PlayStation 5 System Architect, Mark Cerny; Stresses That The Upcoming PS5 Would Automatically Handle Variable Clocks

PlayStation 5 System Architect, Mark Cerny; Stresses That The Upcoming PS5 Would Automatically Handle Variable Clocks
Credit: Sony

After the recent interview with PlayStation 5 system architect, Mark Cerny, on the unveiling of PS5 technical details, a considerable number of concerns have risen, mainly because of how the next-generation console from Sony had support for variable clocks based on AMD’s SmarShift technology used for laptops.

Moreover, game developers have since been subscribed to optimizing their games for fixed clocks, which even caused Digital Foundry’s John Linneman, to imagine Sony’s PS5 support for variable clocks could likely be a problem.

However, Cerny had a follow-up interview with Digital Foundry, which was published on Eurogamer two days ago. In the interview, Cerny made sure he debunked the proposed problem from game developers as it was going to be handled completely by the system.

In Cerny’s words, here’s what he said:

Developers don’t need to optimize in any way; if necessary, the frequency will adjust to whatever actions the CPU and GPU are performing. I think you’re asking what happens if there is a piece of code intentionally written so that every transistor (or the maximum number of transistors possible) in the CPU and GPU flip on every cycle. That’s a pretty abstract question; games aren’t anywhere near that amount of power consumption. If such a piece of code were to run on existing consoles, the power consumption would be well out of the intended operating range, and it’s even possible that the console would go into thermal shutdown. PS5 would handle such an unrealistic piece of code more gracefully.

That said, Mark Cerny, confirmed the devkit’s support for fixed clocks, because their purpose still comes handy during game development. Again, he noted that the console’s titles would be taking advantage of the SmartShift-based tech upon release to make the best use of its power.

Regarding locked profiles, we support those on our dev kits; it can be helpful not to have variable clocks when optimizing. Released PS5 games always get boosted frequencies so that they can take advantage of the additional power.

Now, the question remains ‘how Sony pulled this ‘high boost clocks’ GPU off, in the first place? Fans have been having reservations on how the PS5 would be up to par with 2.23GHz GPU continually.

Well, guess, Cerny had an answer for that when he stressed on how finding a ‘hotspot’ on a setoff frequencies as one of the significant breakthroughs when designing the console.

One of our breakthroughs was finding a set of frequencies where the hotspot – meaning the thermal density of the CPU and the GPU – is the same. And that’s what we’ve done. They’re equivalently easy to cool or difficult to cool – whatever you want to call it.

As RDNA 2 is on the rise, will AMD also want to use the SmartShift technology on its graphics cards for PC simultaneously? Well, we can only wait to find out more, as rumors speak of the Naci 2X debuting October 2020.