Sony tends to operate on a seven-year cycle with its consoles and with the PlayStation 3 launching in 2006, and the PlayStation 4 in 2013, it’s not unreasonable that speculation has been high about a forthcoming PlayStation 5 which is aiming for a 2020 debut.
Wired has now posted a feature piece offering the first details on the upcoming console and specs wise it sounds like a monster. The new console will be capable of 8K, but since so few TVs are 8K the demonstrations are all being done on 4K TVs. As it’s based in part on the PS4’s architecture, it will be backwards compatible with PS4 games and will still accept physical media and the existing PSVR hardware.
The CPU will be based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line with eight cores (with new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture). The GPU, is a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family and will support real-time ray tracing – something no game console has been able to yet manage.
The console’s secret weapon though? A solid-state drive, but not just any SSD. Cerny says they focused on raw read speed, IO mechanisms, and a software stack to accelerate loading times. The result is this SSD “has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs” and exponentially improves loading times and how quickly a character can move through new worlds and environments. No word on how it compares to M.2 NVME SSDs.
Demonstrating the power of the new machine, Cerny booted up the “Marvel’s Spider-Man” game and initiated a fast-travel within it to a different part of Manhattan. On the PS4 Pro, the load time for the task took 15 seconds. On the devkit for an early ‘low-speed’ version of the PS5? – it took 0.8 seconds.
The console will also develop an area that’s rarely discussed – sound. The AMD chip includes a custom unit for 3D audio (ie. potential Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks) which lead system architect Mark Cerny says: “will redefine what sound can do in a videogame… with the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
No word as yet on game titles. A few hours before this report went up, another was up at TweakTown whose sources seemed to be pretty spot on – matching what was revealed here. Those sources also claim that the console will have 24Gb of GDDR6 RAM (currently only in use in Nvidia’s high-end RTX cards) with 4Gb of that going to the OS, while the SSD will be “some sort of NAND storage” and have 2TB capacity. There’s even a rumored price – $499USD.