Sony’s Playstation 4 is a pretty capable system, but might well be getting a ‘massive performance boost’ according to a recent Twitter exchange between Tidux, Thuway and a few other industry insiders. It would appear this performance boost will be due to the Playstation’s ICE Team, but much of this is still shrouded in mystery.
Tidux on Twitter said: “Who knew ice could perform. future improvements are completely Bananas. #PS4″
But that wasn’t the end of the story, Ashan Rasheed, perhaps better known as Thuway added “If the number you are giving me is true, than it really is game over Xbox One,” to the conversation, but did clarify he meant performance wise, not in terms of sales figures. He finished off by pointing out “I find it hard to swallow. But if it is true, the Xbox One to PS4 port differences will grow much larger if devs choose to make PS4 versions shine.”
One hint this might be true is from one of ICE Team’s own members, Cort. We’ve covered this previously, but Cort had said via Twitter “Finally wrote that ASM I was looking forward to. Early results: PS4 surface tiling/detiling on the CPU is ~10-100x faster now. SIMDlicious!”
Microsoft’s Xbox One will also be receiving a few performance boosts of its own. DirectX12 is coming, and of course the Kinect-less route will free up GPU reserves too.
Another possibility is we’ll be seeing further optimizations to the PS4’s API, or perhaps a reduction in the reserve the Playstation 4 has allocated to system. It’s possibly we could be seeing a reduction in memory footprint, or perhaps a little CPU power freed up. Developers have already reported that the Playstation 4’s CPU is a bottleneck.
Another popular rumour flying around is a CPU / GPU up clock. It’s important to remember that while we don’t have an official figure regarding the PS4’s CPU speed, estimates and rumors say that it’s clocked at 1600MHZ. The X1’s CPU is faster, running at 1.75GHZ. Both use the same processor, the AMD Jaguar X86-64 is pretty much an identical configuration so in theory the PS4’s should run be able to run at the same clock speed. The AMD Jaguar is “officially” good (according to AMD) up to the 2GHZ, but both MS and Sony run it slower to reduce heat.
We say theory because it depends on the heat inside the system, and it’s entirely possible Playstation 4’s heatsink won’t be up to the challenge of removing the extra heat from the extra clock frequency.
There’s also the possibility of an upclock of the GPU, which is running at 800MHZ. The PS4’s GPU has significantly more shaders than the X1 (Xbox One’s 768 vs Playstation 4’s 1152) which is why the PS4’s GPU is faster despite a slower clock frequency. The Xbox One is clocked at 853 MHZ, and it’s possible the PS4’s GPU could receive a similar up-clock. Once again heat would be the issue, but if it was raised to say 850MHZ the PS4’s GPU would raise from 1.84 TFLOPS to a hair under 2TFLOPS. In the unlikely event Sony managed 900MHZ, we’d be seeing 2.07TFLOPS.
Of course it’s much more likely they’re not going to raise clock speeds, and we’ll instead be seeing software (development tools), better API and maybe tweaks in the Ps4’s OS / drivers. This would tie in much closer to the previous rumors, and certainly optimizations of performance after a console is released isn’t anything new or unique. Microsoft did so on the X360, Sony on the Vita and PS3. Older consoles had better SDK’s and so on released to help developers get the most out of the system.
It’s important to not take this rumour as confirmed – it’s not official.