The silicon guts of Sony’s PS4

Sony’s next gen-console will reportedly be powered by an AMD GPU, and, most likely, an AMD CPU as well.

Although exact model numbers remain uncertain, veteran tech guru Charlie Demerjian says he expects the Playstation 4 silicon to be a “very customized version” of existing or near future designs.  

“Sony is [also] going stacking crazy. Expect stacked memory, and lots of it. The leaks all say that there are multiple additions to the core CPU/GPU chip, and they are not on the same die,” Demerjian wrote in a detailed analysis posted on SemiAccurate.

“Actually, given the steady stream of hints surrounding stacking coming from our Japanese speaking moles, the CPU and GPU could very well be on separate, or even stacked dies too.”

According to Demerjian, console economics dictate a strategy of fabbing a really big and expensive chip that pushes the bounds of manufacturing capabilities.

“[Yes], you could make two much less expensive chips that don’t push the boundaries nearly as hard, and end up faster than a single chip competitor like [Microsoft’s] Oban [for the Xbox 720/Next],” he explained.

“[Remember], for the PS3, Sony put two really big and expensive chips in it, and the core Cell didn’t yield well, didn’t perform as intended, and ended up with a core fused off in order to get to market.”

However, says Demerjian, 5+ years and several shrinks later, the Cell is easy enough to make, yields very well, and is fairly cheap to make. 

“Lose your shirt at first, make it up later, and buy yourself added longevity in the process. That basic formula still works, so the PS4 might be a ‘two chip fusion’ design with the intent to weld the two when the technology allows.

“If Sony can back up the boasting with real silicon, and the packaging elves can make it in quantity, it should be a game changer. Sony is aiming for the moon just like they did for the PS3 – [so] let’s hope they come closer to the mark this time, game developers could sure use the power,” he added.