Sony revealed PlayStation 5 technical specifications in a scripted video intended for Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020, but because the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) spread outside of China, game companies got concerned, and pulled out of the event. GDC’s organizers responded by canceling the previously scheduled event in March. It’s only been postponed until Summer.
Before we get into the details of the specs, here is the reveal livestream called “Road to PS5.”
70% of the livestream is dedicated to the audio of the PlayStation 5. You will notice, in the livestream, the main keyword that Sony is communicating is that PlayStation 5 has “3D Audio.” Furthermore, this “3D Audio” (which is coined as the “Tempest Engine”) will do more than just 3D Audio, it will attempt to create a prediction of where your hearing is going to be directed from, and to. This isn’t even far-fetched as you’d think though: Sony is not just a hardware king, they are the sound kings. CD’s, Walkmans, Music, you name it. Sony has hands in it.
Though, the technology sounds interesting. You’ll be required to take a picture or video of your ear, to help the Tempest Engine understand the scope of your ear. We don’t know for sure where the Ray-Tracing sound will come from – GPU, or a “dedicated Ray-Tracing” chip – which has been confirmed for PS5. My money is on the “dedicated Ray-Tracing” is the Tempest Engine. Otherwise, why spend the latter half of the conference to hype up the “3D Audio”?
If you take a “off-the-shelf” GPU like Radeon RX 5500 XT (and above) to do Ray-Tracing, you’ll have a graphics card that’s capable of real-time shadows, real-time reflections (windows, helmets, chrome objects or morphing objects), real-time translucence and scattering. That’s not all, it traces where the sound is coming from. You can see this today with most Call of Duty games on the market today. However, this is mostly done by hand. Ray-Tracing for the most part takes the load off the developers’ hands. For the most part, developers would have to hand-craft each polygon with their shadows, or each polygon with a reflection, or light source to hit somewhere. 90% of the Ray-Tracing today is done by engine, or by hand. It’s not one-size-fits-all.
Sony has aligned themselves with AMD again. This time, PlayStation 5 is using a custom processor with RDNA 2. Mark Cerny said that PS5 will have a variable frequency of 36 compute units at 2.23Ghz and 10.28 teraflops of RDNA 2 performance. It will support 4K and 8K resolution natively.
The CPU will also be computed by AMD’s custom 7mm Zen 2 microarchitecture running at 8 cores and 16 threads at a 3.5Ghz clock speed. Zen 2 succeeds the Zen+ architecture.
PlayStation 5’s memory is a whopping 16GB of GDDR6 RAM with 448GB/Sec memory bandwidth. Furthermore, the SSD Sony’s been hyping up? It will have 825GB of storage, with 5.5GB/sec in Raw mode or 8-9GB/Sec in compressed – all this is with NVM Express (NVMe) technology. However, Sony has confirmed that there will be expandable memory available at 1 TB. Sony also confirmed that you’ll able to expand your memory with external USB drives, but you won’t be able to just waltz out and buy an external USB drive, it has to be certified by Sony. PS5 can co-opt portions of the SSD to work alongside system memory. Therefore the SSD can work in tandem with the 16GB GDDR RAM.
At a glance
Here are some of the specs we know so far for the PlayStation 5…
- CPU: AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
- GPU architecture: Custom RDNA 2
- Memory interface: 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
- Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
- Internal storage: Custom 825GB SSD
- IO throughput: 5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
- Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
- External storage: USB HDD support (PS4 games only)
- Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray drive
I’ll update this article with more details, more accurate information, and more information as I update this article continuously.