Next Gen Sony Games Consoles Rumours Keep Surfacing

January 18, 2013

It keeps on going, the constant next gen rumour mill, some of which will turn out to be true and some of which will never happen.
Digital Foundry claim to have hard evidence of the next gen PS, from trusted sources, ill not go into how much i dislike Eurogamer or anything connected with it, ill just paste their claims here:

Both the next generation PlayStation – and its Xbox competitor – feature eight-core CPUs clocked at 1.6GHz according to sources trusted by Digital Foundry. The main processor architecture driving both consoles is said to be derived the new “Jaguar” technology currently in development by Intel’s arch-rival, AMD. These are low-power processor cores designed for the entry-level laptop and tablet market, offering an excellent ratio between power consumption and performance. The PC Jaguar products are set to ship later this year in a quad-core configuration – next-gen consoles see the core count double with some customisations added to the overall design.

Married to the eight-core processor, Orbis also features Radeon HD graphics hardware. We’vepreviously suggested that AMD’s mobile “Pitcairn” design – the Radeon 7970M – could be a strong basis for a next-gen console graphics core in terms of power consumption and die-size. Running at 850MHz and featuring 20 of AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” compute units, our information suggests that Orbis shaves off 10 per cent of that number, offering up 18 CUs in total, and sees a mild downclock to 800MHz. Incorporated into a design dedicated to cutting-edge visuals and gameplay, this hardware has some serious potential.

It is perhaps more than coincidence that these specs offer up the 1.84 teraflops metric for the Orbis GPU that was mooted yesterday, assuming that the figure is calculated in the same way that it is for AMD’s current “Graphics Core Next” range of products. At this time we cannot confirm the make-up of the Durango graphics hardware – rumours have circulated for quite some time that it is some way behind Orbis, but equally there has been the suggestion that the GPU itself is supplemented by additional task-specific hardware. We could not confirm this, butan ex-Microsoft staffer with a prior relationship with the Xbox team says that two of these modules are graphics-related.

However, there’s a fair amount of “secret sauce” in Orbis and we can disclose details on one of the more interesting additions. Paired up with the eight AMD cores, we find a bespoke GPU-like “Compute” module, designed to ease the burden on certain operations – physics calculations are a good example of traditional CPU work that are often hived off to GPU cores. We’re assured that this is bespoke hardware that is not a part of the main graphics pipeline but we remain rather mystified by its standalone inclusion, bearing in mind Compute functions could be run off the main graphics cores and that devs could have the option to utilise that power for additional graphical grunt, if they so chose.

Previous rumours have suggested that Orbis runs its CPU cores along with some graphics hardware inside a standalone, custom AMD Fusion core with a separate, discrete GPU. Our sources suggest otherwise – all of these elements are embedded into the same piece of silicon, and we can confirm that the internal codename for the processor is indeed “Liverpool”, as was mooted some time ago. Sony does have some form here for pushing the envelope – PlayStation Vita represents the only mobile GPU processor that combined quad-core ARM Cortex A9s with the PowerVR SGX543 MP4. Even on the power-hungry iPad 3, Apple stuck with dual-core CPU architecture at the same 45nm fabrication node.

The news that so much processing power is packed onto a single processor is highly significant to the point where credibility could be stretched somewhat. However, helping to explain matters is the make-up of AMD’s Jaguar tech – each core occupies just 3.1mm2 of die-space at the 28nm fabrication standard. Factor in L2 cache, and the overall CPU component could be as little as 75-80mm2 in total. That’s in contrast to the 235mm2 of the launch PS3′s Cell processor and the 240mm2 of the Emotion Engine chip inside the original PlayStation 2 – neither of which factored in the separate graphics hardware, which in both cases was even larger. By our reckoning, the more efficient eight-core set-up still leaves plenty of space for integrating the main GPU onto the same die, with space to spare. This offers up significant production cost savings and brings down overall power consumption.

You can read the full story here:
Orbis unmasked: what to expect from the next-gen PlayStation

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