September 25, 2020

PS5

PS5 Hardware Deep Dive – Breakdown

Earlier today Sony PlayStation's Mark Cerny gave an hour long talk on the hardware details of the PS5 that is due to be released by the end of this year.
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by Badger Nimahson

Earlier today Sony PlayStation’s Mark Cerny gave an hour long talk on the hardware details of the PS5 that is due to be released by the end of this year.

Talk was originally meant for GDC 2020 which has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak so instead was delivered on a YouTube live stream.

Bear in mind the talk was meant for developers so is quite dry, Extremely jargon intensive and for the most part went completely over my head. I will however try to over as much of a breakdown as I can.

The talk cantered around three main components of the PlayStation 5. The SSD, The GPU and the PS5’s audio capabilities.

The SSD

Mark Cerny explained that he spends a year travelling the world, meeting developers and seeing what features they require most from an new console.

The most requested feature by developers was an SSD in the PS5 to replace the HDD in the PS4.

Mark goes into incredible depth in his talk about the SSD and how it works. One of the most interestings bits of information was the comparison of load times.

1gb loaded from a PS4 HDD = 20 secs
2gb load froma PS5 SSD = 0.27 secs

That is a ridiculous slash in load times! To put that in to gameplay context. the SSD can load 4gb of data in the time it takes to turn a character around 180 degrees in a game! Load screens are a thing of the past. In fact Mark mentioned that the PS5 SSD loads so fast that some developers may need to slow its speed down to run games better!

One of the biggest gripes for Ps4 owners is the way in which games download and then install. taking massive amounts of space and in a lot of cases a long amount of time.

This is no longer the case with the PS5. Unlike the PS4 the PS5 requires no install of data after the initial download. Mark Cerny goes into great depth on how this works but honestly if you ain’t a games developer or programmer than you probably not going to understand.

At the end of the day the new SSD brings these excting new features:

  • Ultra Fast Boot – Games load up in less than a second!
  • Ultra High Speed streaming – meaning no load screens
  • De-Duplicate Game Data – Meaning no more winding corridors in games to allow the console time to load data
  • No Long Patch Installs – Quicker, smoother patching compared to PS4

The PS5 SSD also has a custom flash controller built in that allows it to read 5.5gb of dats per second and by utilising Kraken decompression the PS5 SSD runs at roughly 100 times faster than the PS4 HDD

I am not 100% sure but as I understand it Mark Cerny confirmed the PS5 will launch with an 825gb SSD as standard.

You will be able to expand your SSD storage but because the PS5 SSD is faster than any commercially available PC SSD Sony will be compiling a list of compatible and recommended SSD’s after the PS5 has launched.

If however you are using an extrenal HDD to play games on your PS4 then you can simply plug that into the PS5 and continue to play them straight from the external HDD.

PS5 specs

GPU

Now this is where my understanding of hardware really started to slip. I am sure I have missed some really important points in this section and if so I apologise.

The PS5 features a custom made AMD RDNA 2 GPU that is capped at 2.23ghz and expected to operate at around 10.3 teraflops.

This allows for new features such as ray tracing and a completely brand new geometry engine but also allows developers to choose whether they want to use those features or not.

Backwards compatibility was mentioned quite a bit but only in the context of PS5 being able to play PS4 games. There was no mention of whether we will be receiving full backwards compatibility for PS3, 2 and 1.

That been said Sony expect to have almost the entire PS4 range of games to be playable on the PS5 at launch.

3D Audio

Mark Cerny went into great detail about the ground breaking 3D audio capabilities of the PS5. So much so that at times his presentation looked like stills from a Hollywood Sci-fi blockbuster.

The PS5 aims to deliver 3D audio to everyone via its brand new Tempest 3D Audio Tech Engine.

This new engine will deliver audio from hundreds of sources. Meaning rather than playing an audio file of rainfall the PS5 will play the file from multiple sources so you hear the raindrops all around you.

It is Mark Cerny’s dream to trick your brain into thinking you are actuall yin the game, Or as he put it himself ” We want you to feel as if you have stepped into the matrix”

These new audio techniques run on two main principles. Presence and Locality.


Presence = Feeling like you are actually there
Locality = The direction the sound is coming from

Sony hope to fully implement this technology over time. The full 3D auido is avaible at launch for headphones and is the gold standard for audio on the PS5. In the near future Sony will continue to work on delivering the same audio through TV speakers and then finally move on to Surround sound systems.

During this section of the talk Mark Cerny went into great detail about HRTF profiles, How Sony create them and how they are used in creating audio for PS5.

At launch the PS5 will come with 5 HRTF profiles for you to choose the one that suits you but in a truly bizarre tangent Mark went on to say that in time you may send photo’s of your ears and head and Sony will build a 3D render of head and deliver you a personalised HRTF profile that is uniquely suited to you!!

Final Thoughts

This was an incredibly jargon intense talk that was designed for developers and not consumers. The things I did understand where incredibly impressive yet did nothing to truly excite me for the upcoming launch.

If any one can break down the talk in the video above better than I have here, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to heart and possibly publish your thoughts.

We cant be far away from a consumer reveal of the PS5 and as always we will be here at Stoffel Presents with the news as soon as it happens