Sony’s PlayStation 5 will be a very interesting beast when it finally hits retail because the system has the potential to all but eliminate loading times thanks to the vast speed and performance of the proprietary SSD technology residing at the heart of the console.
Sony’s presentation used a combination of Marvel’s Spider-Man and several slides to wow investors to the performance and potential of its next-generation console.
The demo started out using the Playstation 4 Pro, and the loading times of Sony’s current console were timed by using ‘fast travel’ to warp Spider-Man around the game’s map. It took 8.1 seconds to warp from one location of the other. Sony then did the same test using the PS5, and the loading was finished in 0.83 seconds, almost 10x faster than the previous generation system.
8 seconds isn’t too bad for loading, but still – scaling this up when loading times for some games can approach 30 seconds or even a minute when changing locations or a first boot… and that alone is cause for celebration.
The second set of tests though further expanded on demo Mark Cerny (who is the Playstation 4, PS4 Pro, Vita and now PS5 lead architect) showed off to Wired. Basically speaking, the speed Spider-Man can zip around New York isn’t just a decision made by the games developers, but also a technical limitation of the PS4 Pro.
If the games speed is increased (so Spider-Man is travelling faster) the console just can’t keep up the pace, and the whole thing becomes a stuttering mess. Pat yourself on the back if you guessed what happened next, Sony did the same test with the PS5 (assuming it is called that, Sony are only referring to it officially as next-generation right now) and the title played at lightning speed.
Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
At a guess though, it seems like the demo shown here is a different demo to the Wired piece – but even so, the performance of the system is hard to scoff at. This should allow vast open worlds, with the ability for developers to let you explore different universes, travel to entirely new sections of the map, have vast battles that be zipped over at lightning speed… plus the other obvious benefit – not annoying people on the “you died” screen and feeling your fingers turn white against the controller as the loading screen takes a minute.
There was also a slide presentation too, and unfortunately, the slide didn’t have hardware specifications, it did make mention of a new CPU/GPU combination, reaffirmed the SSD. We also saw Ray Tracing listed again, plus 3d audio support, 8K compatibility and more.
For the PlayStation 5’s 8K support, I doubt the console will natively be outputting titles at that resolution. More than likely, it will simply upscale games to the display. The resolution is 4x higher than that of 4K’s native output (7680×4320 vs 3840×2160), the result of pushing this many pixels would be an enormous strain on the GPU to simply output the same quality of graphics but at the higher resolution.
There’s also a rather interesting leak that’s been floating about concerning the PlayStation 5 development kit – now clearly, you should take this information with a pinch (actually, may I suggest a dump truck load) of salt.
But supposedly the system is using a Monolithic Die, which is about 22.4mm by 14.1mm, or just a shade under 316 mm squared. The original PlayStation 4 which was manufactured on a 28nm process was 19 by 18.3 mm, so around 350 mm squared. So the PS5 die is a little smaller. The leak didn’t have any specs mentioned. BUT the long-standing rumor online is we’re seeing an APU that sports an 8-Core Zen 2 based CPU that has a frequency up to 3.2GHz, and an AMD Navi GPU, clocked up to 1.8GHZ and outputs around the 12-13 TFLOP range of performance (exact figures constantly vary here).
Next, the leaker claims there “16 Samsung K4ZAF325BM-HC18 in clamshell configuration”. This leak is referencing Samsung’s GDDR6 memory, and from the model number appears to be memory modules in 2GB capacity. Though this IS for a development kit (which typically has more) and so the retail console might cut this to just 16GB.
The brow raiser though is the ‘HC18’ at the end, which points to 18gbps modules… which currently isn’t listed on Samsung’s Website.
You’ll also see there are 3 additional Samsung memory modules which “2 of those close to the NAND acting as DRAM cache (unusual 2GB DRAM per 1 TB NAND)”. This basically means there’s an additional 6GB of DDR4 memory. 2GB is for the operating system (which is actually… very small. The PS4 OS was actually a bit larger, and with flexible memory. See more of the PS4 Pro’s memory here). If this is right though, the other 4GB of DDR4 for the PS5 would be used for caching for the SSD.
Going through the pastebin leak, the user there does mention specifically that the retail consoles will sport 24GB GDDR6 memory (which would be 384-bit memory bus), while the development kits for the PlayStation 5 have 32GB memory (16 memory modules = 512-bit).
Finally, there’s a PS5016-E16 controller from Phison. Reading over the specs of the controller it is:
PCIe Gen 4×4 NVMe
8 Channels with 32 CEs
NAND Interface of 800MT/s Support
DDR4 Interface of 1600Mb/s Support
3D TLC & QLC NAND Flash Support
Designed with Phison’s 4th Gen LDPC Engine
It can run up to PCI-E 4.0, and according to the companies own testing is capable of sequential read/write speeds over 4GB/s.
With luck, we’ll learn more about the PlayStation 5 around the E3 period, and hopefully Microsoft will also spill the beans on its next-generation Xbox.