Neal Robison, director of ISV relations at AMD, was delighted to speak to TechRadar about AMD’s involvement with Sony’s PlayStation 4, since – apparently – Sony spent more time talking about their new DualShock controller than AMD’s contributions.
Robison went into detail about the APU that will be inside the next-gen PlayStation. Essentially, what AMD has done is squish eight x86-64, low-power Jaguar cores with a high-end Radeon HD graphics card, which contains an array of 18 computing units. Collectively, the these units can theoretically generate 1.84 TeraFLOPS of graphical processing power, which is about the same as a Nvidia GTX 660.
“It’s not just about an x86 solution“, Robison told TechRadar, “but it’s about that Jaguar APU where it’s a combination of the graphics and CPU together and being able to create something that’s greater than just putting an x86 PC-like architecture together.”
He then went on to talk about how AMD got involved with Sony’s PS4. As it turns out, apparently Sony came to AMD because of their history of developing hardware for consoles – the Xbox 360 and the Wii, among others. Apparently, Sony spoke openly during GDC that their approach to AMD was that they were looking back on some of the ways they looked at hardware in the past, and that they wanted to improve. They turned to AMD as being able to provide that improvement.
If you’re wondering where Nvidia is in all this, well, they’re apparently quite bitter, says Robison. In a recent TechRadar interview with Tony Tamasi (Nvidia’s senior vice president of content and technology), Tamasi “sized up the PS4’s specs to ‘a low-end CPU, and a low- to mid-range GPU’ when compared to gaming PCs.” Basically, he said that the PS4’s contents are outdated.
Robison laughed when TechRadar told him that.
“For us, really by looking at that APU that we designed, you can’t pull out individual components off it and hold it up and say, ‘Yeah, this compares to X or Y,’” Robison replied.
“It’s that integration of the two, and especially with the amount of shared memory (8GB of GDDR5, 176GB/s raw memory bandwidth) that Sony has chosen to put on that machine, then you’re going to be able to do so much more moving and sharing that data that you can address by both sides.
“It’s more than just a CPU doing all these amazing calculations and a GPU doing calculations. We are now going to be able to move certain tasks between the two.”
Robison then went on to say that developers will be able to take advantage of all eight cores of the APU, that multithreading is going “to become a huge deal for a lot of the big blockbuster games.”
All this sounds promising on how next-gen hardware will be able to process next-generation games on the PlayStation 4. However, I think we can only really be sure once the console final comes out, with next-gen titles to boot. It’s all just theory in the meantime. Here’s hoping to that occasion, however!
Chirps to TechRadar. Thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you next time!