Amid rumors and speculation as to the possible release date of PlayStation 5, Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter has taken a detailed look at the gaming hardware landscape to assess when PlayStation 5 is likely to appear. If PlayStation 5 is to have a meaningful next-generation increase in power, his answer is not before Q4 2019 and very possibly 2020.
In his nearly 3,000-word analysis, Leadbetter looks at forthcoming hardware and manufacturing techniques which will have a bearing on Next Generation consoles. Among them is 7 nm FinFET semiconductor production by Taiwan manufacturer TSMC. This would replace the 16 nm FinFET used in the current generation of consoles. Though this technology is emerging in mobile devices, Digital Foundry thinks it will take a year before it's ready for large-scale games console production.
Similarly, Digital Foundry thinks GDDR6 is the most likely choice for the memory in next-gen consoles, but that it'll be 2019 before this can be manufactured in the quantities needed for the console market.
When it comes to the CPU, Leadbetter predicts "a revelatory boost" over the current generation, with the possibility of AMD's Ryzen technology allowing eight-core, 16-thread processing – potentially equivalent to recent Ryzen 7 desktop technology, as seen in Lenovo's Legion line. "The potential offered by this level of power in a fixed platform is hugely compelling and could have a fundamental impact on the games we play, with far higher levels of simulation and sophistication," writes Leadbetter.
Things get complicated in the graphics department, but a partnership with AMD points to Radeon's forthcoming Navi GPU as a strong contender, which could be good news for the backwards-compatibility of next-gen machines. However, Leadbetter argues that, if you define a next-gen graphical leap as being a 6- to 8-times increase in power, this may only be the case using the original PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as the baseline, not the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Leadbetter predicts 11 to 15 teraflops of graphical processing power. For comparison, Xbox One X, the current console with the most graphical heft, offers 6 teraflops.
Of course, all this needs to be done at a price acceptable to consumers, and right now there seem to be legs left in the current generation. Time will tell if Digital Foundry's prediction of not before Q4 2019 proves to be correct, but in lieu of concrete announcements, this examination of the hardware market is the next best thing, and well worth a read.
Source: Eurogamer/Digital Foundry
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