The PlayStation 5 console is expected to launch at the tail-end of 2020, although the exact release date is yet to be nailed down.
PS5 specs: latest SSD news
The latest piece of PlayStation 5 news comes from a Sony document that is circling the web. In the document, Sony hypes up the processing speed of its upcoming console's SSD.
The document reads: "In order to further enhance the sense of immersion in games, we expect to improve not just the resolution, but the speed of games.
"For example, through a custom‐designed high‐speed SSD, we plan to realize game data processing speeds that are approximately 100 times faster than PS4." That's one juicy bullet point right there.
"Game load times should be much shorter, and players should be able to move through immense game worlds in almost an instant."
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Say hello to DualSense, the PS5 controller that Sony has now officially unveiled.
PS5 technical specs
As is the case these days, some people just want to know what the insides are made up of.
The PS5 insides are going to be under a bit more scrutiny than usual, given that Microsoft has also announced what's inside the Xbox Series X, but it looks like things are still pretty good with the PS5 innards:
CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU Architecture: Custom RDNA 2
Memory/Interface: 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
Memory Bandwidth: 448GB/s
Internal Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
IO Throughput: 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot
External Storage USB HDD Support
Optical Drive: 4k UHD Blu-ray Drive
As you can see, the specs are fairly impressive, though it lacks some of the power of the Xbox Series X, it makes up for it by being a fair bit faster.
In fact, Mark Cerny said, "As game creators, we go from trying to distract the player from how long fast travel is taking - like those Spider-Man subway rides - to being so blindingly fast that we might even have to slow that transition down".
The idea that you'd have to slow loading down is kind of hard to fathom, but that's what he said.
What do those specs mean?
It means that things are much faster than before. Sony isn't going for raw power here, though they're not exactly lacking on that front.
Instead, Sony seems to be going for the ability to load and process an obscenely large amount of data in an incredibly small amount of time.
How fast? 2GB of data in a mere one-quarter of a second fast. That's unheard of as it stands, and the potential for larger worlds, more interactions within those worlds, and just the sheer scale of both the minute and the massive details will be on an entirely new level.
This is all done using a lot of custom hardware to keep all of the different parts talking to each other. This could mean a rather substantial price tag, but with no actual price given, we're still left to speculate on it.
It also means that developers can have a surgical level of control over how their games load with Cerny saying "You just indicate what data you'd like to read from your original, uncompressed file, and where you'd like to put it, and the whole process of loading it happens invisibly to you and at very high speed"
Is the PS5 backwards compatible?
Yes, mostly. According to the presentation, "Almost all of the top 100 PS4 games will be playable at launch".
That presumably is based on Metacritic, and while it's certainly a step in the right direction, pales in comparison to the sizeable efforts of Microsoft on this front.
Of course, this could just be the number at present, it could be that things will improve after the console has released.
This PS5 backwards compatibility is handled on the GPU silicon, with it seemingly emulating the PS4 graphics chip. This could well be where the limit is coming from.
What is PS5 3D audio?
Here's one for the audio nerds of the world. The aim of the Tempest 3D AudioTech is to replicate as much of the sound in real-life as is feasible in a video game.
The example given is that of rainfall, which would traditionally be treated as a single source of sound.
The aim of this new technology which uses something called the Head-related Transfer Function to create sounds. It does this to try and tailor to how you specifically hear sounds, which means that it could take some time to actually pay off.
Sony has currently modelled it on around one hundred people to allow for five main presets at launch. Though, the ideal would be that it's tailor-made for you.
"Maybe you'll be sending us a video of your ears and your head, and we'll make a 3D model of them and synthesise the HRTF.
Maybe you'll play an audio game to tune your HRTF, we'll be subtly changing it as you play, and home in on the HRTF that gives you the highest score, meaning that it matches you the best.
This is a journey we'll all be taking together over the next few years. Ultimately, we're committed to enabling everyone to experience that next level of realism."
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This is an incredibly odd pitch, but the kind of thing that some people are all about. The aim, going back to the rainfall idea, is to allow for each raindrop to be generated and each one creating a different source of sound.
This would mean you could hear the raindrops that are behind you, which ones are to your left, and which ones are dripping from your virtual hat.
This could be huge for multiplayer FPS franchises like Call Of Duty, where understanding sounds can provide players with real advantages.
PS5 price predictions
It hasn't been announced yet, so we can't give you an exact number, but it seems safe to assume that you'll need to have a good few hundred quid saved up in a Monzo pot if you want to buy this new console at launch.
Retail sites have started taking estimates, ranging from a surprisingly affordable £320 to a truly staggering £837. It's all guesswork at this stage, but we'd be very surprised to see anything less than £400 as a bare minimum.
PS5 release date - could it be October 2020?
We don't have the exact release date yet, but Sony has promised that the PlayStation 5 will be with us in the 'holiday' season at the end of 2020.
The Xbox Series X is launching at a similar time, meaning that the next generation of console wars is very much about to begin.
The latest PS5 release date rumour suggests that we could be powering up our new PlayStation console in October 2020, but only time will tell if that prediction is correct!