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Sony On PS4 GPU: It Handles More Than Conventional Graphics

This is for all you gamers who love the scientific side of console technology.

PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny attended Gamelab 2013 and spoke in great detail about what Sony's new system offers. Specifically, he addressed the GPU, which doesn't merely push graphics, but also handles various "complex processes" that are normally handled by the CPU.

"We have worked hard to ensure that the console has a rich feature set, which will allow it to grow over the years and support the overall evolution of gaming. And our work there on that rich feature was to focus on making sure that for those teams that were interested in investing time, the GPU could be used for far more conventional graphics. Principally, we enhanced the GPU to make the use of asynchronous fine grained compute practical on the platform. So the asynchronous refers to the GPU doing many tasks which is not directly related to graphics."

He went on to say that developers will be able to create richer and more dynamic worlds, provided they can unlock the hardware's true potential. We've heard Sony say something like this before, but this is the first time where accessibility shouldn't be an issue. With past PlayStation consoles, that was a huge stumbling block at the start of each generation.

Added Cerny:

"Physics simulation, collision detection, ray casting for audio, decompression and the like. And these operations are fine grained meaning that there will be many small world simulation tasks running on the GPU simultaneously alongside rendering of the game scenes. So the concept is that as game developers learn to use these techniques later on in the console life cycle, we will see richer and even more interactive worlds."

So, who's excited?

Tags: ps4, playstation 4, ps4 gpu, ps4 architecture

6/30/2013 9:27:50 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (49 posts)

Clamedeus
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 10:16:03 PM
Reply

I am definitely excited.

I love Mark Cernys speeches, he doesn't go overboard with the tech jargon, but he also doesn't dumb it down as well. Great speaker.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 10:32:29 PM
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I hope that's not just rigamarole because I always thought they would do something with it to make it a bit special even if it was basically PC stuff.

It's a shame only the exclusives will be taking advantage though since Xbox 180 will hold all the multiplats back.

Agree with this comment 9 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:17:01 PM

I don't know why anyone would thumb you down for stating the obvious. That company has once again created and inferior system then demands Sony's versions be identical to theirs. Why would anyone in their right mind be okay with that?

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Cesar_ser_4
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 5:52:10 AM

What really ticks me off is that on this generation very few games if any were identical between the 360 and PS3

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:50:56 PM

Well that's all behind us now Cesar

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Jawknee
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:14:24 PM
Reply

Sounds interesting yet too complex for my mind. Anyone know if the 8gb of RAM is dedicated to the entire system or is it divided up? Like the Wii U's 2gb of RAM is split. 1gb for the OS and the rest for the games and aps

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LowKey
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:29:12 AM

The PS4 reserves 1gb RAM for the OS. Xbone 180 uses 3gb for the OS so the PS4 has 7gb RAM free whilst Xbone only has 5gb free.

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SayWord
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:38:56 AM

The ps4 ram is definitely unified and isnt split. That alone is huge and what really seperates the ps4 from xbone. Also we can expect superior multiplats on ps4 during this gen since xbone is using eram which is more difficult to optimize due to bottlenecks and still underpowered to ps4.

Last edited by SayWord on 7/1/2013 12:42:58 AM

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wiley_kyotee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 2:05:01 PM

@ SayWord: As stated earlier in this thread, I to highly doubt that MS is going to allow 3rd party developers to produce a better version on the PS4. MS can always spend money to make sure that their version is on par or better than the PS4 version. They can also pay developers to make the XBOne the lead development console. Money talks and MS has more than Sony. I believe Sony will have to prove their system is better through 1st and 2nd party exclusives just like in this generation.

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iankhaneagle
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:14:34 PM
Reply

the tech specs are nice. what they dont tell you is that the CPU i have now is almost as powerful pure processor wise as the ps4. my AMD phenom black II is between an intel i5 and i7 in power. ps4 maxes out at i5 level. nothing wrong with that. just if your looking for hoopla and fandemonium than file me under less than impressed. i watched a trailer i didnt what the game was and it was killzone shadows fall. my thought was huh thats a pretty ps3 game. i get that the leap is not as big as ps2 to ps3 but its disppointing to feel so meh about a new machine. as for the article here, what i take from that is he wants the asynchronus tasks to be things like social media, video sharing, stuff that if not assigned would probably bog down the AMD CPU. btw, get ready for a loud PS4. mine routinely overclocks. those hardcore gamers out there may want to buy an external fan for your ps4.

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MeXiCaNFiGhTe12
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:17:27 PM

Same here. Wish the gap between PS3 and PS4 was bigger. I would of payed up to $600 if they would have done that. Oh well

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ZenChichiri
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:03:06 AM

I don't think the graphical upgrades will be as prevalent, but rather the difference is in how large the worlds can be and how much will be going on at once without slowdown.

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MeXiCaNFiGhTe12
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:37:10 AM

Yeah very true. Imagine if Zipper was still around and announced MAG 2. 1000 player lobby's :0

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Jawknee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 3:59:52 AM

You're blind if you couldn't tell the difference between Killzone Shadowfall and a PS3 game.

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wiley_kyotee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 2:25:15 PM

The question is: How much are you willing to pay for a console? Sony tried to make the PS3 different from a PC and no one wanted it initially due to the high cost when it released. It took multiple redesigns and some difficult times to get where they are today. The PS3 will probaly never meet Sony's initial unit sales expectations.

Sony had to come in at a lower price for this new gen so they had to use a less powerful CPU and GPU.

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iankhaneagle
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:19:09 PM
Reply

for some reason, i just think microsofts launch looks stronger. ps4 is nothing but a graphically less significan leap and alot of sequels. i honestly think titanfall> killzone shadows fall.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:56:42 PM

Titanfall will come to PS4 a bit later when MS's timed buyout runs its course.

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PoopsMcGee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 3:37:19 AM

...and will have a superior PC version that releases with the X1 version.

My personal interest in Titanfall fell off significantly when they announced it is MP only...

edit/ Not to mention I don't believe Titanfall is a launch game.

Last edited by PoopsMcGee on 7/1/2013 3:48:24 AM

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Jawknee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 3:57:45 AM

Pft, Titanfall is multiplayer only so that disqualifies it in my mind. Not to mention it just looks like Call of Duty with mechs. Whoopadedoo!

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Simcoe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 9:58:07 AM

Don't worry, there is still Gamescom in Germany (August) and The Tokyo Game Show in September. Sony isn't only focused on the US market so I'm quite sure they'll bring some new stuff to show at those events as well!

I believe Titanfall will be sometime in the first half of 2014. I wasn't thrilled when I first saw it but after a second look, I'd be lying if I said it didn't pique my interest. Although, did realise it was MP only. IF I get it, I'd just get it for my PC.

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iankhaneagle
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 11:22:01 PM
Reply

@ mexicanfighte12....IMO the ps4 screams refurb. the ps3 had issues and it had higher end parts. the ps4 is going to be even more made in mexico and made on the cheap thanks to AMD. i guess i can take solace in that the xbox 1 will have the same basic specs thereabouts? tehrefore the same AMD related issues. i really beg someone to tell me the ps3 wasnt an iffy system. mine died twice. MS and sony not using nvidia will open the door for a bigger console war player mark my words.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:01:28 AM

Not nearly as iffy as the other guy, not even by half in percentages. Wii was the most reliable.

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AcHiLLiA
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:31:20 AM

You have to let the system breathe.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 7/1/2013 12:34:08 AM

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bruno_py
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:33:48 AM

I believe that would be the Steambox. I remember reading Gabe wants 3 Steamboxes, the higher end probably would feature more expensive components, probably Intel/Nvidia.

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MeXiCaNFiGhTe12
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:40:09 AM

No comment :)

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Jawknee
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 4:02:13 AM

Puaha! This guy. A very small number of PS3's were defective compared to Xbox's 30%. Are you serious? Or just trolling?

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CrusaderForever
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 9:24:18 AM

He's obviously trolling. The TROLL is not strong with this one.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bruno_py
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:38:10 AM
Reply

I wonder Where's the highlander...

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 12:50:40 AM

Me too...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 1:13:39 AM

He must be busy at work, at least that's the last thing I heard out of him.

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Fane1024
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 6:38:22 AM

I know he's playing FF XIV. Not sure why he never comments. Wasn't he one of those invited to contribute to the site?

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Keyser Soze
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 1:37:57 AM
Reply

@bruno_py Yeah, and what happened to bikersaint.

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Keyser Soze
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 2:53:34 AM

Never mind, now I'm sad.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 2:55:32 AM

He was having financial issues and has probably gone homeless.

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Keyser Soze
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 3:05:07 AM

Just found out. Thanks though.

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Simcoe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 2:27:53 PM

Has anyone actually heard anything from him lately?

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___________
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 4:50:51 AM
Reply

really?
wow!
last time i checked thats the whole point of APUs, and even iGPUs on intels new haswell processors.
welcome to 2005 cerny!
nothing new, in fact this is the exact reason why we have seen GPU technology skyrocket over the past 5 years and CPU tech, well, pretty much stagnated.
its amazing how much of a CPUs job can be offloaded to the GPU, and actually how much a better job the GPU does!

my million dollar question is though will the ps4 support physX?
no, that is not a nvidia specific tool set you CAN run it on AMD cards, and in fact it actually has a lower performance hit!
one thing i really want to see on next gen systems, what developers have managed to do with the tool is really amazing.
the cloth simulation in borderlands 2, the amazing particle effects and destructibility of walls and objects in metro last light.
i really really hope next gen games place a much higher emphasis on physics than what current gen games will.


Last edited by ___________ on 7/1/2013 4:59:02 AM

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Crabba
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 10:00:47 PM

sorry but underscore is actually correct here, if you're downvoting him you're just beying fanboyish. There's nothing new with GPU's capable of doing more general-purpose CPU-type processing, in fact it's been available on the past several GPU generations from both AMD and Nvidia.

Problem of course being, it's not something it can do without sacrificing graphics calculations performance, so if games want to use the GPU for other tasks, GPU graphics performance will suffer, and well sadly the GPU in the PS4 isn't that strong to begin with so...

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Indestructible
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 4:53:14 AM
Reply

Hmm, so, in PS3 the CPU was supposed to offload the GPU, now in PS4 its the GPU helping out the CPU, interesting!!!

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xnonsuchx
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 8:06:33 AM

No, in PS3, the SPUs (part of the CPU) did a lot of the work before sending off to the GPU, so in PS4, part of the GPU can be used for the same purpose the SPUs of the PS3 were.

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Crabba
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 10:03:23 PM

xnonsuchx: so basically exactly what Indestructible is saying, lol...

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xnonsuchx
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 8:02:37 AM
Reply

i.e. newer GPUs can do a lot of what the Cell SPUs did on PS3 (far better than a general purpose CPU can), so they made sure the custom chip could do as much of that as possible.

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Apocrita
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 11:22:08 AM
Reply

Intending no offense...

There seems to be an overall “air” of defensiveness and worry here about the future of the PS4 versus the XB1. That's stated in the most general of terms. It's understandable considering the history and narrative from the last generation of consoles. My initial gut reaction is to laugh at the unnecessary concerns until I put myself in the middle of the 'solidly in Sony camp' mindset. I'm not calling out fanboy or castigating in any way. But, there is without a doubt a different comfort level difference between the PS-folk and the XB-folk.

I can only offer anecdotal opinions and an analogy that may only work for me, and here they are anyway;

The Apostle Paul, after conversion from being a committed and violent, Christian killing Pharisee (I'm using a Biblical analogy here, doesn’t matter how you believe, the 'story' is what counts, so bear with me please) had to fight with his own history and reputation as Christian-killer AND therefore/thereafter convince his "once-victims” that he was a true convert and advocate. He pulled a complete 180. He went on to become the most vociferous proponent of the belief system he spent is time and energy trying to demolish. So, I'm not preaching here and I'm not in any way trying to diminish the biblical tale or compare it's import to something so mundane as a 'console-war'.

What I've taken way too long to say is that, I think the Sony-camp-folk can really-really relax, kick up their feet and allow their favorite 'cat-that-got-the-cream' smile to light their faces. Sony, with the PS4, their presentment of it, their responses to fans and overall public relations grand-slam have performed what amounts to the Damascus road conversion.

I mentioned before that my game collection favors the 360 over the PS3 by nearly a 9-1 margin. That's wholly controller related, I've even had to settle for many lesser versions of games for that issue alone. Sony seems to have addressed that issue too (WOOT!) with the changes to the DS4.

So, consider me one of the 'won-over', the converts, and absolutely in Sony's camp. MS can do nothing to win me back, they tipped their hand, lifted their skirts, came out of the wrong closet and I hate what they've revealed. I have bid them a happy farewell for this new generation. And most importantly, I am certainly definitely not alone in this.

Time to relax Sony-folk, the future is so bright, we'll have to wear shades!

Last edited by Apocrita on 7/1/2013 11:26:39 AM

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Apocrita
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 11:34:01 AM

I can't get it through my numb-skull that quotations aren't working.

So corrections would be

'air'

and

'once-victims'

Please to forgive. 'Tis been a rough week or two.

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Simcoe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 1:01:28 PM

Welcome! It must have been a few disappointing weeks for you. May I ask what it was that broke the proverbial camels back? I'm sure you will ultimately have no regrets about your decision, but I'm sure you'll be able to find somethings you like better and some things you wish Sony would do more like MS.

As for controller layout/style, I know for the PS3/360 I have seen third party manufacturers offer PS3 style controllers for the 360 and 360 style controllers for PS3. So if you are finding it hard to adjust to the DS4, I'm sure some manufacturer will soon enough offer a DS4 in a Xbox layout.

Last edited by Simcoe on 7/1/2013 1:01:43 PM

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Apocrita
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 3:18:45 PM

Thanks. Right on! I'll try and be brief (yeah right!), which clearly isn't one of my strong points ;-)

MS pros; (this is looking backwards and up to the current time)
The controller sans the horrendous d-pad.
My 360 unit has been solid since day one, (I was a late adopter for both systems) Day one defined as the initial release of the shiny, slim version.
Seriously, that's the list. The controller is of ultimate importance to me. I've huge hands, arthritis and need the larger size.

MS cons; (this is looking forward)
DRM in relation to every aspect of their 'content' delivery. I simply don't trust them and don't believe that they are currently being honest. I predict that there will be a 'new' content usage/control policy that will be required with some future update with the XB1. They've made it very clear that they WILL go in that direction at some point.

Kinect, always connected. I don't give a muridae's fuzzy fundament whether or not some features can be disabled. If it's connected, it's on to some degree or another. I don't trust them, MS, by their own actions, have lost all credibility.

Power. They sacrificed and have given too much system power on the alter of 'paid content delivery'. The XB1 is no more than a digital outlet store, one that is designed more like a rental, pat as you go convenience. But less so for the 'consumer' because they crippled the delivery device for the sake of greed.

The always connected element. I understand that they've backtracked (as they did with used games) but can you/we/I trust them to not 're-institute' both at a future time? So easy to require a system update that 'justifies' the need for always connected.

TV centric focus? Ummm...I by consoles for gaming. I have an antenna for TV. I only get 6 or so channels but the price is right.

To reiterate a major sticking point. I don't trust them. They've been evasive, snarky and act as if their unwashed-masses of customers are badly behaving sheeple.

I know that there's more, I've had a rough few days and my brain is firing on only a few cylinders right now. Suffice it to say is that I see Sony doing everything right this round. I'm a loyalist only insofar as company shows loyalty to me. The only way I can seek justice in the console economy is to reward the company/companies that treat me right.

The dichotomy between MS and Sony right now one of complete opposites.

As far as controllers for the PS3 go, I do have a pair of Power-As. One is wired the other wireless. They are okay but have a long way to go.

Last edited by Apocrita on 7/1/2013 3:21:19 PM

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Simcoe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 5:25:35 PM

DRM and other sneaky stuff if why I like to see healthy competition between companies. MS got a little too cocky and thought they could change the paradigm of the console gaming industry from one of ownership to lessee. I'm thankful that you and other xbox owners spoke up, for the good of all gamers. It was a very slippery road that MS was going down.

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DjEezzy
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 1:23:18 PM
Reply

MS lineup looks good. I can't deny that. But thats really if you're only into shooters. If you're into gaming, ps4 all the way!!! LOL. I like what I'm hearing from this dude to be honest. The graphical differences between ps3 and ps4 were definitely recognizable to me. It may not be as big of a leap as it was from ps2 to ps3 but in order for that to happen. People will need 4k tv's to really see a bigger difference. It's coming, I assure you. It's only a matter of time. 4k tv's need to drop significantly in price before we start seeing the big differences. I still think what graphics the ps4 showed were amazing. I mean the division looked absolutely gorgeous. And that was a multiplat game!!! Give it some time and you'll start to see uncharted and other First Party Titles that are going to blow our socks off. I can't wait until they announce the next red dead for the next generation!!! Can't wait!!!

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Simcoe
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 1:37:57 PM

Even though I know a lot of people aren't fans of "Quick Time Events" (QTE), I don't mind them, and I personally did like the look of Ryse.

"the division looked absolutely gorgeous."
Agreed!! It did look spectacular. I think it may be a next gen exclusive title (ie. no PS3 or 360).

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