The first revelation – somehow – of the PlayStation 5 is over, with Sony's confirmation of specifications including a Zen 2 octo-core processor, custom Navi graphics, accelerated 3D sound, SSD storage and PS4 backward compatibility. Details such as CPU / GPU frequencies and memory allocation remain unknown, but some detective work is unlikely – or even outrageous – can helped fill in the blanks. This is a story that I have been pursuing with interest for three months, with more or less skepticism, but the evidence is beginning to appear compelling. Strangely, it seems like a new generation game processor is being tested on the 3DMark benchmarking tool for PC – and there is a reasonable possibility that it is PlayStation 5 silicon.
We have seen incredible stories unfold in the past, be it the PlayStation 3 Slim that makes its puzzling debut on the Philippine market two months before its launch. Then we had our first glimpse of the PS4 Slim, which materialized in Manchester in the UK, after units from the early Middle East appeared on the Gumtree classifieds site. But the next-gen processors appearing in the 3DMark results database? It's something else.
The story begins in January, with a Twitter post from Thailand-based technology spy, TUM_Apisak. Apisak has proven itself in discovering new materials by browsing online databases of references such as Final Fantasy 15, Ashes of the Singularity – and of course 3DMark. In the case of the new AMD-designed processor he discovered, the data reveals two crucial pieces of information: a code name and a product code. Earlier leaks also gave scores for each of the tests, but it seems that 3DMark has begun to hide these results in the last entries.
In the case of the new SoC, it's called Gonzalo and deciphering the product code reveals a range of potential specifications. Let's add to the story that since January, a second Gonzalo processor has appeared in the 3DMark database – a revised version of the same silicon – providing us with additional information as well as guidance on the evolution of the chip in the last three months. However, even when the existence of the first review on silicon has appeared, speculations have related to Sony and the PlayStation 5. From my point of view, the verification of authenticity is much easier if we can find some kind of prior link between the entries in the 3DMark database and the final silicon console.
At first glance, the very notion of semi-custom Sony / AMD design appearing on 3DMark seems highly improbable. Preproduction processors are tested on a Windows system, which means that the chip must be compatible with the Microsoft operating system and that drivers must be available to allow 3DMark to work in the first place. time. And basically, what would the use of this PC benchmarking tool actually demonstrate: AMD would surely have its own suite of tests? Anyway, this weird method of looking for new AMD models Is seems to check.
The research methodology in the 3DMark database is corroborated by two very convincing examples and by another pair of likely candidates. For starters, there's the Subor Z Plus Chinese console, which combines a quad-core Ryzen CCX with a Vega graphics core with 24 compute units. Apisak discovered the prototype – code name Fenghuang (translation: Phoenix) – about eight months before the launch of the console. However, when a console operating system is scheduled, the Subor hardware was started as a Windows machine. It is therefore not surprising to run 3DMark on this one for testing purposes.
The following example is the closest of the irrefutable proofs that the 3DMark database hosts preliminary tests for the hardware of the Sony console. A processor with a clock frequency of 1.6 GHz seems to have undergone the 3DMark test with product code DG1001FGF84HT a few years ago. Look closely at the photo below and you will see that a DG1000FGF84HT code appears on the processor of a last consumer PlayStation 4. It is only one digit and it seems that minor variations of this code apply to a range of PS4. If it is not a firearm, we are faced here with an astonishing coincidence.
Apisak itself also points to two other APU models that seem to indicate tests on two versions of a processor likely to be the Neo chip found on PlayStation 4 Pro, although the photos of the chip real are thin on the floor – and I could not find matches the product code. These chips are probably Pro hardware, because I do not know of any commercial product compatible with this configuration: a base clock of 1.6 GHz for OG PS4 compatibility and a maximum clock of 2.1 GHz for titles running in Neo mode .
At present, it is becoming increasingly clear that Apisak has a good overview of the future of custom silicon design – despite the unorthodox methodology used. We can definitely plot two examples of pre-production silicon that end up in console-type enclosures, one of them being the PlayStation 4, no less. By weighing the evidence, it seems likely that the new silicon of AMD Gonzalo is real. So what does the product code tell us and how do we know that it is intended for a gaming machine rather than a desktop computer?
Back in January, Apisak revealed the code name Gonzalo and saved the product code with an image designed to help decode it (I developed it below). It is based on the review of existing AMD chips and, as Gonzalo contains elements that do not match any existing chip, some aspects of the code, such as cache configuration, can not be verified. But that tells us that it's a technical example for a product designed for a gaming machine (the second digit – G – would be a D for a desktop APU) featuring eight cores processor with a base clock of 1.6 GHz and an increase of 3.2 GHz. l & # 39; clock. At the end of the code is a PCI identifier for the GPU, previously identified on the Chiphell forum as Navi Lite – which, by extension, almost confirms that it is a 7nm model. A disappointment seems to be a basic clock speed / GPU boost locked at just 1.0 GHz.
The revision of Gonzalo from April 2019 provides for the transition from the engineering sample chip to the qualifying sample state: it is actually in fact 39, a final beta version for processor design, passing from a step A2 to a step B2. Everything else seems pretty much the same, with one exception: GPU clocks increase enormously. The basic clock remains at 1 GHz, but the maximum frequency is now remarkable at 1.8 GHz. It sounds too good to be true, to be honest. This represents a frequency increase almost twice that of the PS4 Pro's graphics processor and a 54% increase over the Xbox One X's clocks.
|36 CU||40 UA||44 UA||56 UA||60 UA||64 UA|
|GPU Clock (MHz)||1800||1800||1800||1800||1800||1800|
However, he is a match for the advanced Radeon 7 GPU clock, which has a silicon area very similar to the 331 mm console2. But looking at the $ 700 AMD graphics processor, this monster requires a serious cooling, which is not impossible, but is a challenge for a console-sized form factor. Assuming that the clocks are Specifically, the table above shows how teraflops work for various computing unit configurations, starting with the 36 used in the PS4 Pro and reaching the maximum of 64 in current GCN designs. This assumes that a new AMD compute unit still has 64 shaders, which is not a given. Remember that we know very little about the Navi architecture, which has been confirmed to reside in PlayStation 5.
However, raw graphics performance may not be the primary focus of the next wave of console hardware. It's worth noting that Phil Spencer (in last year's interview in Giant Bomb E3) and Mark Cerny in this week's Wired article have diverted the conversation from the discussions into the ### 39, away from teraflops and GPU computing in general. Spencer's focused on the processor – where Ryzen's architecture should provide a tremendous increase in power – while Cerny's attention to graphics in the next-generation Sony console seemed to be more focused on ray tracing.
Combine that with the leak that Microsoft is working on an entry-level console at four teraflop alongside a 12TF monster (the numbers may change but the strategy is accurate, according to our sources) and the following is not the case. impression is that for the Xbox team at least, the The high-end GPU in the console will likely be a premium Xbox One premium price option. It remains to be seen where Sony is in this new scale of power, but we already know that Google Stadia is 9.7 FT, with a GPU probably clocked at about 1495 MHz.
In terms of CPU configuration, a maximum clock of 3.2 GHz is relatively slow compared to current Ryzen standards – especially when combined with a 7 nm process – but there is a precedent here . The Subor Z Plus framed its quad-core Ryzen CCX at only 3.0 GHz, albeit on a 14-nm chip. Next-Gen consoles may use a more modern process, allowing for significantly higher clocks, but will double over the base number. The good news though: a 3.2 GHz octo-core Ryzen processor offers a dramatic increase in clock-to-generation capabilities over Jaguar, while offering much higher frequencies. and possibly hyper-threading too. This is a massive upgrade and in a world where consoles set the foundation for multi-platform game development, the implications for gaming PCs are profound.
The points to remember from Gonzalo's escape are fascinating. Can we be sure that it is the PlayStation 5 processor? This is not an unlikely candidate, but there is no guarantee here. However, we can state that the methodology for deciphering the leak has been established with the help of concrete examples – one of them being clearly the PlayStation 4. We can also establish that Gonzalo is almost certainly a 7-nm processor, running eight processor-based Ryzen processor and presumably using a variant of an AMD Navi graphics core that is not a desktop. That's what we learned last week about the new generation Sony console – and even if do not PS5, this gives us an idea of what AMD is working on to use similar technological building blocks on 7nm process technology.
Beyond that, what makes Gonzalo rather interesting, is that the existence of a qualifying sample means that the design is about to be completed. Adjustments can be made, but any major overhaul would indeed require massive investments in redesigning the design. Other leaks in the PlayStation and Xbox specifications are inevitable in the coming weeks and months, while the Zen 2 and Navi designs for the PC space should emerge in a similar timeframe, allowing us to better understand the latest AMD technologies. And by extension, it will be fascinating to see how much Gonzalo information matches the confirmed future console specifications – and if another AMD silicon appears in the 3DMark database.