PlayStation 4: The Hardware

PlayStation 4: The Hardware

What we know so far.

The speculation is over; Sony have announced their next-generation console: the PlayStation 4.

“Our vision for the future," president and group CEO Andrew House explained by way of introduction, "is consumer-centric, developer-inspired, and characterized by an unwavering commitment to phenomenal play experiences. Today we are revealing the genesis of an expanding ‘idea’ about the future of play – an idea with enough potential to satisfy the insatiable appetites of our creative community of developers and gamers.”

Mark Cerny, an industry veteran who cut his teeth on the Atari and is the lead system architect on the PS4 project, then introduced the new machine. “We wanted to ensure that nothing would come between the platform and the joy of play,” Cerny explained.

“We also wanted to be sure that the system architecture could fluidly connect the player to a larger world of experiences, and provide easy access to everything PlayStation has to offer – across the console and mobile spaces, and PlayStation Network. And we were able to create, in PS4, a platform by game creators for game creators.”

But what did they go on to announce? Many of the rumours that were doing the rounds before the the actual presentation were proven to be true, and some were shown to be false; the veracity of yet other details, meanwhile, are still to be determined.

This article is intended to help distill fact from fiction; to detail everything that's known about the console (and its software), while also highlighting what is yet to be revealed.

No images were shown of the console itself. This was a remarkable omission - Sony usually show their hardware when it's first announced. Given the presentation was two hours long, and all about the PlayStation 4, it's a little odd that they didn't actually show it. This one fact is likely to be the biggest source of speculation and discussion now that the unveiling is over.

The new controller, which is called the DualShock 4, was shown:

In addition to a slightly revised design, the new controller has a number of interesting new features:

  • A light bar. This sits on the leading edge of the controller (the bit facing the TV) and is able to change colour (much like the globe on a Move controller). In addition to being able to tell you which player is which in a multiplayer game, this colour feature can display health information (for example) and potentially other context-sensitive detail. It's also used by the system's new dual-camera PlayStation 4 Eye, allowing the PS4 to detect the controller's location in 3D space (like an advanced version of Move.)
  • A touch pad / touch bar. This sits in the center of the face of the controller, and - much like the rear pad on the Vita - allows users to control aspects of a game via touch. The only time this was mentioned in the presentation was when Unreal Engine 4 was being shown off; there, it was used to look around, to prove the demonstration was in real-time. The touch pad supports 2-point multitouch and is also clickable as an extra button.
  • A "share" button. Pressing this allows you to leverage a number of socially connected services, including:
    • Looking back at your last few minutes of gameplay, selecting sequences of it and uploading to them UStream, etc, for others to see
    • Streaming your gameplay session online, allowing others to watch, interact with you (including dropping health packs in your game or putting comments on your screen)
    • Allowing other people to take over your controller over the internet - the example for this was if you're having trouble, someone else can run you through the bit that's got you stumped.
  • Built-in speaker and stereo headset jack. The console also comes with a monaural headset in the box, letting players "chat with friends playing online, while hearing sound effects from the controller in hand."
  • Start and Select buttons are combined into the new Options button.

The controller also features the SIXAXIS motion sensing tech that debuted with the PS3 controller.

Controller dimensions are very similar to that seen in the PS3's controller:

  • 162mm wide (2mm wider than the DualShock 3)
  • 52mm high (3mm less than DS3)
  • 98mm deep (1mm more than DS3)
  • Tentative weight: 210g (18g heavier than DS3)

The PlayStation 4 Eye dual-lens camera supports video capture at a maximum resolution of 1280x800 (slightly higher than 720P) at 60fps. It also supports 640x400 capture at 120fps and 320x192 capture at 240fps.


Bungie's Destiny, itself only just unveiled, is coming to PS4 and it will sport PlayStation-exclusive content

Some details as to the horsepower under the hood of the PS4 were disclosed, including:

  • The CPU is an 8-core (most PCs today have 2 or 4 cores) X86 processor. X86, a type of instruction set, is the same sort of processor used in PC and Mac computers; the name comes from the 8086, the first "AT" computer, which was released in 1978. The PS4 processor is 64 bit.

    The fact that the system is based on this architecture, rather than the (at the time all-new) CELL system, will mean that developers will be able to get up and running on it quickly. However, multithreading (executing code across multiple processors at once) is still a complex problem; chances are it won't be until mid or even late in the cycle that the true power of this CPU (much like the situation in modern PCs) is realized in games.

  • The system memory was confirmed as 8GB; not only is that a huge amount (32 x the memory of the PS3), it's also GDDR5. In layman's terms, it's very fast; the kind of memory normally reserved for high-end videocards, not system memory. In hardcore technical terms, the bandwidth of this memory is 176GB/second; breathtakingly fast.


    Knack, from Japan Studio, sports a dynamic protagonist that can adjust his body, seemingly at will

    The memory on the PS4 is unified, too - like the Xbox 360. This means that, unlike the PS3 (which had 256MB of system memory and 256MB of video memory, versus 512MB of unified RAM in the 360), developers can use the memory from either the CPU or GPU as their game architecture requires, which should make things easier and more flexible.

  • The GPU is a custom variant of AMD's Radeon technology. It uses (tech speak incoming) an array of 18 compute units, which "collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two." Again, for the layman, this is a pretty zippy processor.

Continue reading on page 2.





 

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Comments Comments (23)

 
OrkMischief
Posted by OrkMischief
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 5:51 PM
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Question 1: Cooling? will it last a whole day playing our favourite game without flatlining and flashing yellow lights?

Because all this tech sounds like the console will be the size of a microwave.

Question 2: How much will this beast of a home console cost?

Because I payed NZ$1,049 for the PS2 and NZ$1,099 for the PS3 on day one release respectively.

This PS4 sounds expen$ive.
 
 
 
Kegz
Posted by Kegz
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 6:02 PM
1
"Games can be downloaded or updated in the background"

Finally!!
 
 
 
Posted by lax1
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 6:22 PM
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Hopefully the fact that our NZ$ is mega high means it's priced closer to the US/Europe price. Probably won't happen though...

I wondering if it will keep the PS4 name on the Japanese market, where the number "4" is considered bad luck.
 
 
 
OG_Mudbone
Posted by OG_Mudbone
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 6:22 PM
1
A very good conference for Sony. Expectations were high but those specs are pretty impressive, I was planning on skipping the next gen consoles and sticking to PC, but now I'm on the fence. Looks like they'll have good third-party support which was a big hindrance to the ps3 in their early cycle. Now about the price..... let's hope they've learned their lesson there as well. Can't wait for E3!
 
 
 
Posted by twisterjamz
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 6:41 PM
2
EB Games NZ has it listed $1199
https://www.ebgames.co.nz/featured/playstation-4?utm_source=ebgames&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=hero&utm_content=home
 
 
 
MikeWise
Posted by MikeWise
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 7:00 PM
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It's still some time away, I guess.
No real point on speculating on whats not come to pass so far.

I agree that cooling has all ways been an issue with the first Gen Consoles. Both with Xbox as well as Playstation. The cooling wasn't sorted till the 3rd-4th Gen consoles.
It would be nice to have that sorted straight off.

It sounds like it will be hell expensive too me also.
 
 
 
ghostofgallipoli
Posted by ghostofgallipoli
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 7:50 PM
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21 February 2013, 06:41 PM Reply to twisterjamz
EB Games NZ has it listed $1199
https://www.ebgames.co.nz/featured/playstation-4?utm_source=ebgames&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=hero&utm_content=home
that is a place holder price point that wont be firmed up until sony confirms the price probably sometime around e3. we can take pre orders now though...
 
 
 
Bassbooty
Posted by Bassbooty
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 9:15 PM
1
I better start saving now...
 
 
 
Posted by guido
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 10:24 PM
2
They've merged the start and select buttons into one options button! Excellent! I must have pressed one when I meant to press the other a billion times over the years?!?
 
 
 
KoneHead
Posted by KoneHead
On Thursday 21 Feb 2013 11:56 PM
2
I'm definitely starting my ps4 fund now - hopefully I'll have enuf saved by the time they actually release it !!
 
 
 
sick_wierdo
Posted by sick_wierdo
On Friday 22 Feb 2013 9:04 AM
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Don't know about you guys, but i think that is one sexy looking controller! I cannot wait for PS4! Day one purchase for me :-)
 
 
 
Posted by supabowl
On Friday 22 Feb 2013 9:27 AM
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21 February 2013, 11:56 PM Reply to KoneHead
I'm definitely starting my ps4 fund now - hopefully I'll have enuf saved by the time they actually release it !!
Started my fund a few months ago =D
 
 
 
Posted by guido
On Friday 22 Feb 2013 9:59 AM
1
22 February 2013, 09:04 AM Reply to sick_wierdo
Don't know about you guys, but i think that is one sexy looking controller! I cannot wait for PS4! Day one purchase for me :-)
Yeah, I'm impressed. I was a little disappointed with the leaked pics as it looked a little clunky but they've refined it nicely for the final design.
 
 
 
Super-Pangolin
Posted by Super-Pangolin
On Friday 22 Feb 2013 1:51 PM
1
The DS4 looks AWESOME... but not because of any of the tech going on behind the scenes, primarily because my 3 MAJOR issues with the Dualshock/DS2/DS3 hardware have been resolved; the analog sticks, L2/R2 triggers and the entirely-plastic build. I can see that the analog sticks still convexed, but they have that outer rim that'll reduce slipping. And after a quick google images browse, I'm stoked to see MUCH better triggers for L2/R2 and the grippy rubberised surface covering the underneath - which will be comfortable, and perfect for palm-sweaters like myself!
 
 
 
havicdavis
Posted by havicdavis
On Sunday 24 Feb 2013 12:04 PM
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Very Good..
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Monday 25 Feb 2013 4:28 PM
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Got my money ready. Uni can't phase me now.
 
 
 
Posted by Booker_T_SUCKAAA
On Thursday 28 Feb 2013 8:43 PM
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Sounds expensive indeed! Does this mean I'd need to buy a better tv to handle the latest hardware too?
 
 
 
sick_wierdo
Posted by sick_wierdo
On Friday 1 Mar 2013 9:07 AM
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I don't care what it ends up costing, I'm getting it. In the long run, even if it's $1200 on release, it's going to be worth it for 6 plus years of incredible gaming experiences
 
 
 
Posted by CloudAxel16
On Saturday 2 Mar 2013 10:17 PM
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I'm excited, hopefully this isn't just the potential of the console and Sony comes through and the PS4 does everything mentioned in the event.
 
 
 
SkeLo
Posted by SkeLo
On Thursday 7 Mar 2013 7:49 PM
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Cant wait sounz mean... and why not? Its Sony :)
 
 
 
gh567
Posted by gh567
On Monday 11 Mar 2013 9:47 AM
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I wonder if they'll be selling these in Cuba lol....
 
 
 
Posted by joshdrought
On Thursday 14 Mar 2013 5:01 PM
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21 February 2013, 05:51 PM Reply to OrkMischief
Question 1: Cooling? will it last a whole day playing our favourite game without flatlining and flashing yellow lights?

Because all this tech sounds like the console will be the size of a microwave.

Question 2: How much will this beast of a home console cost?

Because I payed NZ$1,049 for the PS2 and NZ$1,099 for the PS3 on day one release respectively.

This PS4 sounds expen$ive.
I did the same but wont be this time ps3 is not outdated enough
 
 
 
KILL-TONE
Posted by KILL-TONE
On Wednesday 12 Jun 2013 3:17 AM
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Seamless PS menu!! Sick of pressing the PS button and then having to wait for the menu to load up!! especially when trying to send a message after a game/match