Sony has long been teasing the arrival of their groundbreaking PlayStation 5 gaming console. Famed Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier has called the device “the most exciting hardware in 20 years”, which has naturally left gaming fans wondering exactly what the company has up its sleeve this time. Even ardent online Blackjack fans will want to pay attention to this release!
Almost a full year after Sony first revealed that its next-gen console was on the way, the company has supplied detailed information about the PS5’s system architecture. The information was announced in a recent technical presentation by Mark Cerny, the lead system architecture for both the new device and its popular predecessor, the PS4.
The live-streamed discussion also included an in-depth Digital Foundry talk based on an interview with Cerny. Sony published the PS5’s hardware specifications on its PlayStation Blog shortly after the presentation had been wrapped up.
Impressive Specs Announced
During the presentation, Cerny announced that the PS5’s CPU will boast 8 Zen 2 cores with a variable frequency of up to 3.5GHz. The GPU will reportedly be a custom AMD GPU based on Sony’s own RDNA 2 technology. The PS5’s peak GPU performance will run at an astounding 10.28 teraflops, based on 36 computational units that will run at up to 2.23 GHz.
The technical capabilities of the PS5’s hardware may fall just short of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (which will boast 12 teraflops of GPU performance), but the next-generation consoles cannot be defined simply by their raw power output. To illustrate this point, the PS5’s processing hardware is said to be much more efficient than that of the PS4, so a single compute unit will deliver more performance than it did in the past. According to Cerny, the PS5’s 36 compute units are equivalent to 58 PS4 compute units as they have 62% more transistors to offer.
Solid State Drive Performance
One of the most significant features of the PS5 will be its internal storage, which will be a solid state drive. Sony has created custom software and connectivity for the console’s SSD to provide massive improvements in in-game environment generation and loading times. Cerny says that the drive will offer 825GB of storage and will connect through the PCI express 4.0 interface.
PS5 owners will also be able to expand the device’s internal storage by purchasing some PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs off the shelf and installing them into the console’s expansion bay.
Other specs that have been revealed about the PlayStation 5 include its memory / interface size of 16 GB GDDR6 / 256-bit, its memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s, and its external storage with USB hard drive support. The console is also set to offer optical drive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray graphics, HDMI 2.1 video support, and Tempest 3D AudioTech sound capability.
Customisable Audio Features
In his demonstration, Cerny also highlighted the PS5’s audio capabilities. Sony created its own custom hardware unit for 3D audio support, named Tempest 3D AudioTech. The company wants all users to have access to 3D audio, not just those with quality headphones or sound systems with support for licenses standards like Dolby Atmos.
He further iterated that headphone audio is currently the gold standard for 3D sounds on the PS5, noting that Sony is also working on 3D audio via sound systems delivered through TV speakers. He also noted that Tempest’s positional sound is based on the head-related transfer function (HRTF), which is different for every person, much like a fingerprint. The PS5 will allow users to pick between 5 different HRTF settings to fully customise their audio experiences.
Additionally, the PS5 will even offer hardware acceleration for real time ray tracing through the same technology that powers AMD’s latest PC graphics cards. Sony has previously noted that the PS5 will support gaming in 4K resolution at 120 frames per second. While the console will not be completely backward compatible with PS4 games, the company has also noted that almost all of the PS4’s most popular games will be able to run on the console, which will launch later in 2020. The PS5’s launch is planned for the 2020 holiday season – around the same time that Microsoft plans to reveal its Xbox Series X