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PlayStation 5 Specifications Announced

Last week Sony revealed new details about the upcoming PlayStation 5. The next generation video game console is set for a holiday 2020 release, and Sony reportedly says that schedule won't be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a nearly sixty minute long presentation, Sony detailed the PS5's architecture. Powering Sony's new system are a CPU and GPU both made by AMD, along with an 852GB SSD.

The PS5 will also have these specs:

8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (custom-made by AMD) 16GB GDDR6/256-bitCustom 825GB SSD

Microsoft also revealed the specs for its Xbox Series X last week. The two new consoles will have similar hardware, including the AMD-made CPUs and GPUs and the solid-state drives. Sony's lead architect Mark Cerny started the presentation by explaining the three principles behind the hardware design of the PS5: listening to developers, balancing evolution and revolution, and finding new dreams. He then began talking about the time it takes for developers to make full use of a new console's power, which he called "dead time." He showed the previous PlayStation consoles varying on this time period, with the PS2 taking three to six months while the PS3 was six to 12 months. For the PS4 it was one month, and he says the PS5 will be less than that. As for listening to developers, Cerny said that the SSD was the No. 1 request from game developers and that it's a "game-changer." He showed how the PS4 hard drive could load 50-100MB per second, while the target for the PS5's SSD drive is 5GB per second. The result is the PS5 loading 2GB of data in 0.27 second, compared with 20 seconds for the PS4. The result is that the SSD could stream game assets to the game, rather than the system relying on the various strategies by developers to load only parts of the game at a time or reusing certain graphics over and over again. The PS5 SSD will also help when it comes to RAM. With the PS4, some of the game data would be stored in RAM in lieu of grabbing it from the hard drive in order to access it more quickly. In the PS5, the SSD is almost as fast as RAM, so developers can simply retrieve game data from the SSD, freeing up more RAM.

There will be a bay in the PS5 for an additional SSD for those who need more storage, but the drives need to be capable of a speed similar to what's already available in the console. He says there will be a compatibility list provided by Sony, but it will come sometime after the PS5 launch.

Cerny then talked about the PS5 console's custom chips and how they'll provide backward compatibility with the PS4. AMD worked on incorporating the previous console's logic and features into the customer PS5's processors. Cerny said they tested the top 100 PS4 titles on the PS5 and almost all will be playable on the PS5 at launch.

Sony gave a bit more info about backward compatibility on the PlayStation blog. The company is evaluating games on a case by case basis. Expect a majority of the more than 4,000 games in the PS4 catalog to work on the PS5.

When it came to the GPU and CPU, Cerny said the company has developed new strategies that resulted in a capped 2.23GHz graphics process that can produce 10.3 teraflops while the processor is capped at 3.5GHz. Not every game will make use of the full power, but they will be close. The system's processors will also help reduce the amount of power the console will use in order to stay cool and quiet.

The presentation's final focus was the PS5's audio. The Tempest Engine hardware and enables 3D audio, starting with headphones, which will be the "gold standard" for the console. For those using TV speakers or soundbar, the PS5 will create a virtual surround sound, but it's still being tweaked. This video was originally planned as a session at the Game Developers Conference, according to the PlayStation Japanese Twitter account. Conference organizers cancelled GDC, which was originally set to start last Monday, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The first PS5 detials came out in October with teasers about the system's hardware and controller. In February, Sony created the console's website, although no new information has been added since it went up.

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