Sony teases instantaneous open world gaming with PlayStation 5's SSD

Sony hypes up the PlayStation 5's new advanced PCIe 4.0 SSD, promising it'll deliver near instantaneous gaming.

3 minutes & 20 seconds read time

The PlayStation 5's customized PCIe 4.0 will help revolutionize console gaming by pushing 5.5GB/sec of data, leading to interruption-free gaming.

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New SSD tech is one of the most exciting features of next-gen, and it'll empower devs like never before. The PS5's SSD in particular hits blazing fast speeds and can blast uncompressed data, assets, and content through the system's internal pipeline at 5.5GB/sec, and compressed data can hit 9GB/sec. That's 100x faster than the PS4's mechanical HDDs. This will translate to ultra-fast loading times, seamless gameplay without transition points, and pretty much instant access to gameplay.

PS5 architect Mark Cerny went into a deep dive on the PS5's new tech, but now Sony corporate is hyping up the hardware. In a recent corporate strategy meeting brief, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida talked up the console's new PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD and how it'll revolutionize PlayStation gaming.

"In order to further enhance the sense of immersion in games, we expect to improve not just the resolution, but the speed of games. For example, through a custom‐designed high‐speed SSD, we plan to realize game data processing speeds that are approximately 100 times faster than PS4.

"Game load times should be much shorter, and players should be able to move through immense game worlds in almost an instant."

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Read Also: Understanding the PS5's SSD: A deep dive into next-gen storage tech

PlayStation 5 SSD features

  • 825GB capacity
  • PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe package
  • 5.5GB/sec raw speeds (9GB/sec compressed)
  • 12-channel memory controller
  • Supports expandable SSDs, but there's requirements
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The PS5 will achieve this in a number of ways, including speed, software optimization, new storage-based architectures, and some innate benefits of NAND flash storage.

Sony focused on these main points with the PS5's storage:

  • Boots in a second
  • No load screens
  • Ultra high-speed streaming
  • De-duplicate game data
  • No long patch installs

The PlayStation 5's SSD is much more customized than the Xbox Series X's SSD (and not to mention 2x faster), complete with a massive 12-channel memory controller that allows up to 5GB of data to be loaded into the 16GB GDDR6 RAM pool in a single second, which is then supercharged at 448GB/sec to shoot directly into the CPU for processing, and the GPU for rendering.

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Apart from raw speed, the PS5's storage is complemented by robust architectures that optimize speed. While Sony has yet to dive into this topic very much, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says the PS5's storage tech is "god-tier":

"Sony is pioneering here with the PlayStation 5 architecture. It's got a God-tier storage system which is pretty far ahead of PCs, bon a high-end PC with an SSD and especially with NVMe, you get awesome performance too."

SSD's will also improve the overall sizes of games by reducing asset data. Mechanical HDDs have both seek and load times, and typically spend 2/3 of their time cycles on seeking data instead of actually loading it. This required developers to massively replicate and duplicate textures and assets on a wide scale. Since SSDs have no seek times--the data is instantly accessible--devs don't have to replicate any data.

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There's also a specific I/O based decompression block to massively reduce CPU overhead from decompression. The PS5 also uses a new Kraken-based decompression system that allows devs to cram 10% more data into compressed blocks. So more data can be compressed into BD-XL Blu-ray discs and via digital downloads, and that larger data set can be decompressed and processed much, much more quickly.

It's all pretty fascinating, and we can't wait to hear more on Sony's PlayStation 5 SSD developments. To me, this is easily the most exciting feature of the next-gen cycle.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. 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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