PS5 Emphasizes SSD Advantages, Will Take Physical Media

PS5 Emphasizes SSD Advantages, Will Take Physical Media

Mark Cerny discussed some ambitions for the next PlayStation home console, with the use of SSDs being a key feature.

While current generation hardware isn’t showing its age compared to that of previous generations, the arms race between the console manufacturers still goes on. Sony has made their intentions to make a next-generation console clear, and out of the blue, system architect Mark Cerny spoke to Wired about Sony’s plans for their next platform. Be prepared to hear about ray-tracing, 3D audio, and solid state drives as buzzwords in the next couple of years.

Cerny was naturally coy about some of the key details of this next PlayStation, which he refused to label as “PlayStation 5,” electing to refer to it as “the next-gen console.” It isn’t a surprise that Sony plans for this console to have a more powerful CPU and GPU, with an AMD chip at the center of the console’s architecture.

The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.

“Ray tracing” might be a phrase people have heard, but don’t quite understand. In a nutshell, ray tracing, a visual effect you may see in large CGI movie blockbusters but not on a home console, allows for the simulation of light bouncing off of objects and surfaces, adding a realistic layer to the visuals. Adding to the immersion, the AMD chip would also allow for a form of “3D audio,” which would allow players to tell from which direction sounds are coming from.

The feature that Cerny appears to be most excited for is the inclusion of an internal SSD (solid state drive)—the feature was heavily requested by developers. With an SSD, various game functions, such as fast-traveling, would have significantly quicker load times. Another advantage would be an increase of speed for rendering a game’s world, allowing for faster character movement through that world.

This talk with Cerny brushes over some key details, such as the support for 8K graphics (though good luck finding a TV for that). Finally, this profile on the next-gen console confirms that it will support physical media, alleviating any fears of a digital-only future.

Sony’s next-generation console won’t be arriving in 2019, which lines up with previous statements from the company. As Sony is skipping out on E3 2019, we can likely expect the company to announce PS5 (or whatever this next-gen console will be called) plans at a later date.