Ray Tracing is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you thought the PlayStation 4 Pro was a beast of a console, the next-generation console is a gargantuan behemoth.
The Main Chips
According to Mark Cerny, the console will have a new CPU and GPU. While the PS4 family had AMD Jaguar CPUs, the next-gen console will have a CPU based off the AMD’s 3rd-Gen Ryzen line and will have eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture.
The GPU, on the other hand, will feature a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, and will have Ray Tracing support. Ray Tracing is a technique that simulates light rays in real time, rather than being pre-rendered. The only gaming GPU to support ray tracing at this moment is Nvidia’s RTX lineup, which costs as much as a 2nd hand car.
The Navi GPU family is rumoured to be as powerful as an Nvidia RTX 2080. That’s very, very powerful considering it’s almost as powerful as the beefiest GPU the market has right now.
Ray tracing can also be used to simulate spatial sounds.
“If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that. It’s all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment,” said Cerny to Wired.
Speaking about sound, the AMD chip will include a custom unit for 3D audio. While the jump between the PS3 to the PS4 was small in terms of audio, this time it will be massive.
Cerny points out that the effect will make you feel more immersed in the game as sounds come at you from above, from behind, and from the side. The effect needs nothing more than your TV speakers and visual surround sound. Cerny still maintains that headphones are the ‘gold standard’ of audio.
With games heading into the hundreds of GBs of info, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, we’re going to need something that can store that much and more.
Storage does not only affect how much you can store, but also how fast can you load.
So, Cerny said that a solid state drive (SSD) could help with that. But what’s inside Sony’s next-gen monster is something better.
A specialised storage kit has been developed and was demonstrated to Wired. For example, Cerny booted up Marvel’s Spider-Man on a PS4 Pro. An open world game is notorious for loading multiple items, making load times long. He then fast-travels to another location, which takes about 15 seconds to finally load.
Then Cerny pulls off the same thing on a next-gen devkit hooked to a different TV. Guess what, it took them 0.8 of a second to load. Less than a freaking second.
Well, you could argue that you could plop in the fastest SSD on the market to your PS4 Pro, but you’ll only get about one-third faster than your original storage. Cerny claims that the PS5’s SSD has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD out there, but hasn’t revealed the manufacturer, or if it uses the new PCIe 4.0 standard.
For starters, the console will still accept physical media. Since the console is built in part from the PS4’s architecture, it will be backwards compatible with current gen games.
Sounds like whatever is coming from Sony in the next-generation console is basically beefier than anything we’ve ever seen on the market. This is one way to top the current generation of already powerful gaming consoles.