The Playstation 4 console’s internals have been ripped apart, and inside reveals several hidden components including a secondary low power processor and 2Gb of DDR3 SDRAM.
There has been much speculation that the Playstation 4 does indeed include a secondary processor, but now we’re able to see it in the flesh. The 2Gb of memory (note, this is not gigabytes, but gigabits, which are 8 times smaller. In effect, this means that the PS4 has 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM ram. The secondary processor known as the “SCEI CXD90025G” exact uses aren’t known right now, but we have a few good guesses in mind.
The PS4’s secondary processor is a lower power ARM solution, that is likely used in a variety of tasks including background downloading and also downloading / standby type of tasks. It’s also possible that it will be handling DRM (Digital Rights Management) by using the Microsoft Playready DRM (click for the official MS website) solution. There is also some speculation that the extra resources of the PS4’s secondary processor can be used for other things. including the 15 minute gameplay loop (which is possibly 720P and with H.264 compression).
It’s also possible that it will be used to reduce access time on the hard disk. Because the Playstation 4 was designed to minimize time for game updates and the resuming of gameplay (if the system is turned off), the secondary processor & memory are likely there to help with saving the current state of your progress to make things much snappier upon your return. Another likely use is that it will help be the systems south bridge. For example, drivers and interactions with the Playstation Network.
Of course, the low power ARM core secondary processor of the PS4 and the DDR3 memory aren’t going to provide any additional gameplay benefits – they won’t help process graphics for example. But what they will do is free up resources from the CPU and provide a low energy alternative to the AMD Jaguar SoC which serves as the main processor for Sony’s machine. The Playstation 4’s Jaguar is comprised of two modules of four cores (giving eight CPU cores total), running at 1.6GHZ. The SoC design also includes the systems GPU – a heavily modified AMD Radeon GCN architecture processor. This SoC along with the PS4’s 8GB (notice the upper case B, signifying it’s gigabytes or 8192MB RAM) of GDDR5 are will will take care of running the games. Despite the fact the parts aren’t too power hungry, it’s still going to such up more juice from the socket than what is needed to say update your game in the background.
And finally a little pause for thought – Sony’s previous console, the PS3 had 256MB of memory for main system and an additional 256MB for video. Isn’t it kinda crazy how 256MB of memory is now being used in this generations secondary processor? How times change!
Credit for the picture of the PS4 internals goes to http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/PlayStation+4+Teardown/19493?