The Sony PlayStation 4 game console shares much of its hardware technology with the personal computer. We look at how it differs from a game computer in terms of price and performance.
The PS4 uses a graphics processor unit (GPU) based on the Radeon HD 7000 series of PC graphics cards developed by AMD. It has 18 processing units with 64 cores per processing unit, which corresponds to a total of 1,152 cores. This gives the PS4 a theoretical peak performance of 1.84 TFLOPS that can be used for graphics, physics simulations, or a combination of both.
There are several known differences between the PS4’s GPU and the AMD 7870 PC graphics card on which it is based. The first is that the PS4 has a dedicated 20 GB / s bus that bypasses the L1 and L2 GPU cache for direct system memory access. In this case, direct memory access (usually abbreviated to DMA) is used to speed up the graphics by reducing the number of processes required.
It also provides additional L2 cache support for simultaneous graphical and asynchronous computational tasks because it contains a “volatile” bit tag. In this way, the computer can process graphics and computer code synchronously without stopping one in order to be able to execute the other.
Finally, the console has 64 sources compared to two sources on the PC unit for arithmetic commands. The goal is to provide developers with superior game engine integration when writing games for the console.
The question of whether a PC is better than a PS4 depends on how you do the comparison. In this article, we look at the comparison from the point of view of cost equality. In a later article we will deal directly with the comparison.
Comparable costs – PC v PS4
If you look at comparable costs, including the cost of the entire system, the console would easily outperform the computer. A PS4 costs around £ 350, while the comparable Radeon 7870 graphics card costs around £ 150. To do this, however, you would need to add up the cost of the components that make up the rest of the computer, e.g. B. motherboard, processor, memory, hard drive. Case and software. If you build a game computer somewhere around the cost of the Sony console, you get a system that is cost compromised at the expense of performance. In this scenario, you no doubt have a PC that can’t keep up with the console in terms of graphics performance.
There are mutliple reasons for this. The first is that the game console has a huge advantage because it lacks a resource-efficient operating system like Windows. A PC has to be able to do many things at the same time. To do this, the operating system must be large and often consume a large amount of the computer’s free resources to run. A console’s operating system is only a fraction of a PC or Mac computer, which means that much of the power available on a PS4 is available to run games. This allows the PlayStation to achieve a lower overall specification without sacrificing performance.
The second is that console manufacturers often sell at a loss because they have to gain market share and have to sell their competitors. This is especially true in the early stages of a console’s life, when development costs are recouped. The PS4 v Xbox One is one of the largest sales battles in the technology market that will continue for many years. It is obviously difficult to compete with a product that is subsidized by the manufacturer.
Costs are not just the consideration when comparing the two. Computer users often have the rest of their system in their hands, leaving more money for graphics hardware alone, while performance is the only consideration. In our next article, Comparing PS4 and PC Graphics – Part 2, we’ll look at the outstanding performance of the PlayStation and the PC.