PlayStation 5’s Boost Clock Design Opens Up a Lot of Opportunities, Says Developer

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Sony opted for some bold choices when it comes to the design of its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, and we don't mean just visually. The hardware features a 'revolutionary' storage solution, according to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, and we've covered that at length already.

But that's not the most surprising feature of the PlayStation 5 hardware. When the full specifications of the gaming system were revealed, we learned that the CPU and GPU both featured a 'boost clock' design based on AMD's SmartShift technology. That means the frequencies are variable, though they are capped at 3.5 GHz for the CPU and 2.23 GHz for the GPU.

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This is certainly unusual for a console. Microsoft, for instance, opted to have fixed frequencies on its Xbox Series X and recently threw a jab at the rival on this very topic.

What do game developers think of the way the PlayStation 5 has been built? We asked Ryan Shah, CEO and Lead Programmer of UK indie studio Kitatus and Friends.

I think it's a bit like when developing for PC, where you have access to all that different hardware and you can kind of tune things based on your needs. And what Sony are essentially saying are, here's your tool of options, you can absolutely throttle to the max. We prefer if you didn't, but if there's like a fringe case where you're just off that tiny bit of performance you need, we will let you squeeze a little bit extra. It also opens up a lot of different opportunities such as, say that you wanted to take rendering for some specific thing like a particle and you wanted to run it through something like the CPU for a specific cutscene, that'd be possible now whereas historically you had to be really careful that you didn't flood a specific thread. It opens up a lot of interesting opportunities of offloading that kind of stuff elsewhere on the machine, which is something that's getting less and less common, to offload other parts of the machine, but it seems like especially from PlayStation 5's technical conference by Mark Cerny a few weeks back, they're really pushing for that 'Here's the hardware. Here's how you access what you need, go in and make something beautiful' kind of mantra.

The PlayStation 5 doesn't have a release date or price yet. However, several retailers across multiple countries have now added dedicated PlayStation 5 pre-order pages, which may suggest that pre-orders will start soon. When they do, we should also get the final release date and/or pricing details.

Check back later this week for our full interview with Ryan Shah on the studio's debut title, Nth^0: Infinity Reborn, scheduled for a February 2021 release on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and PC.

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