PS4: Sony Earlier Thought About Slow GDDR5 + eDRAM (1088GB/s)

The PS4 has a super fast memory architecture in GDDR5 which is capable of 176GB/s bandwidth, however, Mark Cenry has mentioned that they had thought about an alternative memory architecture.

ps4 dual architecture

As you can see in the above image on the right, one of the so called memory architecture they had thought of was going with was GDDR5 memory with 88GB/s bandwidth which is slower than the one they finally went with, along with a small amount of eDRAM which provides a bandwidth of over 1000GB/s. That sounds great doesn’t it? But Cerny said that it would have been difficult to code for it in a straightforward way and developers had to come up with a separate technique to take full advantage of it.

The Xbox One features a small amount of eSRAM and offers the same functionality of high bandwidth to make up for the slow DDR3 RAM.

That’s the main reason Sony chose the memory architecture on the left of the image. The high bus and a unified memory at a 176GB/s would have made it really easy for developers to code for and it was their philosophy to provide a simple architecture with the PS4. Cerny said that the 256-bit bus GDDR5 bandwidth at 176GB/s  “is quite a lot”.

He revealed that the third-parties had demanded a unified memory architecture with a powerful GPU. This is in complete contrast with the PS3 which had a fairly weak GPU in the RSX and a divided XDR memory. Sony had originally planned to go with just 4GB GDDR5 but certain third-party developers managed to convince them that it was a really bad idea.

He revealed this information at GameLab presentation in Barcelona which has just concluded now. However, you can catch up on it here.

  • NSA-Gorgantulla

    In human words, the XBOX ONE will be a megaton beast if developers make proper games for the 8GB DDR3 + eSRAM.

    Thanks Mark for giving us a hint!


      Hello fellow XBro. Shall we circle jerk live on Kinect 2.0, to commemorate the release of Xbox One? Perhaps Phil Spencer and Major Nelson will join in!

      Looking forward to seeing you!

    • lanceenjoyscereal

      That’s some fox news spinning there. The xb1 still has to divide that memory up for the DVR/OS functionalities.

    • Kamille

      XB1 has DDR3 not GDDR3, And it only has 5GB available for games because 3GB’s are for the 3 OS. Sony was going for GDDR5 and esRam which still was way faster than what the XB1 has right now.

      • GG

        Xbox 360 GPU architecture + EDRAM were among the best engineering decisions ever made for the last generation hardware, plus a great set of “easy” development tools created by MS.

        Sony tried to copy the similar architecture for the PS4, however Mark Cerny realizes that Sony’s own development tools are somewhat difficult to support the architecture. So, he decided to change it for a much simpler architecture and to use Windows Dev tools instead to create games for the PS4.

        • Si-it-is

          so then it’s a good thing MS had the PS/2 to copy from then isn’t it, since the PS/2 used EDRAM to supplement the graphics system many years prior to the 360.

          • PantherCrane

            SIT CHO ASS DOWN!

        • justified

          PS4 OS runs on modified FreeBSD with GRUB bootloader. FreeBSD is built for high server performance, but not tailored for games development.

          Because of the lack of tools for games development on FreeBSD, Sony will have to create it’s own SDK to make sure games will run well on it. Hardware wise the PS4 is already perfect, but software wise it’s still something to prove.
          We can only hope the unexpected crash in Assassin’s Creed 4 demo at E3 won’t be a bad indicator.

          • chitown

            justified, FreeBSD was also the foundation for OSX (Apple’s OS on Macs). Your server observation is meaningless, and the rest of your comment is based on assumptions and straw grasping. The creation of an SDK for a console is a necessary step no matter what the OS environment is. In summary, you’re talking out of your ass.

          • PantherCrane

            Those PS4’s are going to over heat mark my words. And games crashing is the least of Phony’s worries! When the PSN gets hacked to shit and nobody can go online for 6 months, then it’s all over for them!

      • Chris Marrow

        Ps4 memory/gpu advantage will become more and more evident in about 2 years this gen is still in its infancy… but mark my words once developers get comfortable and this gen starts to mature xdone will be in a lot of trouble….it does not matter how good there tools are the bandwith shortage in xdone will always make life difficult …I just want sony to make sure it does not effect my ps4 version!!!

    • Jack V

      Xbox One is using 5GB of RAM for Games. The 3 GB left are for the OS’s.

      PS4 have 7GB available for games and is GDDR5.

  • Rocamx

    you morons… i cant just imagine how you think that MS is bad from choosing GDDR3 and not GDDR5… the answer is obvious. The Xbox One is a beast, and the eSRAM is the advantage that MS took. Bring it on Xbox!

    • chitown

      You sound like the PS3 architecture defenders a few years ago.

      • PantherCrane

        Were they wrong in their stand?

    • yfghj

      you are an idiot.

      • PantherCrane

        Believe it or not, your the real idiot who does not understand what he reads!

        • Kankersukkels

          And the dumb parasite pauperbitch upvoting him.

          • Dwight Shalders

            Says the dumb parasite pauperbitch himself

    • Jack V

      GDDR3 LOL
      You are defending a console without even the proper knowledge about it, do a research about the difference between GDDR5 and DDR3 for graphics.

      GDDR5 > DDR3.

      • Jason Boyd

        GDDR5 is better for graphics processing, DDR3 is better at CPU intensive tasks. With X1’s apparent focus on multimedia and general entertainment,along with it’s multitasking abilities, DDR3 was probably the better choice, as GDDR wouldn’t have been suitable for those tasks.

        • Jack Vazquez

          Defending DDR3 and multimedia……..

          Call me when DDR3 can do at least better performance than GDDR5 for gaming. Not Multimedia.

          512MB GDDR5 is better than 1GB of DDR3.

          • Jason Boyd

            Yeah..that’s why the PS4 upped their RAM from 4 to 8 to match the 8GB MS has right? Lol, learn something about memory before running your mouth. GDDR5 suffers from latency and is not suitable for CPU tasks.

          • Jack Vazquez

            Do some research about the Development.
            You are defending Multimedia for CPU Tasks, not Gaming, which is the main purpose of a console. Having only 1 OS instead of 3.
            Again, no fundamental reason why DDR3 is better than GDDR5 for gaming. In the long run, the development for new engines, better processing in Graphics is way more suitable for GDDR5 Technology and for a next gen console hardware. GDDR6 Technology is coming next year.

          • Jason Boyd

            The PS4 is a gaming console, the X1 is a multimedia console. GDDR5 wouldn’t handle the non-gaming stuff the X1 is doing.

          • Jack Vazquez
    • Majano

      There is no GDDR3, first of all, why does this thing keep confusing most of the readers? DDR 3 is what Xbone adopted for their memory architecture while GDDR5 being a completely different architecture(more of unified type), People need to understand the basics before opting to comment.

      • Jason Boyd

        There is GDDR3, 360 and PS3 both use it. But yes, DDR3 is what is being used in the X1 not GDDR3

  • Rob

    I’m really hating all these technical discussions
    There are so many people (fanboys) making assumptions on power who have no idea about hardware architecture or programming

    I am an Xbox fanboy I’ll be honest but I’ll buy both consoles

    With a hardware engineering background I can confirm that the PS4 memory is better but honestly right now its not making a difference
    If you read interviews with the developers of the Witcher 3, they all stated that PS4 memory does have an advantage but they are not even using it.There is just no need and good programmers can write code good enough to exploit both the PS4 and Xbone architecture. It’ll be difficult to see any differences with any big titles

    • chitown

      Rob, differences will come out in exclusive titles. As for the lack of differences between multi-platform games, part of that is due to MS policy…they won’t allow a game on their system if it is sufficiently inferior to the same game on the equivalent competitor platform. This isn’t a new policy, either.

      • Clay Johnson

        Then why did.Microsoft allow for PC ports of the Witcher 2 which look superior in PC? That policy only mandated for arcade titles

        • Kaosu

          Witcher 2 isn’t a exclusive.

        • Guest

          Witcher 2 was PC exclusive but ported to consoles later, so its the other way around ;)

  • cozomel

    People are so ignorant its not even funny, The x1 has only 68gb of bandwidth to its ddr3 8gb pool and then 102gb to the 32mbs of esram. That means that they will only get that 102gb worth of bandwidth to 32megabytes. That’s nothing, so it means that developers have to figure which codes need the faster bandwidth and which doesnt. You dont have that problem on the PS4, all codes runs at the 176gbs

    • PantherCrane


      • cozomel

        STFU PUSSY!

    • Lubriderm

      You are an idiot.

  • YouWishDear

    First it is 102GB/s + 68GB/s = 170Gb/s as those are INDEPEDENTLY accessed.

    It allows X1 170GB/s reads and 102GB/s writes

    Second. EDRAM was retimed/overclocked to 192GB/s in final hardware

    It gives up to 250GB/s of bandwidth in X1

  • Hairee Pothead

    So PS4 is a 256 bit system.

    • Jason Boyd

      Memory bus width =/= architecture data width