Sony's Mark Cerny discusses why the PS4 will use an x86 architecture

By Shawn Knight · 63 replies
Apr 26, 2013
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  1. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    The good thing about PCs is that it's upgradable. Those giant rigs might be ugly, but they Have more life in them than any console. There are parts you can keep, sell and pair-up, so you're not buying an entire PC every time. The other good thing is, you can play ALL PC games ever made.
  2. Wow, so many misconceptions.

    x86 processor just means compatible with the x86 instruction set and x64 means a 64 bit version, meaning it can handle 64 bit wide binary numbers rather than 32, 16 or 8 bit. 32 bit processors are limited to 4gb of ram because their memory addresses can only be 32 bits wide. 64 bit processors have 64 bit memory addresses and that's a whole lot of ram, terabytes I think.
    AMD APUs currently set the standard. AMD got that technological lead by buying ATI and now their integrated graphics makes Intel graphics look like doo-doo and a computer based on an A10 APU can play most current 3D video games at acceptable frame rates using shared DDR3 memory.

    The PS4 APU sounds like it has many more graphics cores with an improved design and greatly increased memory bandwidth.

    It's not going to beat a mid-level discrete GPU in graphics or a mid-level cpu in processing power but a mid-level GPU/CPU combo in a PC is minimum $600, big, noisy, harder to use, requires a lot more tech support and doesn't come with nicely integrated ergonomic wireless controllers that just work.

    The PS4 is an exciting piece of hardware, not only because of what it can do but because it has been done with one piece of silicon and won't cost an arm and a leg.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Good points but not applicable to the cost portion of the equation. Consoles need to be replaced every 5-7 years and, other than a HDD, are completely non-upgradeable. However, the long-term costs of regularly upgrading a PC (once every 3-5 years) will be very close on average to the cost of buying a new console each generation, depending on what you're putting in it (it could also be lower or significantly greater). Looking at the situation as replacing an entire unit (the console) vs. occasionally replacing components (the PC) alludes to this situation.

    Lifecycle comparisons between PCs and consoles are problematic. In order to keep a gaming PC running at a fair level you have to upgrade the components at least every 3-5 years (in my experience), otherwise changes in game software start diminishing performance to varying degrees. Therefore, the rig only achieves a long lifecycle by undergoing periodic upgrades. A console is not affected by this and the gaming experience marginally increases as software developers come up with better ways to utilize limited resources. By contrast, PC gaming experience either remains static or diminishes in the absence of periodic upgrades. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

    Is the PC a superior platform? Yes. More power, more flexibility, and a greater library are hard points to refute. However, consoles are far more economical for people who have small luxury budgets.
  4. 8 independent bobcat cores will beat a haswell when running optimized multithreading code hands down. And will do it in a smaller thermal envelope.

    Is the nature of consoles, are optimized to the metal.No need to run APIs,OS services or HALs. .Also let`s remenber the GDDR5 memory speed guarantee the cores will be working at full capacity
  5. Zeromus

    Zeromus TS Booster Posts: 227   +7

    Oh you're so funny, refuting facts without any kind of evidence. Or without a brain for that matter.
  6. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    And that's how we want it. GDDR5 is local, has much higher bandwidth and faster than DDR3 in a PC.
  7. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    If AMD bought ATi to take on Intel IGP's, they are some dumb azz mofo's, because it's a fight they cannot win. AMD wins in performance, yes, but marketshare, never.

    Mom's and dads don't need AMD APU's to browse, email, and watch youtube videos. A LOT of people have been getting online with their mobiles recently causing PC sales to decline, and guess what? AMD has nothing there.

    But at least their IGP is better than Intels', right?
  8. Zeromus

    Zeromus TS Booster Posts: 227   +7

    Wow, take a look at the modifications:
    Greater GPU memory bandwidth, dedicated cache selection for less computer/graphics memory bottleneck and greater command sources reduce even more overhead. If this works out it might be very impressive. My question is why don't AMD implement more command sources for their GPU? Why would it be advantageous in this case?
  9. Gragodine

    Gragodine TS Rookie

    Exactly, the PS3 gets rid of the slower ddr3 and instead shares 8gb of gddr5 between the CPU and GPU. People seem to think that a desktop with 8gb ram is equivalent to the ps4. In my opinion the APU in the ps4 looks like a design that could end up producing some nice graphics when properly optimized :)

    Now to wait for real time ray tracing and accuratly simulated water.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    64 bit is 2^64 which is 16,777,216 TiB (18,446,744,073,709,551,616). Tera-byte (1,000,000,000,000) is a massive under-statement.
  11. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Lol "trump a gaming PC". AMD is implementing GDDR5+DDR3 with their next gen Richland APUs. We will wait and see who is king.
  12. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    Just because the PS4 is using GDDR5 for both CPU and GPU, does not put it in the same league as a PC. They are two totally different beasts, with different purposes. A console is for gaming and video. A PC does that [better] and beyond.

    PC will get ray tracing long before any console, and even then it will be years from now. It's already too taxing on current desktop flagship CPU's, let alone an SoC in a $400 console. Ray tracing accelerator add-in cards are going for $800 to $1500.
  13. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Yeah Gragodine is getting a bit too excited. Ray tracing will be brought to the PC because the hardware from 2013 will not be able to run a technology (like realtime ray tracing) from 2015 (for example).
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    You're almost speaking in the future tense like this has already happened. Are you from the future? Scary stuff.....:eek:

    I would have evoked even more speculation by using the future pluperfect, "will have been brought" (to the PC in 2015). But, I suppose you guys who've traveled back in time are trying to maintain a low profile.....Next I want to know if the iPhone was really Steve Jobs idea.....
  15. Gragodine

    Gragodine TS Rookie

    You seem to be misinterpreting my point.
    I do not personally believe that a ps4 will trump all pc's.I was simply pointing out a common misconception.
    What I do belive however is that the ps4 has a unique setup that does a good job of balancing power to cost. Even more so when games begin to be optimized for it.
  16. Gragodine

    Gragodine TS Rookie

    Just for reference I am a PC gamer.

    @JC 713 , I know ray tracing wont come to games for atleast another 7-10 years. Notice how I said "wait".
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    There's nothing like a good gaming and graphics thread to get to old TS community's blood boiling.

    And the end of the day, I gotta give props to this Sony CEO. It's the first time in recent memory, I've heard one of these talking heads actually say something which made some modicum of sense.

    x86 architecture for a game console, what a great idea. Because then, in later incarnations x64 can trickle down, sideways or across , from the PC and back. And why handicap developers with a proprietary architecture? Let them expand on something they already know inside and out.

    And before I forget, thank you Sunny87 for providing us with this gem:
    Quoted loosely, "my big bad PC, can beat up your puny game console".:p

    That's the spirit! Pure cannon fodder. Thanks again.;)

    Dude, my man JC713 is from the future. He knows when ray tracing will hit PC gaming. He's just not at liberty to discuss it.

    (Please see my post at #39 for the syntactic clues)
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    I don't think he is from the future. I think he had access to the Iranian Time Machine.
    St1ckM4n likes this.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    Since I've derailed the thread to a topic of time travel. Consider this, time travel and science fiction is the only form of literature where you can legitimately use what I'm going to call the, "future pluperfect", form of the verb "to be". To wit, "will have been". What thinkest thou?

    And since Sunny87 has set a combative tone for this thread in general, my PC can beat up your PC, whaddya think of that....?;) And don't even get me started about what it could do to your game console.

    I was going to "like" Sunny's post, but there's no provision for "liking" something while overtly stating you're being sarcastic.And they've taken my "rolleyes" emoticon away as well..
  20. Im not going to put much stock into what these guys say. I remember when ps2 came out the latest talk was how many polygons per second it could do. Sony gladly tauted a big impressive number but didnt say that it was all untextured polygons. Even when the ps3 and the 360 first announced the bigshots said they would do hd gaming at 1080p and AA would be free. That was BS.
    Ill be glad when the day comes we can compare the same game across pc and ps4 to see which is better graphically..Right now its just speculation and opinions of what it can really do.
    So finally consoles will be able to play games 60fps with hi res textures 4x AA, 16x AF, @1080p or not? Wouldnt suprise if they couldnt.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    I think 2^40 is 1TB. 2^32 is actually 4GB, and the limit for memory addresses in a 32 bit system, (without PAE enabled).

    I think XP Pro is limited to 1TB of RAM(?), and that's where Guest is coming up with that number.

    It seems to be a moot point when most desktop boards will allow a maximum of 4 x 8GB of RAM because of mechanical limitations.
  22. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Hey, I was tired, dont blame me lol.
  23. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,268   +437

    I do believe sony has some good points. Will this destroy a gaming pc no, but it will certainly close the gap which is good for us pc guys. With computers our performance targets are never stationary.

    Some of you need to relax.

    This same thing happen with the 360/PS3 when they first came out and where are they now compared to a gaming pc.

    in the end its a win for everyone we shall see better quality ports and finally some high res textures.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    Wouldn't it be more fun, if next time, you just played along?:oops:

    Something along the lines of, "I can neither confirm or deny I'm here from the future"....(and then a few winkies).......;) ;) ;)

    Do I have to travel back from the future to teach you everything?.....(wait for it).....;)
    Jad Chaar likes this.
  25. aMerkuri

    aMerkuri TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +19

    Why are you even comparing PC with consoles? You can compare console with console but not with pc.

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