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30 Apr 2013 16:48
Sony’s hardware engineers have spent long hours trying to come up with a system that isn’t held back by the sort of bottlenecks you get on PCs. (AFP)
Microsoft has announced that they’ll be ready to show the world the next Xbox on May 21 and we’ve heard a fair deal about Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4), including details of its architecture.
Speaking to technology magazine, Gamasutra, Sony’s PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny has gone into a little more depth about the choices that were made in designing the system’s innards, which they are calling “supercharged PC architecture”.
What the heck do they mean by “supercharged”? Well, it’s all a little technical and complicated – but Cerny and Sony’s other hardware engineers have spent long hours trying to come up with a system that isn’t held back by the sort of bottlenecks you get on PCs.
"A typical PC GPU [graphics processing unit] has two buses," said Cerny. "There’s a bus the GPU uses to access VRAM [video RAM], and there is a second bus that goes over the PCI [peripheral component interconnect] Express that the GPU uses to access system memory.
But whichever bus is used, the internal caches of the GPU become a significant barrier to CPU [central processing unit]/GPU communication – any time the GPU wants to read information the CPU wrote, or the GPU wants to write information so that the CPU can see it, time-consuming flushes of the GPU internal caches are required.”
So how does one get around that sort of thing? According to Cerny, they’ve made three fundamental changes to the architecture, to make it more efficient.
You can quite plainly see that Sony’s hardware architects have put a lot of thought (of the forward-thinking variety) in to the system, and have learned from their past mistakes. The PS4 is going to be a beast, utilising a custom designed, more efficient take on existing PC hardware that should be an absolute dream for game developers.
There’s a lot more to it in Gamasutra’s three-page in-depth look at what the PS4 offers – and it’s well worth a look if you’re even remotely interested in the PS4’s hardware.
Article courtesy of Lazygamer.net. Follow Geoffrey Tim on Twitter here. – Gadget.co.za
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