Neal Robison, director of ISV relations at AMD, said last week during GDC 2013 that the company has been waiting a long time to introduce the APU that's powering Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4. AMD has been working on the chip for years, and to finally be able to talk about "a culmination of all this effort" is extremely rewarding for the nation's second biggest desktop CPU maker.
In an interview with TechRadar, he began boasting about the chip's eight x86-64 low-power Jaguar cores and the accompanying Radeon HD GPU packed with 18 compute units. "It's not just about an x86 solution, but it's about that Jaguar APU where it's a combination of the graphics and CPU together and being able to create something that's greater than just putting an x86 PC-like architecture together," he said.
He said Sony came knocking on AMD's door thanks to its previous track record with the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and other consoles. Sony chose Nvidia for the PlayStation 3, but the Japanese company wanted to take a different, more PC-like approach with the current console's successor. Sony wanted to offer a platform developers could easily use, a platform provided by AMD.
Unlike Nvidia, AMD could create an integrated solution with optimized information flows, Robison said, thereby generating better performance, better power and heat efficiency. AMD could best provide the tools and developer relationships that will give the PlayStation 4 an incredibly strong launch.
Robison then took a shot at Nvidia's recent statement about Sony using AMD instead of Nvidia. Tony Tamasi, Nvidia's senior vice president of content and development, said the console's specs are already outdated, that it sports hardware that is in the neighborhood of a low-end PC.
"If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX680 GPU (based on GFLOPS and texture), which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago," he said. Later on he said that committing to the PlayStation 4 wasn't worth sacrificing pulling time and resources from its other projects.
"Well, of course they're going to do that," Robison told TechRadar. "They're a little bitter. For us, really by looking at that APU that we designed, you can't pull out individual components off it and hold it up and say, 'Yeah, this compares to X or Y.' It's more than just a CPU doing all these amazing calculations and a GPU doing calculations. We are now going to be able to move certain tasks between the two."
Later on in the interview, he hinted to possible involvement with Microsoft's next console slated for a partial reveal this month, the Xbox Infinity (720). To read the full interview, head over to TechRadar here.
Given AMD and Sony's close ties with Android, could it be possible that the PlayStation 4 will allow users to run Android apps directly on the console via BlueStacks? That would be interesting...