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Sony’s PS4 successor sports 3D audio tech, faster SSD storage

Sony’s PS4 successor sports 3D audio tech, faster SSD storage
Sam Machkovech

Sony hardware architect Mark Cerny has revealed the first official details on “the as-yet-unnamed console that will replace the PS4” in an exclusive story offered to Wired reporter Brian Rubin.

While Cerny was not ready to talk about details like a price or release date, he did tell Wired that the coming console will not be ready by the end of 2019. All indications are this console won’t be another PS4 Pro style mid-generation upgrade, but instead what Cerny calls a “fundamental change” in what is possible with a game console.

Cerny did go into some detail on the system’s hardware configuration, which will include an eight-core AMD Ryzen CPU, built on the 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture, and an AMD Radeon-based GPU with ray-tracing support. Aside from graphical benefit, Cerny hinted that the ray-tracing GPU will also include a “custom unit for 3D audio,” that can similarly trace in-game sound back to its source. That unit will allow for a more immersive surround-sound-style experience that Cerny says won’t require any additional hardware outside of your TV speakers.

The most unexpected change for the PS5 might be the replacement of the now-standard HDD console storage with a much faster SSD, which Cerny promises will have “a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs.” In test results shown to Wired, this one change lowered load times in a game like Spider-Man from 15 seconds on a standard PS4 Pro to 0.8 seconds on a dev kit for the new hardware.

That faster loading also means an in-game camera can zip around Spider-Man‘s urban environments more quickly, without having to wait for the slow-loading hard drive. But SSD storage tends to costs significantly more than the same size of HDD storage, so it’s unclear what effect this will have on the new system’s price or storage capacity.

Elsewhere in the article, Cerny mentions that the new console—which is not yet officially being called the PlayStation 5—will support 8K graphics, accept games stored on physical media, and support existing PlayStation VR headsets.

Last May, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Tsuyoshi Kodera told the Wall Street Journal that the company “will use the next three years” to prepare the “next step” in its console plans, suggesting the PS4’s replacement might not show up until 2021.

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