AMD sheds more light on the PS4's custom APU

Yesterday, Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 4 is powered by a single chip with eight x86 cores and PC-class graphics. The firm didn't get into much more detail about the silicon, but AMD has now filled in some of the blanks on its official blog.

According to John Taylor, AMD's VP of Global Communications and Industry Marketing, the PS4 features a "semi-custom designed AMD accelerated processing unit (APU) jointly developed in coordination with Sony." Such chips are made by AMD for "customers who have a very specific high-volume product that could benefit from AMDs leading-edge technologies."

Taylor goes on to add:

In the case of the PS4, we leveraged the building blocks of our 2013 product roadmap – the same technologies you find in the latest AMD APUs powering PCs, ultrathin notebooks and tablets – to create a solution that incorporates our upcoming, low-power AMD "Jaguar" CPU cores with next-generation AMD Radeon™ graphics delivering nearly 2 TFLOPS of compute performance!

Jaguar is the successor to Bobcat, which powers AMD's current E- and C-series low-power APUs. The first Jaguar-based APUs are due out around the middle of the year; they're code-named Kabini and Temash, and they'll be fabbed on a 28-nm process with up to four cores and power envelopes of 15W or less.

Based on what Sony said yesterday, then, it sounds like the PS4's semi-custom APU will have eight Jaguar cores. The graphics picture isn't quite as clear—we don't know, for instance, what Taylor means by "next-generation." The PS4's graphics architecture could be the same as that of current Southern Islands offerings, or it could be what AMD is cooking up for that late-2013 refresh we've been told about. Still, as Geoff pointed out yesterday, two teraflops of compute performance is roughly what the Radeon HD 7850 churns out. That gives us some idea of what to expect.

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