News Article

PS4 Offers 5.5GB GDDR5 RAM to Developers, But Don't Lose Your Mind

Posted by Sammy Barker

New information about Sony's system isn't the end of the world

The winning streak had to come to a climax at some point, and many are pulling out their pitchforks in anticipation of that this evening. There were some mumblings on NeoGAF overnight regarding an imminent “console memory drama”, and that manifested itself earlier today in the form of a Eurogamer.net article about the PlayStation 4.

If the sight of computer internals makes you feel physically sick, then we’ll spare you the mumbo-jumbo; you can read the original article for all of the nitty-gritty. Essentially, our frustratingly savvy partners over at Digital Foundry managed to lay their hands on some secret PS4 documentation, containing some unknown technical snippets about the system. Remember that 8GB GDDR5 RAM? It’s not all used for games.

Initially, we thought that Sony was utilising around 1GB of the referenced tally for the console’s operating system, but it turns out that the machine’s actually employing a lot more. Well, sort of. The publication explains that the hardware currently reserves around 3.5GB GDDR5 RAM for system functions, leaving just 4.5GB for games. That’s actually a little bit less than the Xbox One’s slightly slower 5GB DDR3 RAM – but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

While it’s unlikely that PS4 launch games will use much more than the aforementioned figure, developers can request an additional 1GB GDDR5 RAM should they require it. It’s unclear what the stipulation for this is – and whether any studios will actually use it in the system’s first few months on the market – but it’s readily available should it be required.

And it’s the reason why you shouldn’t freak out over this technical tidbit: Sony is simply thinking ahead. Once an amount of RAM is assigned to developers, it can never be reclaimed. This proved a huge problem with the PlayStation 3, as resource-heavy features like cross-game chat were impossible to implement once the manufacturer had offered precious computational reserves to developers.

However, the same is not true in reverse. Developers may have access to just 4.5GB GDDR5 RAM right now, but as the company works to streamline the operating system and get a feel for what features are going to be important in the future, it can start to give some of the memory back to studios. So, there’s every possibility that outlets will gain admission to much more of the system’s resources in a year or two. In fact, we’re convinced that that’s the plan.

But does that mean that the launch games are going to look like trash? Well, you can judge for yourself based on the footage of Killzone: Shadow Fall and inFAMOUS: Second Son that's already been released. But let’s look at this another way: what did you think of The Last of Us’ visuals? Yeah, that was using 512MB of RAM.

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (39)

Paranoimia

#1

Paranoimia said:

This doesn't make sense to me. The system was initially spec'd at 4GB RAM, with 8GB only being confirmed at the announcement in February.

The OS using 3.5GB doesn't seem feasible. It would have left the PS4 with the same amount of RAM for games as the PS3.

TromboneGamer

#2

TromboneGamer said:

Well I imagine the extra RAM that One had reserved for OS functions were probably keen for keeping up to date with social features and multitasking so in this area I think it's smart to "compete" like that. Allowing developers to use that extra 1GB should prove to be beneficial when necessary in the end anyways.

ShogunRokAdmin

#3

ShogunRok said:

People are really getting worked up about this. Personally, I don't think it matters at all. Total overreaction from the internet... as per usual.

get2sammybAdmin

#4

get2sammyb said:

@Paranoimia From the original article: "The news that the PS4's OS reservation is in the same ballpark as Xbox One's equivalent 3GB allocation is sure to surprise many, especially bearing in mind that previously leaked Sony docs have only spoken of a 512MB allocation for the system software - though this information hails from the era where the new PlayStation was slated to ship with only 4GB of memory. "

I don't think that the OS is using 3.5GB RAM, I just think that Sony's "reserved it" in case it wants it in the future. None of the launch games are going to use all of it, so it's using that "buffer" as futureproof for now.

EDIT: Having said that, when it "upgraded" the RAM, it may have assigned more resources to the OS. Which is a good thing, because the awful in-game XMB, Trophy synching, etc, is one of the worst things about the console. This will all get streamlined over the course of the system's life, though.

TosserHan

#5

TosserHan said:

Good point sammy no need for ppl to get upset about it ps4 still a quality system.

rjejr

#6

rjejr said:

When the 8GB was first announced my inital reaction was 2 GB OS, 2GB video sharing, 4GB games, so this doesn't surprise me in the least.

Oh look, found it, was actually Apr. 3rd, not the unveil:

"Has Sony made any comments about how the 8GB of DDR5 RAM are going to be doled out? I can imagine them saying - 1GB for the OS, 1GB for background apps, 2GB for recording, 4GB for games. Of course 4GB is still 8x what is currently available, but it isn't 16x more."

Oh, and nice sneaking that "G"DDR5 into the headline, don't think I've seen that leading G on this site before, you avoided the entire scuttlebutt of the net getting it's panties in a knot.

MaxaMod

#7

MaxaMod said:

it's not my problem it's dev's problem .. all i want it a fast UI and great games

but xbox fanboys are taking revenge all over the INTERNET and sony fanboy are like ..... it's so funny ans amusing

fortius54

#8

fortius54 said:

I just think that it's funny how everyone is making a huge fuss over it especially considering the capacity of the previous generation.

Itachi

#9

Itachi said:

This whole next gen console war has gone from friendly competition to down right childish. All this constant bickering back and forth over which console is better is just pointless. It's gotten so bad that if you make a honest comment about a console in a comment section people really get personally upset about it like you offended them as a person, it's just ridiculous. Some people are just taking brand loyalty extremely too far. I'm a PlayStation fan myself but this news is no big deal at all and don't see why people are so surprised. 5 gigs is still more than enough ram to work with and people don't even know anything about the PS4's OS. This is why I been saying it's not good for Sony to be so quiet regarding the PS4. All that does is make people suspicious, and people are so quick to jump to conclusions. Now they have no choice but to break their silence.

3Above

#10

3Above said:

The MS fanboys are trying to blow this out of proportion out of desperation. 4.5GB of GDDR5 is still faster than 4.5 GB of DDR3.

3Above

#12

3Above said:

Question: has it been confirmed that XboxOne uses 3Gbs for the OS or is that an assumption too?

Itachi

#13

Itachi said:

@get2sammyb I actually enjoy it. Sometimes I go on sites and say things intentionally just to get a reaction. You learn more about people when there pissed than when there happy. What I've learned is that Xbox fans are bitter at PlayStation fans, because when Xbox One was getting stomped into the ground, PlayStation fans showed no mercy. Slandering every PS4 article good or bad is they're own way of taking revenge. That's why something as silly as a gig of ram gets blown out of proportion.

get2sammybAdmin

#14

get2sammyb said:

@3Above I'm honestly not entirely sure. However, it's worth noting that this report is not 100 per cent official either.

kelvins

#15

kelvins said:

right lets start hear with your headline its not 5.5 gig it 4.5 with an emergency one gig if you shut down other features that use it, secondly how many times have we heard Sony exaggerate or lie about specs to make them sound better, they are it was all over the ps3 last time around! and it not about a gig Sony first said it needed 1 gig for os now its 3.5 by my reckoning that's 2.5 gig more than first stated, and the real reason they had to up it to 8gig

kelvins

#16

kelvins said:

oh one more thing gddr is faster for graphics hence the G but other tasks in the os its not as all round as ddr that why its only used in graphic cards time will tell now its using more if this slows down the system sorry for sounding pessimistic but im not a fan boy of either console ,but I don't look at either with rose tinted glasses and question everything!!!!

TerrorByte

#17

TerrorByte said:

Before I decided to trade in my 360 and games to reserve my PS4, dedicated memory never factored in to my decision. So this isn't very important to me other than 3.5 being for the OS hopefully means quicker message reading while in game and looking at the UI faster. So actually this is good news to me, because I know Ps4 will still be a beast.

get2sammybAdmin

#18

get2sammyb said:

@kelvins And question you should. I wonder, though, if this information never got out - would anyone even care/be aware of it?

jgrangervikings

#19

jgrangervikings said:

And to think that my first pc, a Packard Bell running Windows 3.1, was top of the line at the time and boasted 100 mhz speed with 128 MB SD RAM. And that was over $2000 USD. Crazy how times change.

BornOfEvil

#20

BornOfEvil said:

@ajaychitown Seeing as how Xbox fans were dogging Sony for 3 months about not unveiling the console itself, I think they deserved every joke and meme everyone threw at their (for some reason) precious Microsoft and Xbox One.

I also find it funny that during those 3 months, Xbox fans kept calling the PS4 "casual" because of it's social features, then praised the Xbox One, which has the same features.

But the funniest thing is that PS fans took the jokes that were thrown at the PS4 for 3 months, but less than 48 hours after the Xbone reveal, Xbox fans were on Facebook practically begging for people to stop with the Xbone jokes.

Paranoimia

#21

Paranoimia said:

Just to be clear - my earlier comment wasn't me being 'concerned' over the memory. I was just saying that it didn't seem to make much sense, given the initial claims of 4GB memory.

Even 4.5GB is still plenty for games, and many times what the PS3 has to work with. I can only assume that since the OS has (apparently) grown so much from the initial 512MB mentioned in the article, features already known about have been improved, and perhaps new ones added that we don't yet know about.

Zombie_Barioth

#22

Zombie_Barioth said:

@ajaychitown
Thats pretty much what it is. There have been studies showing that people who become attached to a brand do start to see it that way. The anonymity of the internet makes things so much worse though since people can get away with comments that would normally result in getting their teeth knocked out.

Itachi

#23

Itachi said:

@Zombie_Barioth Yeah it's just something I've been noticing. People are really becoming emotionally attached to brands. I love PlayStation and always have, but if my closest friend decides to get an Xbox One should that affect our friendship? Of course not but that is the way people are acting. Yes the internet is a very secluded domain where people can remain anonymous and feel free to say the things online that they normally wouldn't have the nerve to say in person. However that's something I actually like about blogging because people are real. In real life sometimes people would smile in your face but deep down really don't like you, but on the internet people show there true colors. For example if you were to ask some random people on the street about Xbox1 and PS4 they would give you their most humble answer, but pose that same question online and you will see the exact opposite.

Dathon

#24

Dathon said:

I am disappointed that pushsquare would put this nonsense of an article on their website, without any facts. Just another copy of rumors that all other websites are posting. Sony has not given any cold hard facts to the public, regarding how much memory is available.

Thegamingzombie

#25

Thegamingzombie said:

So let me get this straight, there'll be 4.5GB of RAM for games and 3.5GB of RAM for OS, and they'll give more access to developers later? If that's right then i don't mind that at all. It actually sounds pretty smart! Unless I'm wrong...then nevermind

rjejr

#26

rjejr said:

@jgrangervikings - My first PC running Win 3.1 had only 4MB RAM and a 200MB HDD and it cost $1400. I bought an extra 4MB RAM for $178 so you got a really good deal on that 128MB, I'm kind of surprised Win3.1 could even access anything over 32MB. Oh, I still have it, and the 28 floppies I used to install Win 95 on it.

Zombie_Barioth

#27

Zombie_Barioth said:

@ajaychitown
Thats certainly true, and we all do that. The scary thing about that though is it goes to show just how many people think a certain way. Can you imagine every person you see stiring up trouble on the internet being that way on the inside in real life?

BlueProxy

#28

BlueProxy said:

In the end, Sony will give us some amazing looking games, so it's nothing to even worry about. The PS3 is a beefy machine, with great graphics. The PS4 will be double that at launch. Tech specs aren't a big deal.

Itachi

#29

Itachi said:

@Zombie_Barioth One things for certain people would be a lot harder to get along with, and I think eventually words would turn to violence. Not sure if you ever watched the Dave Chappelle shows, but he actually did a skit like that; if the real world were like the internet. If you never saw it before you should check it out. While it is a comedy I think it demonstrates the the world of the internet perfectly. It doesn't exactly get into the subject we're on, but it does show how disgusting the world of the internet really is.

Reverend_Skeeve

#30

Reverend_Skeeve said:

Really not a problem for me. Sure, it's water on the fanboy war-mills, but it's already implied that there'll be more RAM as soon as Sony optimizes the OS further...and even with the status quo as it is, there's more that 16 times of the current amount of RAM available...and also much faster and also unified RAM, so the PS4 will still be a beast.

But of course the interwebz had to foam at the mouth about this.:)

artemisthemp

#31

artemisthemp said:

I rather have Sony use a little more Ram for the OS than necessary, then PS4 is starting to getting lag issue similar to Canceling Sync Trophy on PS3.

Also Windows 7 require 4GB to run optimal doesn't it?

Savino

#32

Savino said:

It's more ram than you guys can dream of!!! If the ps4 had 4 gigs total it would be awesome, but 4.5 is what is available.... Aaaaaah... So much ram!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

johnnynitross

#33

johnnynitross said:

I'm not worried to say the least. The system is gonna rock. On the the road to Gamescom I'm sure there will be other things that will pop up on the net. I mean Sony has enjoyed the limelight ever since E3, and there is gonna be another article I'm sure that will point something else out that us consumers didn't know. Now that the Xbox One sales are ramping up, the war will start getting a little more fierce. I just hope the PS Store and Os are as lightning quick as advertised. No worries here.

Jaz007

#34

Jaz007 said:

This is as official as the 1GB of RAM for the OS too right? So theoretically it could change to something else in the future. This stinks, but oh well. It will still be a suberb console. I'm not sure what to believe right now though lol.

Visiblemode

#35

Visiblemode said:

Correction: The Last of Us is running on what's left of 512mb after O/S usage. Apparently Sony worked the O/S down to 50 mb, down from 120mb it used for the first 4 years of it's existence. So it runs on 462 mbs of ram, or nearly 1/10
What it's equivalent would have access to before using the emergency flex-gig and before Sony inevitably optimizes the system and opens up more ram for in-game use.

This begs the question, do people even understand
the role of ram? For those who don't, do you recall buying your desktop/laptop? Do you remember being asked if you do a lot of multitasking? That is the very nature of ram. Of course it's useful in-game, but find me a p
PC gamer running at resolutions higher than 1080p that actually admits
a functional difference beyond 4 gigs.

It's kind of like the flow of water. If you have 20 glasses to fill and the water pressure is very high so it takes only half a second to fill each glass, there is no advantage to a greater output of water. It would just spill. This is what memory output is like. If you think that devs who make incredible games today using 1/10th to 1/12th of the ram they're about to have access to, would know what to do with 16x the ram, then you're insane.

Savino

#36

Savino said:

@Visiblemode Yep, as I said, it is way more ram than the vast majority here can dream.
I work with 3D production and my workstation has 32gigs and is a lot, I barely use 20 in my bigger works... there´s no way PS4 will use in a single game the amount of info that I use in a single scene!

Visiblemode

#37

Visiblemode said:

@Savino Yeah, if only a fraction of the commenters talking about this stuff had even a fraction of your knowledge. People hear numbers and just react to them. Big sounds good, smaller sounds bad. Yet the funny thing is if they weren't cautious about allocation of ram to the OS people would be screaming their heads off about a lack of features or a herky jerky experience when switching in and out of games. To those in doubt: Think of it...the PS3 has incredible games with 462 mb of ram, the OS is decent, if slow, with only 50 megs allocated. Just imagine how amazing optimized games and OS will be in a few years with games having 10-12 times more high bandwidth ram and the operating system having 50-70 times current resources...that is insane. Plus as the OS gets defined expect devs to be allowed more ram as games get increasingly more complex. Just look at a 2006 PS3 game and compare it to a 2013...that's with basically identical hardware (not counting the 70 meg OS slimming in 2010) Basically, it takes time for the art itself to progress, current techniques are honed to a very low hardware standard. The sheer amount of work and r&d it will take to need what the PS4 has even at launch, even before factoring the 1 gig "flex ram" is kind of mindblowing, especially with a max resolution of 1080p.

Dathon

#38

Dathon said:

@Savino RAM is cheap these days. 4-8GB is pitiful low, even for consoles. RAM constraints make developers have to compress textures and their code more than needed, and increase loading zones. 8GB total available to developers, should be the bare minimum in 2013. I had 8GB in my PC 5 years ago, and today I have 32GB, not for gaming, but for photo/video production and rendering use.

Savino

#39

Savino said:

Dathon, yes, ram os cheap these days, but you cant use a obsecene amout of ram (like we have in ours pcs) without spending more in other parts!
If you put more ram, you will need a better processor to work together, or your processor will be the bottleneck of information! It will have no clock to fill all the ram in a usefull time!
Changing the processor you will need to change the motherboard for one more expensive and, after all, you will need to make a huge box to cooldown everything!

We cant look to those console and compare with our pcs! Look the size of our boxes, the amout of noise it makes, the heat it produces and the cost! Those next-gen videogames is more powerfull than the majority of pcs around! Believe me, devs who complain about the lack of memory are terribles devs!!!

(I hate when I write too much because I know I made mistakes in my english, so sorry if it seems a little confusing)

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