For all the hubbub about social games and the lack of needing more horsepower in the next console generation, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 last night with more horsepower than Budweiser’s Clydesdale carriage. Nintendo certainly upgraded the Wii U compared to the original Wii, but that was largely an HD and processing necessity. Sony’s upgrades for the PS4, though, seem at first unnecessary but show that the PS4 will have a nice, long shelf life.
The PlayStation 4 is built around a custom chip that contains eight x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” cores and a state-of-the-art graphics processor. The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has been enhanced from the PS3’s in a number of ways, principally to allow for easier use of the GPU for general purpose computing (GPGPU) such as physics simulation. The PS4 GPU contains a unified array of 18 compute units, which collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks or some mixture of the two.
The PS4 is also equipped with 8 GB of unified system memory. GDDR5 is used for this memory, giving the system 176 GB/second of bandwidth and providing a further boost to graphics performance.
As expected, the PS4 uses a Blu-ray Disc drive, specifically a BD 6xCAV. It also supports DVD 8xCAV. This isn’t likely to be a differentiating factor from the next Xbox, however, as it’s widely suspected that the “Xbox 720” (or whatever it’s called) will also use the Blu-ray optical disc format. You can bet that Sony will make a tongue-in-cheek remark at E3 thanking Microsoft for licensing Sony’s technology for its competing console.
The communication mechanisms of the PS4 include an Ethernet port (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T), WiFi connection via 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR). It also uses USb 3.0.
As for multimedia, the PS4 supports HDMI out, Analog-AV out and Optical Digital Output.