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TFLOPs aren't everything: The PlayStation 5's 10.3 TFLOP GPU is a custom RDNA 2 part with 36 CUs running at 2.23 GHz

The PS5 sports a 10.3 TFLOP custom RDNA 2 GPU at 2.23 GHz. (Image Source: Eurogamer)
The PS5 sports a 10.3 TFLOP custom RDNA 2 GPU at 2.23 GHz. (Image Source: Eurogamer)
Sony's Mark Cerny spoke in detail about the PlayStation 5's GPU, which is a custom designed AMD RDNA 2 chip. The PS5's GPU has a lower CU count than the Xbox Series X but has higher clocks and boosts differently compared to PCs and the Xbox. Sony intended to drive home the point that TFLOPs alone do not account for all the factors that collectively impact GPU performance.

When it comes to consoles, TFLOPs has become synonymous with power. Although that is true to a certain extent, it is not the be all and end all of the equation, and that's the message Sony wants to drive home. Speaking at the PS5 deep dive keynote, Chief Architect Mark Cerny hypothetically compares a 36 CU GPU running at 1 GHz to a 48 CU GPU running at 750 MHz.

Both yield 4.6 TFLOPs of compute power, but the gaming experience will be vastly different. Therefore, a "smaller" GPU that can boost high should theoretically offer more performance than just higher TFLOPs, considering other capabilities of the GPU at play. 

The GPU in the PS5 offers features on par with what can be expected from RDNA 2 on the PC side. The GPU is equipped with 36 compute units (CUs) and its boost is capped at 2.23 GHz thanks to a new method of SoC boosting. The PS5 has about 44% lesser CU count than the Xbox Series X but makes it up with high boost clocks. That being said, the 2.23 GHz frequency is not always attainable. Poorly-optimized games that cause potential power consumption spikes will result in downclocking, but Cerny feels the reduction in frequency will not be high.

Hardware-accelerated ray tracing is another important feature of RDNA 2 and will be made possible by the Intersection Engine that is built into the shaders. Possible ray tracing implementations include reflections, shadows, ambient occlusion, and global illumination.

Also on offer is a Geometry Engine block that offers a good deal of control over primitives and creation of primitive shaders. There is no mention of machine learning or support for variable refresh rate, which the Xbox Series X already boasts of.

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Source(s)

PlayStation 5 Live Stream

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 03 > TFLOPs aren't everything: The PlayStation 5's 10.3 TFLOP GPU is a custom RDNA 2 part with 36 CUs running at 2.23 GHz
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2020-03-18 (Update: 2020-03-19)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.