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Sony PlayStation (Games) Hardware

Sony Unlocks PlayStation 4's Previously Reserved Seventh CPU Core For Devs (hothardware.com) 143

MojoKid writes: Toward the beginning of the year, it was revealed that Microsoft was going to "unlock" the seventh core on the Xbox One's processor, enabling developers to eke just a bit more performance out of the console and offer more flexibility at resource utilization. It appears that Microsoft's move would inevitably be followed by Sony, as reports are now coming in that this will be made available on the PlayStation 4 as well. This subtle change was highlighted in the latest changelog for the FMOD sound engine which is labeled as a "LowLevel API." While the unlocked core could take on FMOD duties if developers want it to, it's now not going to be tied to any single purpose. Developers could make use of this core, for example, to boost AI performance, or any other process that has a heavy computation requirement. It could also be used to simply help ease overall system load.
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Sony Unlocks PlayStation 4's Previously Reserved Seventh CPU Core For Devs

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  • Seriously, why was it ever locked?

    • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @11:18PM (#51031469)

      Next the secret 8th CPU core will be DLC, or a game easter egg, the way things are going. Sheesh

    • Seriously, why was it ever locked?

      Because they figured that at some point unlocking it would make them a profit. That's really the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.

      It cost them money to write the code to lock it, and it certainly cost them performance as well. The only reason I can think of to do this is that they eventually expected to sell the rights to unlock it for some amount of money.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        No, it's because the core was previously reserved for asynchronously handling of stuff like Kinect gestures and voice commands and so forth that should be triggerable even when playing a game. But since no one gave a shit about things like Kinect, and so since Microsoft also stopped giving a shit about Kinect it's obviously decided it doesn't need to dedicate that much power to Kinect. Presumably they figured they can just handle the voice commands etc. on the same core the OS itself uses.

        I don't know what

    • I don't own either system, but from what I understand they both run some kind of operating system that's always running in the background and gets summoned if a user pauses the game to bring it up. I don't know if it's massively useful, but I understand that both consoles are supposed to be able to stream a player's game play out to the internet, so I assume that's one of the reasons they have reserved CPU cores and memory.

      Also, I'm not sure that the extra core will be terribly useful. I'm still seeing a
      • I don't own either system, but from what I understand they both run some kind of operating system that's always running in the background and gets summoned if a user pauses the game to bring it up.

        It's more than that. There are a bunch of features such as streaming (e.g. Twitch), picture-in-picture mode, and so on, which must always be available. Whether or not these are benefits or not is for others to decide, but those things are reasonably resource-intensive, so dedicating a CPU or two to them makes a certain amount of sense.

        What I suspect happened is they optimised the system software to the point where these tasks can all run on one CPU.

    • Because then they could have the OS hooks/hypervisor/etc. written to anticipate an entire core for it's own use. This pattern was also there in XBox 360 and PS3.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @11:58PM (#51031603)

    I guess neither of these are that, but what if they were? Would the core have... special powers?

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Bond, James Bond. Sony owns MGM. :P

    • Sony made 7 consoles?

  • ...for about half an hour.

  • But intel keeps telling us we only need 4 cores for games?!

    • But intel keeps telling us we only need 4 cores for games?!

      They're right. A quad-core intel chip beats the pants off an eight-core AMD chip... for twice the money. The maximum frame rates are only maybe 5% higher, but the minimums are almost 50% higher. If it's worth the money to you to keep your minimum frame rates up, which really can make the difference between killing and being killed in an online match mind you, then you buy the Intel chip.

      To me, saving a hundred bucks (and almost another hundred on the motherboard, which was also cheaper) was more important.

  • forbidden core.....

  • Please, cut the AI bullshit. No game development company will ever use this for AI. AI in console games has not evolved significantly for something like 20 years, since 3D pathfinding became good enough. IA is always dumb and will always be because marketers think most people want shiny graphics, explosions and big guns.
    • AI in console games has not evolved significantly for something like 20 years, since 3D pathfinding became good enough. IA is always dumb and will always be

      I can't give specific examples, but on episodes of the Giant Bombcast podcast from the past year or two (I'm almost caught up), they talk about the AI in various games, and it is MUCH better in some games versus others.

  • So it's like running for years with an anvil under each arm. If you drop them at last, you can run faster.
    But why binding one hand on the back on purpose in the first place is beyond me.

    • It makes more sense in your analogy if you are a mobile blacksmith. This is equivalent to realizing you don't need two anvils and dropping one to only run with the other. Exactly as they are doing here, instead of reserving 2 of the 8 cores they are opening one up and only reserving 1.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser

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