Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2019 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Playstation, Navi 10 Lite, navi, leak, Gonzalo, APU, amd, PS5, rumor, xbox, Zen 2, Zen+
What's in a name? Depending on how much you read into it, quite a bit, depending on what you infer from product code 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9. There are some very interesting rumours floating around the net today which suggest AMD might have another big win on their hands. They provided much of the hardware for the release of the two major consoles way back in 2013 and there have been recent statements they will be inside the next generation of XBox. Now that NVIDIA is working on supporting Active Sync that benefit is a little less clear in the long term but at least for now they are a little late to the game.
Image credit: Twitter user @TUM_APISAK
The image, from from a source that has a rather impressive track record, demonstrates the decoding process - and pay close attention to the letter "G", the second character in the string, which presumably indicates that this intended for a game console. The source also suggests that this new chip will be a Zen 2 and Navi based APU called Gonzolo, with eight cores clocking between 1GHz to 3.2GHz with 4MB of L2 cache and 16 MB of L3 cache. There is less information on the "Navi 10 Lite" GPU, apart from a belief that it's core will be running at a frequency of at least 1GHz.
Image via Twitter user @KOMACHI_ENSAKA
This is great news for AMD, who have been enjoying the royalties from the sales of consoles and could use the fresh injection of cash as gamers upgrade once the consoles launch.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Possible Patent For Post Navi GPU Architecture Spotted @ [H]ard}OCP
- Withings Pulse HR review: A longer-lasting competitor to Fitbit’s Alta HR @ Ars Technica
- Negative capacitance appears in ferroelectric materials @ Physicsworld
- Microsoft partner portal 'exposes 'every' support request filed worldwide' today @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2018 - 08:51 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sony, retro console, Playstation, gaming, console
Sony is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its original PlayStation game console with the launch of the PlayStation Classic – a miniature and modernized version that is 45% smaller, offers HDMI output, and comes pre-loaded with 20 classic PlayStation games. The new console maintains the classic boxy gray look at the original including the CD cover, large power and eject buttons, and memory card slots, but the bespoke controller ports have been swapped out for USB connections and around back the RCA jacks (or AV out on newer revisions) have been replaced with a HDMI output. The retro console uses USB for power though an AC adapter is not included (any 5V1A charger will do). The miniaturized PlayStation Classic does still have the door covering the Parallel port but Sony did not mention if the port itself is still there or not (I would guess not and that it’s just there for nostalgia but I suppose it’s possible it’s under there). Sony’s PlayStation Classic will cost $99.99 and will be available on December 3rd 2018. The box will include the console, two classic PlayStation controllers (remakes of the original game pads that lack the DualShock’s dual analog sticks), a HDMI cable, and a USB cable.
The PlayStation Classic features 20 pre-loaded games along with a virtual memory card. Users can use the CD eject button to switch between games and use the virtual memory card to save games. Sony has not yet released the full list of launch games, but it did tease the following five games:
- Final Fantasy VII
- Tekken 3
- Wild Arms
- Ridge Racer Type 4
- Jumping Flash!
I would love to see games from the Metal Gear, Syphon Filter, Spyro, Gran Turismo, Red Faction, and Twisted Metal series make the list of included games though the lack of analog sticks might make some of those games harder to play. I am curious if Sony will allow future games to be added or if they will end up doing additional versions of the PlayStation Classic. Youtuber RGT 85 further speculates that Sony may include Gran Turismo 2 and the original Resident Evil (I am skeptical on GT2 if only because if it was planned I think they would have led with that in the announcement, but maybe they are still working on it).
Interestingly, while the PlayStation Classic is 45% smaller than the original PlayStation, the PSone (which is the console I had) is a smidge over 51% smaller. If you can’t wait until December or just want to get the full experience on the original hardware, the PSone may be a good option as you can find them on the cheap used and they do not take up much space while the white plastic allegedly does not yellow as much as the older gray consoles. You can also play more than the 20 built-in games on the PlayStation Classic. Alternatively, many of the older games can be downloaded and played on the PSP or PS3 and the disc PS1 games can be played on the PlayStation 2 and 3 consoles (with some exceptions). On the other hand, getting HDMI out on the older consoles, while possible, can be a pain to get the best image quality so the PlayStation Classic may be worth it just for the convenience factor especially if you only need a short trip down memory lane and don’t want to jump down the retro gaming collection rabbit hole (hehe).
Do you still have your original PlayStation and games? What do you think about the PlayStation Classic? What PS1 games did you play the most on the original console?
Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 07:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, PS3, Playstation, playstation now
As of yesterday, Sony has launched the PC version of their PlayStation Now client for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. This service allows a catalog of PlayStation 3-era titles (which includes remakes from their previous consoles) to be streamed, in a way similar to OnLive. While the US and Canada are both supported, it's difficult to tell the other regions that it is available in, at least from Sony's official sources.
One caveat is that the service requires the DUALSHOCK 4 controller (and their upcoming, official wireless adapter if you aren't happy with USB cables). From an openness standpoint, this isn't really much better than the console, and actually worse if a far-future title becomes exclusive to it; you can't emulate software that can only be remotely accessed, but that's okay as long as you go in with those expectations. Games can be added and removed from the service with zero recourse, which means that you can lose content that has intrinsic value, especially if it's controversial. On the other hand, it allows you to experience games that you otherwise couldn't, because they were already locked into a platform. On the other-other hand, you're perpetuating that by supporting the platform, but that's your decision to make.
I'll stop that infinite loop here.
All of that aside, the service offers a seven day trial. One month is $19.99 USD, which adds to about $240 each year, while 12 months pre-paid is $99.99 USD.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2016 - 01:37 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, msi, Intel, Playstation, ps4, neo, ps4k, phanteks, idf, Optane, XPoint, western digital, nvidia, GTX 1080
PC Perspective Podcast #396 - 04/21/2016
Join us this week as we discuss MSI Gaming Notebooks, Intel Layoffs, the PlayStation Neo and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:41:44
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | April 19, 2016 - 11:21 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sony, ps4, Playstation, neo, giant bomb, APU, amd
Based on a new report coming from Giant Bomb, Sony is set to release a new console this year with upgraded processing power and a focus on 4K capabilities, code named NEO. We have been hearing for several weeks that both Microsoft and Sony were planning partial generation upgrades but it appears that details for Sony's update have started leaking out in greater detail, if you believe the reports.
Giant Bomb isn't known for tossing around speculation and tends to only report details it can safely confirm. Austin Walker says "multiple sources have confirmed for us details of the project, which is internally referred to as the NEO."
The current PlayStation 4 APU
Image source: iFixIt.com
There are plenty of interesting details in the story, including Sony's determination to not split the user base with multiple consoles by forcing developers to have a mode for the "base" PS4 and one for NEO. But most interesting to us is the possible hardware upgrade.
The NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory. The documents we've received note that the HDD in the NEO is the same as that in the original PlayStation 4, but it's not clear if that means in terms of capacity or connection speed.
Games running in NEO mode will be able to use the hardware upgrades (and an additional 512 MiB in the memory budget) to offer increased and more stable frame rate and higher visual fidelity, at least when those games run at 1080p on HDTVs. The NEO will also support 4K image output, but games themselves are not required to be 4K native.
Giant Bomb even has details on the architectural changes.
|Shipping PS4||PS4 "NEO"|
|CPU||8 Jaguar Cores @ 1.6 GHz||8 Jaguar Cores @ 2.1 GHz|
|GPU||AMD GCN, 18 CUs @ 800 MHz||AMD GCN+, 36 CUs @ 911 MHz|
|Stream Processors||1152 SPs ~ HD 7870 equiv.||2304 SPs ~ R9 390 equiv.|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 @ 176 GB/s||8GB GDDR5 @ 218 GB/s|
(We actually did a full video teardown of the PS4 on launch day!)
If the Compute Unit count is right from the GB report, then the PS4 NEO system will have 2,304 stream processors running at 911 MHz, giving it performance nearing that of a consumer Radeon R9 390 graphics card. The R9 390 has 2,560 SPs running at around 1.0 GHz, so while the NEO would be slower, it would be a substantial upgrade over the current PS4 hardware and the Xbox One. Memory bandwidth on NEO is still much lower than a desktop add-in card (218 GB/s vs 384 GB/s).
Could Sony's NEO platform rival the R9 390?
If the NEO hardware is based on Grenada / Hawaii GPU design, there are some interesting questions to ask. With the push into 4K that we expect with the upgraded PlayStation, it would be painful if the GPU didn't natively support HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60 Hz). With the modularity of current semi-custom APU designs it is likely that AMD could swap out the display controller on NEO with one that can support HDMI 2.0 even though no consumer shipping graphics cards in the 300-series does so.
It is also POSSIBLE that NEO is based on the upcoming AMD Polaris GPU architecture, which supports HDR and HDMI 2.0 natively. That would be a much more impressive feat for both Sony and AMD, as we have yet to see Polaris released in any consumer GPU. Couple that with the variables of 14/16nm FinFET process production and you have a complicated production pipe that would need significant monitoring. It would potentially lower cost on the build side and lower power consumption for the NEO device, but I would be surprised if Sony wanted to take a chance on the first generation of tech from AMD / Samsung / Global Foundries.
However, if you look at recent rumors swirling about the June announcement of the Radeon R9 480 using the Polaris architecture, it is said to have 2,304 stream processors, perfectly matching the NEO specs above.
New features of the AMD Polaris architecture due this summer
There is a lot Sony and game developers could do with roughly twice the GPU compute capability on a console like NEO. This could make the PlayStation VR a much more comparable platform to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive though the necessity to work with the original PS4 platform might hinder the upgrade path.
The other obvious use is to upgrade the image quality and/or rendering resolution of current games and games in development or just to improve the frame rate, an area that many current generation consoles seem to have been slipping on.
In the documents we’ve received, Sony offers suggestions for reaching 4K/UltraHD resolutions for NEO mode game builds, but they're also giving developers a degree of freedom with how to approach this. 4K TV owners should expect the NEO to upscale games to fit the format, but one place Sony is unwilling to bend is on frame rate. Throughout the documents, Sony repeatedly reminds developers that the frame rate of games in NEO Mode must meet or exceed the frame rate of the game on the original PS4 system.
There is still plenty to read in the Giant Bomb report, and I suggest you head over and do so. If you thought the summer was going to be interesting solely because of new GPU releases from AMD and NVIDIA, it appears that Sony and Microsoft have their own agenda as well.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 29, 2014 - 10:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, Samsung, playstation now, Playstation
I know that I have said it in the past, but I am not big on cloud streaming services. For art, the ability to genuinely own your content keeps it safe from censorship and licensing disagreements. You only need to look back a year to see Disney pulling access to legally purchased content on Amazon because they wanted their TV channel to have exclusive rights to the Christmas movies in the holiday season. This does not apply to people who actually owned the content (semi-)DRM-free. Streaming services, especially for video games, are examples of perfection for anyone willing to abuse the system.
Remember: If you build it, the abuse will come.
With that commentary out of the way, what streaming services are good at is pure entertainment. They are just about peak convenience to deliver... some form of entertaining content... unless you have spotty internet (or some other exception). These services have definite merit, so long as they augment platforms for actual art and not attempt to replace them.
So why am I rambling? Recently, Sony has announced that PlayStation Now will arrive for Samsung Smart TVs alongside Sony devices. At first, this might sound surprising. Sony, a console manufacturer, is providing access to the PlayStation ecosystem on other platforms – and yes, that is noteworthy. It is also not without precedent. While the initiative is mostly abandoned, Sony tried opening up to third-party mobile manufacturers (HTC, Sharp, Fujitsu, Wikipad, and Alcatel) with “PlayStation Certified”.
There is also a second reason why this is not too surprising: Samsung and Sony are fairly close partners in TV technology. Until just a few years ago, Sony LCD TV panels were manufactured by S-LCD, until Samsung eventually bought out Sony's interest in the company. The two companies are not really hostile in the TV market. If we see Sony open up PlayStation Now to LG Electronics, then I will scratch my head.
While announced ahead of CES, PlayStation Now is expected to be present at the show on Samsung TVs.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | February 12, 2014 - 10:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox, xbone, ps4, Playstation, pc gaming
PCMag, your source for Apple and gaming console coverage (I joke), wrote up an editorial about purchasing a gaming console. Honestly, they should have titled it, "How to Buy a Game Device" since they also cover the NVIDIA SHIELD and other options.
The entire Console vs PC debate bothers me, though. Neither side handles it well.
I will start by highlighting problems with the PC side, before you stop reading. Everyone says you can assemble your own gaming PC to save a little money. Yes, that is true and it is unique to the platform. The problem is that the public vision then becomes, "You must assemble and maintain your own gaming PC".
No. No. No.
Some people prefer the support system provided by the gaming consoles. If it bricks, which some of them do a lot, you can call up the manufacturer for a replacement in a few weeks. The same could be absolutely true for a gaming PC. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a computer from a system builder, ranging from Dell to Puget Systems.
The point of gaming PC is that you do not need to. You can also deal with a small business. For Canadians, if you purchase all of your hardware through NCIX, you can add $50 to your order for them to ship your parts as a fully assembled PC, with Windows installed (if purchased). You also get a one-year warranty. The downside is that you lose your ability to pick-and-choose components from other retailers and you cannot reuse your old stuff. Unfortunately, I do not believe NCIX USA offers this. Some local stores may offer similar benefits, though. One around my area assembled for free.
The benefits of the PC is always choice. You can assemble it yourself (or with a friend). You can have a console-like experience with a system builder. You can also have something in-between with small businesses. It is your choice.
Most importantly, your choice of manufacturer does not restrict your choice in content.
As for the consoles, I cannot find a rock-solid argument that will always be better on them. If you are thinking about purchasing one, the available content should sway your decision. Microsoft will be the place to get "Halo". Sony will be the place to get "The Last of Us". Nintendo will be the place to get "Mario". Your money should go where the content you want is. That, and wherever your friends play.
But, of course, then you are what made the content exclusive.
Note: Obviously the PC has issues with proprietary platforms, too. Unlike the consoles, it could also be a temporary issue. The PC business model does not depend upon Windows. If it remains a sufficient platform? Great. If not, we have multiple options which range from Linux/SteamOS to Web Standards for someone to develop a timeless classic on.