New PlayStation 4 development kit contains an AMD 'heart': report

New PlayStation 4 development kit contains an AMD 'heart': report

Summary: A report suggests that the new PlayStation 4 development kit being sent to developers has an AMD A10 APU at its heart. Could the games console market breathe new life into the flagging chip maker?

TOPICS: Hardware, Processors

Sony has allegedly begun shipping new PlayStation 4 development kit called 'Orbis' to developers, and at the heart of this platform is an AMD accelerated processing unit (APU).

According to sources speaking to VG247, the new platform is described as a "modified PC" based on a derivative of AMD's A10-series APU. The A10 is a second-generation A-Series APUs, codenamed "Trinity", manufactured using a 32-nanometer process.

AMD currently has two A10 APUs in its line-up. There is the A10-4655M, which is a 25W TDP quad-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz -- but with turbo boost it can go to 2.8GHz -- and features a 4MB cache. The GPU is the HD 7620G and has 384 cores running at 497MHz. There's also the A10-4800M, AMD's most powerful part. This is another quad-core processor, clocked at 2.3GHz -- turbo boost to 3.2GHz -- and features a beefier HD 7660G GPU with 384 cores clocked at 686MHz.

According to the report, the "ultimate goal" for Sony's next-generation console is for it to be powerful enough to be able to run 1080p games in 3D with "no problem," to create a machine that is powerful enough for "today and tomorrow's market."

The current PlayStation 3 is powered by a Sony, Toshiba, and IBM-designed Cell processor, which consists of one 3.2 GHz PowerPC-based "Power Processing Element" and eight "Synergistic Processing Elements". Sony has sold some 63 million PlayStation 3 units since the console was launched in November 2006.

Another version of the developer kit is expected to be released to developers in January and this should be close to final specification of the release console. Developers will reportedly get their hands on the final platform sometime in summer 2013. This suggests that Sony could release the PlayStation 4 -- or whatever it ends up being called -- for the 2014 holiday season.

If AMD were to make its way into the next-generation console it would be a big win for the company and allow it to diversify and further distance itself from the stagnant PC market. AMD is already making plans to move into the ARM server market, and this could be further indication that AMD is looking to spread itself as far and as wide as possible. 

Things have not been good for AMD lately, with the third quarter results coming in "weaker than expected" and the company shed around 15 percent of its workforce.

The report also claims that Sony's next-generation console will feature a Blu-ray optical drive, suggesting that the company is not yet ready to move to a digital distribution model just yet. This makes sense given that fast broadband connections are far from universal, and downloading 4GB or more of gaming data isn't something that the majority of Joe Average users are ready for.

Sony, along with games publishers, would like a shift to digital distribution because it would put a crimp on piracy, and also kill off the second-hand games market, both of which cut into profits. 

Topics: Hardware, Processors

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  • A10-4800M, huh?

    What would you pair it with? Oh, how about Radeon HD 6670?
    Grayson Peddie
    • Let's try a little reading comprehension

      The A10 is an APU, or Accelerated Processing Unit. That's AMD-speak for having a CPU and GPU integrated into one chip. To quote AKH,

      "There's also the A10-4800M, AMD's most powerful part. This is another quad-core processor, clocked at 2.3GHz -- turbo boost to 3.2GHz -- and features a beefier HD 7660G GPU with 384 cores clocked at 686MHz."

      Of course, I could give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're suggesting that Sony put in a second GPU. But why would Sony put in a second GPU when they probably want the price point to come in at $299? A second, heavy-duty GPU would blow that price point out of the water, not to mention causing jet engine levels of noise from the cooling system required to keep the box from melting.
      • They want the price point at 299?

        Lol, no. That's the price of the CURRENT Playstation AFTER the price drops due to old age. Maybe the Wii U will hit those prices, but the new Xbox and Playstation will be around double that. Keep in mind that the Xbox 360 released at 400 dollars while the PS3 released at 500 (with a 600 dollar model as well). Don't expect them to actually be cheaper than last generation, especially with inflation and all.
        • They want the price point at 299!

          I totally agree with ssaha on the price point. Sony has learned from their past mistakes with the PS3! They didn't saw the color of money before the system had hit $299, they even made a promo video with Kevin Butler to point that out. If Sony want to be competitive during recession, they have to be smart, competitive and innovating. And shifting from IBM and nVidia to AMD means no retro compatibility with PS3 and less components in the system from various providers, this is clear indications that Sony want the next system to be affordable and reliable day 1 and not after bleeding money for 3 years like the PS3.

          The Cell Processor costed a lot back in 2006 (~$230) + the GPU (~$70). Compared that to the A-10 chip $130 in boxes so around (~$70 oem).
  • Low volume market?

    It seems to me that ARM based silicon is becoming quite powerful gaming hardware. My guess is that by the time this comes out, ARM/Android based gaming boxes will be under $100 and the games less than $10, many under $5, with on line distribution.

    I just don't see a good future for high end gaming hardware running very expensive games distributed on optical media.
    • The PS2 is still selling in some parts of the world.

      There is a huge difference between what you get from a major release on the PS3/Xbox and what is found on Android/iOS devices. The typical games on tablets are more comparable to what was offered on consoles in the Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 era. Some of the genres are even worse than that. All of the JRPG style games I've tried so far are more like SNES games than anything else. The graphics are better but the overall sophistication of the games is severely dated.
  • PS3 was released WHEN?

    November 2011 might be the latest slimline version - but the PS3 has been around for a LOT longer than that.