Recent PS4 SDK update unlocked 7th CPU core for gaming

#1
Since launch of PS4 we had many reports from devs that games on PS4 can access only 6 CPU cores, while the other two were dedicated to OS. Here is one of them from GG and their postmortem on making launch game Killzone Shadowfall [full PDF]:


In effort of trying to get at least some performance back against PS4 that took commanding lead with 50% stronger GPU and more dev-friendly memory system, Xbox One team at MS unlocked 7th CPU core [shared between game and some OS services] and added a slight overclocking, which has over the last year provided some wins against PS4 in heavy CPU-processing scenarios. Now it looks like Sony has updated its SDK [as quietly as always] and enabled their developers to also access 7th CPU core. Proof comes from the changelog of the recent update of FMOD, a popular audio gaming middleware.

Code:
Firelight Technologies FMOD Studio API
Detailed Revision History

17/11/15 1.07.03 - Studio API patch release (build 69975)

Features:

LowLevel API - When using System::recordStart the provided FMOD::Sound can now be any channel count, up/down mixing will be performed as necessary.
LowLevel API - Improved performance of convolution reverb effect when wet is 0 or input goes idle.
[B]LowLevel API - PS4 - Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.[/B]
http://www.fmod.org/docs/content/generated/common/revision.html
[found by Mabru from B3D]

While MS was very loud with promotion on their SKD updates [they needed a good word mouth this gen], Sony is usually very quiet on their releases, even substantial ones [PSP CPU overclocking abbility, numerous PSP&Vita&PS3 shrinking of OS memory footprint,etc]. On the same page you can find that FMOD got support for 7th Xbone core in January of 2015.


/compile my conciousness in single-threaded DX11 code if old
 
#11
Hardware capabilities always get gradually unlocked throughout the generation. Microsoft being loud about it this gen was the exception.

It people are made aware of this, maybe it will hopefully stop the PS4 CPU FUD.
 
#16
How recently was this unlocked? Maybe this is why The Witcher 3 was finally able to hit 30fps in the swamp areas.
There is a date on a changelog, 17th November. However we do not know much time FMOD devs spent creating this latest update. New PS4 SDK most likely came in early November, but we cannot know that for sure.
 
#17
Cool! I hope those games with chugging performance apparently due to CPU (like Ass Creed Unity) are updated to utilize it.
The power of patching can be good sometimes.
 
#19
Cool.

You hear Sony has been constantly making dev side improvements with the bigger FW updates but you dont hear nearly as much chest beating from them as you do MS about it. I always wonder what they are changing.

Very nice, let's get that OS RAM reserve reduced as well.
I am sure that will happen eventually but its probably near the bottom of the list.

The amount of memory is near the least of the issues with the new consoles.
 
#25
Sure there will be more heat inside my PS4 now, I'm just glad that Sony 1st party got access to even more processing power now [this was never in question but it is nice to get public updates on SDK development]. :)

What's the cost of doing this? Why weren't they able to do this from launch?
There is no cost. Console makers are usually very conservative with giving HW access to devs at launch, opting to better give them "safe things" [at launch devs are happy to play with any new and shiny stuff just so they can forget the hardship of end-of-generation optimisation for old hardware] and leave a lot of space for themselves to evolve their OS/services. As time goes by, some of that reserve is released to the devs . After 2 years Sony probably now knows to the full extent how their OS partition will evolve in upcoming years. I presume the last big OS service they needed to make sure it runs great is all the PSVR stuff.
 

kamineko

Does his best thinking in the flying car
#37
The secret sauce behind PS2 emulation, no doubt.

Perhaps accessing the 8th will allow PSP emulation.

Lol. More power is always welcome
 
#38
Hopefully they get the firmware team on the RAM reductions too like how they did PS3. Didn't PS3 go from 120MB reserved for the OS to like 40MB after a few years?
 
#40
What's the cost of doing this? Why weren't they able to do this from launch?
You would always reserve more resources than you need at launch, because you can reduce the reserve whenever you want, but you can never increase it. Once you have a better sense of what resources the OS will need over the full lifetime of the console, then you can carefully start lowering the amount of reserved resources.
 
#42
Hopefully they get the firmware team on the RAM reductions too like how they did PS3. Didn't PS3 go from 120MB reserved for the OS to like 40MB after a few years?
Yes. They changed the initial big PS3 OS reserve into a modular approach. Devs could pick and choose which modules they want to load into memory - online module, voice recognition, camera, on screen keyboard [and its built-in dictionary], etc.
 
#46
Wonder if this will be enough to push the PS4 ahead in general performance over the i3/750 ti setup that its often compared with on the PC side of things. My understanding is that the CPU was the limiting factor for the PS4 there in performance, with the Radeon 7850 ish GPU in the PS4 being faster than the 750 Ti.
 
#47
I have no idea what this means.

Edit: this seems like a good (and logical) explanation

You would always reserve more resources than you need at launch, because you can reduce the reserve whenever you want, but you can never increase it. Once you have a better sense of what resources the OS will need over the full lifetime of the console, then you can carefully start lowering the amount of reserved resources.