A closer look at the PS4 (Orbis) and Xbox 720 (Next)

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Both the next-gen Playstation (Orbis) and the Xbox 720 (Next) are reportedly equipped with 8-core CPUs clocked at 1.6GHz.

According to the Digital Foundry, the processor is based on AMD's Jaguar technology and offers "an excellent" ratio between power consumption and performance.

In addition, Orbis (PS4) may very well feature AMD's mobile "Pitcairn" design (Radeon 7970M) and could be a "strong basis" for a next-gen console graphics core, both in terms of power consumption and die-size.

"Running at 850MHz and featuring 20 of AMD's 'Graphics Core Next' compute units, our information suggests that Orbis shaves off 10 per cent of that number, offering up 18 CUs in total, and sees a mild downclock to 800MHz," explained Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter.

"Incorporated into a design dedicated to cutting-edge visuals and gameplay, this hardware has some serious potential. [Plus], paired up with the eight AMD cores, we find a bespoke GPU-like 'Compute' module, designed to ease the burden on certain operations - physics calculations are a good example of traditional CPU work that are often hived off to GPU cores."

Interestingly, previous reports seem to indicate that Orbis runs its CPU cores along with some graphics hardware inside a standalone, custom AMD Fusion core with a separate, discrete GPU. However, Leadbetter notes that all of the above-mentioned components are embedded into the same piece of silicon which has been codenamed Liverpool. Additional specs are said to include 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, with 512MB reserved for the operating system.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will reportedly be loading its Xbox 720 with an offshoot of eDRAM technology connected to the graphics core - in a design meant to offset various bandwidth issues associated with the use of DDR3.


 

"Volume of RAM is the key element in Durango's favour - there'll be 8GB in total, with a significant amount (two sources we've spoken to suggest 3GB in total) reserved for the OS," added Leadbetter. 

The folks at VGleaks are also reporting that the Xbox 720 boasts an 8-core 1.6GHz processor, WiFI, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM (ESRAM) (102 GB/s), an 800MHz graphics card, a 6x Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 and gigabit ethernet.

It is important to keep in mind that none of the above-mentioned specs for either the PS4 Orbis or Xbox 720 Next have been confirmed. However, the reports are certainly plausible and are the best we have to go on until Sony and Microsoft officially reveal their respective console specs.