While both Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles are still under wraps, which is expected to be the PS4 and Xbox 720 respectively, there have been quite a few rumored details to be involved with the inter-workings of these consoles. On December 21, a post on NeoGAF revealed a Sony patent that has been filed that could be related to the development of the PS4.
Through the description of this patent, it seems that Sony is looking into the possibility of integrating some type of dual graphics processor switching technology into the PS4.
DYNAMIC CONTEXT SWITCHING BETWEEN ARCHITECTURALLY DISTINCT GRAPHICS PROCESSORS
Graphics processing in a computer graphics apparatus having architecturally dissimilar first and second graphics processing units (GPU) is disclosed. Graphics input is produced in a format having an architecture-neutral display list. One or more instructions in the architecture neutral display list are translated into GPU instructions in an architecture specific format for an active GPU of the first and second GPU.
It seems that they are aiming for APU+GPU combination in PS4. As for architecturaly disctinct graphic processors, they will most likely use 7xxx for APU and 8xxx for discrete GPU… but off course, who knows. Maybe they are just doing preemptive patenting for their patent war chest.
With this type of functionality, Sony would have the ability to dedicate specific functions for specific pieces of hardware. This type of technology would provide Sony with the opportunity to implement various multitasking capabilities within their next generation console. But, as with anything of this nature, fans should take it with a grain of salt until it is confirmed by a valid source.