January 19th, 2013, 22:27 Posted By: wraggster
Digital Foundry presents hard data on the technology inside Sony's new console... and its upcoming Xbox rival
Both the next generation PlayStation - and its Xbox competitor - feature eight-core CPUs clocked at 1.6GHz according to sources trusted by Digital Foundry. The main processor architecture driving both consoles is said to be derived the new "Jaguar" technologycurrently in development by Intel's arch-rival, AMD. These are low-power processor cores designed for the entry-level laptop and tablet market, offering an excellent ratio between power consumption and performance. The PC Jaguar products are set to ship later this year in a quad-core configuration - next-gen consoles see the core count double with some customisations added to the overall design.
Married to the eight-core processor, Orbis also features Radeon HD graphics hardware. We've previously suggested that AMD's mobile "Pitcairn" design - the Radeon 7970M - could be a strong basis for a next-gen console graphics core in terms of power consumption and die-size. Running at 850MHz and featuring 20 of AMD's "Graphics Core Next" compute units, our information suggests that Orbis shaves off 10 per cent of that number, offering up 18 CUs in total, and sees a mild downclock to 800MHz. Incorporated into a design dedicated to cutting-edge visuals and gameplay, this hardware has some serious potential.
It is perhaps more than coincidence that these specs offer up the 1.84 teraflops metric for the Orbis GPU that was mooted yesterday, assuming that the figure is calculated in the same way that it is for AMD's current "Graphics Core Next" range of products. At this time we cannot confirm the make-up of the Durango graphics hardware - rumours have circulated for quite some time that it is some way behind Orbis, but equally there has been the suggestion that the GPU itself is supplemented by additional task-specific hardware. We could not confirm this, butan ex-Microsoft staffer with a prior relationship with the Xbox team says that two of these modules are graphics-related.
However, there's a fair amount of "secret sauce" in Orbis and we can disclose details on one of the more interesting additions. Paired up with the eight AMD cores, we find a bespoke GPU-like "Compute" module, designed to ease the burden on certain operations - physics calculations are a good example of traditional CPU work that are often hived off to GPU cores. We're assured that this is bespoke hardware that is not a part of the main graphics pipeline but we remain rather mystified by its standalone inclusion, bearing in mind Compute functions could be run off the main graphics cores and that devs could have the option to utilise that power for additional graphical grunt, if they so chose.
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