When the Xbox One and Playstation 4 launched two years ago (gosh, has it really been that long?!), Microsoft eked out an early “win” over its rival console by slimming down the number of cores used by the Kinect camera add-on and the operating system, bringing the total cores used by the system from three to one, leaving the rest of the processor to be chewed up by games. While Kinect still requires a dedicated core when you’ve plugged it in, this arrangement hasn’t been detrimental to performance. It has now been rumored that Sony has made the same move with the PS4, slimming down the OS requirements to only require one CPU core, allowing the others to be dedicated to running games on the system. Hit the jump for more info.
The rumors surfaced after changes were made to Sony’s PS4 software development kit (SDK), which had been recently updated to a new version. While the changelog for the SDK isn’t publicly available, a third-party audio API from Firelight Technologies, the makers of FMOD Studio, let slip of the change in the changelog of their SDK, updated to work with Sony’s latest and greatest tools. It’s only a single line to note the change, but it’s still there, and hasn’t been taken off the FMOD changelist since.
The changelog reads: “LowLevel API – PS4 – Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.”
This fact changes nothing for games currently, however. There may be new releases like Star Wars Battlefront, or Just Cause 3, which make use of the extra core to bolster performance through patches, but older games in the PS4’s library won’t benefit from this at all. FMOD’s software in particular is just a middleware API, and allows access to the TrueAudio-based audio DSP inside the PS4 and Xbox One through a high-level abstraction layer, which makes porting games from one system to the other easier.
It’s still a welcome change, as the AMD APU inside the PS4 is based on the Jaguar architecture, which is a low-power design intended for use in tablets and ultrabooks to save on power draw and heat. That it’s good enough to run Battlefront as smoothly as it currently does is an amazing feat, and adding an extra core for more performance in future titles might help cement Sony’s dominance over Microsoft in this generation.
For those of you not technically inclined, here’s an easier one to understand: Sony is Nappa. Nappa creates eight APU cores in the form of Saibamen. Six Saibamen are sent to go fight Gouhan, while two Saibamen are sent off to handle Krillin. After some time, Nappa determines that Krillin is easily matched by a single Saibaman, and sends one of the two off to join the six fighting Gouhan. The seventh core might get called back every now and then to help kick Krillin down again.
Of course, the Saibamen, Nappa, and Krillin eventually die, but that’s neither here nor there in this context.