R Read - "Our semi-custom APUs" = Xbox 720 + PS4?

Discussion in 'Video Cards and Graphics' started by psoomah, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. DrBoss

    DrBoss Senior member

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    i'd love to see a PC gaming renaissance, unfortunately i think to many game developers enjoy the simplicity (profits) associated with designing for a limited range of hardware.
     
  2. tviceman

    tviceman Diamond Member

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    I agree, but if the next generation of consoles only sell half or 2/3 the total units as the current generation, it's certainly enticing for developers to look more into other avenues. The PC platform has essentially gone almost entirely digital at this point, and with no licensing fee's, those are huge costs they don't have to worry about. Significantly less sales can produce the same results, and as Nvidia and AMD tout time and time again, there are 10's of millions of competent gaming PC's (HD5770 / gtx550ti performance or better). This is the first time that truly next generation consoles aren't high end hardware and with the continued move towards digital, mobile, and the increasingly competitive alternatives (Google Play, iTunes, Steam) I believe the upcoming consoles are going to be less successful overall. And the developers will have to react and adjust to this.
     
  3. Ajay

    Ajay Platinum Member

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    That would be awesome, but even Trinity 2.0 (28nm PD arch) w/ CGN (maybe w/50% more SPs) and stacked eDRAM could be fast enough. The key would be stacked DRAM with a wide memory bus. Then the core could run off regular DRAM and the stack DRAM would provide all the bandwidth the embedded GPU could use, 3D performance would be way up from Trinity. If Sony wanted to, they could build a PCIe slot horizontal to the mainboard and add a proprietary AMD graphics card for higher end SKUs. Then they could have a hi/low approach to the market and adjust to the price sensitivity of the the market in any given year. Sony is well aware of what can happen when a strong recession hits a country (since it happened to Japan well b/4 the US).
     
  4. DrBoss

    DrBoss Senior member

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    In the meantime, fortunately PC gamers have a number of community funded games to look forward to. I personally can't wait for Star Citizen. Hopefully the larger development houses will notice that there are a huge number people who want to move away from the bread and butter CoD experience and get back to hardcore games.
     
    #204 DrBoss, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  5. tviceman

    tviceman Diamond Member

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    Yeah it's very nice to see some of the old names back, like Chris Roberts, and getting millions of dollars worth of crowd funding and attention!
     
  6. Jovec

    Jovec Senior member

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    Maybe 120 FPS for 3D is out of reach for current Trinity, but it's probably closer than you might think.

    From a 2011 interview.

     
    #206 Jovec, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  7. jpiniero

    jpiniero Diamond Member

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    More like smartphones and tablets take over really.

    You're not missing anything. These consoles are going to be cheap at launch and the room for subsidy is small. They have to be.

    The Vita is an epic bust. Expect Sony to disown it soon after Christmas. They priced it too high.
     
  8. cplusplus

    cplusplus Member

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    Not exactly. They priced it at the exact same price point the 3DS was when it came out. You couldn't have expected them to price it lower than that, and people were genuinely excited when they announced that price. And, more than likely, they priced it as low as they could without losing too much money on each one. Their actual pricing problem comes from not being able to drop the price this year because the hardware was so expensive (much more so than the 3DS), and more importantly adding a hidden cost by not shipping with usable flash memory inside and forcing everyone to get a proprietary memory card (probably to make up for how low they're pricing the system). There's more than likely a price cut coming early next year (all they've said is no price cut this year).

    The real thing they have to worry about is if they'll be able to get anyone to develop blockbuster games for it even after the price cut. Because without the games, it'll just be a PSP redux, a good system that no one wanted to risk developing big games on it because of the userbase (though that was due more to piracy than system sales). Nintendo doesn't/didn't have that issue because they have internal franchises like Mario and Zelda to use as system sellers after a price drop (there was a Mario released a couple months after the 3DS drop). But Sony's already shot the Uncharted bullet at launch, and while a Killzone game is coming out next year that franchise has never been the system seller they wanted it to be. So their best but for a post-price drop system seller is to rely on third parties to make the games that will sell the system, and what third-party is going to want to do that when the sales are as low as they are right now. The best they have so-far is ACIII-Liberation, which is getting good, but not great, reviews, and getting another third party to do that again is looking more and more unlikely as the months go on.
     
  9. psoomah

    psoomah Senior member

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    What's the most critical piece of this puzzle?

    I see it as full future hardware backward compatibility built in which can be easily accomplished with an all AMD console ecosystem going forward and Microsoft and Sony now appear to be on the same page on this.

    I wrote a while back I considered by far the most logical $cenario for all the majors in the console/pc gaming space was a common single vendor hardware platform for all three next gen consoles (with AMD the obvious choice) which would slash costs for everyone and increase profits for everyone. I think Sony was put in a position where it had no choice, and Nintendo isn't fully there yet, but this is indeed what seems to be happening.

    It allows for a far shorter console release cycle to take advantage of emerging capabilities. This shortened console release cycle concept appeared in the leaked microsoft next gen console plans. It's becoming critical for next gen to release in 2013, yet just two more years would enable a far more capable console in the same cost and power footprint.

    Solution - release a new console in 2013 with the best doable technology and processing power, then update in three or four years to take advantage of power sufficient to enable full 3d/4k capability. Consumers will stay happy as long as they can plug their new machine into their existing account and play all the games they already own and by which time developers, having worked on the same ecosystem for years, will be able to easily create dual versions of their games. Consumer confusion will be non-existent in the purely online game sales/download model that will then exist.

    Microsofts $99 down, extended Gold account contract, will have a substanital advantage in this model, and they are on record they will continue this model for the 720, which allows not only for selling the 720 at or near cost on day one, but making making it relatively painless to move up to the 720 'turbo' when it becomes available. I would expect Sony to follow suit.

    Nintendo, if it survives, is likely to join the party with it's next gen (after the wii u) console which, if the wii u is a functional flop (highly probable) can be expected sooner than later.

    AMD would have a number of synergistic advantages going forward.

    Nvidia not so much.

    If this plays out as a pure AMD play into the foreseeable future, seems logical Nvidia will be concentrating it's efforts elsewhere and gradually abandon gaming.They will simply cease having traction or leverage with developers and publishers.
     
    #209 psoomah, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  10. Tuna-Fish

    Tuna-Fish Senior member

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    I actually think the next gen is going to sell a lot better than this one, mainly because they will aim for a lot lower price points, and for good cost reduction down the line. If they go with a reasonably sized chip and a mem bus that can be stacked on the chip later on, cost reducing to below the magical $100 line in the tail end of the generation ought to be possible.

    People cry about how it's not going to be on the level of high-end pcs this time around. As a dev, I welcome that. Frankly, the last gen sucked from a dev standpoint. PS2 sold ~50M consoles in the first 3 years, PS3 did what, 18M? Market size correlates pretty linearly with game sales, and thus the amount you can spend on development. If the trend continues it doesn't matter how many flops the console has, no-one is going to be able to fund game development for it.

    Because of this, it's good to hear that both MS and Sony are talking how this gen is going to be less extravagant. My dream console? Fast as a mid-end/budget PC at graphics (can be slower in cpu), but so cheap that people who don't even play games buy them to get Youtube on their big screen. That'll get you much better games than a megasystem with 4x bigger GPU, because there will be investment into games other than the few safest possible franchises.
     
    #210 Tuna-Fish, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  11. BenSkywalker

    BenSkywalker Elite Member

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    This only remains viable as long as console makers want to have *very* weak gaming CPUs. There is pretty much no benefit to MS or Sony going with AMD over a smaller and cheaper POWER chip unless AMD is willing to lose money. AMD also needs to stay in business which isn't close to assured at this point.

    I'm not seeing the slashing costs for Sony. Producing a POWER chip themselves with a smaller die size, or paying AMD to make a larger chip for them..... not seeing any possible savings for them. MS and Nintendo don't have anywhere near the hardware resources Sony does so they are in a very different position, but Nintendo did select one of the two *obvious* choices when looking at a cost sensitive for a console- POWER(the other is MIPS, x86 is *NOT* a good cost saving platform by any stretch of the imagination).

    Too stupid to really even both considering. Consoles start working on the next gen when current gen sales go down. One company has tried that technique in the past, Sega. Ask them how that worked out for them. Console gamers will not buy a short cycle product knowingly.

    Their insanely weak CPUs? Their atrocious platform support? Their being on the verge of bankruptcy? In any realistic sense they have one thing going for them, a solid GPU division. In terms of profitability right now nVidia makes *far* more money of their CPU division then AMD does. That wasn't a typo either.

    For how long will PC gaming be ahead of ARM gaming? You seem to completely ignore that factor, although it seems like the major developers certainly aren't. By the time the next generation of consoles hits, the way things are tracking, it isn't unreasonable to assume that nVidia would have a larger CPU division then AMD in absolute terms(not just profits as it is now). Will ARM move up to higher computing tasks? I'd bet money on it, if it will be competitive with MIPS and POWER at that time remains to be seen, besting x86 isn't a tough target with the power envelopes we are talking about.

    The Wii sold more in its' first three years then the PS3, how did that work out as a development platform? It is very far removed from simply moving a given amount of units of hardware. You have to have a compelling platform for people to buy games on. The currently talked about specs for the PS4 aren't it. It will not move a lot of games. It will do worse in its' life cycle then the PS3 if it ships the way people are talking about(horribly crippled with an APU).

    BluRay made the PS3 expensive. BluRay. BluRay. BluRay. When the PS3 launched at $499 it was one if not the cheapest BluRay player you could buy(in most markets it was the cheapest). All of the computing power the PS3 had was relatively speaking inexpensive, BluRay drives were not. If the launched the hypothetical PS4 with a POWER8 based CPU comparable to a Cell 2 with a ~770 class GPU in Q4 2013 with today's BRD prices they could hit $349 without too much trouble. It would also be a *much* better machine then anything the people in this thread have brought up as a viable alternative.
     
  12. tviceman

    tviceman Diamond Member

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    Blu Rays, tablets, HTPC's, smart TV's, and Blu-rays already do net flix, hulu, youtube. Just about everybody already has this capability or can get this capability without buying a console they don't intend to play games on. And nobody today cares how much a console will cost 6 years after it comes out (in reference to you talking about it costing less than $100 at the end of it's life). When the next gen consoles hit and the initial games offer only a very small improvement over current consoles, especially when compariing the xbox/PS2 to xbox360/PS3, and when factoring in the rising popularity mobile, social, mmo, F2P, and steam gaming- I think next gen will be a harder sell. I don't think the next gen consoles will be unsuccessful, I just think the system has peaked in popularity and will be competing against many more diverse platforms than in the past.
     
    #212 tviceman, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  13. Bobisuruncle54

    Bobisuruncle54 Senior member

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    That has happened already.

    Take this view much further and gaming is dead. This generation has been hurtling towards the lowest common denominator, hunting for profit and eking out every last drop of money from consumers with DLC.

    Game development on these consoles hasn't become worse because these systems were "powerful" it was because of the piss poor selection of hardware in the PS3, and the complete lack of quality control with the 360.

    Crysis was done for $20 million, and MW2 cost in the region of 3 times that. Your idea that a crappier, cheaper system will result in better games is oversimplified. This generation has seen the most crap because it has become a game of maximising profits and relying on huge marketing campaigns in addition to the poor management of the hardware. Never mind that more powerful systems will allow for real time effects to replace those previously laboured over by artists and programmers going direct to the metal for stuff that still doesn't look that great (Uncharted, KZ3 and GT5).
     
    #213 Bobisuruncle54, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  14. psoomah

    psoomah Senior member

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    Be the same slashed costs as for Microsoft. Since AMD already developed or is developing all the technologies and middleware needed for Microsoft's and Sony's next gen consoles anyway for their own purposes, all Microsoft and Sony have to do is provide AMD with their respective specifications based on AMD's presentation of what capabilities will be available in specific timeframes and AMD puts it all together.

    Sony also will benefit hugely from sharing core AMD processing elements with Microsoft in game development and publishing.
     
  15. psoomah

    psoomah Senior member

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  16. BenSkywalker

    BenSkywalker Elite Member

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    How, in any way comprehensible, does that benefit Sony, or vice versa for that matter? Neither Sony nor MS release cross platform games, to do so would be idiotic from a business perspective. There isn't a benefit for them making their development environment as close as possible for them at all. For third party developers you could make a very compelling case, but for Sony and MS they certainly don't stand to benefit.
     
  17. Final8ty

    Final8ty Golden Member

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    http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/ps4_new_kits_shipping_nowamd_a10_apu_used_as_basis.html
     
  18. NTMBK

    NTMBK Diamond Member

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    Another thing to consider when trying to guesstimate the graphics power of the next console generation- the power consumption and cooling requirements of modern graphics cards have gone WAYYYY up since the mid-2000s. The Xenos chip in the 360 is close to an ATi X1800, which was the flagship of its day. However, it was also a single slot card, with only a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. That puts it roughly in the thermal envelope of a modern HD7750 or HD7770.
     
  19. Timorous

    Timorous Senior member

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    Of course they benefit from having a similar development environment, it is not a direct benefit mind but it is there. Some games are very poor on PS3, take GTA4 and Red Dead Redemption as an example, that sort of difference can affect sales and perception of the console. If the hardware and development environment is similar then 3rd party games are going to perform roughly equally on both consoles. That means for the most part the only thing to affect sales will be things that MS or Sony are in control of like the online experience, console pricing and timing/quality of their exclusive games.
     
  20. Lonbjerg

    Lonbjerg Diamond Member

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  21. NTMBK

    NTMBK Diamond Member

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    For goodness sake. The A10 is what is in an early devkit, not the actual console. By your logic a 360 would be two G5 Powermacs strapped together.

    The title of this thread refers to a direct quote from Mr Read- "semi-custom APUs". Specialised silicon for their customers, not off the shelf A10s.
     
  22. Ancalagon44

    Ancalagon44 Platinum Member

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    My thinking is that a semi custom APU could probably blow most people here away in terms of power.

    The reason is this - currently, a 7970 GPU uses 4.3 billion transistors. It is a high price, low volume part. What if AMD targeted approximately 4 billion transistors, or even 3 billion, for their semi custom APU?

    Why would they do that? They can fab a 4.3 billion transistor chip at the moment. So, if they treat that as their ceiling, then the cost of fabbing the custom APU will get lower as time goes on and process nodes improve. Plus, it would allow Sony the ability to do some really crazy stuff by having the CPU and GPU so tightly integrated. It would be a very good demo of AMD's entire reasoning behind APUs.

    Anyway, so what kind of kit could we get in such an APU, considering that Trinity is about 1.3 billion transistors? Probably quite a lot! If they reserved 1 billion for the CPU part, that leaves 2 to 3 billion for the GPU part, meaning approximately 7870 level of performance. Thats quite a lot of performance when your developers can optimize for just one hardware spec. Plus no doubt they will have some crazy memory bus, maybe 128 or 256 bit GDDR5, so the APU will not be very memory constrained. They might even embed eDRAM to help that further.
     
  23. Olikan

    Olikan Golden Member

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    not only those APUs are faster than today consoles, theese APUs are very bandwidth starved...
    just adding some edram, they would likely almost double the igp performance
     
  24. VulgarDisplay

    VulgarDisplay Diamond Member

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    Yeah, I would imagine they would have some type of RAM on the CPU die to give the GPU's the bandwidth they need. Honestly, I could care less if the new consoles are weak because I could see it driving developers back to the PC in droves.
     
  25. Bobisuruncle54

    Bobisuruncle54 Senior member

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    With regards to APU memory bandwidth, couldn't MS use GDDR5 for an APU instead of DDR3 if that's the case?

    I'm also curious as to whether or not it will have turbo clocks, which could be quite an interesting feature in a console.