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PlayStation 5

Can a PlayStation 5 be doable in 2018/2019?

With all this talk about the possibility of a  PlayStation 5 in 2018/2019, I try a fantasy build of the console with hardware that is available in the now.  This isn’t legit specs people so be nice!

So analysts are making noise online about the PlayStation 5 being released as soon as 2018 and possibly 2019.  I’m not even going to pretend to be in the know of such details.  Heck, I’m not even going to try to understand the work that goes into making a console, let alone the hardware.  Sure I have a small understanding of the tech, and with that, I’m going to try and “build” a PS5 console with hardware that’s around today.  See if 2018/2019 is really viable.  Also, try and see if the hardware would truly produce a next gen level product.

First of all, the biggest issue with the current generation of consoles is their Jaguar CPU.  Both Xbox and PS4 use this CPU as best as they could, however, it’s always the bottleneck for developers when creating gaming experiences.  Microsoft tried to squeeze more out of it with the Xbox One X, yet the best they could manage is 2.3GHz.  A smidgen above the PS4 Pro’s 2.1GHz.  That’s the first place to improve for the next-gen consoles.  And what do you, AMD has a viable answer in the form of Ryzen.  A new custom APU packing some flavour of Ryzen could comfortably eliminate the issues Jaguar provides.  I’m thinking a version of the Ryzen 7 1700 with yet again 8 cores and clocking in at 3.5 GHz.

That would easily provide a substantial boost, at roughly 35% boost over Xbox One X.  Almost double of the base PS4 hardware and this is tech that’s available right now.  Let’s move on to the GPU.  AMD has recently launched their new Radeon Vega platform, with a gaming version arriving very soon.  This is a GPU with 64 Compute Units, clocking in at 1382 MHz producing a whopping 13TFLOPS.  Xbox One X is currently sitting at 1172MHz GPU with 40 Compute Units.  As for memory bandwidth.  We’re looking at 483GB/s.  That’s far superior to the Xbox One X’s 326 GB/s bandwidth.  With no less than double the RAM available in a PS4.  In other words, 16 GB GDDR5 memory. Perhaps, throw in double the slower DDR3 RAM found in a PS4 Pro (2 GB in total) to use for UI.  This will free up more of the GDDR5 memory for use in games.

I wish I could say 32GB of the stuff, but realistically that would make this console hella expensive.  However, all this hardware will require a lot of power and a lot of cooling.  Something I hope the geniuses at AMD could sort out by minimising the chip size and perhaps using something similar to Xbox One X’s Vapour Chamber cooling solution.  And finally, storage and Disc drive.  Make no mistake, Disc drives aren’t going anywhere and Sony would’ve learned from the backlash of removing a 4K Bluray drive.  So no doubt, that will be included for both games and movies.  As for the storage, the best I can think of that’s at a reasonable price would be an SSD Hybrid drive, should provide decent loading performance.  Bare in mind that next-gen games will continue the trend of large game sizes, anything smaller than 2TB is just a joke.

Quick Comparison of Current Gen VS Proposed PlayStation 5

Xbox One X Xbox One S PlayStation 4 Pro PlayStation 4 Slim PlayStation 5 (Proposed)
Price $499.00 $249.00 $399.00 $249.99 $459.99
Processor AMD Jaguar (2.3GHz, 8-core) AMD Jaguar (1.75GHz, 8-core) AMD Jaguar (2.1GHz, 8-core) AMD Jaguar (1.6GHz, 8-core) AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Based (3.5GHz, 8-core)
GPU Integrated AMD (6 teraflops, 40CU) Integrated AMD Radeon (1.4 teraflops, 12CU) Integrated AMD Radeon Polaris (4.2 teraflops, 36CU) Integrated AMD Radeon (1.84 teraflops, 18CU) Integrated AMD Radeon Vega (13 teraflops, 64CU)
Storage 1TB 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 1TB 500GB, 1TB 2TB SSD Hybrid
Optical drive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Blu-ray Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
4K support Yes Yes (video only) Yes No Yes
HDR support HDR10 HDR10 HDR10 HDR10 HDR10
Ports Three USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audio Three USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audio Three USB 3.1, one Aux, HDMI (out), optical audio Two USB 3.1, one Aux, HDMI (out) Three USB 3.1, one Aux, HDMI (out), optical audio

A problem arises with this build though.  Yes it provides a substantial increase in processing power compared to the likes of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.  But is it really enough to warrant being called Next-gen?  I can’t say I’m convinced.  And in reality, that 13 TFLOPS would most likely be much lower to the tune of 10TFLOPS to make the GPU viable in a console form factor.  Those specs are lifted off the PC Desktop version so it probably won’t make it to a console APU in all its glory.

The biggest thing that NEEDS to be done right with the new system is full backwards compatibility with PS4.  Most of PS4 gamers have been adopting digital game purchases.  My own library has a huge number of games that were purchased digitally.  I will be livid if Sony tells me I can’t play my 40 odd titles on my brand new PS5 console after I’ve sunk so much money on the current gen.  It is an absolute must that we take this entire library with us onto the next-gen.  With that sort of hardware, pricing wise, we’d be looking at a 2019/2020 release as the pricing of the components would be too high at the moment for a consumer electronic product.  Not to mention that’s roughly in time for a generation change as has historically been with the PlayStation brand.

All else fails, a half-step measure of taking the Pro APU and doubling it would do the trick.  That would produce an 8.4 TFLOP console that still gets a leg up on the One X (if they really care about such nonsense, which they do).  And would also be sufficient to power Current Gen games at Native 4K across the board.  In the end, 2018 is too soon.  Not very likely to see a PS5 console by then.  My money is on 2019/2020.  Damnit!  But I just bought my PS4 Pro less than a year ago!

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