Latest next gen console rumors: Digging deeper into the PS4

More next generation console rumors. I'm so conflicted about these since both Microsoft and Sony have said they aren't going to be talking about new hardware any time soon. And yet as a gamer I can't help but devour every rumor I come across, while imagining what kind of gaming I'll be doing a few years from now.

So last week we talked about the rumors from Kotaku saying the Playstation 4 would be called the Playstation Orbis, among other things. We didn't really get into the hardware much at that point.

But now a new source has come forward, IGN. Of course they don't share where they're getting their data from, but they (roughly) agree with Kotaku on the CPU but disagree on the GPU. So let's compare rumors.

Kotaku said the PS4/Orbis would be powered by an AMD x64 CPU. IGN is a lot more specific, saying it's an AMD A8-3850. That's a quad-core 2.9 Ghz chip with integrated graphics. Those line up pretty well.

However Kotaku says the GPU would be a state-of-the-art (for today anyway) Southern Islands Radeon chip capable of rendering games at 4096x2160. IGN's source suggests a much more modest Radeon HD 7670 GPU, which they say is a rebranded version of last year's HD 6670 capable of running games like Crysis 2 at 30 fps on a 1080P display. Not so impressive, but apparently the 7670 will work in tandem with the A8-3850's on-board video to goose performance.

Still, IGN goes on to say the PS4 will have HDMI1.4a in order to support 4K output. I'm not sure how well those pieces fit together. If the PS4 is going to support 4K televisions (and this is Sony we're talking about...they're going to be urging you to buy a 4K TV pretty soon) it seems like Kotaku's GPU prediction is more likely true.

Another interesting bit of data. Some Xbox 720 rumors suggest it will use an AMD Radeon 6670, meaning the Xbox 720 and the PS4 would have effectively the same GPU inside (though with the PS4 getting a boost from the integrated onboard video).

So this is all getting interesting, isn't it?

One aspect of all this I find encouraging is that if the PS4 does forgo custom chips in favor of an off-the-shelf AMD solution it's going to make porting games between it and the PC (and the Xbox 720) a lot more straightforward. Maybe the next generation of console games will see fewer shabby Playstation ports.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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