Monday, November 3rd 2014

AMD to Give 20 nm Optical Shrinks to Console SoCs First

AMD has the unique distinction of supplying SoCs to all three leading game console vendors simultaneously - Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The company, like NVIDIA, is looking forward with perched eyes for manufacturing partner TSMC to get its 20 nanometer silicon fabrication node running full-cylinders. Unlike NVIDIA, which may use the new process to shrink its GPUs, or launch bigger chips based on its "Maxwell" architecture, AMD will treat its console SoCs with optical-shrinks to the new nodes first, so the company could immediately eke out better margins, as console gamers upgrade to Xbox One or the PlayStation 4.

AMD's SoC for the Xbox One, could be the first in line for this optical shrink to 20 nm. This chip features a transistor count of 5 billion, and houses eight 64-bit x86 CPU cores, and a 768 SP GPU based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture; 48 MB of on-die cache, and a quad-channel DDR3 IMC. The chip also features an integrated core logic. AMD's chip for the PlayStation 4 features design inputs from Sony. The chip features the same CPU component, but a 1152 SP GPU, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, wired to 8 GB of memory that's virtualized for both system- and graphics-memory. The 20 nm shrinks of both chips are expected to lower not just manufacturing costs, but also step up energy-efficiency, which could then let Microsoft and Sony save additional costs on other components, such as power and cooling.
Source: Expreview
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44 Comments on AMD to Give 20 nm Optical Shrinks to Console SoCs First

#1
ZoneDymo
and in a few years it will be even smaller and we shall see the slim version of the consoles emerge.
also, no word on the WiiU :(
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#2
GhostRyder
Smaller SOC will be better for everyone because it will only make the consoles more reliable and less problematic to deal with over the years on top of the new designs that can be explored.
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#3
Lionheart
PS4 has 1152 SP's does it not? :confused:
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#4
64K
I don't follow consoles but it seems to me that they better make sure that customers that bought a console before the die shrink don't get the impression that their console isn't as good as the console after the die shrink is released. MS learned the hard way with the XBox One PR before release and they haven't recovered from it completely even though the non-kinect XBox One is $50 cheaper than the PS4.

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#5
Petey Plane
64K
I don't follow consoles but it seems to me that they better make sure that customers that bought a console before the die shrink don't get the impression that their console isn't as good as the console after the die shrink is released. MS learned the hard way with the XBox One PR before release and they haven't recovered from it completely even though the non-kinect XBox One is $50 cheaper than the PS4.


Honestly, aside from readers of sites like this, 99% of consumers won't know or care about the die shrink. There is really no reason to alert consumers, through advertising or otherwise, about a change in a manufacturing processes that will be all but invisible in the final product. If a consumer actually knows what TSMC, SoC, nanometer, GDDR5 and so on means (hint: 99.999999% don't), then they will know that both consoles will be going to that node, and other than potential power savings, there will be no performance difference from the previous node. I don't see this as having any effect on consumer purchasing.
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#6
happita
If non-enthusiast consumers find out that something is "upgraded" in any way, shape, or form, then they feel cheated. I would too. Case and point, I got a stupid blender/juicer that came with some cups. Maybe a year later the same blender/juicer came with an extra 40oz cup, (my box came with a 32oz max size cup). And I felt like I got juked.
It will be the same way with regular consumers who know nothing about the innards of console systems or are remotely interested to begin with. They hear PS4 is stronger, they flock to that side of the fence. Sometimes regardless of where their loyalty lies. You see how it has affected Xbox One sales.

I agree with you Petey, they shouldn't advertise this too much, but it can't be helped honestly. Something that gets upgraded will get press no matter what. Like the stupid iphone versions. Not much difference there, but people know about it.
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#7
ZoneDymo
64K
I don't follow consoles but it seems to me that they better make sure that customers that bought a console before the die shrink don't get the impression that their console isn't as good as the console after the die shrink is released. MS learned the hard way with the XBox One PR before release and they haven't recovered from it completely even though the non-kinect XBox One is $50 cheaper than the PS4.


that has nothing to do with one being better and everything with poor marketing and the Xbox One not releasing in many major countries from the start.

Keeping it with MS, the original 360 got 3 revisions where the exterior stayed the same but internally it also had die shrinks etc, the last, Codename Jasper, would be the best version to have in terms of failure rate and energy consumption but by far the biggest share of consumers wont know shit about that.
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#8
64K
ZoneDymo
that has nothing to do with one being better and everything with poor marketing and the Xbox One not releasing in many major countries from the start.

Keeping it with MS, the original 360 got 3 revisions where the exterior stayed the same but internally it also had die shrinks etc, the last, Codename Jasper, would be the best version to have in terms of failure rate and energy consumption but by far the biggest share of consumers wont know shit about that.
I didn't know that about the XBox 360. The way MS handled PR badly before releasing the XBox One was in saying that it would be always online to play games and the Kinect would be on all XBox Ones and made the price $100 more than the PS4. Like I said I don't really follow consoles that much but I do recall comments all over the net from people angry over those two things. MS has since backtracked on both of those ideas.
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#9
Hilux SSRG
I can see MS quietly doing a quick redesign [if it hasn't already] on it's chip variant to match the PS4's GPU count in time for 20nm manufacturing.

It would immediately place them as 1080p equal to Sony and end all the "talk."

They can always "blame" it on die shrink "improvements." :)
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#10
Batou1986
Well at least it will generate some cash flow for AMD.
It's kind of funny/sad AMD is behind every segment including consoles
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#11
Easo
Hilux SSRG
I can see MS quietly doing a quick redesign [if it hasn't already] on it's chip variant to match the PS4's GPU count in time for 20nm manufacturing.

It would immediately place them as 1080p equal to Sony and end all the "talk."

They can always "blame" it on die shrink "improvements." :)
And it would come out and shitstorm (righteous one, I might add) would ensue.
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#12
Hilux SSRG
Easo
And it would come out and shitstorm (righteous one, I might add) would ensue.
I don't think there would be much of a shitstorm.

There was no issue/shitstorm when Xbox One with Kinect owners got Kinect features "removed" in order to pump out more CPU power for higher resolution.

Just like there is no issue/shitstorm with consumers buying Apple products weeks/days before a new replacement product arrives.

I think MS could in fact sell it as revision 2.0, much like the AIB GPU companies do with better cooling or components. I don't think MS will pass the savings on to consumers as quickly as they have with the recent price cut.
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#13
荷兰大母猪
Amd is really good at making ppt and presenting it. But it only can do it:D
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#14
Easo
Hilux SSRG
I don't think there would be much of a shitstorm.

There was no issue/shitstorm when Xbox One with Kinect owners got Kinect features "removed" in order to pump out more CPU power for higher resolution.

Just like there is no issue/shitstorm with consumers buying Apple products weeks/days before a new replacement product arrives.

I think MS could in fact sell it as revision 2.0, much like the AIB GPU companies do with better cooling or components. I don't think MS will pass the savings on to consumers as quickly as they have with the recent price cut.
For one, developers would be angry, because platform, which was supposed to last years, has changed.
And there is difference between Mac models and consoles, which are marketed as different (Macs) and single (console) products.

And about Kinect, there cant be shitstorm if the game as such simply doesnt use Kinect.
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#15
Hilux SSRG
Easo
For one, developers would be angry, because platform, which was supposed to last years, has changed.
And there is difference between Mac models and consoles, which are marketed as different (Macs) and single (console) products.

And about Kinect, there cant be shitstorm if the game as such simply doesnt use Kinect.
Developers are going to make games regardless whether the platform has been optimized further or not. It's not as if they don't want to make games and/or money on one of the two consoles of this generation.

Ideally, if MS can somehow increase their performance with the die shrink then customers win.
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#16
MxPhenom 216
ASIC Engineer
Hilux SSRG
I can see MS quietly doing a quick redesign [if it hasn't already] on it's chip variant to match the PS4's GPU count in time for 20nm manufacturing.

It would immediately place them as 1080p equal to Sony and end all the "talk."

They can always "blame" it on die shrink "improvements." :)
Because the Xbox One can't do 1080p already?

The Entire Halo Master Chief Collection is 1080p 60fps.
Hilux SSRG
I don't think there would be much of a shitstorm.

There was no issue/shitstorm when Xbox One with Kinect owners got Kinect features "removed" in order to pump out more CPU power for higher resolution.

Just like there is no issue/shitstorm with consumers buying Apple products weeks/days before a new replacement product arrives.

I think MS could in fact sell it as revision 2.0, much like the AIB GPU companies do with better cooling or components. I don't think MS will pass the savings on to consumers as quickly as they have with the recent price cut.
recent price cut on the Xbox One is temporary. Just for the holiday's. It will go back up to its MSRP after January 3rd.
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#18
ZoneDymo
Hilux SSRG
I can see MS quietly doing a quick redesign [if it hasn't already] on it's chip variant to match the PS4's GPU count in time for 20nm manufacturing.

It would immediately place them as 1080p equal to Sony and end all the "talk."

They can always "blame" it on die shrink "improvements." :)
the entire point of a console is that for its generation it will do it all, play all the games, either you are asking for developers to make 2 versions of the game, one for the old inferior xbox one and one for the new better xbox one which will be expensive and never happen.

ms just has to live with an inferior console in terms of a performance for this generation.
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#19
Hilux SSRG
MxPhenom 216
Because the Xbox One can't do 1080p already?

The Entire Halo Master Chief Collection is 1080p 60fps.
Xbox One can do 1080p, just depends on whether the game is either a resource hog AAA title or Duck Hunt. Last gen games run great on new gen hardware.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have either a PS4 or Xbox One and don't want either.
ZoneDymo
the entire point of a console is that for its generation it will do it all, play all the games, either you are asking for developers to make 2 versions of the game, one for the old inferior xbox one and one for the new better xbox one which will be expensive and never happen.

ms just has to live with an inferior console in terms of a performance for this generation.
I understand your point, but wasn't one of the reasons for consoles moving to x86 CPUs was to be able to "scale" to the hardware available?
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#20
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
There were at least 3 die shrinks in the Xbox360/PS3 days. No one really cared then, and no one will care now.
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#21
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
newtekie1
There were at least 3 die shrinks in the Xbox360/PS3 days. No one really cared then, and no one will care now.
It happens less often now because it's harder to build CPUs on a smaller processes than what we have now versus what we had back then. Also 32nm to 20nm is a pretty good size step. The only reason people will care is because it's a sign of things to come, not because it's getting put into gaming consoles.
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#22
ensabrenoir
.....befuddled as why they aren't making more money off these
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#23
DayKnight
Everything mentioned in the article except that they will increase clocks too, to stay in the game.

All already known here because of some good YouTubers who they blew apart poopsoft and their 30FPS is better BS.
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#24
Fluffmeister
ensabrenoir
.....befuddled as why they aren't making more money off these
Sadly AMD seem to be quite happy giving technology away for free.
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#25
theonedub
habe fidem
The last time I remember a revision to a console having a hardware/performance bump was when the PSP Slim came out with more RAM than the original PSP. I think the PSP was also one of the few consoles to get a CPU/GPU speed bump later in life via software update (for both old and new models).

With some of the Dev complaints I've heard about the CPU being a touch slow, I could reasonably see both Sony and MS bumping the clockspeed on the CPU side of the SoC a bit. I've been playing with the Jaguar based Athlon 5350 and minor speed bumps really have very little effect on temps- a jump to ~2.0ghz should be manageable on old consoles and easy on any revision with a die shrink.

I think boosting the GPU clocks would present heat issues for the original SoCs.
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