Skip to main content

PlayStation 4 Could Get GPU Switching, Dynamic UI

The rumor isn't that far-fetched since we previously heard that Sony will be using an AMD APU as well as a Southern Islands GPU in its next game console. A patent describing an automated GPU switching process provides further credibility that Sony is aiming for a flexible, power optimized GPU infrastructure for the PS4.

The patent application for "dynamic context switching between architecturally distinct graphics processors" was already filed back in 2009 and published in late 2010, which would indicate that it is not the latest information on Sony's development. The purpose of the GPU switching technology is summed up by the patent application authors as follows:

"It would be desirable to allow the context switching to be hidden from the user and performed automatically in the background. Unfortunately, no solution is presently available that allows for dynamic, real-time context switching between architecturally distinct GPUs. The closest prior art is the Apple MacBook Pro, from Apple Computer of Cupertino, Calif., which contains two architecturally distinct GPUs but does not allow dynamic context switches between them. Another prior art solution is the Scalable Link Interface (SLI) architecture developed by Nvidia Corporation of Santa Clara, Calif. This architecture lets a user run one or more GPUs in parallel, but only for the purpose of increasing performance, not to reduce power consumption. Also, this solution requires the two GPUs to be synchronized when the system is enabled, again requiring some amount of user intervention."

The document does not specify a target product for the technology, but the full automation without user interaction hints to a consumer device and not a notebook computer.

Sony recently filed several patent applications that may hint to the future PS4. Most interestingly, an application entitled "game device" and filed in September of this year reveals a game content screen that is much more focused on community interaction and appears to be much more dynamic that the current screen of the PS3.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

  • DjEaZy
    ... APU 4TW!!!
    Reply
  • kellybean
    Would be nice on the electric bill. Use some low priced GPU to play back movies and such and only kick on the big one for heavy games.
    Reply
  • whyso
    How is this different from Nvidia Optimus?
    Reply
  • m32
    If only they could wait for the AMD APUs that could be teamed up with the 8000(m?) series. I'm not saying "This is the best!," but since it is rumored to be an APU, it might be the best we can hope for.
    Reply
  • @m32 how much do you want to pay ?
    and how should a console get an apu series wich isnt even out yet?
    Reply
  • drwho1
    consoles should be open to the owner to upgrade (add RAM, switch Graphics, etc...)
    without loosing your warranty nor "loosing your "privileges" as a console owner"
    Reply
  • vrumor
    drwho1consoles should be open to the owner to upgrade (add RAM, switch Graphics, etc...)without loosing your warranty nor "loosing your "privileges" as a console owner"
    And then youd have a PC. Great idea. /s
    Reply
  • KelvinTy
    My god... Even current gen trinity couldn't handle BF3 at 1080p... because of the weak CPU, how is it even possible to even more graphics intensive games?
    Reply
  • freggo
    Have bin suggesting that for years. Use a low and graphics chip for 'normal' work. Desktop, Word processing, spread sheets etc. 90% of most work loads.
    Power up the high end GPU when required. selected programs could on start up for examply send a system request for the GPU.

    It is silly to have 50W of power wasted on "stand by" of a high powered GPU.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    freggoHave bin suggesting that for years. Use a low and graphics chip for 'normal' work. Desktop, Word processing, spread sheets etc. 90% of most work loads.Power up the high end GPU when required. selected programs could on start up for examply send a system request for the GPU.It is silly to have 50W of power wasted on "stand by" of a high powered GPU.To be fair modern GPUs, even discrete desktop models, have very low idle power consumption. GCN in particular does very well.KelvinTyMy god... Even current gen trinity couldn't handle BF3 at 1080p... because of the weak CPU, how is it even possible to even more graphics intensive games?You're contradicting yourself a bit. If it was just graphics it would be stressing the GPU side heavily. This console will have discrete graphics too. BF3 has lots of other stuff going on, especially in multiplayer, that tax the CPU side. But "more graphics intensive games" are certainly possible on Trinity, especially given that it is a closed box and there's lots of room for optimizations (including but not limited to using the new instructions BD/PD introduced, and optimized load balancing on the GPUs for best-case multi-GPU scaling). We also don't know final core count, clocks, any other chips onboard to offload to (physics, AI), etc.
    Reply