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Forums - Gaming Discussion - DF: In Theory: Could Sony produce a PS4 Switch-style console hybrid?

Azuren said:
curl-6 said:

It's still not at the same level as last gen though; it's notably superior to PS3 and 360 even if it's also notably weaker than PS4/Xbone.

And again; closer to Sony and Microsoft's last gen consoles.

I never argued that point, all I took issue with is calling the Switch ports of Doom and Wolfenstein II "dialed back to last gen" which just isn't true.



Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

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potato_hamster said:
Pemalite said:
Consoles typically use semi-custom designs, Thus the "Hypothetical" chips generally don't exist until they hit the market anyway.
There is only one exception that comes to mind though... The Switch.

Sure, consoles use semi-custom designs. The key there being semi-custom, you know, meaning a customized version of something that actually exists. Except in this case it would be a semi-custom design of something that doesn't yet exist that people are assuming exists secretly, or will exist within the next 6-18 months or so, and be at a price point comparative to current APUs. Kev here is acting like there's a decent chance Sony already has this all nailed down and could be announcing it at E3.

Low powered Ryzen APU's exist and they have Superior CPU and GPU capabilities to the Playstation 4.
The only issue they have is bandwidth, they would likely need a redesign of the memory controller to take advantage of HBM/GDDR5/GDDR5X/GDDR6.

potato_hamster said:

Well wonderful that you found an exception to a broadly established rule of thumb per se. Unless you're advocating that it would make any sense to design a PS4 mobile APU that is design to spend as much time idling as possible, please make your case, and if not, why bother bringing it up?

I brought it up because there was an exception to the rule. - You cannot assert something is true when there are cases of it being false.

potato_hamster said:

You keep talking like it's just arbitary to effectively emulate something closely resembling the PS4's APU on something like a 2300U, with the appropriate TDP and cost, do you have an examples of something similar being done using similar technologies, or is this just something that you think hypothetically should be easily manageable?

I'm not talking emulation. Nor would it be required. Thus I am not obligated to provide examples on how "it's done".
If everything is kept ISA compatible, there is generally no issue on that front... Which is why the Xbox One X having a ton of hardware deviations from the base Xbox One, still retains full hardware backwards compatibility.

potato_hamster said:


I mean, it kinda would have to have a 1080p screen, maybe not in the the "they could make it work on a 720p screen" but definitely in the "how in the fuck are we going to market device for a target audience that definitely won't accept a 720p screen on a handheld  in 2019 for $400.?"

I am a massive advocate for higher resolution screens. If the device doesn't have a 2560x1440 display at a minimum, regardless if it's a 5.5" display or a 32" display... I generally have no interest in it.
There is a reason why that has been my largest criticism of the Switch and for the longest time... Xbox One X.

With that in mind... 1080P IPS panels (Sure, they are likely to be 6-bit with FRC at the budget end...) are pretty inexpensive and would be the minimum I would opt for.
Otherwise Super AMOLED or a derivative could offer 1080P+Power savings over the switch display whilst offering superior contrasts.

potato_hamster said:


https://www.anandtech.com/show/12677/tsmc-kicks-off-volume-production-of-7nm-chips

"TSMC’s CLN7FF process technology will rely on deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography with argon fluoride (ArF) excimer lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. As a result, the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors will be able to use existing manufacturing tools to make 7 nm chips. Meanwhile, to keep using DUV lithography the company and its customers have to use multipatterning (triple and quadruple patterning), which increases design and production costs as well as product cycles."

If I'm reading this correctly (and forgive me as I am not anywhere close to an expert at these manufacturing processes) it appears to me that TSMC's 7nm process might actually be more expensive than previous fabrication processes? Doesn't that fly in the face of previous claims about how much you can expect such an APU based on this technology to cost? Let's also keep in mind that production of these chips is only getting underway right now, and they plan on ramping up production of different 7nm processes oeer the next year or so. If Sony is going to produce a PS4 portable, the window for releasing it more than likely shuts firmly as soon as the PS5 releases, so unless these new hypothetical 7nm AMD 2300 APUs, and/or PS4 portable semi-custom APU is one of the 18 customer products being manufactured in 2018, or having it manufactured by one of the other producers ASAP, this hypothetical handheld would most likely be released in 2019-2020, which falls squarely in PS5 territory. The Vita experienced very similar issues launching a year before the PS4. People didn't really see the appeal of paying $100 less than a PS4 to play dated-looking ports of PS3 games. Wouldn't a PS4 portable have to endure similar challenges?

All newer fabrication processes are generally more expensive. That is how things go.

If you were to build a 1 Billion transistor chip on 28nm and build that same chip on 14nm, the 28nm chip would likely be cheaper. (Ignoring all other factors of course which muddies the water.)
But once you start throwing enough transistors at a chip... Like say 8~ billion of them, the 28nm built chip would become monolithic in size, yields would take a massive nosedive and costs would skyrocket... Whereas on 14nm the chip would still be in the realm of a good size and thus costs.

Same goes for 14nm and 7nm. There will reach a point where a chip is large enough that 7nm simply becomes more cost effective.
Plus over time costs will naturally go down anyway, so some manufacturers may opt for the initial cost hit.

Now ARM manufacturers tend to use the latest node because their chip design library's are relatively simple, so they can optimize the chip layout to increase yields... NAND also used to be thrown onto leading nodes to test the waters for the same reason.

Fabrication is a complex topic, so hope I have explained that eloquently enough.


potato_hamster said:

Considering AMD doesn't currently have any 7nm APUs they're offering to the public, it's going to be pretty hard to improve on something that doesn't exist. But if you think you're up for improving an APU that might not currently exist and whose design definitely isn't public, please go ahead. I'm very curious how you would improve something you can't possibly know enough about. Why don't you tell me how you'd simultaneously improve the fuel economy and  BHP of the 2019 Toyota Supra while you're at it.

Does it need to be 7nm? (I don't think I have actually asserted the chips needed to be 7nm anyway)
What's wrong with one of the iterative "advertising" nodes like 12nm, 11nm,10nm and so on which show improvements over 14nm?



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

Pemalite said:
potato_hamster said:

Sure, consoles use semi-custom designs. The key there being semi-custom, you know, meaning a customized version of something that actually exists. Except in this case it would be a semi-custom design of something that doesn't yet exist that people are assuming exists secretly, or will exist within the next 6-18 months or so, and be at a price point comparative to current APUs. Kev here is acting like there's a decent chance Sony already has this all nailed down and could be announcing it at E3.

Low powered Ryzen APU's exist and they have Superior CPU and GPU capabilities to the Playstation 4.
The only issue they have is bandwidth, they would likely need a redesign of the memory controller to take advantage of HBM/GDDR5/GDDR5X/GDDR6.

 

Yes. Low powered Ryzen APUs exist. No one has argued otherwise. Do they have the right TDP and price to be used in a portable PS4? We don't know that. You believe that's possible, but from what I can see it hasn't been demonstrated.

Pemalite said:
potato_hamster said:

Well wonderful that you found an exception to a broadly established rule of thumb per se. Unless you're advocating that it would make any sense to design a PS4 mobile APU that is design to spend as much time idling as possible, please make your case, and if not, why bother bringing it up?

I brought it up because there was an exception to the rule. - You cannot assert something is true when there are cases of it being false.

 

Yes, obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but if they bear no relevance to today's technology and design principles, they're irrelevant aren't they? It's kinda like a biology teacher teaching their class that humans have 23 chromosomes, and someone interjecting and saying "well actually people with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome, so that's false!". No, it's still true. While it's just not a hard rule to describe the DNA of every human out there, it still applies to over 99% of humans.


Pemalite said:

potato_hamster said:

You keep talking like it's just arbitary to effectively emulate something closely resembling the PS4's APU on something like a 2300U, with the appropriate TDP and cost, do you have an examples of something similar being done using similar technologies, or is this just something that you think hypothetically should be easily manageable?

I'm not talking emulation. Nor would it be required. Thus I am not obligated to provide examples on how "it's done".
If everything is kept ISA compatible, there is generally no issue on that front... Which is why the Xbox One X having a ton of hardware deviations from the base Xbox One, still retains full hardware backwards compatibility.

My apologies, emulate was not the right word. I meant more "replicate". All I'm asking is an APU that can be packaged in a sub $400 handheld with 1080p screen, and 3+ hour battery. You keep asserting this can be done using custom version's of AMD's existing APUs, so I'm assuming there must be some company out there that is using one of these APUs in a sub $400 handheld with a decent screen resolution and battery life that gets similar performance to a PS4. If there isn't, are you just theorizing that this hypothetically could be done?

Pemalite said:

potato_hamster said:


I mean, it kinda would have to have a 1080p screen, maybe not in the the "they could make it work on a 720p screen" but definitely in the "how in the fuck are we going to market device for a target audience that definitely won't accept a 720p screen on a handheld  in 2019 for $400.?"

I am a massive advocate for higher resolution screens. If the device doesn't have a 2560x1440 display at a minimum, regardless if it's a 5.5" display or a 32" display... I generally have no interest in it.
There is a reason why that has been my largest criticism of the Switch and for the longest time... Xbox One X.

With that in mind... 1080P IPS panels (Sure, they are likely to be 6-bit with FRC at the budget end...) are pretty inexpensive and would be the minimum I would opt for.
Otherwise Super AMOLED or a derivative could offer 1080P+Power savings over the switch display whilst offering superior contrasts.

Is "pretty inexpensive" inexpensive enough to fit in a hypothetical BOM of $400 PS4 Portable?


Pemalite said:

potato_hamster said:


https://www.anandtech.com/show/12677/tsmc-kicks-off-volume-production-of-7nm-chips

"TSMC’s CLN7FF process technology will rely on deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography with argon fluoride (ArF) excimer lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. As a result, the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors will be able to use existing manufacturing tools to make 7 nm chips. Meanwhile, to keep using DUV lithography the company and its customers have to use multipatterning (triple and quadruple patterning), which increases design and production costs as well as product cycles."

If I'm reading this correctly (and forgive me as I am not anywhere close to an expert at these manufacturing processes) it appears to me that TSMC's 7nm process might actually be more expensive than previous fabrication processes? Doesn't that fly in the face of previous claims about how much you can expect such an APU based on this technology to cost? Let's also keep in mind that production of these chips is only getting underway right now, and they plan on ramping up production of different 7nm processes oeer the next year or so. If Sony is going to produce a PS4 portable, the window for releasing it more than likely shuts firmly as soon as the PS5 releases, so unless these new hypothetical 7nm AMD 2300 APUs, and/or PS4 portable semi-custom APU is one of the 18 customer products being manufactured in 2018, or having it manufactured by one of the other producers ASAP, this hypothetical handheld would most likely be released in 2019-2020, which falls squarely in PS5 territory. The Vita experienced very similar issues launching a year before the PS4. People didn't really see the appeal of paying $100 less than a PS4 to play dated-looking ports of PS3 games. Wouldn't a PS4 portable have to endure similar challenges?

All newer fabrication processes are generally more expensive. That is how things go.

If you were to build a 1 Billion transistor chip on 28nm and build that same chip on 14nm, the 28nm chip would likely be cheaper. (Ignoring all other factors of course which muddies the water.)
But once you start throwing enough transistors at a chip... Like say 8~ billion of them, the 28nm built chip would become monolithic in size, yields would take a massive nosedive and costs would skyrocket... Whereas on 14nm the chip would still be in the realm of a good size and thus costs.

Same goes for 14nm and 7nm. There will reach a point where a chip is large enough that 7nm simply becomes more cost effective.
Plus over time costs will naturally go down anyway, so some manufacturers may opt for the initial cost hit.

Now ARM manufacturers tend to use the latest node because their chip design library's are relatively simple, so they can optimize the chip layout to increase yields... NAND also used to be thrown onto leading nodes to test the waters for the same reason.

Fabrication is a complex topic, so hope I have explained that eloquently enough.

Fair enough. With all that being said, do you think something like an AMD APU would be more expensive or less expensive on a 7nm process vs a 14nm process for example? If not, where do you think we're currently at in terms of the most cost effective fabrication process that would get us the TDP a mobile PS4 would need to have? If you can't answer something like that with confidence, that's fine.

Pemalite said:

potato_hamster said:

Considering AMD doesn't currently have any 7nm APUs they're offering to the public, it's going to be pretty hard to improve on something that doesn't exist. But if you think you're up for improving an APU that might not currently exist and whose design definitely isn't public, please go ahead. I'm very curious how you would improve something you can't possibly know enough about. Why don't you tell me how you'd simultaneously improve the fuel economy and  BHP of the 2019 Toyota Supra while you're at it.

Does it need to be 7nm? (I don't think I have actually asserted the chips needed to be 7nm anyway)
What's wrong with one of the iterative "advertising" nodes like 12nm, 11nm,10nm and so on which show improvements over 14nm?


No of course it doesn't have to be 7nm. It just needs to be the right cost and have the right TDP to make sense in a PS4 portable. I think a lot of this conversation we're having is completely unnecessary because I wasn't arguing against the points that you were making, I was arguing against the points our friend Kev was making. He's the one that believes it's necessary for Sony to use an APU made using a 7nm fabrication process in order to get the TDP necessary for a PS4 portable. He's the one that thinks it would automatically be cheaper to fabricate chips using a 7nm fabrication process. He's the one that thinks Sony can produce a PS4 portable using this 7nm APU for $399 or less as soon as six months from now, and be able to play future PS5 games at a lower resolution/frame rate. I'm pointing out the holes in his nonsense, and you've more or less stepped in and argued on his behalf for some strange reason.



curl-6 said:
Azuren said:

And again; closer to Sony and Microsoft's last gen consoles.

I never argued that point, all I took issue with is calling the Switch ports of Doom and Wolfenstein II "dialed back to last gen" which just isn't true.

Okay then I'll rephrase:

 

They're dialed back closer to 7th Gen than 8th Gen.



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potato_hamster said:

Yes. Low powered Ryzen APUs exist. No one has argued otherwise. Do they have the right TDP and price to be used in a portable PS4? We don't know that. You believe that's possible, but from what I can see it hasn't been demonstrated.

And what kind of capacity would you like to have it demonstrated?
I can get some underclocking/undervolting graphs if that is your cup of tea.

And I most certainly believe it to be possible as that is my educated point of view. But I am more than happy to meet the requirement of evidence, I typically don't make a claim unless I am certain I can back it up. ;)

potato_hamster said:

Yes, obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but if they bear no relevance to today's technology and design principles, they're irrelevant aren't they? It's kinda like a biology teacher teaching their class that humans have 23 chromosomes, and someone interjecting and saying "well actually people with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome, so that's false!". No, it's still true. While it's just not a hard rule to describe the DNA of every human out there, it still applies to over 99% of humans.

Irrelevant? No. Considering it was one of the very founding principles of the entire Core architecture that Intel tends to iterate on a yearly basis... And which dominates the high performance computing spaces.
Rambling on about Chromosomes and so on is what is truly irrelevant.


potato_hamster said:

My apologies, emulate was not the right word. I meant more "replicate". All I'm asking is an APU that can be packaged in a sub $400 handheld with 1080p screen, and 3+ hour battery. You keep asserting this can be done using custom version's of AMD's existing APUs, so I'm assuming there must be some company out there that is using one of these APUs in a sub $400 handheld with a decent screen resolution and battery life that gets similar performance to a PS4. If there isn't, are you just theorizing that this hypothetically could be done?

Replicate? That is also not required.
The only requirement is that they have a sufficient baseline of performance whilst being completely ISA compatible.
The rest falls onto the software stack.

There is a reason why the PC has been able to retain backwards compatible for decades, that's not just an assertion either.

potato_hamster said:

Is "pretty inexpensive" inexpensive enough to fit in a hypothetical BOM of $400 PS4 Portable?


If it can fit into my $100 AUD Gamepad/Tablet. Yes.


potato_hamster said:

Fair enough. With all that being said, do you think something like an AMD APU would be more expensive or less expensive on a 7nm process vs a 14nm process for example? If not, where do you think we're currently at in terms of the most cost effective fabrication process that would get us the TDP a mobile PS4 would need to have? If you can't answer something like that with confidence, that's fine.

It's hard for me or anyone to quantify any legitimate numbers as that kind of information isn't typically released into the public domain.
With that in mind... I would say that 14nm would be more cost effective in the short term for a mid-sized SoC, but 7nm most certainly has the long term pricing locked up.

Right now though, 12nm-10nm seems to have good enough power characteristics (As demonstrated by what Ryzen offers) to make a PS4 portable entirely feasible... With the correct binning of course.

potato_hamster said:

No of course it doesn't have to be 7nm. It just needs to be the right cost and have the right TDP to make sense in a PS4 portable. I think a lot of this conversation we're having is completely unnecessary because I wasn't arguing against the points that you were making, I was arguing against the points our friend Kev was making. He's the one that believes it's necessary for Sony to use an APU made using a 7nm fabrication process in order to get the TDP necessary for a PS4 portable. He's the one that thinks it would automatically be cheaper to fabricate chips using a 7nm fabrication process. He's the one that thinks Sony can produce a PS4 portable using this 7nm APU for $399 or less as soon as six months from now, and be able to play future PS5 games at a lower resolution/frame rate. I'm pointing out the holes in his nonsense, and you've more or less stepped in and argued on his behalf for some strange reason.

The chips need to be designed first. Then they need to go through multiple steppings/spins.
Then the layouts need to be optimized...

Even leveraging AMD's already established library's, it's still not going to happen within 6 months.

I will argue points I fundamentally disagree with, if it actually interests me.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

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Nvidia can match/exceed anything AMD can offer, they have more experience with low power tablet sized chips thanks to the Tegra line than AMD does and are a bigger company with more resources.

Bottom line is I doubt shrinking the actual PS4 is feasible for a long time if ever. The chip simply was not made to be shrunk down that much and operate at a 12 watt-ish power draw max (excluding the screen which eats up more power).

Sony would have to get a custom chip most likely and start from a library of 0.

Nintendo could very easily counter with a new Switch with a Nvidia chip that's just as good or better, but still have backwards compatibility with hundreds and hundreds of original Switch titles too.

The other problem is the RAM ... GDDR5 RAM is way too hot and power hungry for a mobile chip. It's not just the GPU. Change the RAM though and you radically alter games that can run on the system. 



Aeolus451 said:
weraru_1 said:

That doesn't make sense. Switch is selling just as well or slightly better as PS4 with launches aligned. PS4 gained momentum. Consoles never have their best years at launch. This is a bad comment.

You shouldn't be counting chickens before they hatch. We don't know what kind of legs the ns will have. It could turn out to ha ve better legs than the ps2 or it could fizzle out quicker than expected. Sony doesn't need to risk any resources on something that's still experimental and might not work for them (if sony tried it) when they could use those resources on ps4 games and ps5 dev/games.

He's saying just because the PS4 is selling more now, that means less people want the Switch. He's thinking a console 4 1/2 years into its life shouldn't be selling better and that means the NS isn't doing as well. That's wrong. Older consoles have far more momentum than brand new ones. The PS4 is selling better than itself at launch. Does that mean less people want a PS4 and more people want a PS4? How well the Switch does in the future doesn't matter here. The point is that the PS4's current sales numbers don't indicate that people don't want the Switch.



You know that thing when you uhhh...and then you...hmmm. But then you have to...umm, Yuh.

I'm looking for the video of the PlayStation Switch but I can't find it... Damn...