Fri, Nov 02, 2012 | 09:20 GMT

PS4: new kits shipping now, AMD A10 used as base

Developers are currently taking receipt of a new PlayStation 4 dev kit, VG247 has been told today, with a final version slated to appear in January. Yes, it’ll have Blu-ray. No, it isn’t being made in Japan.

Multiple sources have confirmed to VG247 today that a new version of the Orbis kit is now shipping to developers, and that it’s housed in a normal PC case.

There are to be four versions of the dev kit, we were told. A previous version was essentially just a graphics card. The version shipping now is a “modified PC,” and the third version, appearing in January, will be close to final spec. A final version will be delivered to developers “next summer”.

Some US developers attended a “disclosure meeting” at Sony’s offices this week, with a further meeting to take place in the coming weeks. The purpose of the meeting is for Sony to tell studios what the machine is designed to do, to detail hardware and to show a set of presentations.

Our source told us that Sony is only calling the machine Orbis, and is not using the words “PlayStation 4″ in these meetings at all.

Orbis, we were told today, is based on the AMD’s A10 APU series. An APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) is a combined CPU and GPU.

PS4′s APU was described today as a “derivative” of existing A10 hardware. The hardware is “based on A10 system and base platform”.

The “ultimate goal” for the hardware, we were told, is for it to be able to run 1080p60 games in 3D with “no problem,” to create a machine that’s powerful enough for “today and tomorrow’s market”.

The dev kits have “either 8Gb or 16Gb of RAM. Deduce from that what you will.”

The hardware is not being made in Japan, it was said.

When asked if PS4 will have an optical drive, specifically Blu-ray, our source responded: “Of course it has.” We’ve been told the hard drive will be 256Gb “as standard,” but it’s not clear if it’ll be a normal HDD or a solid state drive.

We were told that Sony’s aim with Orbis is to avoid problems involved in launching PS3 by creating something “very affordable” but that “isn’t a slouch”.

The machine has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity and HDMI out. Our source said the was “no difference” between PlayStation 3 and Orbis input/output.

The UI, however, has been revamped. It was said today that players will now be able to press the PS button mid-game and travel “anywhere” on the system. An example given was buying DLC from the PS Store mid-game then seamlessly returning to play.

“They’re trying to make it as fluid as possible,” our source said.

We were also told that the machine will be designed to accept system and product updates in the background, and that it’ll “always be in standby mode”. When you set the console up, we were told, you’ll be asked if you want to allow background downloads. You can, of course, disallow them.

No details have been given on the pad as yet. Confirmation is expected this month.

Orbis is expected to be announced at an event “just before E3″ next year.

83 comments

#51

KrazyKraut
01/11/12, 7:08 pm

there is only a certain amount of hardware needed. I can watch with my Raspberry Pi HD Movies…and on my old mac book with 1,83 core duo and 2 gb ram they are laggy as hell.

I am sure they will do the right thing…at least Sony..because they will learn from their mistakes.

#52

FeaturePreacher
01/11/12, 7:22 pm

Can’t wait to see what video card Sony will pack in the ps4. Hopefully it’ll pack 1 GB of video memory. Nice to see 8 GB of physical memory. It seems ever more certain that when the next generation arrives, the WiiU will look more and more like the Dreamcast.

#53

Levester
01/11/12, 7:30 pm

its not ssd. dont be retarded. 256 gb solid state? no way.

#54

dreamcastnews
01/11/12, 7:32 pm

@52, what a decent priced system with a shit tonne of ace games? Yeah I’d take a Wii U if it turned out like Dreamcast.

#55

TD_Monstrous69
01/11/12, 7:37 pm

Specs sound great, seems like a real balance between power and affordability (or at least I hope so, and if it’s not as affordable as some as myself put on, it better have a strong launch window of games to justify its price, including strong 1st party content), and one thing I’m glad they’ve seemed to adress (going from this report) they didn’t this gen is the functionality of the ui, which I’ve always considered ok this gen, not good or great. It’s a big thumbs up from me if multitasking with the next Sony console can and will do this. Though if I could play prognosticator for a sec, my bet is that this gets unveiled at its own event (much like the Vita did back in january 2011) in January 2013, or at GDC in March (GDC would make more sense if u ask me). As far as a release, either holiday 2013, or early 2014, and its launch line up will not include a game where you attack the crab at its weak point for massive damage

#56

OrbitMonkey
01/11/12, 7:45 pm

I wonder if Sony will keep the name “Orbis”? Very doubtful they’ll go with PlayStation 4, with all it’s association with death in Japan.

#57

GAMERNOOB
01/11/12, 7:50 pm

They could give me clear up 8Gb or 8GB -> GIGABITS =/= GIGABYTES

It´s was a typo ?

#58

laughing-gravy
01/11/12, 8:10 pm

8GB of ram won’t be so much of a pricing problem if it’s flash connected on an interposer. I also expect the new system to include support for real time ray-tracing by way of an FPGA. There will almost undoubtedly be an additional gpu as the performance targets here are beyond what an A10 is capable of. I’ll put a couple of links below to an interview with Sony’s CTO which explain the tech that’s to be included a bit better than I can.

http://semiaccurate.com/2012/03/02/sony-playstation-4-will-be-an-x86-cpu-with-an-amd-gpu/

http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2011/12/maasaki-tsu-interview.cfm

#59

xxJPRACERxx
01/11/12, 8:51 pm

If they can bare-metal program the A10 (witch they should), it should be ok if it’s paired with a nice dedicated GPU. If it’s using the integrated GPU then it’s a big disappointment.

People pay $500+ for iPads and change it every 2 years and won’t pay $500 for something that should last 10 years…

edit: About bits/bytes, speed transfer are generally expressed in bits and capacity in bytes, generally.

#60

Erthazus
01/11/12, 8:55 pm

Processor for a console is much more important than GPU.

#61

Christopher Jack
01/11/12, 9:13 pm

@53, A solid-state drive is a data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. It is used on phones & tablets. It’s not just one of those ludicrously overpriced 2.5″ SATA drives that you’d shove in your PC.

#62

Lightmanone
02/11/12, 12:09 am

The only thing I wanna know now is the price, cause I am not gonna pay more then 400 euro’s (yeah, i live in europe, deal with it) for a new console. I will just gladly wait a year, that the price is down a bit more, before I consider it.
350 euro’s for a console (WiiU) is already above my comfort zone to be honest. But oh well. that is still acceptable.
I will have to see which launch games will be available at the beginning of the PS4, and then decide ;)

#63

CPC_RedDawn
02/11/12, 12:39 am

The AMD A10 APU won’t be just its sole graphics chip. What they want is a power efficient system. So when playing a downloadable 2D game or games that just don’t require that much graphics power the MAIN GPU (separate from the APU) will simply shut down as not draw any power. The A10 chips are actually not that bad in terms of processing power, most of 4 cores too with turbo boost as well and support for 1866MHz DDR3 RAM…

Here is a link, click on Product Specs Tab to see the two variants of the A10 chips.

http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/DESKTOP/APU/MAINSTREAM/Pages/mainstream.aspx#7

More than likey they will go for the A10-5700 or some variant of it. It is powerful, your getting a 3.4GHz chip that can OC it self to 4.0GHz and has a 760MHz GPU with 384 cores. To put that into perspective, the 360′s MAIN GPU only has 48 cores @ 500MHz LOL.

As for 8GB or 16GB of system memory, this seems a little high to me. I mean what will it really need that much system RAM for? I would say 4GB maybe 6GB on a push is more than enough for a console. Considering PS3 has 256MB of RAM and 256MB of VRAM and the 360 has 256MB RAM and 512MB VRAM.

Also the people stating that they hope it has 1GB of VRAM… ARE YOU SERIOUS!?? 1GB of VRAM by todays standards for 1080p gaming and above resolutions is nothing. In Skyrim on PC with 2K texture mods, 8XAA, everything maxed out on my 2x 7970 3GB VRAM GPU’s in crossfire @ a resolution of 2560×1440 I am pushing 2.9GB VRAM usage. So I say the next consoles seriously need at least 2GB VRAM if they want to push 3D 1080p gaming at 60fps (30fps per eye) then 2GB is a MUST!!!

On the GPU front, I expect this is where Sony will seriously ramp up the game and throw in a VERY strong GPU. I reckon they will aim for a variant of the AMD 2GB HD6970 as you can buy one of those brand new for £120 so if they buy these in bulk from AMD (just the chip and not the PCB board it self from a vendor) they could get these for VERY VERY cheap. Also the fact they are using an AMD A10 APU as well, AMD will give them a pretty good deal as the system will be almost all AMD parts.

I seriously can not wait to see Uncharted 4 on this machine!!!!

#64

CPC_RedDawn
02/11/12, 12:50 am

@61 A solid state drive is NOT used in smartphone and tablets. Its the same kind of tech but MUCH MUCH slower and does not use SATA to connect them. You are talking about SD cards and lower end built in flash memory.

Real SSD drives use faster NAND Flash Memory and they DO use SATA2 or SATA3 to connect for up to 6Gbps data speeds.

They are NOT ludicrously expensive like you claim. They used to be a few years back. I just upgraded my OS drive in my PC from a 60GB OCZ Vertex 1 drive that cost my £200+ 2 years ago to a 240GB OCZ Agility 3 SATA3 drive for £100. That you might think is expensive, but for the speed it is not. Windows 7 boots from a cold boot in 12.5seconds (yea I timed it) and the fact that SSD drives never have to be defragged is also a bonus as there is no seek time on them defragging can even cause the drives to wear out as well. No seek time means no moving parts like in a HDD which means less power draw as well.

SSD’s are the future, and if the next consoles dont use them from the start or dont allow you to upgrade them your self (like you can on the PS3) then shame on them!

#65

Walter
02/11/12, 1:14 am

I don’t really care about specs, what matters in gaming are the games.

#66

Telepathic.Geometry
02/11/12, 1:25 am

So, what does this mean as regards backwards compatibility?

#67

TD_Monstrous69
02/11/12, 3:03 am

@66 I think u might want to look into them buying Gaikai to possibly answer your question.

#68

angushades
02/11/12, 4:48 am

lol you kids are so stupid you really think its going to fit a decent vga card in it while running at 300Watts from the wall. Lol console are out-dated when that come out, it takes at least a year to fit current gen vga into a notebook. I guess if it comes out in 2014 then NVidia will be up to like “900″ series and aTI will be up to 10K series if there don’t go bankrupt first. Still gutless compared to a desktop.

#69

Telepathic.Geometry
02/11/12, 6:10 am

@67: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

#70

DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough
02/11/12, 8:48 am

@68

You, sir, are an idiot. PCs versus console specs break down like this:

A PC has to deliver roughly 8-10 times the power of consoles just to match what they’re doing. There is a lot of waste. This is because:

1. PC games aren’t properly optimised to the specific specs of anybody’s system.
2. It takes the card manufacturers literally YEARS to get make their drivers particularly effective for any particular game because the software cannot and does not keep up with the hardware.
3. A PC has to run a very resource-hungry OS in the background.

Combining these three factors means that owning a PC with, let’s say for the sake of argument 2xGTX 690 SLI, is the exact equivalent of building a Formula One car on the roof of a tall building. It’s got the power, and its owner can brag about that power (which is, after all, what it is often all about – it’s why we have cock-measu… I mean benchmarking), but he or she cannot ACCESS that power. They cannot get it onto the road with their wheels, engine, and aerodynamics all working how they should. All it can do is drive slowly around in very tight circles for fear of falling off and exploding.

Meanwhile, there are the consoles.

1. All of their power can be accessed. Developers optimise properly for this known quantity.
2. Drivers are not an issue.
3. The OS is extremely slimline and requires very little resource.

SO, using the above analogy, the console is the Toyota Prius down there on the street. Not only is it incredibly efficient, but it has enough road to go wherever it likes as fast as its top speed will allow. A whole lot quicker, as it turns out, than a PC.

WHICH IS WHY:
1. You can’t run Forza 4 (for example) or anything even remotely approaching it on even the best 2005 PC.
2. That Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of games, EVEN NOW, are comparable to their PC counterparts (beyond the over-resolutioned willy-waving that makes fuck all difference to the gameplay experience).
3. When the new consoles arrive, they will offer visuals, right off the bat, that are quite sickeningly beyond anything we’re currently seeing on top end PCs. And THAT’S NOT THE PC’S FAULT. PCs ARE more powerful on paper, but all that power is of very little use if you can only access 10-20% of its full potential.

And that is the last time I will spell it out for you cock-measuring PC dimwits.

#71

Erthazus
02/11/12, 9:12 am

@DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough, “1. PC games aren’t properly optimised to the specific specs of anybody’s system.”

Wrong. It depends on the:

1) Port

2) Processing power

If your processor is good, no matter what the game is ported from a console to PC it will run good. Everything else depends on the GPU like resolution, effects and etc..

“It takes the card manufacturers literally YEARS to get make their drivers particularly effective for any particular game because the software cannot and does not keep up with the hardware.”

Another bullshit. Since when Card manufacturers take years to get their drivers particularly effective?
give the example with the link obviously or GTFO.

you won’t give any because that’s not true.

“3. A PC has to run a very resource-hungry OS in the background.”

My previous PC had 8 GB of Ram which was already overkill for any current gen system. I have Windows 7 obviously and it only eats 1.5 GB Of ram. Games these days need only 4 GB Of Ram at best if you want them to have the best looking quality.

“WHICH IS WHY:
1. You can’t run Forza 4 (for example) or anything even remotely approaching it on even the best 2005 PC.”

Because there is no emulator YET. If there was an emulator i could run any game with graphical enchancements with the max resolution. My i7 37XX 3.50 TURBO is enough for every shit there is.

“3. When the new consoles arrive, they will offer visuals, right off the bat, that are quite sickeningly beyond anything we’re currently seeing on top end PCs. ”

Every generation of consoles was not like that and this will be no different. I’m already running current gen games with visuals that are sickeningly beyond anything you are currently seeing on your consoles.

#72

DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough
02/11/12, 9:20 am

“Another bullshit. Since when Card manufacturers take years to get their drivers particularly effective? Give the example or GTFO.”

My 4870X2s. Took Catalyst drivers two years just to fix the bugs these cards created in current resource-hungry games and even longer before they became in any way efficient at running even elementary stuff like Crysis. Let’s take The Witcher 2, for example. Classic case of NO OPTIMISATION WHATSOVER. Why? Because they know that PC gamers like yourself will unquestioningly just throw more hardware at the problem. Which is like buying trophies instead of winning them. It’s self-defeating.

Have a good old read through the driver update release notes of any top-end current card and you find the same thing over and over. Now perhaps you’d like to give me an example where that’s not the case. Perhaps you’d like to give me an example of ANY GAME AT ALL that uses (I would say 100%, but I want to give you a fighting chance here) 50% of a card’s potential power if it were properly optimised.

Go ahead son, make my day, or as you so sweetly put it, GTFO.

#73

freedoms_stain
02/11/12, 9:35 am

@72, that’s one case with a manufacturer renowned for bad drivers. Hardly merits sweeping statements like “It takes the card manufacturers literally YEARS to get make their drivers particularly effective for any particular game” Which is clear bullshit. Typically driver optimisations are available for new games (by Nvidia anyway) on launch if they’re required. Years? Please.

Really, I’d like to see sources for all your claims, because more than a few of them smell like bullshit, and there is a lot of heavy exaggeration throughout.

#74

Christopher Jack
02/11/12, 9:42 am

I’ve got a question- why are we getting 2K tablets before laptops? Why is the standard laptop still using a petty 1366*768 resolution when its architecture is multiple times stronger? Even the average smartphone is quickly approaching that, there’s already 1920*1080 phones out in the wild like the HTC One J. An average CPU+GPU combo really shouldn’t be having these problems of running modern applications at higher resolutions. By now a $500 budget laptop should be toting a fHD display.

#75

Erthazus
02/11/12, 10:12 am

@74, because Resolution for tablets is a requirement for your eye. Most of the people like reading something on the tablets and better resolution – better looking font (sharp, high quality and etc.) and less stress for your eyes.
Resolution on the tablets will always have a priority.

@72, “My 4870X2s.”

you can stop here. Crappy outdated videocards from Radeon. Well of course it’s going to take a while from them.

Buy Nvidia next time.

#76

DrDamn
02/11/12, 10:39 am

@74
I think it’s got a lot to do with OS design. With PC O/S the design is effectively as you go up in resolution your monitor tends to get bigger. So the OS doesn’t tend to be as useable on a very small 1080p screen. Sure there are allowances like scaling icons, fonts etc – but it’s not a intrinsically embedded in the OS as for tablets.

With Tablets/Phones you are looking at a fixed size screen and lots of resolutions. Hence the OSs are designed around that.

@75
Of course it’s going to be an outdated videocard, they were asked for an example where drivers took years to be sorted. You also can’t dismiss the example because it’s ATI. They are a very big section of the market.

#77

DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough
02/11/12, 10:56 am

@76

Thank you, Dr Damn.

@75

You know, just because you want to believe something it doesn’t make it so. You are yet to provide me a single example of a game in which the power of any PC graphics card has been specifically optimised for. You know why, because there aren’t any. And that’s not a ‘oh, so what, I lose 20% power I could have got from optimisation’. The difference between thorough optimisation (See RAGE on 360 as a good example) and no optimisation is MAGNITUDES of the useable power.

You pay £800 for a GTX690? Well done, sir, you have just spent £600 of that on power you cannot use. It’s very simple, really, if you just get your head around the notion that there are many more factors in play than ‘you get what you pay for’.

Sincerely, someone who knows.

#78

Erthazus
02/11/12, 11:09 am

“You are yet to provide me a single example of a game in which the power of any PC graphics card has been specifically optimised for. You know why, because there aren’t any.”

Starcraft II, Diablo III, Crysis 1, Hawken, Witcher 2 I need to continue?

“You pay £800 for a GTX690?”

No.

I hve GTX 580 and i’m fine with it for the rest of this generation and the start of the next.

“Sincerely,”

you know shit but you can always guess what cards I use.

@DrDamn, “Of course it’s going to be an outdated videocard, they were asked for an example where drivers took years to be sorted.”

because you know, ATI Drivers are always crap. ATI Cards are not really great for gaming first of all. They do not even have proprietary gaming technology like PhysX. Their drivers are nothing like WHQL drivers from Nvidia: http://www.nvidia.co.uk/content/DriverDownload-March2009/confirmation.php?url=/Windows/306.97/306.97-desktop-win8-win7-winvista-64bit-international-whql.exe&lang=uk&type=GeForce

#79

DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough
02/11/12, 11:55 am

@78

“Starcraft II, Diablo III, Crysis 1, Hawken, Witcher 2 I need to continue?”

None of these games are optimised to anything like the degree console games are. Keep trying. And try and stay on topic this time, since:

“No.

I hve GTX 580 and i’m fine with it for the rest of this generation and the start of the next.”

Has nothing whatsoever to do with what we’re talking about.

#80

Nath_gamer
02/11/12, 12:21 pm

This is exciting news, no matter what happens, I WILL be there at the midnight launch! and I’ll probably get half the release titles! I have to start saving up now.

#81

Diesel
02/11/12, 3:52 pm

Not gonna lie, guys, I’m not incredibly bullish on either console this generation. Last generation, we got the promise of HD gaming with acceptable framerates. The result? Lots of sub-720p games running in low detail with clunky framerates, despite all of the graphical power that was touted (especially on the Sony side). Before anyone calls me out as a PC fanboy, I have both a PS3 and PC as gaming platforms, and love both.

@DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough #77-

You say you are someone who knows. So let me ask you- are you involved in the industry? As in, are you someone who is in silicon design/architecture, embedded systems design at a major silicon/platform firm, or in embedded software/OS/driver development at the same? I don’t see your optimization argument holding that much weight- pc graphics card drivers are designed to allow developers plenty of access to the hardware resources on the card, and in recent years allow them plenty of freedom to scale their game engines to utilize whatever level of resources exist.

You’re correct in stating that console games are optimized for console video hardware. Of course they are! But to say that the PC games are not largely optimized to the same degree? Not at all. Just because a game has not been specifically written using a particular video card as part of the development kit or a specific streamlined OS/driver stack has not been written for it (as in the case of consoles), does not mean that said game is not optimized to PC CPU/GPU architectures. Far from it. OpenGL and DirectX exist to standardize calls to commonly used hardware-accelerated features in PC GPU’s, and allow for plenty of optimization by game developers in how they choose to break up and target rendering tasks to hardware available on whatever card is being used. Modern game engines are also designed to scale extremely well across the targeted user base, because more games can be sold if more people can run them.

You said the following, which cuts to the heart of what’s being discussed here:
“WHICH IS WHY:
1. You can’t run Forza 4 (for example) or anything even remotely approaching it on even the best 2005 PC.”

Nope. Ertzhaus was right- the only thing stopping us is a good emulator (which is an oxymoron- emulation is not “good” for obvious reasons for the sake of our discussion), or actually developing the game natively in the major PC graphics API’s and OS. The best cards of 2005, like the X800XL and 6800GT would shred Forza 4 if it was developed for the PC- those cards have more texture memory resources on-board, faster core GPU clocks and memory interfaces, and are built to run the games of the day at much higher resolution (1600×1200 or 1280×1024) with high detail using 4xFSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering- the latter being something that console games typically discard (or kick down to a much lower level like 2x or 4x) because it’s not something that makes a huge difference at 720P and lower. And we’re not even bringing cross-platform game development into the discussion here…A survey of cross platform console games of the last couple of generations would reveal that lots of potential performance has been lost in the shuffle of attempting to make games look and play identically across competing consoles. Your claims about optimization are FAR too simplistic.

So yeah, console games are optimized, but no, this does not mean that PC games are not. A lot of your comments seem to miss the nuances of recent (2002 and forward) development challenges.

#82

osric90
02/11/12, 4:37 pm

The “ultimate goal” for the hardware, we were told, is for it to be able to run 1080p60 games in 3D with “no problem,” to create a machine that’s powerful enough for “today and tomorrow’s market”.

Meh… hopefully it will take more time and offer something better than that.

#83

Espers
03/11/12, 6:10 am

LOOOOL a Goddamn comment war !! LOOOL problem is that game websites forget the old news they post. SONY spoke in 2011 of a home multimedia version of the PS3 and not the PlayStation 4, I mean COME ON !! how can an APU !! deliver the next gen EXPERIENCE !!! some comments are really funny !!! … LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL …. VG247 are even funnier.

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