GPU Inside PlayStation 4

Sony Consulted with Game Developers When Defining PS4 Architecture

by Anton Shilov
03/14/2013 | 11:59 PM

Sony Corp. used to say that the PlayStation 3 has a lot of hidden potential thanks to its heterogeneous multi-core Cell microprocessor. By contrast, game designers hated the PS3 because it was hard to develop for the Cell. As a result, when Sony was deciding the architecture of the PlayStation 4, it asked game creators what they wanted. Quite naturally, developers wanted leading-edge industry-standard application processors and graphics processors.

 

“I think the main reason behind [decision to use off-the-shelf-hardware] is that is what the development community wanted. That is what the development community want in terms of ease of development and making the best games they possibly can,” said Michael Denny, vice president of Sony’s worldwide studios.

Sony claims that the PlayStation 4 features the state-of-the-art industry-standard CPU and GPU as well as ease of development, just like the PCs. However, the PS4 is still a console made for gaming, with gaming at its heart.

“Part of PlayStation 4 is learning from previous platforms and making things better. Then part of it is the new experience as well, adding extra features, and you put those together for a much better package and much better experience for the gamer,” said Mr. Denny.

Sony PlayStation 4 is based on a semi-custom AMD Fusion system-on-chip that integrates eight AMD x86 Jaguar cores, custom AMD Radeon HD core with unified array of 18 AMD GCN-like compute units (1152 stream processors which collectively generate 1.84TFLOPS of computer power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two), various special-purpose hardware blocks as well as multi-channel GDDR5 memory controller. The PS4 will come with 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory sub-system (with 176GB/s bandwidth) for both CPU and GPU as well as large-capacity hard disk drive.

Sony PS4 will be equipped with Blu-ray disc drive capable of reading BDs at 6x and DVDs at 8x speeds, USB 3.0 connectivity in addition to a proprietary aux port, Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR wireless technology as well as HDMI, optical and analog outputs. The new system will also utilize new DualShock 4 game controller with integrated touchpad as well as better motion sensing thanks to new PS4 Eye tracking cameras.