“Road to PS5”: Sony reveal more technical specs of the PS5
In a 1h long live stream today that was more aimed at game developers (or people who have a fetish on hardware architecture) than gamers, Sony revealed the technical specs of the PS5 as well as additional details on the console. In particular, they detailed their approach for the console’s SSD, GPU, and 3D Audio. Special note: PS4 backwards compatibility (on a title by title basis) was confirmed in the presentation. The console itself was not shown in the presentation, neither was any demo.
Mark Cerny did an in-depth explanation of the proprietary SSD of the console, and how Sony expect games to load up to 100 times faster than a default PS4’s HDD. He detailed how all components of the system, both at the hardware and software level, ensure no bottlenecks would reduce the benefits of the SSD. The console will be compatible with a subset of 3rd party SSD drives that follow the PCIe 4.0 specifications. HHDs will also be compatible, for people who want to favor space over speed (e.g. for PS4 games).
Among innovations that will help the PS5 reduce speed bottlenecks, Cerny mentioned the console will use the Kraken format instead of zlib for data compression.
PS4 Backwards compatibility
PS4 backwards compatibility was confirmed, but will be on a title by title basis. Cerny mentioned that “most” of the top 100 PS4 games will work on the PS5. (if I remember correctly, similar claims were done by Sony for the Vita’s PSP backwad compatibility, and that turned out to be a wild exaggeration)
Sony’s lead System architect explained how Sony tried to reach a balance between new powerful features on the GPU, and ease-of-use for developers who want to develop games efficiently. Sony worked with AMD to develop a specific GPU for the PS5. Cerny mentioned some of the innovations that resulted from this cooperation could end up in more GPU products from AMD in the future.
The console’s GPU will support some amount of Ray Tracing at the native level. How much will depend on how developers will be able to squeeze performance out of the hardware.
Sony described at length how the PS5 intends to revolutionize Audio output for games, to give a feeling that one is “really” inside the game. The Sony proprietary technology behind this is named Tempest 3D, and currently works at its best when the player is using headphones.
Cerny admitted the technology still needs to be perfected, and implied firmware updates for the PS5 might be bringing those improvements.
Whether developers will leverage all of this new technology will of course be up to them.
The full presentation below:
When all is said and done, these are what the PS5 specs look like, compared to the PS4. (XBox X specs below)
|PlayStation 5||PlayStation 4|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)||8x Jaguar Cores at 1.6GHz|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||1.84 TFLOPs, 18 CUs at 800MHz|
|GPU Architecture||Custom RDNA 2||Custom GCN|
|Memory/Interface||16GB GDDR6/256-bit||8GB GDDR5/256-bit|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD||500GB HDD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)||Approx 50-100MB/s (dependent on data location on HDD)|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot||Replaceable internal HDD|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support||USB HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||Blu-ray Drive|
Xbox X Specs
By comparison, here are the specs of Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox X:
- CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) 7nm
- GPU: 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2
- Memory: 16GB GDDR6
- Storage: 1TB custom NVMe SSD
- Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray
- 120 fps support
- Potential 8K resolutions
- Ray-tracing technology
- Variable Rate Shading for more stable frame rates
- Compatible with Xbox One accessories
Are you excited about the upcoming Next Gen consoles? Do you have plan to get one of them at launch?