ps4 hardware1 -

The PS4 will limit game developers to only 4.5GB of its 8GB GDDR5 memory, internal development documents from Sony shown to Digital Foundry have revealed.

The reason for the cut in memory allocation is because of 3.5GB being reserved for the PS4 operating system, much in the same way the Xbox One locks off 3GB of its system memory for the OS.

A further 1GB of "flexible memory" is also believed to be offered to game makers when available from the OS, which could be utilised to boost elements of the game in some way.

It had previously been believed that the PS4 used only 512MB for its OS, leaving masses of memory for the games, but this may have been a relic of the earlier plans for only 4GB of system memory.

The extra memory allocated to the OS does, however, suggest that Sony has plans to offer a greater feature set than initially imagined, offering background processing and instant switching between apps and games – much in the way Xbox One promises.

Sources close to Sony have told Digital Foundry that Sony may also look to reduce the operating system's memory footprint and processor demands, freeing up extra resources to developers later down the line.

PS4 will launch this holiday season, priced £349.

Source: Digital Foundry

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

JPedz's Avatar

JPedz@ BrySkye

In the grand scheme of total programs, it's a tiny proportion that uses over 4GB, but I see I may have missinterpreted your post.

I still believe 4GB will be plenty, and that the CPU/GPU combo will become a bottle-neck before RAM does. Yes it will increase load times, if you can load most of the game onto RAM.

The problem with comparing the old "not enough RAM" scenario to these next gen machines, is that if we take the PS3, for example, it had woefully underequipped RAM for its processor. Taking the GPU for example, based on the 8800 series by Nvidia. At the time the equivalent PC GPU 8800GTX(I know bad PC comparison incoming) had 768Mb of ram, which was more than the whole PS3 system had.

I guess I'm hoping that the console devs did their estimations right and got the right balance between processor power and RAM amount...

I like your point about persistent worlds, but that makes me think more on the line of games with no loading times between levels or zones. I believe Killzone 3 tried it (correct me if I'm wrong) and a few other titles.

But yes it is impossible for us to get it correct, or even developers to really understand it yet, we will have to wait and see as the console mataures, and they understand the processors more... Here's to hoping their knowledge from the x86 carries over to PC :P, maybe that'll stop their brute force method...
Posted 19:51 on 30 July 2013
BrySkye's Avatar

BrySkye

Quote:
Secondarily, as BrySkye points out, there are very few applications, let along games, that will use anywhere near that amount of RAM.

Woah, woah, woah... That's English for stop a horse, as the great Partridge once said.
There are plenty of applications that will happily use these large amounts of RAM, there are just very few games that will.

And it's not because they don't need to, or rather that they wouldn't benefit from it. It's because they are still built around being compatible with X86 systems.
They just can't do it.

It's nothing but untapped potential and an area where games are really quite behind the curve.

Vast quantities of RAM can definitely be used for great things, such as with RAMDisk technology.
Where RAM is basically used as a super fast storage medium that even exceeds that of SSD's and without the same finite read/write lifespan.

But more relevant in this case, loading up textures that you can't see is definitely something nice to do if you can, as it ultimately reduces loading times and stutters when new textures, etc are loaded.
That's especially important in larger, open world games like, for instance, Skyrim.
With texture mods that put in quite a few 2K sized textures and even a few 4K ones, that game frequently uses up it's entire 4GB allocation, plus the 2GB on my graphics card and it will still stutter occasionally as it has to load up new textures.

Ultimately, if you give developers something then you can bet they will be able to use it. :)
When Sony first mentioned the 8GB number, we found out that developers had been told it would be 4GB, and they were thrilled at the news of the increase.
Now they will still be able to use more than they had originally thought, which was apparently 3.5GB.
But what they've gained is apparently not as significant as they may have hoped for.
CPU and GPU will always be king, but one of the repeated quotes throughout the history of consoles has always been "not enough RAM".

Hell, we know that one of the reasons Bethesda had so much trouble with the PS3 version of Skyrim was because of the different way it handled RAM to how their game worked.

As games increasingly move towards persistent worlds, where things like many many 3D objects will move and then have to stay in specific locations, RAM is going to be important in helping that happen efficiently.

Ultimately, it's hard for us to say simply because developers have never had the opportunity to go to town with a game that could use, say, 6GB of DDR5 RAM.
And now we're not going to find out either.
At least not this console generation.

There are PC's of course, once proper X64 games start becoming more popular.
But PC's games always have that same issue of being so brute-force rather than efficiently coded.
Considering the huge difference in specs between the Xbox 360 and my PC, that's not as pronounced as you might expect.

...well that got a bit ramble-ish.
Posted 23:50 on 29 July 2013
JPedz's Avatar

JPedz

I do not understand why people would complain about this(On either system).

For starters, it means the OS might actually not be laggy and slow to respond/load as the current PS3 (XMB?).

Secondarily, as BrySkye points out, there are very few applications, let along games, that will use anywhere near that amount of RAM.

RAM alone will not speed up games. The objects that can be held in RAM are normally graphical, or some pieces of information for the game to quickly access. But the majority of the RAM used by a game will be textures, models and locations of said models.

Now assuming they aren't going to be making 4K quality games (I'd doubt the GPU's are really up to that at 30 or 60fps) I'll try and break down the memory into what may be used.

First of all, Screen Buffer (simplified)
1080x1920(resolution) * 32 (colour depth) * 3(standard PC buffer count)
=~= 24.3Mb
Tiny memory

The big thing would be textures. The biggest useful texture size I personally have seen is 4096x4096 pixels, which is crazy, but lets have that as the maximum, just incase it becomes the standard. (I believe 1024x1024px is?)

Each Texture would then take up around 4096x4096x32 bits of data. (around 65.5Mbytes, 8 bits per byte remember ;) )

So I'm going to assume that the games data useage for AI, pathing, etc is marginal, but put a limit of 1GB on it. This leaves us with 3.4GB for textures, or 51UHD(4k) textures or 850 1024px textures. Also, this is for textures visible on the screen at the same time. There is no point in a game loading textures it does not have to render into RAM, so they generally don't, and with a theoretical max of 170+Gb/s data rate, your games will run just fine... It's the processors that'll determine the grunt.

Essentially these numbers aren't the best and no doubt there are flaws in their simple calculations, and I am not saying they're accurate at all. Just remember the things they said the PS4 would be doing in the background, voice chat, streaming, recording your game, and whatever else they want to make you believe is useful(my opinion). If you want to compare it to a PC, then yes 3GB for an OS is a lot, but I think something was lost in trasnlation to whoever got this info, the core OS will only be part of that 3GB, the rest of the mini-programs such as streaming, chat etc... will take up the rest.
Posted 22:03 on 29 July 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Not really - all it's been replaced with is yet more rumour and speculation.
Posted 11:53 on 29 July 2013
DASHONFIRE's Avatar

DASHONFIRE

This was a rumor and has been debunked.
Posted 04:49 on 29 July 2013
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612

Size doesnt matter, its what you do with it that counts. I'll let the devs worry about RAM.
Posted 00:03 on 29 July 2013
Mekzilla's Avatar

Mekzilla

People are moaning why? ..... xbox one is 5GB Ram for games also ... altho ps4 can be pushed to 5.5GB ram for games.

yet people still complain lol - no win either way.

people also seem to forget that its 4.5 dedicated "GDDR5"

still makes this better than xbox since there ram is lower than the GDDR5

even at x1 5gb for games ps ram is still better lol - and as stated it can be pushed to 5.5.
Posted 23:40 on 28 July 2013
AlphaPrime's Avatar

AlphaPrime

Wow, if this was some article about how the X1 would have less ram than anticipated, people would be all like, "see? The xbone is garbage, Sony knows best!" But since its an article that downplays the ps4's specs, people seem have no trouble ignoring the fact that Sony misled their fans by telling half truths. And now it totally fine for Sony fans to say, "you won't be able to tell the difference."
Can anyone say "double standard"? Lol
Posted 19:15 on 28 July 2013
Dark_Era's Avatar

Dark_Era

Am I a bit shocked and disappointed that PS4 will only have about 5GB of ram allocated to DEVs? Yes, but on the flip side 5GB is still a huge amount of RAM (compared to 512 of current gen) and Also that will definitely leave more room for the system itself to grow and evolve over time which is a good thing.

Lets all not forget that the only reason PS3 could implement Cross game chat was because of system/OS ram limiting it.

And its the same reason why PSN store is sluggish, Trophies take forever to sync, etc
Posted 13:14 on 28 July 2013
BrySkye's Avatar

BrySkye

lol, I'm really not that informed.
It's really just the result of a few google searches over the years, and a curiosity about what difference the 64-bit versions of Windows actually made.

It stems from this laptop I'm using right now, which was sold as having 4GB of RAM (and happens to be a Sony Viao).
Yet if I have a look in the System app, it says "4.00 GB (2.97 GB Usable).
And I wondered, "What the hell?"

Ultimately, that's the most significant limitation of the 32-bit versions of Windows.
They simply don't see large quantities of RAM.

If you ever run a PC game on your system which has a 64-bit version of Windows and have a look in the task manager, it'll tell you they are 32-bit applications, thus the standard limit of 2 GB of RAM that they can address, and a maximum of 4 GB if the games .exe has been made "Large Address Aware".

Being Large Address Aware is basically just a flag. If you do a Google search, there's a little download program which can enable it for older games.
It doesn't always make a difference since the games still weren't made with it in mind, but it often does help stability by reducing CTD's in games that ran right at the limit.

But yes, native 64-bit programs have access to pretty much as much RAM as they need from what's available, hence dedicated 64-bit versions of creativity software like Photoshop, Vegas, etc.

Actually, on this note, I did a quick little Google and it turns out that back in May 2012, DICE were saying that their Frostbite games in 2013 would require a 64-bit version of Windows.
I wonder if this will hold true, and if Battlefield 4 will be amongst them.
Posted 13:12 on 28 July 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ BrySkye

Great post great way to explain only one thing can see wrong x64 OS can address up to 192gb of RAM. And programs can be allotted whatever is necessary eg. something like premier pro needs 4gb but will address upto and beyond 64gb of RAM. But you are 100% correct when you say that most games are still built on the 32bit architecture so are limited on the amounts of RAM they can address.
Posted 12:33 on 28 July 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ BrySkye

I consider myself incredibly more enlightened now than before I read your post, thank you so much for sharing that. You should maybe consider writing a short 'Next Gen Tech Specs for Dummies' article for the site and see if they'll publish it because you explained that so well.
Posted 11:13 on 28 July 2013
BrySkye's Avatar

BrySkye@ Bloodstorm

They can't, but that's not the most fair statement to make.

The reason no games use more than 4GB of RAM is because only PC's have access to that kind of quantity, and PC games are still built around a 32-bit instruction set that simply doesn't allow an application to use more than 4GB.
Normally it can only use 2GB of RAM, and it's only because of options added in post-XP versions of Windows that have given us the ability to make those applications large address aware, allowing them to use 3GB on a 32-bit OS and 4GB on a 64-bit one.

These are limitations that developers cannot get around without building their games around x86-64, and none of them are willing to make the leap of releasing a game that isn't compatible with standard x86 (plus, games are typically designed around consoles and ported to PC right now. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are both built around PowerPC architecture).

Fortunately, PC games should still benefit anyway by console games built around x86-64.
If they are released on PC in that form, then very soon we will definitely be seeing games actually using well in excess of 4GB, regardless of what the PS4/Xbox One let developers use.

It's the same as how PC games don't really take full advantage of the current multi-core processors.

In theory, this new generation of consoles has the chance to also revolutionise PC gaming.
Posted 21:18 on 27 July 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

To the people who think this affects gameplay, please link me a game that uses more than 4gb of ram please.
Posted 17:01 on 27 July 2013
CaptainMellow's Avatar

CaptainMellow

Too much obsession with RAM... Blah Blah
Posted 14:57 on 27 July 2013
View Full Site