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
theoneandonlymrk
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.



What does the clock speed of an ARM processor have to do with the clock speed of the AMD chip inside the PS4?
You indicated arm was irelivant I was pointing out x86 is largely unimportant now and all these processors are made in the same way's so clock speeds dont vary that much on diff npdes and processes , the rich land apu at 2ghz is a lower bin obv but thats not to say they couldn't have been made quicker, Amd have a lot of sku's lingering in the lower price sector and have to be carefull not to diminish old stock saleability .
Ps4 will be top bin richland all 8 cores and features working and 2.6ghz it Will be.
The more I think about it though I too wouldn't be surprised by higher clocks. Efin phone
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#2
TheLaughingMan
Why would you bee surprised by clocks higher than 2.6 GHz. Both current generation offerings from Microsoft and Sony are clocked at 3.2 GHz. While more cores will be a great boon since they can better utilize them, raw clock speed can be very helpful in single threaded applications such as Blu-ray playback, web browsing, system UI, their audio cloud player thingy, etc.

I personall don't see the cores being less than 3.6 GHz with Turbo up to 4.0 GHz easy.
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#3
mastrdrver
by: theoneandonlymrk
You indicated arm was irelivant I was pointing out x86 is largely unimportant now and all these processors are made in the same way's so clock speeds dont vary that much on diff npdes and processes , the rich land apu at 2ghz is a lower bin obv but thats not to say they couldn't have been made quicker, Amd have a lot of sku's lingering in the lower price sector and have to be carefull not to diminish old stock saleability .
Ps4 will be top bin richland all 8 cores and features working and 2.6ghz it Will be.
The more I think about it though I too wouldn't be surprised by higher clocks. Efin phone
PS4 is not Richland. Richland does not have Jaguar cores. Jaguar is an updated Bobcat core, not Bulldozer.

by: TheLaughingMan
Why would you bee surprised by clocks higher than 2.6 GHz. Both current generation offerings from Microsoft and Sony are clocked at 3.2 GHz. While more cores will be a great boon since they can better utilize them, raw clock speed can be very helpful in single threaded applications such as Blu-ray playback, web browsing, system UI, their audio cloud player thingy, etc.

I personall don't see the cores being less than 3.6 GHz with Turbo up to 4.0 GHz easy.
AMD has already stated what max clocks will be for a 4 core Jaguar with a 25w TDP. If high clocks with low TDP was possible, they would have already done it. PS3 is a Cell design which is totally different from the PS4 AMD design. When you drop a process node, with the same overall design, you either gain higher clocks with the same TDP or lower TDP with the same clocks. I don't know how much of a drop it is going from 40nm to 28nm, but if AMD is saying a 10% clock boost with a slight increase in TDP, I don't see how anyone can come to the conclusion that 3Ghz+ is easy. If it was, then they would have done it. It's not like the TDP of the APU is going to be like that of a desktop either since there are power limits to what a console system can pull from the wall.
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#4
theoneandonlymrk
by: mastrdrver
PS4 is notin and Richland. Richland does not have Jaguar cores. Jaguar is an updated Bobcat core, not Bulldozer.



AMD has already stated what max clocks will be for a 4 core Jaguar with a 25w TDP. If high clocks with low TDP was possible, they would have already done it. PS3 is a Cell design which is totally different from the PS4 AMD design. When you drop a process node, with the same overall design, you either gain higher clocks with the same TDP or lower TDP with the same clocks. I don't know how much of a drop it is going from 40nm to 28nm, but if AMD is saying a 10% clock boost with a slight increase in TDP, I don't see how anyone can come to the conclusion that 3Ghz+ is easy. If it was, then they would have done it. It's not like the TDP of the APU is going to be like that of a desktop either since there are power limits to what a console system can pull from the wall.
Sos kabini I miswaffled. Put kabini In and my statement stands top bin kabini is ps4 and one t two cores could easy do 3ghz in tdp with scaled p states
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#5
NeoXF
(ignoring core count and IPC gains) E2-2000 1,75GHz @ 18W TDP -> +10% clock = 1,925Ghz @ 18W+ -> 25W ~= 2GHz+ final clocks, for the X4 5110 (25W TDP) flagship. Refreshes will probably go something like 10% beyond that as well (like E-450 to E2-1800 to E2-2000).
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