As expected, Sony has officially presented the specifications of the PlayStation 5. The system is equipped with an AMD Navi-gpu with 36 compute units. The PS5 has 10.3 teraflops of computing power, while the Xbox Series X GPU is good for 12 teraflops. AMD is also responsible for the CPU with eight Zen 2 cores that are clocked at a maximum of 3.5GHz.
PlayStation 5: CPU & GPU
The chip of the PlayStation 5 has eight CPU cores with a variable clock speed (maximum 3.5 GHz). Sony says the maximum clock speed will be met in most cases, however the speed will be reduced in certain situations to manage the load on the system. The CPU cores support simultaneous multithreading. This is a technique for improving the overall efficiency of superscalar CPUs with hardware multithreading. SMT allows multiple independent threads to better utilize the resources of modern processor architectures. Sony combines the CPU with 16GB GDDR6 with a 256bit memory bus (memory bandwidth 448GB / s).
Sony applies the same tactic to the PS5’s GPU. The design of the GPU is based on the RDNA 2 architecture (Navi) and is equipped with 36 compute units with a maximum speed of 2.23GHz. The GPU is good for 10.3 teraflops of computing power, two teraflops less than the Microsoft console. However, Xbox Series X uses fixed clock speeds, which can always be achieved.
Hardware ray tracing
RDNA 2 also introduces hardware support for ray tracing. On the PS5 this is referred to as the Intersection Engine, although the technology is based on the future RDNA 2 GPUs for PCs. There has been speculation about an external block, but that is not the case and the RT hardware is built into the shaders and thus fully integrated. As with the RDNA implementation, PS5 can access the same kind of implementations we’ve already seen on the PC: reflections, environmental occlusion, shadows, and global lighting. The PS5 (36 CUs) is quite at a disadvantage in terms of ray tracing, because the system lacks 16 compute units compared to the new Xbox (52 CUs).
Lightning fast NVME SSD
The PS5 has an NVME SSD with a capacity of 825GB. It is a custom pci-e 4.0 ssd, which is reportedly produced by Samsung. It concerns lightning-fast memory with a speed of 5.5 GB / s without compression and 8 to 9 GB / s with compression. Xbox Series X has to make do with an SSD that achieves half the performance. The memory can be expanded in the future with pc-e 4.0 ssd’s, however these will not be available at the time of release.
3D audio with Tempest Engine
Finally, the PS5 has support for 3D audio with Sony’s Tempest Engine. In today’s games, rain is a simple, single sound. With the Tempest Engine, PlayStation 5 aims to create the feeling of being in the middle of the shower by simulating the sound of individual raindrops hitting the ground around you. The system knows exactly where objects are and even takes the shape of your ears and the size and shape of your head into account.
To accurately simulate the positioning, Sony should generate a table called Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF) ideally per person. How the user perceives audio can be simulated by the human acoustic environment by processing that table, a task that requires a lot of computing power. The Tempest Engine is basically a redesigned AMD GPU compute unit, stripped of its caches and relying solely on DMA transfers, just like a PS3 spu (CELL). This, in turn, opens the door to full use of the compute unit’s vector units.
The design of the PlayStation 5 and the DualShock 5 remains a secret for the time being. In the summer we will probably hear more about the release date, price and games. The PS5 will be released in Europe in the last quarter of 2020. Do you want to receive the console on the day of release? Sign up for our pre-order list, where you automatically receive an email when a store starts offering the PS5. That way you never miss out.
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