PS5: Powered by AMD Navi GPU Technology
Sony kicks off its E3 2018 press conference today where they won't be announcing their next-gen PlayStation 5 console, but that doesn't mean there's no news about it. I didn't want to just write a "hey guys, PS5 is powered by Navi" news article and decided to write a one-two page article. Then... it kinda turned into this. I'm going to explain PS5 and Navi, and then what's happening behind the scenes so there's some well-connected context. There's lots happening right now that I'm not seeing talked about, so I'm going to do a lot of it for the first time.
I've been talking back and forth with an industry source of mine, different to the one who said the PS5 would feature a discrete GPU, that confirmed the PS5 will feature AMD's next-gen Navi GPU technology. Navi is AMD's graphics architecture that comes after Vega, with another (separate) industry source telling me at Computex last week that Navi will be an "RX 500 successor" and not something that kicks Vega's ass.
Navi inside of the PS5 is still a mystery in terms of what to expect in GPU horsepower, but I do know AMD put a lot of RTG's engineers onto the job. AMD has put more eggs into its semi-custom business over the years, with Sony as a major customer of theirs for the PS4 and PS4 Pro, and now Sony is calling a lot of the shots with Navi development.
What The PS5 Needs To Be
Sony needs the next-gen PS5 to truly drive 4K 60FPS if it's going to be released in 2020-2022 where 4K will be greatly established at the time, and in a world where NVIDIA has had at least a couple of generations of its new Big Format Gaming Display TVs hit the market, a couple of new GPU architectures and next-gen GeForce GTX 11 and GTX 12 series cards that drive 4K 120FPS and beyond.
The next generation of consoles need to offer 4K 60FPS at a minimum if they want to keep up with mid-range GPUs in 2020-2027 (given that the PS5 is released in 2020, and lasts for 5-7 years). NVIDIA's mid-range GeForce GTX 1260 (if that becomes a thing by 2020-2022) will easily do 4K 30-60FPS, while a GTX 1280 (I can't believe I'm typing this) would easily handle 4K 120FPS and beyond past 2023-2024.
After typing up the story for the PS5, I just had to keep going. It's a really big deal that AMD's next-gen GPU architecture is having so much input by Sony that AMD has dedicated a large portion of their GPU engineers into Navi. The entire market is going to shift around Sony and AMD with Navi, so I'm going to explain that in the next few pages.
We should expect AMD to use their Zen+ CPU architecture inside of the PS5, but a discrete GPU based on the Navi architecture alongside the possible use of GDDR6. As for the Zen+ CPU, I'm estimating that we'll see an 8C/16T processor that would truly propel the PS5 into 'next-gen' console territory, especially if they can hit 4K 60FPS solid in all games.
This means we could have a PC-in-a-box console that doesn't have its hardware held back by an aging CPU architecture, as we'll have a high-end CPU and GPU from the PC business inside of a console. If this comes in separate CPU and GPU form it makes sense, but an APU this time around with Sony working so close with AMD doesn't.
They're working much closer to AMD than previous-gen consoles on the high-end GPU, versus AMD making GPUs for Radeon and then making something separate for consoles. This is the one and only Navi, and from this Sony-infused design we will see Navi go to Radeon post-PS5 design.
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