Sony Teases Subsequent-Gen PlayStation: Customized AMD Chip with Zen 2 CPU & Navi GPU, SSD Too

After years of hypothesis about what is likely to be and what Sony plans to do, the corporate is lastly starting to ramp up the lengthy begin cycle for the following era PlayStation console. In an unique article launched about Wired this morning Sony Video games guru and system chief Mark Cerny introduced out some thrilling information concerning the as but unnamed console, which contained some primary details about the underlying system structure is "not a mere improve".

The main focus of Wired's article, as many AnandTech readers would anticipate, is on-chip on the coronary heart of the system. Cerny and Sony (and AMD) now affirm that AMD reassembles the console's central processor. The revolutionary chip is constructed on an unnamed 7nm course of and incorporates all of AMD's newest applied sciences. And whereas neither Cerny nor AMD name an APU – AMD's most popular title for a chip with built-in CPU and GPU cores – that is clearly a single chip and apparently an APU in all however the title of

Disassembly of the AMD chip – Zen 2, Navi and 3D audio

The large information right here, after all, is that Cerny confirms that Sony is utilizing the most recent CPU and GPU structure from AMD for the following era PlayStation chip. On the CPU facet, we're taking a look at eight CPU cores based mostly on AMD's Zen 2 microarchitecture. This is similar CPU microarchitecture that AMD expects to launch in PCs in the course of the yr, with merchandise equivalent to Ryzen's "Matisse" and EPYC's "Rome" second-generation processors . Whereas we wait to see how nicely the Zen 2 structure works in the actual world, it follows the already very highly effective Zen (1) structure, so everybody right here has excessive expectations and AMD appears to be fulfilling them.

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AMD Zen (1) Excessive-Degree Structure

Within the meantime, AMD will use the upcoming Navi GPU structure for the chip on the GPU facet. In contrast to the CPU, Son and Cerny say nothing concerning the GPU configuration right here, so there may be little to say concerning the efficiency. All of this may rely on how massive the Sony Navi GPU block is. Navi itself is a codename we’ve got seen since 2016 on the GPU roadmaps of AMD . Nonetheless, we nonetheless know comparatively little concerning the structure, aside from the truth that no less than in 2016 AMD wished to give attention to scalability and help next-generation storage (which we might name GDDR6 ). Just like the Zen 2 CPU structure, we anticipate GPUs with Navi supply to be launched on PCs later this yr. Due to this fact, we must always quickly have a greater concept of ​​what Navi will convey to it.

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Nonetheless, Cerny has within the meantime even revealed a bit about Navi – or no less than concerning the model that’s included within the chip from Sony. The subsequent era PlayStation will help ray-tracing and mirror the developments we noticed within the PC world over the past yr with the introduction of DirectX Raytracing (19459003) and help in NVIDIA's GPUs , In recent times, ray tracing has been more and more heralded as the following evolution of GPU rendering applied sciences, as extra practical rendering strategies can be utilized, particularly with respect to mild. Ray tracing is dear, but when finished appropriately, it may be added with purely compute-based approaches in a method that’s not low cost (if in any respect).

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Ray tracing diagram ( Henrik / CC BY-SA

Thus far, AMD has been very quiet even by way of raytracing, as I’d not go into as we speak's PlayStation announcement, however I'm undecided we must always learn this as a family-wide navigation characteristic. Sony's earlier chips used within the unique PlayStation four and PlayStation four Professional have produced sure future options – probably the most well-known of that are Fast Packed Math for the PS4 Professional – so it's attainable that Sony did as soon as once more requested the identical right here. We additionally have no idea if Sony's raytracing help shall be carried out by way of fixed-feature items or if will probably be carried out through programmable shaders, which might considerably influence raytracing efficiency and chip dimension. We'll most likely know extra as quickly as AMD has totally revealed Navi, which is more likely to occur later this yr.

In any case, on each the CPU facet and the GPU facet, this implies a major improve over PS4 and PS4 Professional. Particularly on the CPU facet, the Zen 2 CPU microarchitecture is forward of the Jaguar CPU cores utilized in all PS4 techniques. It incorporates numerous adjustments to construct an even bigger, higher chip with a a lot greater IPC price than Jaguar. Even when AMD and Sony clock the chip conservative, the brand new chip Core-for-Core ought to simply pull circles across the PS4 (Professional) processor. A really fast and soiled evaluation, which we dig by way of our benchmark archive states that even a Zen 1 processor is Three-4x sooner than a Jaguar processor with the identical variety of cores ; and this may most likely underestimate what Zen 2 can do.

On the GPU facet, we’ve got much less work to do, principally attributable to lack of awareness concerning the structure, and maybe extra importantly, what sort of configuration Sony has to take care of. Regardless of the enhancements, the PS4 Professional's GPU is at finest a hybrid of the Graphics Core Subsequent (GCN) 2 and GCN 5 applied sciences, with the majority of the chip apparently the primary to match the GCN 2-like design of the unique PS4 processor , Navi shall be up to now past, even when to what diploma continues to be ready. Sony needs to push 8K TVs to the following PlayStation, no matter it’s, I don’t anticipate them to restrict GPU efficiency.

One of many unanswered questions on AMD's chip shall be whether or not it's a conventional monolithic design or a chiplet method. We already know that Zen-2 CPUs for PCs and servers take over the latter, with an I / O die coupled to at least one (or extra) CPU dies. Nonetheless, we additionally know that AMD doesn’t use chiplets for his or her eventual Zen 2 APU . And within the center are good causes for and in opposition to their use. Chiplets are useful in connecting different processing blocks – a really helpful characteristic for a semi-custom design, equivalent to a console chip, the place the proprietor might need to embody silicon from different distributors – however this might not be as cost-effective or resource-effective in mass portions as a recreation console processor getting produced.

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Zen 2 "Matisse" Chiplet prototype

On the identical time, whereas Wired's article takes the backseat of the CPU and GPU parts of the brand new AMD chip, it additionally confirms that AMD supplies a number of the audio answer for the console. The AMD chip will comprise what Wired calls the " 3D audio unit". Cerny makes positive that Sony is on the lookout for a deeper sound. In the event you're sorry concerning the pun, it appears like a mix of audio raycasting to raised compute reflections and different environments equivalent to turns, mixed with improved head-to-head 3D audio evacuation capabilities.

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Nonetheless, it’s equally attention-grabbing that it clearly is a unit. AMD has already tried this with TrueAudio utilizing elements of the expertise for the PS4. Within the PC world, nonetheless, True Audio solely appeared in just a few GPUs. AMD deserted it in 2016 with the Polaris GPU structure. As an alternative, AMD's latest audio efforts, equivalent to TrueAudio Subsequent, targeted extra on GPU shader packages than on devoted . Whereas the following era of PlayStation would require a audio processor for primary duties and PS4 help, I'm curious to see how a lot of AMD's audio answer is mounted and shader packages.

Additionally SSDs

AMD just isn’t the one producer to offer the console with the one key chip for the following PlayStation. Because it seems, because of the insertion of an SSD for storage, the console will actually comprise plenty of silicon. The SSD replaces the exhausting drive used within the present PS4 generations, and as we've seen again and again, even the slowest trendy SSD affords dramatically improved switch charges and entry occasions in comparison with quick HDDs, whatever the 2.5- Inch 5,400 RPM exhausting drives used within the PS4.

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A contemporary M.2 NVMe SSD

In Wired's article untouched, however vital to the ultimate console, are the financial features of this resolution. Costs for SSDs have plummeted within the final 6 months. We must be underneath $ zero.10 / GB till the following PlayStation. HDDs, nonetheless, are nonetheless cheaper per gigabyte. Within the meantime, Sony has more and more set 500GB drives for 1TB drives as the usual for many PS4 fashions (Pink Useless Redemption 2 alone is sort of 100GB), leaving an equal SSD for NAND flash reminiscence alone over $ 100 can be at as we speak's costs. Even when costs proceed to fall, SSDs are not at all low cost. Which implies will probably be attention-grabbing to see if the SSD from Sony is a pure SSD answer or a hybrid answer or if they’re doing one thing else to offset pace and price.

Sure, it’s backwards suitable. No, that's not this yr

Sony's next-generation PlayStation teaser, Cerny and Wired's article, additionally confirms what most individuals would anticipate from Sony's structure choice: the brand new console is backwards suitable with PS4 video games. In fact, the satan is within the particulars, however the necessary half is that the underlying architectures are suitable. The PS4 was an x86 CPU and an AMD GPU, and the following console is once more lower from the identical broad material.

I’d anticipate the CPU facet to be comparatively insignificant right here, since for all sensible functions, Zen 2 is a really massive set of features discovered within the Jaguar microarchitecture. Nonetheless, the GPU facet is extra of a placeholder, which in flip is because of what we have no idea about Navi. The much less GCN-2 like navigation system, the extra work is required for backward compatibility as Sony and AMD have to steadiness the variations in order that PS4 video games can proceed to run with the low-level GNM graphics API.

Lastly, it goes with out saying that as we speak's launch is simply the primary a part of a a lot longer-term promoting and rollout plan for the following PlayStation console. Sony has already introduced that they are going to skip E3 this yr, and though the corporate doesn’t say when the following console will fail, 2019 is clearly out of the query. Final however not least, AMD wants a while to combine new applied sciences right into a single chip for a semi-custom product. With Zen 2 launching mid-year and Navi unclear as to when 2019 would land, that may not be the case AMD doesn’t have a lot time to organize a chip for Sony this yr.

In fact this isn’t a nasty factor for Sony. Which means subsequent yr (or extra), the corporate can have loads of time to spin out particulars concerning the new console and construct a hype for it earlier than it lastly goes available on the market. And I'm positive we'll have much more discoveries alongside the way in which.

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