Does anyone have a headache yet? We feel like we’ve been ten rounds with Mike Tyson, and then forced to sit an advanced mathematics class at Oxford University. We succinctly summarised yesterday’s next generation RAM saga in a post late last night, but the details have changed ever so slightly today. Strap yourselves in folks, because this gets more complicated than quantum physics.
Digital Foundry reported yesterday that of the PlayStation 4’s total 8GB GDDR5 RAM, roughly 4.5GB would be available to developers. However, the publication noted that a further 1GB GDDR5 RAM could be accessed by studios if necessary. It’s since added that this so-called ‘flexible’ area is split into two parts, consisting of physical and virtual spaces. The latter, it reports, “introduces paging issues which impact performance”.
That means that, if accurate, yesterday’s reported 5.5GB GDDR5 RAM tally may actually be closer to 5GB. However, the platform holder has responded clarifying a few things. “The article states that ‘flexible’ memory is borrowed from the operating system, and must be returned when requested – that’s not actually the case,” a spokesperson said. While it didn’t reveal numbers, the company noted that the ‘flexible’ area is fully available for games, enabling “some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality”. Uh-huh.
Given the increasing complexities, it’s becoming much more difficult for anyone without a computer science degree to interpret what all of this actually means, but we still stick by yesterday’s analysis. The amount of non-game RAM is likely to be reduced throughout the console’s lifespan, providing developers with more resources to work with as the operating system is streamlined. We're going for a lie down.