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AMD-made PlayStation 5 Semi-custom Chip Has Ray-tracing Hardware (not a software solution)

Sony's next-generation PlayStation 5 could land under many Christmas trees...in the year 2020, as the company plans a Holiday 2020 launch for the 4K-ready, 8K-capable entertainment system that has a semi-custom chip many times more powerful than the current generation, to support its lofty design goals. By late-2020, Sony calculates that some form of ray-tracing could be a must-have for gaming, and is working with its chip designer AMD to add just that - hardware-acceleration for ray-tracing, and not just something that's pre-baked or emulated over GPGPU.

Mark Cerny, a system architect at Sony's US headquarters, in an interview with Wired, got into the specifics of the hardware driving the company's big platform launch for the turn of the decade. "There is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware," he said, adding "which I believe is the statement that people were looking for." Besides raw processing power increases, Sony will focus on getting the memory and storage subsystems right. Both are interdependent, and with fast NAND flash-based storage, Sony can rework memory-management to free up more processing resources. AMD has been rather tight-lipped about ray-tracing on its Radeon GPUs. CEO Lisa Su has been dismissive about the prominence of the tech saying "it's one of the many technologies these days." The company's mid-2019 launch of the "Navi" family of GPUs sees the company skip ray-tracing hardware. The semi-custom chip's GPU at the heart of PlayStation 5 was last reported to be based on the same RDNA architecture.

Sony Toys with the Idea of Porting PlayStation-exclusives to PC

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is opening up to the idea of porting PlayStation-exclusive games to the PC, which is growing in popularity on the backs of titles that play best on this platform, such as Fortnite and Minecraft. At the moment, Shawn Layden, who heads SIE, is interested in putting some its first-party titles (developed and published entirely by SIE) on the PC platform. Compared to arch-rival Microsoft, Sony's garden has had taller walls. Microsoft has interests in both its Xbox console, and the Windows PC ecosystem, particularly the Microsoft Store, and has shepherded many of its ecosystem partners to co-develop for both platforms. Its latest move is the Xbox for PC GamePass, that brings about some coherence between the PC and Xbox.

Sony is gearing up for the next round of the Console Wars against Microsoft, in which its PlayStation 5 console will compete with Microsoft's codenamed "Project Scarlett" console. Both consoles will be designed for 4K Ultra HD televisions, with preparation for higher resolutions, such as 8K. Speaking on the development, Layden said "We must support the PlayStation platform — that is nonnegotiable. That said, you will see in the future some titles coming out of my collection of studios which may need to lean into a wider installed base."

Sony PlayStation 5 Promises 4K 120Hz Gaming

Sony has finalized the design and specification of its PlayStation 5 entertainment system. Unlike buzzwords Microsoft threw around like "8K capable" for its "Project Scarlett" console, Sony has a slightly different design goal: 4K UHD at 120 Hz, guaranteed. The most notable absentee at E3 2019, Sony is designing the PlayStation 5 to leverage the latest hardware to guarantee 120 frames per second on your 4K display. Much like "Project Scarlett," the SoC at the heart of the PlayStation 5 is a semi-custom chip co-designed by AMD and Sony.

This unnamed SoC reportedly features an 8-core/16-thread CPU based on AMD's latest "Zen 2" microarchitecture, which is a massive leap from the 8 low-power "Jaguar" cores pulling the PS4 Pro. The GPU will implement AMD's new RDNA architecture. The SoC will use GDDR6 memory, shared between the CPU and GPU. Much like "Project Scarlett," the PS5 will include an NVMe SSD as standard equipment, and the operating system will use a portion of it as virtual memory. There will also be dedicated hardware for 3D positional audio. Sony also confirmed full backwards compatibility with PS4 titles.

Sony PlayStation 5 Console Confirmed Powered by 8-core Zen 2 CPU, Navi and Ray Tracing Confirmed

Sony's own lead system architect Mark Cerny spilled the beans on the company's upcoming "PlayStation 5" games console - the name isn't confirmed, but it's a PlayStation, and it's the fifth, so, following from the previous nomenclature just makes sense, doesn't it? One particular detail, however, is of most interest to us PC hardware junkies, and that one little fact is the confirmed Navi GPU that will power it. This is, almost certainly, a semi-custom Navi-based GPU, however; but the tidbit that PlayStation 5 will have raytracing support is the one game changer for hardware expectations - on paper, at least.

Of course, Navi is expected to debut much sooner in the consumer space than on next-gen consoles, but the fact that PlayStation 5 development kits are already being seeded - and an increasing rate, according to Sony - bodes well for the feature's inclusion on AMD's consumer-based cards. Either that or the company is taking a software approach to raytracing, which, if NVIDIA's 1000 and 10*0 series is any indication, wouldn't go very well with performance intentions. This does mean that raytracing is about to receive a much-needed market penetration boost for its adoption by developers. NVIDIA will of course be able to wave the flag of having been the first company to introduce the technology to consumers.
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