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AMD Elaborates on PS4's Custom ''Jaguar'' APU

AMD's Vice President of Global Communications and Industry Marketing John Taylor recently "elaborated" on the APU that is packed in Sony's semi-announced PlayStation 4 console. He said the new gaming console is the first announced design win based on a semi-custom AMD APU which was jointly developed in coordination with Sony.

"At the most basic level, an APU is a single chip that combines general-purpose x86 central processing unit (CPU) cores with a graphics processing unit (GPU) and a variety of system elements, including memory controllers, specialized video decoders, display outputs, etc.," he said. "Our semi-custom solutions take the same treasure trove of graphics; compute and multi-media IP found in our APUs, and customize them for customers who have a very specific high-volume product that could benefit from AMD’s leading-edge technologies."

But for the PlayStation 4, AMD leveraged the building blocks of its 2013 product "roadmap" for PCs and created a solution that incorporates the upcoming "Jaguar" CPU cores with next-generation Radeon graphics, thus delivering nearly 2 TFLOPS of compute performance. This will allow developers to "fundamentally" change the console gaming experience by letting them harness the power of parallel processing.

As stated on Wednesday, the APU will consist of eight x64 AMD "Jaguar" cores and a next-generation Radeon GPU comprised of 18 "compute units" capable of cranking out 1.84 teraflops. This chip will be backed by 8 GB of unified GDDR5 RAM (17 GB/sec of bandwidth), a built-in HDD, USB 3.0, a Blu-ray optical drive, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N and more. Note that a Radeon HD 7970 is rated at 3.5 teraflops.

AMD's "Jaguar" is the successor to "Bobcat" which powers current C- and E-Series low-power APUs. The company is expected to launch its first batch of Jaguar-based APUs during the middle of 2013, codenamed as Kabini and Temash. These 28-nm chips will have power envelopes of 15W or less, and up to four cores.

In addition to the PlayStation 4 explanation, Taylor hinted at big news on the horizon for gamers with AMD hardware. Could the company possibly be retaliating against Nvidia's Project Shield? We'll find out next month when AMD reveals its big surprise at the Game Developers Conference.

"This is going to be a very exciting year for gamers, especially for those with AMD hardware in their PCs and consoles, as we have even more game-changing (pun intended) announcements still to come," he said. "Look for some more exciting things happening at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March when we will provide even more info on how we are working with game developers to make AMD the hardware of choice for running the best games!"

Alright, you have our attention. Blow our minds next month, please. Meanwhile, we'll salivate over the new PlayStation 4 game screens… maybe.

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