Mark Cerny reveals more PS4 specs & features

Mark Cerny PS4 System Architect

Legendary game designer and soon to be legendary system architect Mark Cerny revealed various details about Sony’s Playstation 4. Not only did he lay out some of the PS4‘s technical specs but also dug into how the various features of the system will work together. Furthermore, he explained how the hardware on the PS4 is designed to reduce bottlenecking and provide long term power for developers who use it.

We’ve broken down the key points of what he said this list…

  • 8GB of GDDR5 RAM
  • CPU and GPU are on a “very large single custom chip” created by AMD for Sony
  • PS4 processor has 8 Jaguar cores in the CPU, the GPU and a large number of other units are all on the same die
  • RAM uses a 256-bit bus which transfers data at 176 GB per second
  • Added another bus to the GPU that allows it to read directly from system memory or write directly to system memory, bypassing its own L1 and L2 caches
  • Cerny expects developers to run middleware, such as physics, on the GPU
  • The launch lineup for PlayStation 4 is going to be stronger than any prior PlayStation hardware
  • Porting a game engine from the PC to the PlayStation 4 will now only take “weeks” rather than “months”
  • The PS4 specs will serve it well at launch but Cerny expects dedicated PS4 developers to utilize the PS4’s power more impressively midway through it’s lifespan.
  • Audio is processed through a dedicated hardware unit which will handle things like audio chat, in-game MP3 streams with requiring  significant resources from the CPU.
  • Video compression and decompression is also handled via a dedicated chip on the motherboard.
  • The PS4 supports zlib decompression via a dedicated unit which will allow developers to compress game data for faster download from Blu-ray and the internet.
  • Blu-ray data can be copied to the PS4 hard drive while you play the game during times when the disk is idle

Mark Cerny has been working on the PS4 since around 2007 with his focus being easier game developement. That means less technical issues; less time wasted debugging issues that shouldn’t exist. He also recognizes that the PS4 will age; upon launch it will be very powerful but within a relatively short amount of time (1 or 2 years) the system will begin to show it’s age. With that in mind, Cerny’s goal of unified RAM, co-operative processors, and dedicated hardware for additional features is designed to give programmers options. These are things that developers who are focusing on the PS4 will really be able to dig into and find out creative ways to utilize all the PS4‘s strengths. The PS4, although very similar to PC hardware has been designed to remove a lot of the redundancy in current PC architecture Cerny emphasizes.

Read the whole Mark Cerny PS4 interview at Gamasutra.

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