PlayStation 4: Balanced or unbalanced?


Recently we have heard a lot the word “balance” in the videogame industry. We were the first ones to bring the term with our unveil of ORBIS (PlayStation 4) specs. Later, Mark Cerny talked about our information regarding the balance and the 14 + 4 CU setup. Finally, Microsoft used it to defend the Xbox One performance and design against PlayStation 4 theorical superiority.

On the other hand, we would like to show you how Sony is presenting this sort of information to developers. This information is presented as high level (for instance, tech directors shouldn’t have problems digesting the material showed in these presentations).

gpu 1024x607 PlayStation 4: Balanced or unbalanced? | VGLeaks 2.0

We understand that Sony found that using 4 CUs in GPGPU tasks can be more efficient and with better overall results than using all of them for rendering tasks, but they don’t stop developers to use them only for rendering or GPGPU, as they wish depending on the game demands. It’s not mandatory at all. Sony is only providing more resources to the developers.


  • Herebus

    Old info 14+4 .

    You can take perfect performance from 18CUs if you have enough RAM and Bandwith.

    Probably 14+4 CUs it´s when the retail console will have only 4GB RAM and 3/3.5GB for games, the rest for OS.

    With 8GB RAM GDDR5, 176GBps of Bandwith, and 4,5/5,5GB for Games, there is no problem of balance or performance using the 18CUs for render.


  • Mark guy

    Cerny already debunked this in the tub!

  • trulululu

    Show us the Cerny debunk pls. If you want to post the eurogamer interview quote: He is basically confirming what’s stated above.

  • Jose Fajardo

    we’ve always known it was 14+4 …. only fools refused to believe this!

    • Mitchings

      It’s not 14+4; it’s 18 but the hardware is balanced for approximately 14 doing render and 4 doing compute.

      Devs can use all 18 for render or any ratio if they wish; they can even have the same CU/s doing both render and compute in parallel.

      I’d be willing to assume that down the line with much optimisation it’ll prove more efficient to run both render and compute in parallel across many CUs.

      • Michael Walsh

        Cerny already stated that with the right programming, those additional CU’s can be for graphics AND 64 commands at the same time, not needing ratios. This will be used later in the gen though.

  • lauhang

    Think like this.

    Task A – using 100% of ALUs, 1/3 of bandwidth (ALU limited).
    Task B – using 1/3 of ALUs, 100% of bandwidth (bandwidth limited).
    Both are using same amount of computing time.

    If you run them in serial, 2/3 of ALUs and bandwidth are idling half of the time, so 1/3 of ALUs and bandwidth are idling in total.

    But if you run them in parallel, there is no idling resource left, and you get 50% performance boost (2/3 to 100% utilization).

    Now we know HD7970 having 32CUs/384bit bus, HD7870 having 20CUs/256bit bus, HD7770 having 10CUs/128bit bus.

    So regardless you are using 7970/7870/7770, you need to leave 1/3 of ALUs and bandwidth idling in the example above, because they are having around the same CUs/bandwidth ratio.

    It’s nothing like 14 being magical number for CUs. You just need to use GPU parallel tasking to utilize these idling resources.

    • Kaiser X

      and xbox one having 12 CU and 1280 bit bus.(1024 bit eSRAM + 256 bit DDR3 in parallel)

      • Michael Walsh

        Nope, that isn’t how it works kid.

  • Zybra

    This is why ps4 are too weak i presume.

    • Pony’s Gaffer-Hive mind

      It’s 60% more powerful! so just shutup

      • Glass

        Its “Powerful” with bottlenecks…

        • b4lmung

          the Killzone guys don’t think so

        • olbaiD4283

          And even with those bottlnecks more powerful then the x1

          • Glass

            I don’t know how techy you are but here is my thoughts…

            1. The Story of 4CU
            the 4CU of old CU represent the base clock
            of 800-975

            Why ?
            Simple The Custom Jaguar have twice the DXcore GPU
            so as he said that the Jaguar part can be 1.975 Ghz
            then the GPU is 800-975

            MS is clever, they said 800 upclock to 853 is related to DXcore part
            the MainGfx core boast 90% more, and clocked so low

            look at this
            DXcore top 975Mhz
            will have capability to
            4CU x 64 x 2 (MADD) = 512 x0.975 = 499 Gflop

            a perfect 10% from 1st info 1st Hinted number

            2. The Story of 50
            Now assume there xx CU ( in this term i use CU to represent 64 ALU)
            assume it is 50 but clocked at 500 Mhz , from 950 of its potential
            a. Clocked so low assume insider said it is only 55% from 100
            (500 is 55% to max 950)
            -> Current Target= 50 x 64 x 2 x 0.5 = 3.2TF (perfect 3.2) a GTX 680
            -> Max = 50 x 64 x 2 x 0.95 = 6.08TF (Perfect 6.1TF

            **)50 CU above represent the active one, the active One + Fail safe + still not activated represent total 16 New Wider CUs

            3. The Story of R10, (insider said the modification will be the basis for R10 at 22nm)
            a. after seing the leak of r9 290x, it is clear it is just a modification of sea island with more ROPS more ACE + more geometry engine, in its heart it is still a sea island
            b. it is why AMD never claimed the r9 290x as real VI, but AMD naming is confusion too.

            **) My speculation is R10 = Sea island/R9 + MCU/Tensilica, the number of tensilica must be the same as CU number the active one = Real GCN 2.0+, = Closer to What maxwell trying to do too (Maxwell=GPU+ARM)
            **) it is why they super secretive about it, it is basically for next year GPU
            **) it is why the R10 rumored for 2014
            **) the R9 290 is just a stop gap in my opinion it is still not represent the nested pararel capability if latest AMD diagram is true
            **) the real nested capability is the modification like X1= Kryptos
            = a combination of several base tech, r9 290x CU + tensilica , a closer integration represent nested paralel capability

          • olbaiD4283

            There is more then enough info here that states the PS4 is the more powerful console

          • olbaiD4283

            PS4 also supports hUMA

          • olbaiD4283

            Red Gaming Tech Youtube it….

          • Noah Cowper

            vary nice reply, this is better then the article its self.

            good reasoning and dedutions spot on.

            wich means more computing power with less power and less heat all in less space.

            Red Gaming Tech is ps4 biest and if you have lisend to his vids you know he dosent realy know hes poting stuff hes reading on formes and other web sites.

            this guy Ilovegoogleglass realy know what hes talking about.

            you probly dont know what tensilica is and on till you under stand what hes saying in his post i dont hink you have the right to jude any future teck.

          • Noah Cowper

            considering Sony is saying that they are Going to be more of a gaming service and not a hardware platform any more sort of shows which consel is better. and the media shit they puled on MS even thou they know what MS is right and is the why Sony is going but saying the opposite is just lieing to the public. and playing them like fools. and people will start to see it latter on and become angry with sony.
            sony: were hear to tell you what you want to hear. ow and creating a new form of DMR that relise on the internet like steam to sell you games is bad thats why you should buy a ps4.(were all so doing t.v. and all are games are digital downloads as well and were moving the playstation name to a games service that will run on all devices streaming to it from the cloud i mean Internet. i hope that the public docent see through us)

            MS : look at the cool new communication teck HUb were bringing in to your life, and the cloud you wont believe what we can now do. its amazing hears what we have planed.
            chips are get so power full and so small and energy efishant that you well be able to game on all your devices. the could is so power full and getting faster and more optimized every day we can now off load compute power to different devices so all you devices can work together like onesuper computer. plue are 300 thosand super servers that were dedicating to your xbox live service that will soupurt living gaming worlds.
            plsue all this crazy motion control and vioce for a completely different and new gaming/communication/education/entertainment/every thing communication device that will blow your mind when you get to under stand and people start developing and creating for it.
            pluse we have designed a better Digital Rights Management System that fits the needs off the future, for gaming and entertainment and communication. so that the game developers can lower the price of there games knowing that they get all the income generated buy there titles. and allowing the sharing and potential re sail of digital content.
            creating and environment ware hard media is more for storage then for DRM and fixes the oh crap my disk is broken now i cant play my game cause i nedd that disk for DRM in order to play.

  • Andre james

    I told you!!!!!

  • PromKnight

    And on that note, Playstation falls from Grace and straight to Shame

    • Thomas McBrearty

      18 CU’s is better LMAO!!

      • Jeff Pee

        i don’t know if most people know what this even means (I sure as hell don’t know) but some people automatically assume that its negative… cause that’s what they really want it to mean.

  • Thomas McBrearty

    Publisher just looking for views, say no more…

  • Andre james

    Remember Sony stated already on one of the other slides that advanced audio may have to use GPGPU as well so that will use some of this extra 4 CU’s as well.

    • Michael Walsh

      Has a DSP = no need.

  • EJ

    If ps4 is so powerful why do the games look like shit?, current gen? Why

    • Pony’s Gaffer-Hive mind

      Just shut up, they just don’t want to release details yet.
      We have the better games on the ps4 anyway

  • DoctorFouad

    “minor boost if used for rendering” this is so weird and perplexing puzzling statement from sony engineers (did mark cerny wrote this in 2012 ?).

    why would 4 additional CUs produce only MINOR BOOST with 196 Gb/s GDDR5 bandwidth while a 24 CU AMD GPU card with less bandwidth works perfectly with HUGE BOOST from the 16 CUs video cards? (4 Gb in 2012, in 2013 it went to 8 Gb but less bandwidth 176 Gb/s) I just dont get it….there are 2 options :

    1/ sony engineers were wrong in 2012 and didnt do enough accurate testing with the prototypes they produced (the final ps4 APU was finished only in january 2013)

    2/ sony engineers were right and the ps4 is bottlenecked by something (bandwidth ? impossible, AMD GPUs on pc arent bottlenecked even with less amounts of bandwidth than ps4 and more GPU processing power), CPU ? the jaguar CPU cant feed 4 additional CUs ? that is weird…)

    the problem is : both options do not make any sense…hopefully we get some clarification from mark cerny or other sony engineers/developers…

    Also please VGleaks could you please obtain confirmation from your secret sources about the final CPU clock of ps4 (is it still unchanged 1.6 Ghz ?)

    • Pony’s Gaffer-Hive mind

      People just need to shut up as its been proven to be 50% more powerful than the xbone

      Nows it’s 60% more power as M$ said there xbone is 10% less now!

      LOL lmfa lol at xboners than can’t handle it

    • John

      the bottleneck is the cpu, simply as it is.12-14 CU’s saturate the request rate from the cpu

      • Michael Walsh

        Uses hUMA, doesn’t need the CPU to fetch data to the GPU.

  • Narutooo

    A big part of rendering is saving up time and resources by not rendering what is not needed or what is hidden and player cannot see.