The next-generation consoles are out, and both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are powered by AMD silicon, and a teardown of the Sony's offering by analyst firm IHS suggests that AMD will pull in $100 for every console sold.
The processor, which combines an eight-core Jaguar architecture CPU with a 1.84TFlop Radeon GPU comes in, according to IHS, at a round $100. Add to this the 8GB of fast GDDR5 RAM, which is estimated to cost $88, we come to a total of $188 for just these two components, slightly more than 50 percent of the BOM of the entire console, which is put at $381.
This might seems awfully close to the $399 retail price that Sony is asking for the console, leaving a margin on the hardware of only $18, but if you compare this to the 2009 CECH-2001A version of the PlayStation 3, there the bill of materials and manufacturing cost came to $336 while the console retailed for $299.
"This time," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, cost benchmarking services for IHS. "Sony is on a greatly shortened path to the hardware break-even point, or even profitability, with its cost-conscious PlayStation 4 design. The company is pulling off this feat, despite offering a brand-new design that once again includes avant-garde components that yield superfast performance. The PlayStation 4 keeps a lid on costs by focusing all the additional expense on the processor and memory—and reducing outlays for the optical drive, the hard disk drive (HDD) and other subsystems."
The AMD chip used in the PlayStation 4 is built using a 28-nanometer manufacturing process, but despite the petite architecture the chip itself is a monster, coming in at 350mm2, which is three times larger than any other chip manufactured using equivalent-process technology that IHS has seen.
The RAM used in the Sony's PlayStation 4 beats what Microsoft has packed into the new Xbox One.
"GDRAM DDR5 memory has much higher bandwidth than the DDR3 used in the Xbox One. It also works better with parallel computing and is designed specifically to enhance graphics performance," said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst, DRAM and memory, for IHS. "Because of its cutting-edge status, GDRAM GDDR5 is more expensive than DDR3, which is used in high volume in products including PCs and older game consoles."