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PS4′s Memory Analyzed In-Depth, Compared to PS3 RAM

There has been a lot of talk about the memory specs for the PS4. GDDR5. “16x better”. “OMG TEH RAMZ”. But what does it all mean? AMD have talked about the new PS4 APU, but what is the significance of Sony’s choice of a shared GDDR5 memory pool?

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Community4153d ago
ftwrthtx4153d ago (Edited 4153d ago )

More polygons = more zombies?

Or is it Kazombies?

decrypt4153d ago

People need to realise this is more about marketing Hype. Ram is cheap 8GB looks huge on paper.

But really you need to look at a system as a complete package. Which means CPU, GPU, Ram etc. Everything counts.

Performance depends on everything working together as a system. If any part of the system underperforms then we end up creating a BOTTLENECK.

Sure the PS4 has 8 gigs of ram, however people need to stop getting carried away. This is more marketing hype. As of today much more powerful GPUs than the 7850(which the PS4 is coming loaded with) cant really make use of more than 2Gigs of ram.

Specially the target resolution for PS4 games 1080p doesnt require more than 1.5 - 1.8 gigs of ram. You can check this fact out by running any game on your PC loading up MSI afterburner and checking memory usage when you load up a game in 1080p.

As you increase the resolution Memory Usage will go up. However at the same time performance will also go down. Generally why this happens is because of GPU limitations. Now even though the PS4 may come with 8gigs of ram loaded on it. The GPU featured in the machine wont really be able to take advantage of all that ram. Essentially what we will have is a BOTTLENECK.

Hence performance of a machine cant be decided mearly on one part of the system. If that was the case people may as well load up their PCs with 32gigs of ram and ignore everything else. Or maybe equip a PC with a 690GTX and throw in a I3 CPU.

In the end Performance of a system depends on everything working together. Just because it has 8 Gigs of ram doesnt mean other BOTTLENECKS wont count. Once again a game requiring that much ram would probably choke and stall the other parts of the machine.

I personally play at a resolution of 5760*1080p (thats 3x 1080p) i barely see current games using 2 gigs of video memory.

JonahNL4153d ago


Yes, RAM is cheap, if we're talking about 8GB of DDR3 ram. The PS4 features 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. It's RAM that's shared between the GPU and CPU.

reynod4153d ago (Edited 4153d ago )


GPUs come equipped with GDDR5 ram too, its not something new.

Check out the price difference between a 2GB Model and a 4GB model:

The price difference is only 50usd for 2GB, when we consider Sony will be buying in bulk, thats not a lot of money. Infact it would be about what DDR3 costs. Lets not forget the ram on this GPU is much faster than the one PS4 is coming equipped with. Hence PS4 version would be even cheaper.

Blacktric4153d ago

"As of today much more powerful GPUs than the 7850(which the PS4 is coming loaded with) cant really make use of more than 2Gigs of ram."

Are you really comparing a PC architechture and software, including games, made for that architechture (to fit billions of different combinations of GPU, RAM and CPU types) to a single console's? I mean haven't we passed this stage yet?

nveenio4152d ago

Decrypt, your resolution isn't 3x 1080p. It IS 1080p. Your width is 3x 1920, though, but that's vertical lines, not horizontal.

reynod4152d ago

Lol at people disagreeing on GDDR 5 prices, specially when i have linked the differences on hardware being sold with even faster GDDR 5 than the one going to release on PS4.

People desperately want to believe GDDR 5 is something new and expensive lol.

Ju4152d ago

First, we need to really clean up with the myth there are cards "much more" powerful than the 7850.

First, 1.84TF is somewhere between the 7850 and 7870.

Second, each vendor has one (!) series of cards which is faster than this. AMDs 79xx series (7950/7970/7990 they are all the same but vary in frequency and number of cores) and NVidia with everything above the GT660 (Titan is a 680?).

So, please, the 78xx family is a quite capable GPU. Not the final product in the line, but it doesn't need a nuclear reactor as a power supply either.

Second, the amount RAM does not only define resolution. E.g. See KZ Shadow Fall uses vertex/texture instancing to model that scene. A GPU still needs to render those vertices; but instancing is used to actually save memory. It does not make the GPU faster (still needs to transform each array for each pass). Now, with more memory you could actually give each build its own vertices. Make them more individual. Same with textures.

Would it increase resolution? Probably not. But this world in KZ Shadow Fall could contain way more unique buildings and it would not impact performance.

Third: This is shared memory. This is a picture book architecture to use the CPU and GPU in combination. Nothing like this has been done on a PC. The impact this could have cannot be used as a baseline what current PC games can do. It opens up new possibility which you can never do on PC (not with 6GB GDDR - since this is hardly accessible from the CPU on a PC). But e.g. share vertex buffers between GPU and CPU; use the CPU to do animations while the GPU does physics. Things like that. We just don't know what's feasible just yet.

The only bottleneck (Do you know what that actually is?) is that, all those compute units have to share this enormous bandwidth. It might stall one unit if another one allocates the bus for too long. But other than that, there is no bottleneck in this machine; it certainly isn't the amount of RAM.

The article is useless, because it certainly doesn't analyze anything but uses simple math with theoretical numbers and the outcome is a trivial multiplier. I guess we all know that. I'd be curious to see the GDDR impact on the CPU, for example. A little be more in depth. This article is really shallow. But then, it gives a nice overview.

Omni-Tool4152d ago (Edited 4152d ago )


Either you did not read the article or you do not understand its contents. They compared the bit rates between cpu, gpu and memory on the ps3 to the theoretical bit rates on the ps4. These are the "bottleneck" speeds you are referring to and quite frankly look pretty beast even by PC standards.

10 years from now, we will be looking back at this and think "How did we make it all work with such limited resources?". Technology is amazing but it really does evolve at a pace that makes longevity of a single device seem trivial to the LTE of technology as a whole.



Take your common sense elsewhere, I want to lauch at internet wannabe experts! /sarcasm

Seriously now, very good point, the main thing people are missing here is that all this memory is for the APU (i.e. shared by CPU and GPU), completelly diferent from the way PC games are developed.

And I would also add to the point those "no load" functions and all that instant connectivity, those things are going to be memory hogs needing a lot of alocation.

And what about Gaikai, we don't know if, on PS4, it will remain the pure stream service we already know on PCs that's usually unreliable (because ISPs are unreliable) or if they'll try a stream to memory and play it from there approach... So it can also be a huge reason to have more memory.

Everything about those 8GB of faster RAM points not at a marketing stunt, but at making more memory availlable so devs can use it in new ways.

fatstarr4152d ago

sony fans take everything sony does as gospel and brand new news...

people clamoring over GDDR5 memory when they know nothing about it.... which ever comments have the most disagrees = the un-deluded truth.

Morpheuzpr4152d ago


Well if you know so much about the matter why don't you make an in dept analysis including the differences, advantages and disadvantages of both types of memory as well as real world examples of situations were each may come in to play and how could those hurdles can be overcome by the developers?

fullmetal2974152d ago (Edited 4152d ago )

The video card's GGDR5 memory is used when a PC is rendering the video game while the system memory is resevered for background applications and OS.

Say for example you are playing a game that uses about 1.5gb of ram and you have a video card that has 2gb of GDDR5 RAM. Any game-related data transfered between the video card, CPU, and Hard Drive will be handled by the much high-bandwidth GDDR5 RAM while the system memory still retains the background programs.

If you don't believe me then launch a game from a PC with high-end video card (assuming that you have one), then start task manager. You should see the amount memory the game is taking up, but not see a difference in amount physical memory being used. That's because task manager only measures your system memory.

Furthermore, APUs are nothing new to begin with. AMD has released their Llano and Trinity APU along with the coexisting FM1 and FM2 socket for these chipsets back in 2011 and 2012. The PS4 has a beefier version of the A-10 Trinity from the sound of things, quite possibly AMD's FX Processor with intergrated 7000 graphics.

fatstarr4151d ago (Edited 4151d ago )

@Morpheuzpr why waste my time? ive done things like that in the past dissecting why a pc with a gtx 260, 4gb of ram and a dual core Pentium could beat a ps3 in terms of graphics capability.

I even did an in-depth analysis, backed with logic and evidence. only to get 100s of disagrees to something proven. its like that for every pro Sony article when you shed some truth in.

in all honesty, I rather not waste my time explaining things in detail. people are gonna be ignorant so I let them be ignorant, until their favorite company feeds them some shit that they then take as the word of the land.

ps4's specs wont be put to use until 2014/2015. no dev can maximize those specs and claim this project "pushes the graphical boundaries," the project would need at least 2 years of dev time. and even if it did, it could then be optimized, remade and rebuilt to be better than it is. but devs... meh thats not gonna happen.

people were in a land of delusion thinking ps3 graphics look like a godsend and the wiius are trash... then at the flick of a switch ps3 looks ugly because ps4 is here.

I could literally write a thesis from my 6 years spent on n4g observing the behavior of the users and the comments.

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50Terabytespersec4153d ago

THIS IS NO JOKE THE AMOUNT OF RAM ON THE PS4 will define the next generation! The old way that consoles worked was based on limitations that forced developers to make clever compromises and push the hardware to get meager results after the miniscule Ram limitation was reached!! BUT !Now with the doors wide open with this much RAM! we will see the world of gaming so massive and so rich that the limit will be the hard drive on your PS4 or the Bluray disc! Expect to see to Bluray disc games! All that delicious mega texture graphics and Compresses textures !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Drooool. PS4 ! Thank You Sony!!! Please put in Support for SSD Drives !!!

TheRealSpy4153d ago

You do realize everything you're saying is exactly what people were saying at the beginning of this generation, right? Over time, the hardware will inevitably have limitations.

Persistantthug4153d ago (Edited 4153d ago )

Back then, you may have heard some people tepidly say it was 'Enough' ram.
But today, in 2013, for 8GB, You can genuinely and rightfully say, 'Thats ALOT of ram'.
We haven't actually had this dynamic in disk based Consoles before.

Ram is usually one of the first things that's skimped on....but not this time.
It's kinda exciting. :)

kreate4153d ago (Edited 4153d ago )

512 was not a lot of ram even in 2001 when xp came out, let alone 2005. 512 Isnt impressive at all, it actually sucks.

I understand console and pc is different but just sayin'

decimalator4153d ago

you can put an ssd in the ps3 now. I doubt they will offer a model with ssd included, not until the prices get closer per gig to spinning disks

portal_24153d ago

When they say 8GB - they mean 8192MB

fatstarr4152d ago (Edited 4152d ago )

you can never have enough ram, 8gb in 2013 is the equivalent to 1gb back in 2005.

everything changes but nothing changes.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."- billgates 1981.

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pain777pas4153d ago

Go look at UC3 or GoW ascension on 256 split with XDR and DDR3 respectively. Now think more shaders, polygons... plus 8GIGS DDR5. Mass Effect can be realized, Elder Scrolls can be surpassed etc... this is no joke of a leap not in graphics alone. 4gigs of a game could be stored in ram at a high transfer speed. This will cut down on loading times along with 6X BD. This is no joke guys plus HD in every console presumably.

FamilyGuy4152d ago

The ram will allow for more uniquely render objects on screen, faster loading (no more pop-in textures) and larger environments. Imagine gigantic open world games that are more realistic because you're not seeing the same tree 130x with lots more unique objects in the players view.

Decrypts argument about bottlenecks is that the PS4 doesnt need that much ram because it's gpu won't be able to make use of it.

The (seemingly excessive) ram will be for a multitude of things: Having upcoming cut-scenes and environments pre-loaded so that we don't get loading screens, saving our progress at an exact location anywhere in the game without having to restart from a save point, having our progress saved so that we can leave a game, do something else, then jump right back in where we last left off without going through a games launch screens, even after powering down the system. Multi-tasking; it was already shown that we can video chat with friends while playing games (the 360 only did this on a select few downloadable titles like poker and uno).

Even if it is excessive developers will find a use for it or at the very least feel less restrained by what they can do compared to the PS3.

popup4152d ago

About as in depth as a paddling pool.

kamikazepikmin4152d ago

who cares, anyways, read this very interesting article

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dbjj120884153d ago

It totally puts PS3 ram to shame.