Thursday, February 28th 2013

AMD Working On Stripped-Down PlayStation 4 SoC for PCs

Ahead of its unveiling last week, it was expected that Sony's PlayStation 4 console would be driven by little more than an AMD A-Series "Trinity" APU. It ended up being a lot more than that. The custom-design SoC that drives the next-generation console is a joint effort between AMD and Sony, which integrates an 8-core x86-64 CPU based on the company's new "Jaguar" micro-architecture; a GPU based on its Graphics CoreNext technology; a GDDR5 integrated memory controller, and certain enhancements by Sony. In an interview with The Inquirer, the company hinted that it's interested in porting the SoC over to the PC platform, minus Sony's share of the development.

PlayStation 4, although based on the x86 CPU machine-architecture, doesn't conform to any known PC specification. It uses 8 GB of GDDR5 memory as both system and graphics memory, several of its interfaces are out of specs of anything that can be implemented on a PC motherboard. Therefore, its SoC can't simply be soldered onto a PC motherboard. AMD would have to first strip the SoC of Sony's share of the development (or risk having to license it).

Next up, it would have to strip the chip of its most interesting component, the unified GDDR5 IMC. JEDEC does not have a GDDR5 DIMM specification, nor would motherboard makers be interested in hard-wiring expensive GDDR5 memory chips on to their motherboards and render the memory subsystem non-expandable. The PlayStation 4 SoC uses a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, with a stellar memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s. That's over six times the memory bandwidth of an Intel Core i7 "Ivy Bridge" machine running dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz. A fallback to DDR3 could hence greatly cripple the SoC. It would be extremely interesting to see how AMD handles the checks-and-balances needed to bring the SoC over to the PC.Sources: The Inquirer, The TechReport
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80 Comments on AMD Working On Stripped-Down PlayStation 4 SoC for PCs

#1
EpicShweetness
by: xenocea
I never said the cell was comparable to high end pc. Re read my post.

I was simply saying the Cell helps the RSX to achieve certain visuals that were not possible on the 7900gt alone. Gosh you guys are quick to judge.
I understand what your trying to say there. IF RSX is basically a 7900GT who's architecture could not take advantage of such api's as DX10/11/11.1 then why do some games on the PS3 have some of the features those api's (DX10/11/11.1) demonstrate? Well Cell is helping make sense of it to RSK.
Please correct me if I missed something.
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#2
Ravenas
by: TheMailMan78
Yeah and after it was all said and done it was about as powerful as a 7900GT. The Cell doesn't magically make it a 670.
Lol. :laugh:
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#3
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: EpicShweetness
I understand what your trying to say there. IF RSX is basically a 7900GT who's architecture could not take advantage of such api's as DX10/11/11.1 then why do some games on the PS3 have some of the features those api's (DX10/11/11.1) demonstrate? Well Cell is helping make sense of it to RSK.
Please correct me if I missed something.
The RSX chip is a G71 based card with as many ROP's as a 7600 and 256mb GDDR3 period end of story.
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#4
xenocea
by: cdawall
AMD's stock eval is right around $2.50 right now. That's probably what his comment was aimed towards.

Great time to buy IMO with the PS4 confirmed AMD and the Xbox leaning...:laugh:

Would be great if both used an APU to run games. I would hope it meant console ports would be simpler and better. :cool:
Ahh ok. I should have known. Thank you for your explanation :)
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#5
xenocea
by: EpicShweetness
I understand what your trying to say there. IF RSX is basically a 7900GT who's architecture could not take advantage of such api's as DX10/11/11.1 then why do some games on the PS3 have some of the features those api's (DX10/11/11.1) demonstrate? Well Cell is helping make sense of it to RSK.
Please correct me if I missed something.
You are correct. It's just developers being able to work around the limitation. Clever artistic work, and tricks helps it to achieve a visual fidelity that was thought not possible on old hardware.

But I'm glad the upcoming generations of consoles have opted for a more PC based specs.
It will make it easier for developers to port titles much easier and faster in the same amount of time.

In the end, its a win win for us consumers. I'm personally not bias towards the consoles and pc platform.

I love both equally :)
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#6
Ravenas
How would this processor be a win for consumers? A win for consumers would be something along the the lines of a 22nm processor that preforms better than an i5 at a lower price. The Hondo chips show a lot of potential for the evovling tablet/mobile world. Although, the Hondo chips may prove to be late to the party..
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#7
xenocea
by: Ravenas
How would this processor be a win for consumers? A win for consumers would be something along the the lines of a 22nm processor that preforms better than an i5 at a lower price. The Hondo chips show a lot of potential for the evovling tablet/mobile world. Although, the Hondo chips may prove to be late to the party..
I was speaking from a console's point of view, easier ports for developers, its a win win for us consumers as gamers. Again this is from a console perspective.
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#8
NeoXF
Just look at WATCH_DOGS... one of the few games coming out in the future that actually look "next-gen", they said it's main development platform is PC, it will also be coming out on PS4 (and PS3, which is weird but should make things interesting...).

It's very probable the a lot of the games coming out in the next years will have PC as lead platform and given the platform similarities, be scaled down or sideways or chopped into size for PS4/XBox3. Or keeping the same idea, "timed-exclusives" or console-exclusives be more inclined to also come to PC later on.
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#9
mastrdrver
Everyone does realized that a "stripped down version" of the PS4 chip is the upcoming Kabini (which is going to replace Bobcat) correct? It was even demoed at CES in the Temash tablet running Dirt Showdown.

[yt]CV-U50Viv_k[/yt]
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#10
NeoXF
by: mastrdrver
Everyone does realized that a "stripped down version" of the PS4 chip is the upcoming Kabini (which is going to replace Bobcat) correct? It was even demoed at CES in the Temash tablet running Dirt Showdown.

...
Kabini and Temash might be very similar, but they're not the same thing. High-end Temash is going to be a 1GHz-mobile 1,4GHz-stationary quad-core Jaguar with 128 GCN cores at 300MHz-mobile 500MHz-stationary at something between 3,5W and 9W. Kabini should obviously end up quite a bit beefier than that, especially the 25W part.
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#11
mastrdrver
I never said they were the same and neither did AMD. Though, you'll never be able to get a Jaguar APU with 8 cores and the GPU power of a 7850. AMD said that a "stripped down version" is coming. Of course there is, and for anyone that has seen AMD public road maps, this no surprise.

Kabini and Temash uses the same "Jaguar cores" (per an AMD slide) that the PS4 chip uses.

High end Kabini will be a little under 2Ghz. The PS4 chip is going to have a similar clock since it is based on the same architecture.

According to some leaks, Temash has similar performance to that of the current Intel i3 2367M.
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#12
theoneandonlymrk
by: mastrdrver
I never said they were the same and neither did AMD. Though, you'll never be able to get a Jaguar APU with 8 cores and the GPU power of a 7850. AMD said that a "stripped down version" is coming. Of course there is, and for anyone that has seen AMD public road maps, this no surprise.

Kabini and Temash uses the same "Jaguar cores" (per an AMD slide) that the PS4 chip uses.

High end Kabini will be a little under 2Ghz. The PS4 chip is going to have a similar clock since it is based on the same architecture.

According to some leaks, Temash has similar performance to that of the current Intel i3 2367M.
Im expecting amd powerstates and boost on it myself prob 1.6ghz stck boosting to 2.6per core and within tdp
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#13
Steven B
motherboard makers can hard embed GDDR5, i mean just like on a GPU's PCB. This SOC is basically a GPU with a built in CPU. I think people forget those guys who design GPUs also design CPU's and their boards. besides i doubt any real effort will be made to make that AMD thing into a mainstream product, why would there? We really need more AMD CPUs?
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#14
mastrdrver
by: theoneandonlymrk
Im expecting amd powerstates and boost on it myself prob 1.6ghz stck boosting to 2.6per core and within tdp
2.6Ghz is not going to happen. The architecture is not built for speed but power.
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#15
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: mastrdrver
2.6Ghz is not going to happen. The architecture is not built for speed but power.
It might exceed the TDP, but I do not see it having any issues exceeding 2.6ghz. It still uses off the shelf silcone.
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#16
mastrdrver
by: cdawall
It might exceed the TDP, but I do not see it having any issues exceeding 2.6ghz. It still uses off the shelf silcone.
It's not a problem of TDP, it's not a problem of power, it's a problem of the architecture.

The architecture is not made for high clocks, unlike Bulldozer. It does not have enough gates to be able to clock that high.

AMD has already stated that the clocks for Jaguar will be 10% over Bobcat's normal/boost clocks and that is for the 25w Kabini part.
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#17
theeldest
by: xenocea

Dang kids coming into my forums and causing a ruckus. You keep your music turned down, ya hear‽
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#18
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: mastrdrver
It's not a problem of TDP, it's not a problem of power, it's a problem of the architecture.

The architecture is not made for high clocks, unlike Bulldozer. It does not have enough gates to be able to clock that high.

AMD has already stated that the clocks for Jaguar will be 10% over Bobcat's normal/boost clocks and that is for the 25w Kabini part.
The standard ARM chip is knocking on 2ghz door with quads capable of 1.6ghz. I would bet money certain Jaguar chips will be capable of hitting 2.6ghz at the top end.
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#19
mastrdrver
Bobcat is not a speed monster like Bulldozer and P4 were designed to be. Thus it does not have the long gates required for high clock speeds.

As to what ARM has to do with an x86 processor, idk. Might as well compare the 1Ghz clock speed on a GK110 and say that nVidia doesn't know how to use power efficiently.
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#20
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: mastrdrver
Bobcat is not a speed monster like Bulldozer and P4 were designed to be. Thus it does not have the long gates required for high clock speeds.

As to what ARM has to do with an x86 processor, idk. Might as well compare the 1Ghz clock speed on a GK110 and say that nVidia doesn't know how to use power efficiently.
What are you referring to with gates? CPU's have ALU's and a processing pipeline. Bulldozer is a short/mid length pipeline like all other AMD/Intel CPU's outside of P4. Pipeline length doesn't have anything to do with clockspeed. IPC and many other design cues drop into the speed side of things. :laugh:
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#21
theoneandonlymrk
by: mastrdrver
Bobcat is not a speed monster like Bulldozer and P4 were designed to be. Thus it does not have the long gates required for high clock speeds.

As to what ARM has to do with an x86 processor, idk. Might as well compare the 1Ghz clock speed on a GK110 and say that nVidia doesn't know how to use power efficiently.
Arms relevance increases daily and 2.6 on a low power cpu using hurry to sleep and intelligent power gateing is a thing of the present, tried and improved on yearly one to four cores will boost to 2.6 imho but it Is just an opinion
Oh and winrt uses arm whereas Amd s Fx line emulates x86 no special hardware odd eh
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#22
mastrdrver
by: cdawall
What are you referring to with gates? CPU's have ALU's and a processing pipeline. Bulldozer is a short/mid length pipeline like all other AMD/Intel CPU's outside of P4. Pipeline length doesn't have anything to do with clockspeed. IPC and many other design cues drop into the speed side of things. :laugh:
:laugh: Oh yea, I meant pipeline length. I was thinking about gate delays.

Anyway, I've always been under the understanding that clock speed was related to pipeline length since clock speed is nothing more then the calculations per second (or some calculation like that) that the processor can do. To go higher (thus higher clock speeds) you need a long pipeline length which was why P4 for so long. Problem is, long pipelines also need more power and suffer more from cache misses.

In any case, AMD has already stated that the max turbo clock for Kabini in a PC will be just under 2Ghz (10%+ on top of what Bobcat already has). Adding more cores just ups the power usage so I can't see how they would reach 2.6Ghz.

Also I've read that consoles are limited to a max power usage of something less then 50w. How true this is, I don't know.

by: theoneandonlymrk
Arms relevance increases daily and 2.6 on a low power cpu using hurry to sleep and intelligent power gateing is a thing of the present, tried and improved on yearly one to four cores will boost to 2.6 imho but it Is just an opinion
Oh and winrt uses arm whereas Amd s Fx line emulates x86 no special hardware odd eh
What does the clock speed of an ARM processor have to do with the clock speed of the AMD chip inside the PS4?
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#23
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
by: mastrdrver
:laugh: Oh yea, I meant pipeline length. I was thinking about gate delays.

Anyway, I've always been under the understanding that clock speed was related to pipeline length since clock speed is nothing more then the calculations per second (or some calculation like that) that the processor can do. To go higher (thus higher clock speeds) you need a long pipeline length which was why P4 for so long. Problem is, long pipelines also need more power and suffer more from cache misses.

In any case, AMD has already stated that the max turbo clock for Kabini in a PC will be just under 2Ghz (10%+ on top of what Bobcat already has). Adding more cores just ups the power usage so I can't see how they would reach 2.6Ghz.

Also I've read that consoles are limited to a max power usage of something less then 50w. How true this is, I don't know.
The architecture itself has more to do with clockspeed than pipeline speed. Take Phenom I and Phenom II for example same basic CPU on a more mature design huge clockspeed difference. Athlon K8's represent the same thing 1ghz all the way up to 3.2ghz is a huge difference.

Kabini is a bulldozer designed CPU and a rather mature one at that it has the ability to scale to 4ghz if the TDP and bulk yields allow it.
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#24
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: cdawall
one at that it has the ability to scale to 5ghz if the TDP and bulk yields allow it.
Fix'd.


Really. BD core design made for 5 GHz. Like the song goes...You ain't seen nothing yet...b-b-b-b-b-aby...



or so I am hoping.:p
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#25
NeoXF
Stripped-down PS4 SoC... sounds to me like the embedded Kaveri w/ GDDR5...


by: cadaveca

Really. BD core design made for 5 GHz. Like the song goes...You ain't seen nothing yet...b-b-b-b-b-aby...



or so I am hoping.:p
I wouldn't be surprised if 28nm Steamroller clocks at 5GHz out of the factory, considering Piledriver refresh (that's still 32nm) will prolly hit 4,5GHz or more... Still, I'd rather they clock it lower and fit in a lower TDP envelope and/or make them in 5M/10C or 6M/12C versions as well.


Also, why hasn't anyone posted about the desktop Richland moving forward to the 12th of this month? Or the specifications of the normal power mobile parts, or the fact that mobile flagship will suport DDR3-1866.

Sorry, I just happen to be very up-to-date with AMD APUs at the moment. :P
And it's kinda frustrating seeing all these crappy news articles about humdrum TITAN brand launches or misc hardware that almost no one is interested it, but nothing on Richland, which is so close to launch.
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