So the rumored specs. of the PS4 have supposedly been leaked, and to a lot of people it's a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Well here's a detailed, but simplified breakdown of what those specs. detailed. Could this possibly be the innards of the PS4. Keep reading to find out.
APU = (CPU + GPU)
(CPU = processing aka what makes your console run)
(GPU = graphics what makes games look great)
Details: The APU rumored to power the PS4 is the successor to AMD's current APU's (Trinity) that released earlier this year. The "Steamroller APU" is scheduled to release next year. The current APU's aren't the best at processing data, but they are the best for graphics processing, since they basically have a built in GPU on the CPU. It's a Quad core processor with 2 pairs per core so it basically acts as an 8 core processor which should be more than enough.
Opinion: If Sony goes with the Steamroller APU as the brains of the PS4 then the PS4 will be a moderately powerful console from the get go. The current Trinity APU's are practically on par with current consoles when powered by a standard PC by todays standards (Trinity APU, 4GB RAM), and with the release of Steamroller APU's we should expect them to be on par if not better than your current Xbox 360 or PS4, and that's running off of the APU alone.
Verdict: HIGHLY POSSIBLE. A Steamroller APU should fit perfectly with the PS4. I myself was thinking they would go with a Trinity APU based on what's available now, but the Steamroller APU should be much better at handling graphics, and hopefully get better processing scores (for less loading, better data crunching, etc...).
Details: Sony is planning on going with a Tahiti model GPU from AMD. This means they plan on using one of AMD's flagship GPU's the AMD HD7900 series cards. These are the best cards AMD currently has to offer. Going into detail regarding the GPU's. There are 4 cards in the 7900 series. The 7990, the 7970Ghz, the 7970, and the 7950. They breakdown like this:
7990: $700+, should be comparable to GTX690
7970G: $500, comparable to GTX680
7970: $450, comparable to GTX670
7950: $350, should be comparable to GTX670SE (which is rumored to cost $300)
So by these price points, it's safe to say the 7950 is the card Sony is most likely to go with. The difference in power between the 7950 and 7970 isn't great enough to justify the $100 price increase, and if they go that route they may as well pay for the 7970G which will have a small increase on overall performance.
Overview: They're capable of playing any current gen game on PC at 1080p, 4xMSAA, Ultra settings, at a solid 60fps. Again if you saw what Battlefield 3 looked like on PC, expect that to be running on your PS4 with ease. As a matter of fact the only game that doesn't run on those settings is Metro 2033, but with some visual tweaking by the developer and bumping the resolution down to 720p, even Metro should be able to run 4xMSAA at 60fps on the PS4 with the lowest end HD7900 GPU powering it.
Verdict: HIGHLY POSSIBLE. Let's get one thing out the way. The DX11.5 was stupid. Sony doesn't use DX anything, nor would a professional label something DX11.5. It's either DX11 or DX12. But the rumor of the 7900 series GPU is highly possible. The PS4 is scheduled for a 2013 holiday - 2014 holiday launch, and by that time these cards will have dropped in price by 10% - 20% normal retail value. And buying in bulk will net Sony another 10 - 20% off discount (which I calculated in the previous post, but some people can't do math). Therefore the price Sony's looking at paying for these cards are as follows.
7990: $700 - 20% = $560, $560 - 20% = $448 (This card may very well cost more than $700 since the GTX690 it's competition is selling for $1,000 right now)
7970G: $500 - 20% = $400, $400 - 20% = $320
7970: $450 - 20% = $360, $360 - 20% = $288
7950: $350, (GTX670SE rumored to cost $300 so AMD will likely cut price soon)
7950: $300 - 20% = $240, $240 - 20% = $192
So looking at those price it's either the HD7950 for $192 (most likely), or the HD7970Ghz for $320 going into the PS4.
Memory / RAM:
Details: 2GB - 4GB of RAM for the PS4.
Overview: I don't understand why they just don't go with 8GB of RAM. I know it's to keep price down, but really RAM is SUPERCHEAP, and one of the biggest complaints about the PS3 and Xbox. Make developers lives easy and just drop the cash on 8GB of RAM that way you can have a but load dedicated to your new OS (Xmedia bar is gone for sure), have plenty left for games, and have some left for future needs. 8GB of RAM is only $40 now, and will be less next year.
2GB: NO WAY. The PlayStation systems generally shoot for a 10x more powerful console than the previous one. 2GB of RAM is only 4x the amount of RAM the PS3 had, aka not going to happen, unless Sony doesn't use any of these parts I previously stated / rumored, and decides to build a Wii-U me too.
4GB: Possible. 4GB is 8x that of the PS3, and closer to the 10x Sony pushes for. No one uses 5GB of RAM so 4GB is the closest you're going to get. 4GB is generally enough to get anything you need done, and would be acceptable for the PS4, just not recommended.
8GB: MAKE IT HAPPEN. Crytech, Epic, and Square Enix has laid their claim. They want these consoles to be as powerful as they can so their engines can shine, as well as make porting from PC to the consoles easier. And RAM has always been their biggest complaint (and now GPU as PC has leapfrogged consoles). Making things easier for people, will make them support you more, and make your product better than the competition, so give them the 8GB they want. Not to mention it's needed for great Xfire support.
Overall Verdict: HIGHLY POSSIBLE. If Sony decides to go with AMD then these are the parts I see them going with. I conjured up a demo PS4 as if it came out today, and it sported a Custom Trinity A-10 APU, HD7850 GPU, and 8GB of RAM and if that console was to come out this holiday season it would cost a little over $400 this holiday season. By waiting a year Sony can implement better parts and still keep the price down to $400 (which I think is the magic number). The Steamroller APU's will likely be compatible with the higher series GPU cards, the HD7950 will be a lot cheaper for Sony to purchase by then $200, thus making it possible to purchase 8GB of RAM. You could build a PS4 right now with these specs. and that PC would last you for the next 3-5 years easily as a PC only gamer, and that's great for a console.
As for fans of the Cell and NVIDIA here's a comparable version of the PS4 using those parts.
CPU: Cell Processor 2012: 4PPE's (dual / quad threaded), 32 SPE's (was in production, but IBM ceased, but that doesn't mean Sony has)
GPU: GTX670SE (pretty much the NVIDIA version of the HD7950)
8GB RAM: I'm still holding out for this one.
Very similar specs, the only real difference is the AMD console will be better for game graphics, while this Cell + NVIDIA mix is much better at processing data for games and other applications.