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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.
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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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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1355 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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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)