The PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 will be on par with each other on a graphics level.
IGN reports that the PlayStation 4, aka Orbis, may feature custom chips based on AMD's A8-3850 APU and Radeon HD 7670 discrete GPU. According to the APU's off-the-shelf specs, it packs a quad-core 2.9 GHz processor an an integrated HD 6550D graphics core. The APU will work in tandem with the dedicated HD 7670 GPU which is clocked up to 1 GHz, supports DirectX 11, and is accompanied by 1 GB of dedicated VRAM.
On a discrete graphics level, sources say that the PlayStation 4 will be "toe-to-toe" with Microsoft's Xbox 720, as the latter console will reportedly use AMD's HD 6670 card. The HD 7670 is actually a re-branding of last year's HD 6670 featuring the same specs across the board. It's an entry-level GPU by today's standards, costing around $74.99 USD, but capable of cranking out just over 30 FPS in Metro 2033 and Crysis 2 with the settings at high and the resolution cranked up to 1920 x 1080.
The PlayStation 3 will reportedly have the edge over Microsoft's new console thanks to the APU's built-in graphics core. But performance will likely be better on both systems because of their lightweight operating system and games that are optimized for one specific hardware set. Like Apple's iOS, game studios tend to gravitate to consoles because it's cheaper to develop thanks to a limited number of hardware sets, and because they simply generate better revenue.
Previous reports indicated that the PlayStation 4 will feature two GPUs, but they would work separately instead of in CrossFire mode. Yet this latest rumor makes more sense, as the discrete HD 7670 GPU and the HD 6550D graphics core in the APU can still work together in rendering detailed visuals on the fly. The HD 6550D will likely run games at baseline specs and lower resolutions without the need for the discrete HD 7670 GPU. But when heavy rendering is needed, both will be in use.
Naturally this is all speculation based on stock AMD components. However Sony is reportedly using custom chips, and could change its plans before the system reportedly goes on sale next year.
If anything, all this AMD talk could mean that both consoles will be more PC-like than ever before. As previously reported, the new Xbox's OS will be based on Windows 8, making it one of many screens across a wide Windows 8 platform. But with Sony wanting the same "One Sony" platform experience, what will the PlayStation 4 bring? Are both companies finally erasing the line between console and desktop PC? Will we finally see full mouse and keyboard support in our shooters?