The lights are on
Update: Sony has provided a comment that, while being ambiguous about the actual RAM requirements for the OS, clarifies a bit about how the system utilizes its memory. Please read this story for the full details.
A new report states that Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4 console reserves 3.5GB of its main system memory for its operating system – slightly more than its competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One, has taken heat for doing.
Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry cites “a well-placed development source” for its claim that the PlayStation 4’s operating system keeps 3.5GB of its 8GB of RAM to itself, leaving only 4.5GB for games to use. However, the documentation shown to the publication says that another 1GB is available as “flexible memory” that can be used on a limited basis when not being engaged by the OS – but that incorporating this additional gigabyte is a difficult engineering task for developers.
The Xbox One keeps 3GB reserved for its operating system at all times. Microsoft’s rationale, presumably shared by Sony if this report is accurate, is that the positive aspects of instant application-switching outweigh the limitations such a system imposes on game developers.
Microsoft’s console also reserves two of its eight CPU cores for the operating system’s use. Digital Foundry has published a purported screenshot of a Killzone: Shadow Fall development tool that the website says strongly suggests that the PS4 likewise makes only six of its eight CPU cores available to developers.
Digital Foundry also cites other sources “close to Sony” as saying that the company could downsize the operating system’s memory footprint later in the console’s lifecycle with optimizations that increase its efficiency, whereas the Xbox One’s 3GB allocation is more or less set in stone.
We've reached out to Sony for comment.
[Source: Digital Foundry]
Our Take:Those supposed advantages that the PS4 was set to enjoy over the Xbox One sure seem to be dropping like flies, don’t they? I’m no fan of the unbearable wait to bring up the Xbox Guide or the somewhat more manageable delay in calling up the PS3 XMB, but reducing your system’s available memory by 43 percent is a high price to pay. RAM is the most important resource for many new modes of gameplay and other innovations that developers are looking to create on next-gen consoles. I’m all for my friends list instantly popping up on screen when called for, but do I want that at the cost of another 20 AI-driven characters active in the world? That’s a much harder question.
4.5GB of GDDR5 is still a huge bonanza of high-speed memory for developers to work with in 2013, but will we still be saying that in five years when Nvidia is rolling out unified CPU/GPU architecture with 16GB of similarly fast RAM for $200 tablets? As sexy as the PS4/XB1 tech specs are today, remember that they’re broadly similar to mid/high-end PCs available right now and that technology gets faster and cheaper every day. Ten years is a long time to lock in a hardware spec for, and I question the wisdom of both Sony and Microsoft cutting their systems off at the knees like this.
Reading through GI comment sections is like an open window into human psychology.
I'm really sad that I don't have any popcorn. I'm just gonna read through the pages while playing Animal Crossing New Leaf, which is freaking amazing by the way.
Been supporting PS4 all along for this few months, but now, one has to admit that this is disappointing. I hoped that OS will be using a fair 1GB of ram and the rest would be up for gaming purposes. Shame. Biggest advantage of consoles by not running an OS background seems to reach an end.
God damnit, Sony. There's a reason I prefer Playstation; powerful systems and great exclusives. When I heard all of the PS4's 8 GB of RAM I thought to myself "that's huge; that can open doors for devs never before opened". Now I'm getting the feeling that the PS4 isn't going to be much more powerful than the X1.
I know that this is nothing more than a rumor since Sony hasn't commented but still, it sounds accurate. I'm sticking with my PS4 because I truly believe it has the potential to be on top, but only if Sony doesn't make the same stupid mistakes this gen with the PS3.
I don't mind, honestly. Some people just don't realize that even if this is true, 4.5 GB of RAM is a LOT of RAM. The PS3 games only ran on 512 MB, and look at the sheer scale of games we got, like Uncharted, The Last of Us, and God of War 3. Think about those, but with about 10x better FPS, graphics, and mechanics. I don't see why the f*ck every time some jerk hears that their game's graphics won't look like the outside of his basement, they take to the internet to flame companies for their "wrongdoing". Do you really want an OS as slow as PS3's XMB again? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Sony fan, but the XMB sucked. I want it to be faster, better. And I am all aboard for the idea of dedicating 3.5 GB of RAM to it, same on Microsoft's side.
You know' the PS3 did exactly what the editor here said they should do now. They had such exotic hardware that was way advanced for its time. And Sony paid for that, dearly. 600 bucks and it stayed that way for a long time. It wasn't until last holiday season that ps3 starting being at the top in sales. This is a system that has more than double the owner of a 360 with only an 11% failure rate as oppose to 360's 52% failure rate. So we could say that these two companies should put more ram, have more this, have ore that in these consoles it one of them already tried that and it had a ver rocky start. If it wasn't for the strong exclusives, who knows what would've happened to Sony. I don't blame either one of them for this.
im actually ok with this hardware spec, its not a bad idea, to keep the OS in top condition, one main reason being that the OS has more chances of corrupting or failing without sufficient RAM
Well you could always have a PC and a console.