Development kits point to rumoured PlayStation 4 specification

AMD's A10 accelerated processing unit a central feature

2 Nov 2012
Sony PS3

Early details of Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 console have leaked out, courtesy of claimed specifications for a second-generation development kit being provided to software houses.

The device, described as a "modified PC" by multiple unnamed sources speaking to gaming site VG247, include AMD's latest A10-series accelerated processing unit and between 8GB and 16GB of memory - a significant increase from the 512MB of total memory found in the current-generation PlayStation 3.

The decision to use AMD accelerated processing units in a games console is an interesting one. Designed primarily for low- to mid-range PCs that do a small amount of gaming, the chips include a combination of central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware. For many tasks, they can do the job of both CPU and graphics card - but for high-resolution gaming on the latest titles, a dedicated graphics card is usually still required.

The move to AMD APUs is an interesting one, as the current-generation PlayStation 3 uses a graphics chip from AMD's rival Nvidia, along with a custom processor called the Cell Broadband Engine. This chip, while promising impressive power, is considered difficult to develop for and is often blamed for the delay in releasing cross-platform games for the PlayStation 3 compared to the x86-architecture PC, OS X and Xbox 360 platforms. With AMD's APUs using the same 64-bit x86 architecture, a move away from Cell would make it easier for developers to make games for all the major platforms - leaving Nintendo's Wii U as the only non-x86 console on the market in the next generation.

Thus far, Sony has not commented on the rumours, but with an alleged two more generations of development kit being due for release before the PlayStation 4 console itself comes out there's still room for the company to tweak the specifications even if the leaks are true.

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