Pixel Paradigm: The Blueprint For Technological Gaming Success

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Sony has broken the silence. The specifications of the PlayStation 5 have now been revealed, with system architect Mark Cerny offering an in-depth analysis of the nature of the new hardware and how we should expect a true generational leap in the PlayStation 4. I got the chance to find Digital Foundry. . Talk a few days before and then have the opportunity to speak in more depth with Cerny about the nature of custom PlayStation hardware and the philosophy behind the design.

Pixel Paradigm: The Blueprint For Technological Gaming Success

Pixel Paradigm: The Blueprint For Technological Gaming Success

As you’ll appreciate if you watched the Deep Dive presentation released today, there’s a lot of new information about Sony’s next-gen console plans, and

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Beyond the content of today’s presentation, we delve deeper into the information that Mark Serney shared with us. With this in mind, we will present the content in two parts. Today we will take a look at what we learned from Sony video streaming, and later we will go deeper and share more details about the main pillars. In summary, however, here are the main details discussed today:

What is interesting about this presentation is that Sony presents a vision for the next generation focused on the gaming experience by providing the latest exotic custom silicon for some of the main features of the first console. to the next level. But at the same time, the design is based on a developer-friendly philosophy that has proven itself with the PlayStation 4. The idea is that developers are comfortable with the current generation of hardware and can easily complete the basics of the PS5 and easily access additional processors. , GPU and storage features before exploring new features quickly.

From a gamer’s perspective, we know from the audience that there is a similar appetite for the core technical specifications of the PlayStation 5 processor – and thanks to this deal, we now know a lot about the special AMD processor at the heart of the PlayStation. . 5. Some people know. However, in reality, Cerny focused more on the presentation of key features such as SSD storage and the experience provided by the new Tempest audio engine – which is really exciting – but such is the level of speculation.

Basically, we already know that the PlayStation 5 uses AMD’s excellent Zen 2 processor technology with eight physical cores and 16 threads confirmed – but now we know that the PS5 will deliver a frequency of up to 3.5 GHz. . Discussing CPU and GPU clock speeds requires careful explanation, as Cerny actually describes these frequencies as “capped.” As for the processor, 3.5GHz is at the higher end of the spectrum, and it also shows that it’s normal speed – but in some situations it can run slower.

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Sony’s custom version of the AMD RDNA 2 GPU has 36 computing units operating at a frequency limited to 2.23 GHz, thus providing a maximum computing performance of 10.28 TF. However, again, while 2.23 GHz is also the limit and typical speed, it may be lower depending on the workload requested. The PS5 then uses a boost clock – and we will explain it to you in a moment – but it is important to remember that the performance of the RDNA computing unit is the same as that of the PS4 or PS4 Pro, which are older. architecture. There are many more.

In fact, the transistor density of the RDNA 2 computing unit is 62% higher than the PS4 CU, which means that in terms of the minimum number of transistors, the 36 CU PlayStation 5 array is the same as the 58 CU PlayStation 4. And don’t forget that on top of that, this new CU runs at twice the frequency.

It is really important to clarify the use of variable frequency in the PlayStation 5. It is called “Boost”, but it cannot be compared with the technology of the same name in smartphones, or even in PC components such as CPU and GPU. There, peak performance is directly related to thermal headroom, so in high-temperature environments, game frame rates can drop, sometimes significantly. This is in stark contrast to console expectations, where we expect all machines to produce similar performance. So it’s pretty clear up front, the PlayStation 5 is.

Pixel Paradigm: The Blueprint For Technological Gaming Success

All PS5 consoles handle the same workload with the same level of performance in any environment, regardless of ambient temperature.

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So how to promote in this case? Simply put, the PlayStation 5 has a set power budget related to the thermal limits of the cooling package. “It’s a completely different paradigm,” Cerny says. “Instead of operating at a constant frequency and allowing the power to vary depending on the workload, we’re actually operating at a constant power and allowing the frequency to vary depending on the workload.”

The internal monitor analyzes the workload on the CPU and GPU and adjusts the frequency accordingly. Although it is true that each piece of silicon has slightly different temperature and power characteristics, the monitor is based on the determination of the behavior of what Cerny calls a “SoC model” (system on a chip) – each PlayStation 5 has established a standard reference point for

The PlayStation 5 has variable clocks for the CPU and GPU, with an internal monitor adjusting the clock to keep the system within its power budget.

“Instead of looking at the actual temperature of the silicon chip, we look at the activities performed by the GPU and CPU and adjust the frequency based on that, making everything predictable and repeatable,” Cerny said in the presentation. “At the moment, we’re also using AMD’s SmartShift technology to send unused CPU power to the GPU to crank out a few extra pixels.”

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It’s an interesting idea – and it doesn’t match Microsoft’s design decisions for the Xbox Series. However, for Sony, it means that the PlayStation 5 could get a higher GPU frequency than expected. Those clocks are higher than anything AMD has seen in the PC space. This also means that, by extension, more performance can be squeezed out of the available 36 RDNA 2 computing units.

Not wanting to compare existing hardware with the past, present or future, Cerny presented an interesting hypothetical scenario: a 36 CU graphics core running at 1 GHz and a hypothetical 48 CU running at 750 MHz. Both offer 4.6 TF computing performance, but Cerny says the gaming experience won’t be the same.

“The performance is very different, because “teraflop” is defined as the computing capacity of the vector ALU. It is only one part of the GPU, there are many other units – and the other units are all fast. At 33% higher frequency, 33% faster rasterization, buffer processing commands are faster, L1 and L2 caches have more bandwidth, and so on,” explained Cerny in his presentation.

Pixel Paradigm: The Blueprint For Technological Gaming Success

“The only drawback is that the system memory is 33% further away from the cycle, however

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Profits exceed the balance. As my friend said, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” said Sarni. Also, it’s easier to use 36 CU than 48 CU – when the triangles are small, it’s harder to fill them all. This is a CPU with useful work. »

Sony’s pitch is this: a smaller GPU can be a more nimble and nimble GPU, which suggests that the PS5’s graphics core should be able to generate more performance than expected from the TFLOP count that doesn’t meet its capabilities. All parts of the GPU. Developers work within the SoC’s power limits, their workloads affect frequency very quickly – but that’s a factor that affects clock speed, not ambient temperature.

Cerny admits that the thermal solutions in older generation hardware are probably not optimal, but despite the impressive hours of the CPU and GPU, the concept of operating on a fixed power budget will make the concept of heat dissipation easier to manage.

“In a way, the problem becomes easier because there is nothing we don’t know anymore,” Cerny said in his presentation. “There’s no need to think that power consumption is the worst part of gaming.

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As for the details of the cooling solution, we save it for our breakdown. I think you will be very pleased with what the engineering team has created.”

At first glance, the PlayStation 5 packs a lot of power, but it seems that developers have an additional responsibility to make the most of these new features. The question is what happened.

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