PlayStation 4 (PS4) Orbis Hardware Specifications - AMD APU or Discrete?

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 23, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, sony, ps4, playstation 4, orbis, Kaveri, bulldozer, APU, amd

Earlier today a report from posted some details about the upcoming PlayStation console, code named Orbis and sometimes just called the PS4.  Kotaku author Luke Plunkett got the information from a 90 page PDF that details the development kit so the information is likely pretty accurate if incomplete.  It discusses a new controller and a completely new accounts system but I was mostly interested in the hardware details given.

We'll begin with the specs. And before we go any further, know that these are current specs for a PS4 development kit, not the final retail console itself. So while the general gist of the things you see here may be similar to what makes it into the actual commercial hardware, there's every chance some—if not all of it—changes, if only slightly.

This is key to keep in mind because here are the specs listed on the report:

  • 8GB of system memory
  • 2.2GB of graphics memory
  • 4 module (8 core) AMD Bulldozer CPU
  • AMD "R10xx" based GPU
  • 4x USB 3.0 ports and 2x Ethernet connections
  • Blu-ray drive
  • 160GB HDD
  • HDMI and optical audio output

We are essentially talking about an AMD FX-series processor with a Southern Islands based discrete card and I am nearly 100% sure that this will not match the configuration of the shipping system.  Think about it - would a console developer really want to have a processor that can draw more than 100 watts inside its box in addition to a discrete GPU?  I doubt it. 

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Instead, let's go with the idea that this developer kit is simply meant to emulate some final specifications.  More than likely we are looking at an APU solution that combines Bulldozer or Steamroller cores along with GCN-based GPU SIMD arrays.  The most likely candidate is Kaveri, a 28nm based product that meets both of those requirements.  Josh recently discussed the future with Kaveri in a post during CES, worth checking out.  AMD has told us several times that Kaveri should be able to hit the 1.0 TFLOPs level of performance and if we compare to the current discrete GPUs would enable graphics performance similar to that of an under-clocked Radeon HD 7770.

There is some room for doubt though - Kaveri isn't supposed to be out until "late Q4" though its possible that the PS4 will be the first customer.  It is also possible that AMD is making a specific discrete GPU for implementation on the PS4 based on the GCN architecture that would be faster than the graphics performance expected on the Kaveri APU. 

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When speaking with our own Josh Walrath on this rumor, he tended to think that Sony and AMD would not use an APU but would rather combine a separate CPU and GPU on a single substrate, allowing for better yields than a combined APU part.  In order to make up for the slower memory controller interface (on substrate is not as fast as on-die) AMD might again utilize backside cache, just like the one used on the Xbox 360 today.  With process technology improvements its not unthinkable to see that jump to 30 or 40MB of cache.

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With the debate of a 2013 or 2014 release still up in the air, there is plenty of time for this to change still but we will likely know for sure after our next trip to Taipei.


Source: Kotaku

January 23, 2013 | 03:15 PM - Posted by camberry

So this means a move to X86 architecture? Interesting...

January 23, 2013 | 03:37 PM - Posted by Lt Kernel

Interesting stuff, especially since Digital Foundry came up with slightly different predictions...

January 23, 2013 | 04:27 PM - Posted by Nilbog

These are VERY disappointing specs.
My desktop with almost 3 year old parts is still going to out perform these brand new consoles. That is pathetic.

WTF is with the 160GB HDD? Not an 160GB SSD? An SSD would be faster, smaller, and quieter.

I guess we can only look forward to more games using DX11

January 23, 2013 | 05:40 PM - Posted by Chumpette (not verified)

Well it isn't a hot rod with an undercooked 7770 in it.

But it is about COST. I can see you haven't quite gotten that idea when you talk about a 160GB SSD which by itself is like $125 at retail, without the rest of the

January 24, 2013 | 05:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I highly doubt that your computer with three years old hardware could compete with either PS4 och the new xbox when its released. I doubt that even if you bought a brand new Pc it wouldnt compete.

When a new concole is released, it takes an extremely powerful PC to beat the concole in gaming, even though the concole have far less specs.

It's not always about the specs, remember that. If the PS4 or the new xbox would be released now there wouldnt be any PC that could compete with it if a gamedeveloper released the same game to PS4/Xbox and PC, even if the PC is stronger "on the paper".

January 25, 2013 | 05:16 AM - Posted by das (not verified)

erm WRONG ,it does not take a extremely powerful PC to compete against new release console graphics ,quake 4 ran on full HD on my PC in 2006 with max settings ,and the game came out in 2005 ,xbox released 2006 and it only ran in semi HD had worse textures that were muddy and blurry and awful framerate issues ,i never seen a console release title that looks better than a PC game released on the same year

January 25, 2013 | 10:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

LOL really a gyx 680 or gtx 690 couldnt compete with a new console if it were released now lol!! no it wouldnt compete with it the console would get blown away !the gtx 680 and especially a gtx 690 ha s more than enough raw power to handle anygame the xbox 720 and ps4 can throw at it !my gtx runs bf3 at ultra from 60-150fps avge of 85 or sum shit ! so its safe to say my pc already beats the new consoles! people seem to think consoles can pull magic out there ass ! we had crysis in 2007 with mods is still one of the best looking gamess around today ! this game was designed for pc's -sure it runs like shit cause they did a shit coding job on it! and if they optimized the code it would have ran heaps better !!now tell me any xbox game or ps 3 game that looks better than a 2007 crysis ! thats right there is none and certainly not playing at 1080 p ! dont get me started on the gimped console crysis that limps along at 15 fps with massive pop up every 2 metres and half the effects and vegetation missing lol!! sure the pc has overheads but todays computers have more than enough power to compensate for it !consoles are already behind PC's ! PC graphics have basically stood still cause all games are designed for consoles 1st and then just ported to pc with just a few features added !

January 24, 2013 | 09:52 AM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

It doesn't appear you understand how game development works for consoles. Your computer wouldn't stand a chance against a console with hardware like this. Taking out important, but less notable differences such as overhead from an OS & accessory software, a game is developed on the die on consoles using a direct interface between hardware and code.

The hardware is static across all end-users. They can code much more efficiently as there is no need to worry about scaling across multiple hardware configurations, operating systems, driver versions, etc etc.

In other words, a console having identical hardware to a computer would absolutely destroy it in terms of graphics fidelity, and performance.

January 27, 2013 | 04:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Tis true. to sum it all up. They know how to "max out" the hardware a specific system like a console.

The rest is babble:

Its also true that I bought a video card that had the same teraflops as then entire xbox 360 in like 2008. But obviously nothing was using that type of horsepower properly. I still found a problem with games glitching because of poor console ports.

It may happen again at the release of a new console. Its a stinking "Quad core". So by minimum standards to run the console port you'll need atleast a quadcore (and a fast one). And we all know minimum requirements suck.

The only thing thats interesting is the bulldozer cpu. I have one of those and it shines the best in games that are really multi-threaded well. So they will probably start multi-threading the console version of the game alot better and maybe,,, just maybe the ports will be better multi-threaded.But then again you'll have to rely on that threading to work the game properly at minimum specs...

So we'll just have to see... there will always be the game like "Rage" that wont be nice for pc. And hopefully they do some good pc stuff. Whatever it is, will not know until the time comes.

January 23, 2013 | 06:41 PM - Posted by theriste (not verified)

Could you have Josh or you comment on what this will mean for PC gamers in terms of better ports (with both the direct x, x86-64 720 and the opengl x86-64 ps4) and better PC graphics because the engines will be more able to scale for higher speced PCs. Thanks.

January 23, 2013 | 07:52 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

Both Sony and Microsoft have been talking about making games much easier to develop on thier consoles (anyone who hates in order execution, or Cell coding can tell you).

It does look like both Xbox and Microsoft are moving to X86 for thier next gen consoles.

As far as the specs go, which are dissapointing (then again current gen consoles were "last gen" PC hardware when they were released)

Again as far as specs go remember that the target display got these next gen consoles is only 1080P, which with even mildly decent code is easy to do. So with 1080P / 30 or 60 FPS target the real goal is to keep costs down.

Maybe once 4K and 8K TV's become mainstream we will see console hardware have the need to be more powerful.

January 23, 2013 | 10:43 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

Just an added thought,

My take is that the PS4 and 720's specs will be nearly identical, (though I wouldnt be surprised if Sony changes last min to give a slight edge, they did say they would be releaseing thier console after Microsoft).

Im thinking again cause of the 1080P/30-60 FPS target a custom AMD APU is what it will be, 8 x86 cores (4 bulldozer moduals), with a 8000 series graphics core (likely a 7000 rebrand).

January 23, 2013 | 08:36 PM - Posted by tbone (not verified)

if you downclock and undervolt an 8-core fx chip you can get it to about ~45w at around 2.0ghz + some sort of turbo mode. it all depends on how they wanna clock it. i also heard it was gonna be a custom 8-core jaguar core chip with a small igpu to run the menu/video, which would make more sense if u want it to be more power efficient.

January 24, 2013 | 04:42 AM - Posted by KasiorMC (not verified)

ok, so we have hackintoshes...
and now we'll have hack-stations and hack-boxes.
oh, and a steam box.

maybe it's the plan all along. sony and ms were loosing money selling consoles and making it up by selling games. diy may not be discouraged at all after all.

I do wonder when someone comes up with a tri/quad-booting machine to cover all the bases.

January 26, 2013 | 06:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

wii u will sell more systems

May 29, 2013 | 12:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

hahaha Wii-U has sold like 2.4mil in uh a whole year? lol please stop it you are killing me lol. Right now to the real consoles... Ps4 as someone stated above has hardware equivalent to some of the top end PC's that don't cost 5000$ to built like you know the SLI big mouths who say i can run 6 titans on my super rig man! then they forget that there aren't many games that play well with SLI if at all without tweaks and game profiles coming out... while PS4 on the other hand will come out with games made by Sony for it and that is where you will see the real power inside the console when a game is made only for the console and not the PC that's when they can focus 100% on it, and with x86 in play now i just hope that it will mean easier coding = more games coming out each year so we can play and stop the useless wars. We all know Microsoft lost this one you can pretend that they are still in the game if you like, but if you actually do some reading around you will find a page somewhere on Google where Microsoft tells us the reason why they didn't go for full graphic power unlike Sony... i'll tell you why and save you search time. Microsoft decided to sell a DVR that can play and i Quote: 'Most multiplatform games' in other words some games wont come to DVROne because of well movies being inside the console? or whatever its supposed to be it truly does look like my current DVR ffs..One thing you should know from now and you can bet on it i'll bet you anytime a free console if i am wrong on this. When PS4 comes out it will once again be sleepless nights camping outside the stores to get one, only this time it will be because only 20% of the gamers will go for MS DVROne and that will be the last we hear of DVROne until they release the next gen Built in TV Console.

January 29, 2013 | 12:36 AM - Posted by ezjohny

I like that if this is true that AMD is going to put an 8 core processor in the PS4 but for the computing performance, "IT'S WEAK"!!! I would like to see the computing at 2.5 TFLOPs and beyond, instead of 1.0 TFLOPs!!!

Where going to have these console for another 10 years AMD, man this is sad! I'm a PC Gamer and I am waitng for next generation game play, AMD because porting is bad news!!!

September 18, 2013 | 11:49 PM - Posted by ShadyReeves(XDA Devoloper) (not verified)

Absolutley AMD is a Generic good Cpu for a cheap price! MS owns its hardware Intel Pentium Cpu r Know fact better Faster and more dependable Cpu. Yes they r more Money but 4 the Obvious Reasons! their better!!! so anyone who thinks Amd n a Ps4 can Compete with A Intel Pentium is in the tech darkness. i dont read about hardware and take numbers to decide what is better i put em to the test AMDs i have pushed 2 the max and fried many over last 6 yrs never has an pentium intel fried and i push them harder and have better results out of pentium stock than compared AMD overclocked and pushed to the limits. and PC is 2nd 2 none as far as graphics refresh Ms. No console will come out with somethin i caqnt get a PC to do better more options with PC consoles r set in stone unless u mod em i can always upgrade PCs to out due any console. Os is optional on Pc and u can still backdor around an Os for all ur performance to be consintrated on ur gaming. but dont take my word 4 it go buy u both brand CPUs with same stats and put them 2 the test. good thing if ur a AMD faqnboy u can replace ur fried AMD CPU 4 cheap!!! Bill Gates MS enough said sony makes disc not hardware or good Pcs MS is the reason we r were tech is today.

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