Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Feb 2013 18:18 UTC, submitted by twitterfire
Games Late last night, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 - sort of. It's got a custom 8-core AMD x86-64 processor, 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a custom Radeon-based graphics chip. It's also got additional chips to offload specific tasks like video (de)compression (livestreaming is built-in!), and there's a large focus on streaming games, but most of it is "an ultimate goal" instead of a definitive feature. It won't play PS3 discs (but will eventually stream many PS3 games), and, while there's some weaselwording involved, second hand games are safe. The biggest surprise? The console itself wasn't shown because it's not done yet. No joke. No price, no release date (other than somewhere before the holidays).
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RE[2]: Not impressive
by lucas_maximus on Thu 21st Feb 2013 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Not impressive"
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

I/O these days is the bottle neck.

My ancient nforce P5N-SLI machine with a Core 2 duo 8400 machine is playing Crysis 3 just off ultra settings.

I have maxed out this machine, and the only speed improvement I got going is overclocking the CPU (which means better RAM, since the multiplier is locked on intel chips).

My motherboard was purchased 6 or 7 years ago, the CPU is a E8400 and I am running 8GB of DDR2. Both of which is ancient by today's standards.

My best upgrade to my battle-rig ... two raided SSD drives. VS2012 opens instantly from cold boot. Win8 takes a few seconds to load once I am past the BIOS screens.

Processing power, ram and latency isn't a problem. Disk I/O is.

Edited 2013-02-21 20:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Not impressive
by Wafflez on Thu 21st Feb 2013 20:04 in reply to "RE[2]: Not impressive"
Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

But SSD raids do not pass trim command and performance degrades over time, or did they fixed that?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Not impressive
by lucas_maximus on Thu 21st Feb 2013 20:09 in reply to "RE[3]: Not impressive"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I learnt the hard way. The RAID 0 failed.

I got RAID 1 so I can swap another drive in there if one of the SSD fail.

It isn't perfect.

I dunno if Windows 7+ sorts that or not. I am not that bothered. For 2 years I had more than 300mb/s transfer rate. The performance was worth it.

Edited 2013-02-21 20:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Not impressive
by twitterfire on Thu 21st Feb 2013 20:29 in reply to "RE[2]: Not impressive"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


Processing power, ram and latency isn't a problem. Disk I/O is.


Processing power of the GPU is always a problem if you want to implement nice visual effects. More graphic calls/second, the better.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Not impressive
by lucas_maximus on Thu 21st Feb 2013 20:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Not impressive"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

it is, but it is a solved problem for Hi-def screens.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Not impressive
by RareBreed on Sun 24th Feb 2013 01:54 in reply to "RE[2]: Not impressive"
RareBreed Member since:
2011-10-10


Processing power, ram and latency isn't a problem. Disk I/O is.


Ram and latency are most definitely an issue. Just as Disk I/O is orders of magnitude slower than RAM access, RAM access is orders of magnitude slower than Cache access.

No matter how fast your storage (disk) subsystem can spit out data, it's not going to be anywhere close to as fast as getting it from memory. And ditto, getting data or instructions from cache is far superior to making the processor use it's memory controller to look up an address from some page table and do the virtual to physical lookup.

If you have enough RAM to fit all the game data into sytem RAM, so much the better. Unfortunately, SRAM is way too expensive, and even now, 128K Harvard architecture split data/instruction caches is considered pretty good. Getting access to L1 cache can take just a few clock cycles. Getting memory from system RAM takes a few hundred clock cycles generally speaking. But whereas system RAM access is measured in micro or even nano seconds, disk IO is stilled measured in milliseconds. In other words, disk access is thousands of times slower than RAM access. If you're page faulting and have to swap to disk, you're in BIG trouble in a game. The idea is you pull data from storage into RAM. RAM times are so important, that many developers don't even use malloc or new, and they pre-allocate their own heaps (memory allocation is expensive and can put the processor to sleep, not to mention the problem with memory fragmentation).

In regards to processing power, the name of the game is concurrency. Many systems are now merging the concept of CPU and GPUs so that the massively parallel processing of GPU's can work on all the highly vectorized game data (usually graphics, but physics too). But many other components will still rely on the main CPU (artificial intelligence for example). Splitting data across multiple threads of execution is very challenging.

Is a game more GPU or CPU bound? Depends on the game I suppose (I'm not a game developer, I'm a storage controller device driver developer). But again, processing and especially optimizing parallelization and concurrency will provide FAR greater beneft than disk IO.

Reply Parent Score: 3