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Sony's Next PlayStation Will Include an AMD Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-04-17 01:39:49

Sony's PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny has confirmed [] hardware details about Sony's upcoming PlayStation console [], including the use of an 8-core "7nm" Zen 2 CPU from AMD, and an AMD "7nm" Navi GPU of unspecified size/performance. The version of Navi in the console will also support real-time ray tracing []:

The big news here of course is that Cerny is confirming that Sony is tapping AMD's latest CPU and GPU architectures for the next-generation PlayStation's chip. On the CPU side we're looking at 8 CPU cores based on AMD's Zen 2 microarchitecture. This is the same CPU microarchitecture that AMD is expecting to launch in PCs mid-year, with products such as their Ryzen "Matisse" CPU [] and second-generation EPYC "Rome" processors []. While we're still waiting to see just how well the Zen 2 architecture performs in the real world, it's succeeding the already very powerful Zen (1) architecture, so everyone has high expectations here and AMD seems eager to deliver on them.

Meanwhile on the GPU side, AMD will be tapping their forthcoming Navi GPU architecture for the chip. Unlike the CPU side, Son and Cerny aren't saying anything here about the GPU configuration, so there's little to be said about performance; all of that will come down to how big of a Navi GPU block Sony has asked for. Navi itself is a codename we've seen on AMD's GPU roadmaps since 2016 [], however we still know relatively little about the architecture beyond the fact that in 2016 at least, AMD was intending to focus on scalability and support for next-generation memory (which at this point we'd take to mean GDDR6 []). Like the Zen 2 CPU architecture, we're expecting Navi-powered GPUs to start shipping this year for PCs, so we should have a better idea soon of all of what Navi will entail.

However in the meantime, Cerny himself did open up a bit about Navi – or at least the version that will be going into Sony's chip. The next-generation PlayStation will support ray tracing, mirroring developments we've seen in the PC world in the last year with the introduction of DirectX Raytracing [] and hardware support in rival NVIDIA's GPUs. Over the last couple of years, ray tracing has increasingly been heralded as the next evolution in GPU rendering technologies, as it allows for more realistic rendering methods to be used, especially with regards to light. Ray tracing is expensive, but done right it can add to a game in ways that can't be done cheaply (if at all) with pure compute-shader based approaches.

A "custom unit for 3D audio" is also mentioned, and the console will use an SSD instead of an HDD. 8K resolution support will be included (at least for video output, if games don't run at that resolution).

The next-generation Xbox console is rumored to feature similar hardware [] (8-core Zen 2, 12 teraflops Navi, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD). There is also talk of a streaming-focused Xbox with cheaper hardware [] (8-core Zen 2, 4 teraflops Navi, 12 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD).

Also at Wccftech [].

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