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PS5's SSD is 'exceptionally powerful,' may beat Xbox Series X speeds

Sony may have an edge over the Xbox Series X with its next-gen PlayStation 5 SSD tech

Derek Strickland | Dec 21, 2019 at 10:16 pm CST (14 mins, 7 secs time to read)

The devs behind the first revealed PlayStation 5 game hype up the console's SSD, teasing an ultra-powerful solution that allows for massive freedom for developers.

PS5's SSD is 'exceptionally powerful,' may beat Xbox Series X speeds | TweakTown.com

With the new NMVe SSD tech found in next-gen consoles, developers can absolutely obliterate loading screens and push a new level of detail, immersion, and performance in their game worlds. Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5's Navi-and-Zen 2 SoC are tailor-made to synergize with the SSD (much the same way their new desktop CPUs harness the might of PCIe 4.0 SSDs), leading to a new era of gaming. Games will load faster, gameplay itself will be much more repsonsive, and the experience will be dramatically changed as the game renders more seamlessly as you move through it. The idea is the SSD will massively accelerate the data transfer rate from storage to the CPU, GPU, and RAM, while also allowing for nifty tricks like VRAM buffering.

Both Sony and Microsoft have touted their respective SSD solutions, but developers are chiming in too. The devs behind Godfall, the first revealed PlayStation 5 exclusive, say they're impressed by the console's "exceptionally powerful SSD".

"The exceptionally-powerful SSD on the PlayStation 5 offers a new level of detail for each individual object as well as seamless loading of our expansive world," Godfall creative director Keith Lee told PlayStation Lifestyle.

"Our combat is kinesthetic in nature, so the new controller's adaptive triggers and haptic feedback will make moment-to-moment combat feel exhilarating and visceral."

Bear in mind Gearbox is publishing the game, so Counterplay might not have exactly "chosen" to make a game for PS5. Gearbox could've negotiated a deal with Sony. But it's clear Counterplay has had a Prospero box (the Sony PS5 devkit) all this time.

The part about seamless gaming resonates strongly with what other devs have said about next-gen console storage. Godfall is a drop-in/drop-out co-op action game with a bent towards online play. You'll be able to team up with buds and roam around an online world to collect loot and hack-and-slash enemies. This kind of game will benefit most from the SSD.

Here's what Microsoft devs said about the Xbox Series X's SSD:

"The combination of the SoC and the solid state drive are really what gives you a totally new experience. Now we can take all of that power and apply all of that back into the scene, and generate more life into that world and bring it to the gamer in a seamless way."

So...what makes the SSD so special? How fast will it really be? Sony showed a prototype console loading Spider-Man in just 0.8 seconds, which is blazing-fast. But we still don't know specifics.

We're also not sure if the PlayStation 5 (or the Xbox Series X) will use newer (and more expensive) PCIe 4.0 SSDs or not.

Read Also: PS5, Xbox Series X SSD tech may use new ReRAM memory to supercharge speeds

Consumer versions of PCIe 4.0 solid state drives hit a peak of around 5GB/sec read/write speeds, but these are roughly $200 a pop. This could be overkill for the PlayStation 5...but Mark Cerny did say the PS5's SSD has a "raw bandwidth that's higher than any available PC SSD."

The PS5 SSD's secret sauce and main advantage over the Xbox Series X might lie with Sony's proprietary ReRAM storage technology.

ReRAM is made specifically as a SCM, or Storage Class Memory, that's specifically designed for the enterprise market. ReRAM is more efficient and requires less power than DRAM, and can be stacked with 3D cross-point arrays, which is the same kind of memory used in Intel's Optane tech.

The idea here is that Sony would use a small amount of ReRAM on the PS5's motherboard to accelerate the SSD. The ReRAM module would cache the most-used data and store it, beaming it directly to the CPU and GPU for processing. All of this would be complemented by a specialized layer of software to give developers granular access to data blocks for their games.

Again no one knows for sure what or how the new SSDs will work. Whatever the hardware solution turns out to be will have tons of toolsets and software devs will use to manipulate their games and perform some magical feats.

And Godfall will be one of those games.

Sony is expected to reveal the PS5 in a special event in February 2020. The console will release in Holiday 2020, and it may cost $499.

Check below for more info:

PlayStation 5 specs and details:

  • Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 8-core, 16 thread CPU
  • Navi, Zen SoC uses new AMD RDNA 2.0 architecture
  • Ultra-fast SSD
  • Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
  • Ray-tracing enabled
  • 8K output support (for gaming)
  • Plays all PS4 games
  • Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
  • New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback

PlayStation 5 Coverage:

Last updated: Dec 22, 2019 at 06:11 am CST

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Derek Strickland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Derek Strickland

Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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