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Opinion Analysis Hardware [REVISED] Sony & Microsoft Mid-Gen Refresh Speculation/Theorizing

Which of these mentioned mid-gen designs would you be most into getting (multiple answers allowed)?

  • PlayStation Fold

    Votes: 10 8.5%
  • PlayStation 5 Slim

    Votes: 50 42.7%
  • PlayStation Stream

    Votes: 5 4.3%
  • Series M

    Votes: 8 6.8%
  • Series 17

    Votes: 12 10.3%
  • Series X-R

    Votes: 9 7.7%
  • You're insane; we can't even get a normal PS5 or Series X|S and you're already talking refreshes!!!

    Votes: 55 47.0%

  • Total voters
    117
  • Poll closed .

Bo_Hazem

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You made a really educated guess, and I think the PS5 Slim is plausible. Would Sony go the PS5 Pro route? Maybe they want a bigger jump at 3nm, not sure. A chiplet with 72CU could make it near impossible to impress with PS6 that might not reach 1nm.

Should we use new materials like carbon vs silicon? That's the next jump, I think.
 
Jan 11, 2019
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Thicc, I am really simple.

I just want better boxes.

More RAM, bigger GPU, faster CPU, more SSD space, etc. That's all I care about. Form factor, thermals, and acoustics are nice, for sure, but not my primary concerns.

I just want the PS5 Pro and the Series Next to offer a significant boost in power, which hopefully translates into improved functionality as well (better RT cores, better AI supersampling support, etc). I am not sure how much faster the SSD can get in the PS5, as it is already top of the line, so just more space on the PlayStation side and more space + faster SSD on the Series side.
 
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This isn't a speculation, this is a wishlist thread.

You seriously think you'll get hardware that's 33% more powerful than this hardware and significantly more features for the same cost as this gen's hardware? What kind of koolaid are you guys drinking?? Why would a mid-gen refresh skip an entire line of GPUs (i.e. RDNA 2 -> RDNA 4) in a matter of 3 years? When has the console ever been the first of technology outside of it's PC line up of hardware (i.e. RDNA2 being first introduced by the console BEFORE the 6X00XT line of GPUs) has been developed?

I actually realized after the post that a PS5 Slim with RDNA 4 doesn't make too much sense when it'd require a redesign of a lot of parts of the architecture, so I've stepped back from that specific part. The other aspects though? I don't see how these are controversial. We know that faster and better modules of GDDR6 will come about over the next 3-4 years so the stack as a whole shifts in terms of costs to secure them. In other words Sony and Microsoft will be able to afford a 14 Gbps or 16 Gbps GDDR6 module for cheaper by 2023/2024 than they were able to in 2020, especially at mass volumes.

Addressing the GPU generation skip...again while I've since cut back on that idea at least regarding a PS5 revision (if it is indeed a Slim-style model), I based that on the release timings established so far for RDNA 1 to RDNA 2, which was about 16 months. Supposing that occurs again we would be able to expect RDNA 3 by March 2022, and RDNA 4 by July 2023. That assuming there's no major shakeups in AMD's roadmap or some change in architecture altogether that could throw off that release schedule. It's the best we can work with at this time in guessing when next generational releases for RDNA GPUs will occur, and it's based off a current pattern that's already been established.

So going with that in mind, neither mid-gen refresh/revision would actually release before the PC counterpart for this hypothetical release schedule. This also applies to a hypothetical Series 17; if it comes out several months after RDNA 4 GPUs come to market, there's no reason the system itself can't have RDNA 4, and most if not all of the design upgrades that comes with (ensuring Microsoft wants to keep feature parity with PC for game dev reasons).
IMO, that last gen spec thread was the main catalyst for the unrealistic expectations of the new consoles as with every single generation. We feed off of looking at milestones in the PC-sector and immediately think that those milestones will be applied to the consoles and at an unrealistic cost estimation. It's simply too "dreamy" to even consider. The latest SSD NvME Samsung drive with 7Gb/sec reads bandwidth just came out and it's going for $430+ on Newegg. You are talking about including an SSD drive in a console that's faster than that and will cost ~$100? In 3yrs??

I agree that crazy speculation happened in the last next-gen spec thread but I have deliberately tried avoiding that here and will continue to do so. Like let's take this SSD you bring up; my proposal here in Sony's case is that the drive is custom-built, it's basically them repurposing what's already soldered on the PS5 motherboard as something to an M.2 standard-issue form factor, that should also allow compatibility with 3P M.2 NVMe drives.

Sony is not Samsung; Samsung is selling that drive for profit, at least 2x the profits over assembly BOM and packaging/distribution costs (if not more). Sony would be designing such a drive for simply one product: a PS5 Slim revision. And that is a product with a business model that doesn't require high profit margins directly from the hardware sales. So IMO these aren't comparable scenarios.

In terms of Microsoft, similar deal; they could just partner with Seagate again, and design a custom included drive for a hypothetical Series 17, providing such speeds. Sony managed to reach 5.5 GB/s in a $499 system, you don't think Microsoft can design a solution with a storage partner in 3 years for a SSD providing 8 GB/s in a $499 mid-gen refresh? I don't see why not, in all honesty.

The hardware specs you listed here has never been implemented in the past - ever. The PS4 Pro was never a full generation ahead of the PS4. Neither was the Xbox One. I would personally reign in on the specs to make them more realistic to start a new discussion on this. It would make the thread way more interesting and believable imo.

Once again I scaled back on the suggestion of PS5 Slim being RDNA 4 as I had some more time to think about it and realized it made more sense to stick with the current architecture for ease of porting and production costs reasons. However, technically speaking, I'm not 100% sure each iterative RDNA gen can be seen as a "generation" in such a way RDNA is viewed compared to GCN, or even something like Vega compared to earlier GCN. PS4 Pro and One X were a full 2 (2.5 in PS4 Pro's case IIRC) generations (I get in the PC space gen version steppings are considered in generational terms but that lingo isn't always used on the console gaming side of these discussions) removed from their respective base systems, so there's precedent.

In fact, and this is more directed to those questioning if a PS5 Slim would have any spec upgrades over PS5, there is actual precedent of Sony having done this going as far back as the PlayStation 1. Here's a quote from Wikipedia regarding one of the early PS1 model revisions and its hardware improvements over the original launch model (December 1994):

The original hardware design included dual-ported VRAM as graphics memory, but due to a shortage in parts, Sony redesigned the GPU to use SGRAM instead (which could simulate dual-porting to some extent by using two banks). At the same time the GPU was upgraded to utilize smoother shading, resulting in overall better image quality compared to earlier models, which were more prone to banding;[2] additionally, performance for transparency effects was improved, resulting in less slowdown in scenes using this effect heavily. This Rev. C hardware first appeared in late 1995 and, unlike in Japan, was not marked with a model number change in NTSC-U and PAL territories - SCPH-1001/1002 systems can have either revision, as the change happened between revisions of the PU-8 mainboard.

Bolded emphasis mine. But that's something of an aside more to address any doubts on any chances of a hypothetical PS5 Slim doing anything as I suggested in the OP (outside of the RDNA 4 stuff, which I no longer think fits that design, and possibly scaling back on the storage capacity from 1.536 TB to 1 TB). I've never said these speculations were perfect or are even a guiding stone to what Microsoft and Sony do for mid-gen refreshes and revisions (if they even do anything, tho I think they will do at least something). However I feel rather confident at least in the level of research and thought put into this and feel similar with the 10th-gen system speculations which I'm hoping to put up soon.

Of course, folks are always welcome to disagree; that's part of what makes these discussions interesting because it leads to exchange of ideas 👍

You made a really educated guess, and I think the PS5 Slim is plausible. Would Sony go the PS5 Pro route? Maybe they want a bigger jump at 3nm, not sure. A chiplet with 72CU could make it near impossible to impress with PS6 that might not reach 1nm.

Should we use new materials like carbon vs silicon? That's the next jump, I think.

It's really hard to see a business justification for Sony doing a PS5 Pro this time around. Like was mentioned earlier, the base PS5 is pretty well-built for more streamlined VR, and there's no major revolution in TV display technology on the horizon. Those were the biggest factors for the original PS4 Pro, but they don't really seem to exist this time.

That said, there's still room (and prior precedent) for Sony to basically merge some performance gains into a PS5 Slim; the base PS5 (going by some of the Oberon revision listings) has support for up to 512 GB/s of memory bandwidth. So at some point, Sony were considering this but eventually went with slower 14 Gbps chips. They could afford 16 Gbps chips if the costs are right and not need to do any revisions to the PS5's memory controllers.

From what we can see on AMD RDNA 2 GPUs, there is room for them to also increase the GPU clocks further while sticking with the same GPU design, provided they provide the additional cooling to handle the upclock. That upclock increases TFs only slightly, but other things like cache speeds, pixel fillrate, texture fillrate etc. get some noticeable bumps. Even geometry/culling rates increase a small bit, and they can maybe do this within a smaller power budget than base PS5. The potential is easily there.

3nm is an option, though a small one. Apparently some people have found Sony booking 5nm wafers for 2023. I only found this out after posting this stuff because I think word started getting around over the weekend. 3nm would be more expensive than 5nm (which is more expensive than 7nm) and I dunno how that becomes an affordable option, though if Sony's mainly porting the PS5 design to the new process that creates saved R&D costs that can be used to offset the extra costs for going 3nm over 5nm....we would just need to see some evidence/proof...even rumors...of Sony booking 3nm wafer production. I don't see it happening though.

I don't know if a full-on switch away from silicon will ever happen because any new material has to prove it can both bring massive performance gains and do so at lower costs than silicon to justify retooling every part of the pipeline (including the fabs) to accommodate it. Maybe, some parts of some chips will use new materials while other components stick with silicon and some new packaging techniques come about. Seems like that will be the better option for the next decade in terms of keeping things simple from production POV, pricing POV etc.

PS4 specs can't be applied to a practical handheld format yet.

But to a hybrid format, or a handheld that can be used in a docked-ish way to an output display, perhaps it might be possible. Obviously not 2021, but we're talking 2023 here, tech should progress further by that point to make it more possible.

If not, then they may be able to come somewhat near it. A "good enough" equivalent by such a time but, then again, I tend to be an optimist.

Thicc, I am really simple.

I just want better boxes.

More RAM, bigger GPU, faster CPU, more SSD space, etc. That's all I care about. Form factor, thermals, and acoustics are nice, for sure, but not my primary concerns.

I just want the PS5 Pro and the Series Next to offer a significant boost in power, which hopefully translates into improved functionality as well (better RT cores, better AI supersampling support, etc). I am not sure how much faster the SSD can get in the PS5, as it is already top of the line, so just more space on the PlayStation side and more space + faster SSD on the Series side.

Depends on what you mean by "power", because TFLOPs aren't the only way to do it. The things you explicitly mention can be done with hardware acceleration, which I'm sure AMD are going to work on for RDNA 3 and future designs.

For what you mention, I think Microsoft have more of a business-oriented reason to pursue a "traditional" style mid-gen refresh. They'll want to increase the streaming fidelity for GamePass Xcloud while keeping costs manageable, which can best be done through a more capable APU design that, hey, you can also spin off as a mid-gen refresh that can possibly target some performance areas Microsoft arguably are a bit behind Sony on (pixel fillrate, GPU cache speeds, potentially need for cache scrubbers assuming AMD makes that standard going forward or Microsoft just wants to commission that for a new APU, etc.).

Sony has less a need for that, but they'd want to edge out a bit more performance while really targeting the main criticisms of PS5: system size, storage capacity, and cumbersome compatibility with 3P storage drives. A PS5 Pro doesn't really hit those notes, or at least better to say, it could do so in a way that's considered overboard versus what a Slim could provide. Meanwhile, there's always an argument that "hey, gamers will want more power and could go off to Microsoft or PC!", but that was the same argument for the last mid-gen refreshes and yet when you look at PS4 Pro and One X sales ratios, they are very low compared to the base systems.

So maybe that fear was unwarranted.
 
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VFXVeteran

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Nov 5, 2019
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I actually realized after the post that a PS5 Slim with RDNA 4 doesn't make too much sense when it'd require a redesign of a lot of parts of the architecture, so I've stepped back from that specific part. The other aspects though? I don't see how these are controversial. We know that faster and better modules of GDDR6 will come about over the next 3-4 years so the stack as a whole shifts in terms of costs to secure them. In other words Sony and Microsoft will be able to afford a 14 Gbps or 16 Gbps GDDR6 module for cheaper by 2023/2024 than they were able to in 2020, especially at mass volumes.

Addressing the GPU generation skip...again while I've since cut back on that idea at least regarding a PS5 revision (if it is indeed a Slim-style model), I based that on the release timings established so far for RDNA 1 to RDNA 2, which was about 16 months. Supposing that occurs again we would be able to expect RDNA 3 by March 2022, and RDNA 4 by July 2023. That assuming there's no major shakeups in AMD's roadmap or some change in architecture altogether that could throw off that release schedule. It's the best we can work with at this time in guessing when next generational releases for RDNA GPUs will occur, and it's based off a current pattern that's already been established.

So going with that in mind, neither mid-gen refresh/revision would actually release before the PC counterpart for this hypothetical release schedule.


I agree that crazy speculation happened in the last next-gen spec thread but I have deliberately tried avoiding that here and will continue to do so. Like let's take this SSD you bring up; my proposal here in Sony's case is that the drive is custom-built, it's basically them repurposing what's already soldered on the PS5 motherboard as something to an M.2 standard-issue form factor, that should also allow compatibility with 3P M.2 NVMe drives.

Sony is not Samsung; Samsung is selling that drive for profit, at least 2x the profits over assembly BOM and packaging/distribution costs (if not more). Sony would be designing such a drive for simply one product: a PS5 Slim revision. And that is a product with a business model that doesn't require high profit margins directly from the hardware sales. So IMO these aren't comparable scenarios.



Once again I scaled back on the suggestion of PS5 Slim being RDNA 4 as I had some more time to think about it and realized it made more sense to stick with the current architecture for ease of porting and production costs reasons. However, technically speaking, I'm not 100% sure each iterative RDNA gen can be seen as a "generation" in such a way RDNA is viewed compared to GCN, or even something like Vega compared to earlier GCN. PS4 Pro and One X were a full 2 (2.5 in PS4 Pro's case IIRC) generations (I get in the PC space gen version steppings are considered in generational terms but that lingo isn't always used on the console gaming side of these discussions) removed from their respective base systems, so there's precedent.

In fact, and this is more directed to those questioning if a PS5 Slim would have any spec upgrades over PS5, there is actual precedent of Sony having done this going as far back as the PlayStation 1. Here's a quote from Wikipedia regarding one of the early PS1 model revisions and its hardware improvements over the original launch model (December 1994):



Bolded emphasis mine. But that's something of an aside more to address any doubts on any chances of a hypothetical PS5 Slim doing anything as I suggested in the OP (outside of the RDNA 4 stuff, which I no longer think fits that design, and possibly scaling back on the storage capacity from 1.536 TB to 1 TB). I've never said these speculations were perfect or are even a guiding stone to what Microsoft and Sony do for mid-gen refreshes and revisions (if they even do anything, tho I think they will do at least something). However I feel rather confident at least in the level of research and thought put into this and feel similar with the 10th-gen system speculations which I'm hoping to put up soon.

Of course, folks are always welcome to disagree; that's part of what makes these discussions interesting because it leads to exchange of ideas 👍



It's really hard to see a business justification for Sony doing a PS5 Pro this time around. Like was mentioned earlier, the base PS5 is pretty well-built for more streamlined VR, and there's no major revolution in TV display technology on the horizon. Those were the biggest factors for the original PS4 Pro, but they don't really seem to exist this time.

That said, there's still room (and prior precedent) for Sony to basically merge some performance gains into a PS5 Slim; the base PS5 (going by some of the Oberon revision listings) has support for up to 512 GB/s of memory bandwidth. So at some point, Sony were considering this but eventually went with slower 14 Gbps chips. They could afford 16 Gbps chips if the costs are right and not need to do any revisions to the PS5's memory controllers.

From what we can see on AMD RDNA 2 GPUs, there is room for them to also increase the GPU clocks further while sticking with the same GPU design, provided they provide the additional cooling to handle the upclock. That upclock increases TFs only slightly, but other things like cache speeds, pixel fillrate, texture fillrate etc. get some noticeable bumps. Even geometry/culling rates increase a small bit, and they can maybe do this within a smaller power budget than base PS5. The potential is easily there.

3nm is an option, though a small one. Apparently some people have found Sony booking 5nm wafers for 2023. I only found this out after posting this stuff because I think word started getting around over the weekend. 3nm would be more expensive than 5nm (which is more expensive than 7nm) and I dunno how that becomes an affordable option, though if Sony's mainly porting the PS5 design to the new process that creates saved R&D costs that can be used to offset the extra costs for going 3nm over 5nm....we would just need to see some evidence/proof...even rumors...of Sony booking 3nm wafer production. I don't see it happening though.

I don't know if a full-on switch away from silicon will ever happen because any new material has to prove it can both bring massive performance gains and do so at lower costs than silicon to justify retooling every part of the pipeline (including the fabs) to accommodate it. Maybe, some parts of some chips will use new materials while other components stick with silicon and some new packaging techniques come about. Seems like that will be the better option for the next decade in terms of keeping things simple from production POV, pricing POV etc.



But to a hybrid format, or a handheld that can be used in a docked-ish way to an output display, perhaps it might be possible. Obviously not 2021, but we're talking 2023 here, tech should progress further by that point to make it more possible.

If not, then they may be able to come somewhat near it. A "good enough" equivalent by such a time but, then again, I tend to be an optimist.



Depends on what you mean by "power", because TFLOPs aren't the only way to do it. The things you explicitly mention can be done with hardware acceleration, which I'm sure AMD are going to work on for RDNA 3 and future designs.

For what you mention, I think Microsoft have more of a business-oriented reason to pursue a "traditional" style mid-gen refresh. They'll want to increase the streaming fidelity for GamePass Xcloud while keeping costs manageable, which can best be done through a more capable APU design that, hey, you can also spin off as a mid-gen refresh that can possibly target some performance areas Microsoft arguably are a bit behind Sony on (pixel fillrate, GPU cache speeds, potentially need for cache scrubbers assuming AMD makes that standard going forward or Microsoft just wants to commission that for a new APU, etc.).

Sony has less a need for that, but they'd want to edge out a bit more performance while really targeting the main criticisms of PS5: system size, storage capacity, and cumbersome compatibility with 3P storage drives. A PS5 Pro doesn't really hit those notes, or at least better to say, it could do so in a way that's considered overboard versus what a Slim could provide. Meanwhile, there's always an argument that "hey, gamers will want more power and could go off to Microsoft or PC!", but that was the same argument for the last mid-gen refreshes and yet when you look at PS4 Pro and One X sales ratios, they are very low compared to the base systems.

So maybe that fear was unwarranted.

I just think that these systems will not take such drastic hardware changes in the same generation. In fact, even a PS6 will probably end up being an RDNA 3 modified architecture drastically scaled down as we see now.

I remember when I told people in the next-gen thread that my contacts told me a PS5 (a full generation from the PS4) would have the performance of a 1080-1080Ti graphics card amidst us already having the 2080Ti and moving on to Ampere (which is the 30xx new board). I was ridiculed and called a naysayer and having inaccurate inside information. It wasn't pretty. In the end, that's exactly what they got. A console that was moderately on par with last generations 10xx-series cards and questionable 20xx-series performance.

Costs are going up dramatically as we continue the chip sector growth and just waiting out on something that just releases is no guarantee that due to time being on the shelf that the hardware would become extremely cheap. If I were to guess at what kind of hardware the mid-gen refreshes would be, it would be same chipsets and possibly more SSD space, slightly more RAM, and some other feature that's not on the chipset (maybe some added VR component or something). I very seriously doubt MS or Sony will go into the chipsets for these for a mid-gen refresh if they even are making a mid-gen refresh in the first place. For next-generation, I *might* entertain the thought of a scaled down 3060Ti as a GPU and probably a higher clocked CPU but with the same number of cores/threads (most games are GPU-limited anyway). There is no way a PS6 is going to have the silicon of a 3090 RTX. Finally, I'm thinking at $699 or more for the price.
 
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Imtjnotu

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PS5 Slim revision speculation

Fall 2023 launch
  • same 2 SKUs - PS5 / PS5 DE
  • mostly same specs, larger 1.65 TB SSD option
  • SoC now on TSMC 5 nm, ~ 215 mm^2
  • lower power draw
  • smaller PSU ~ 275 W
  • smaller size, bit shorter & thinner
  • simpler design more like a PS4 (to lower cost)
  • same white & black design
  • matte finish, no glossy plastic
  • no separate base, just simple rubber feet like PS4
  • no removable external plates
  • simpler slide out tray for M.2 SSD (maybe)
Pricing

I don't know how likely it is for Sony to be able to lower the cost of the PS5s by $100 by 2023. Or if they will want to. The PS4 Pro allowed Sony to drop PS4 Slim to the $300 price because the Pro filled the $400 spot for 4 years. I don't think there will be a PS5 Pro for $500 in 2023-24, so Sony will instead create a 1.65 TB PS5 slim to sell at $500. From there its unclear if they'd just do the same $400 PS5 DE now with 1.65 TB... or they could do a 825 GB PS5 slim for $400. The only model I could see being at $300 is an 825 GB PS5 DE. The $300 price point is very appealing for pushing volume. But Sony might not want to ever offer any PS5 for below $400.

Scenario 1: Add more storage, keep prices same.
$500 - PS5 1.65 TB
$400 - PS5 DE 1.65 TB
Pro - offers more storage for same price
Con - doesn't lower entry cost, could hurt sales volume
This seems likely scenario if no PS5 Pro.

Scenario 2: Cut price by $100. Add 1.65 TB models later in 2024.
$400 - PS5 825 GB
$300 - PS5 DE 825 GB
Pro - lowers cost for both models
Con - doesn't offer more storage yet (con for Sony is no $500 sku)
I can only see this happening if Sony does create a PS5 Pro for $500.

Scenario 3: Focus on selling digital models, offer models at 3 prices.
$500 - PS5 1.65 TB
$400 - PS5 DE 1.65 TB
$350/$300 - PS5 DE 825 GB
Pro - lowers entry cost and offers more storage for same prices
Con - doesn't lower price of disc model
This could be Sony's way to offer lower price model, but also keep $500 sku if no PS5 Pro.


Just for some context, PS4 slim was $300 for 500 GB model at launch in September 2016, and then became 1 TB for same $300 by April-June 2017 around the world. That was 2x the storage for same price in less than a year. PS4 Pro of course was always $400 and 1 TB.

And who knows if what Microsoft does ends up affecting Sony's plans, or vice versa.
 
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I just think that these systems will not take such drastic hardware changes in the same generation. In fact, even a PS6 will probably end up being an RDNA 3 modified architecture drastically scaled down as we see now.

Hmm, I think that's a bit low for a PS6; RDNA 3 will be at least 4 years old by the time of a PS6, unless AMD stagnate badly after RDNA 3 (and hey, anything it technically possible), at the very least I think they would be RDNA 4 or 5. If their focus on increased PC ports continues going forward, they'll want to be at least within a generation's reach of where AMD's GPUs will be by that time, and RDNA 3 would be too old for that.

I remember when I told people in the next-gen thread that my contacts told me a PS5 (a full generation from the PS4) would have the performance of a 1080-1080Ti graphics card amidst us already having the 2080Ti and moving on to Ampere (which is the 30xx new board). I was ridiculed and called a naysayer and having inaccurate inside information. It wasn't pretty. In the end, that's exactly what they got. A console that was moderately on par with last generations 10xx-series cards and questionable 20xx-series performance.

Those were good contacts, because there's something interesting to look at when looking back at PS4 and XBO; for what I've been speculating for 10th-gen systems, I looked at the top-end card at the time of Sony & Microsoft's last releases, and it wasn't even the 1080 Ti, but the 970 Ti. At least in terms of raw TF, anyway.

Even the PS4 Pro did not outdo the 970 Ti in terms of TF; while the One X did, it's arguable that effectively it performed lower than a 970 Ti in TF due to differences in architecture and certain design quirks in GCN that held it back. So now we have the PS5 and Series X, and they are around 2x to 2.25x the raw TF performance of a 970 Ti, but it took seven years to get there.

So that's basically what I'm doing again; the 3090 is the current top performer, but I'm not expecting 10th-gen systems anywhere near 70 TF - 80 TF of performance. No, they'll probably be around half of that, at most. Trends are moving to dedicated hardware accelerators and various image upscaling techniques, ML etc. and hardware built into designs to leverage that. We can basically see this in Apple's M1 chips, and Intel's Ponte Vecchio cards.

I don't think yourself or anyone else deserved the level of ridicule you got for basically being messengers when the sources themselves can't be controlled, but it is ironic seeing what stuck the landing vs. what didn't in hindsight.

Costs are going up dramatically as we continue the chip sector growth and just waiting out on something that just releases is no guarantee that due to time being on the shelf that the hardware would become extremely cheap. If I were to guess at what kind of hardware the mid-gen refreshes would be, it would be same chipsets and possibly more SSD space, slightly more RAM, and some other feature that's not on the chipset (maybe some added VR component or something).

That sounds fair; would you say something like a Series 17 or PS5 Slim listed here are concepts you'd feel more assured about if they simply kept the same RDNA 2 & Zen 2 designs ported to a more efficient (and by the time these systems got made, cheaper) node process? I still think MS would want to use a more-recent RDNA generation to keep up with PC since they want that console/PC synergy, but this might not be a factor for Sony for various reasons which were discussed earlier in the thread.

Personally I think PS5 already has a decent amount of features in their APU for VR, so I think there would be impetus for Microsoft to add some of that for their own mid-gen refresh, if they go that route. Unless you mean something more to the scale of more dedicated hardware support for ML that doesn't have to eat at the CU performance, I can see that happening in small doses.

I very seriously doubt MS or Sony will go into the chipsets for these for a mid-gen refresh if they even are making a mid-gen refresh in the first place. For next-generation, I *might* entertain the thought of a scaled down 3060Ti as a GPU and probably a higher clocked CPU but with the same number of cores/threads (most games are GPU-limited anyway). There is no way a PS6 is going to have the silicon of a 3090 RTX. Finally, I'm thinking at $699 or more for the price.

I don't think that price does well for any 10th-gen system, at least not as something positioned as a console, tbh. It's just too high and it'd be much harder to argue the immediate benefits you're getting jumping in at that price; the rate of visual gains aren't as big as they were going from 4th-gen to 5th-gen, 5th-gen to 6th-gen, etc.

Similarly, I don't think 3090 is an unattainable target n terms of baseline performance for 10th-gen. I'm expecting 10th-gen to be around that level in terms of pure TF; not much more than that, if at all. But effective performance should be quite a bit more optimized than 3090. Which is all fair and good because by the time of 10th-gen Nvidia will have even mid-tier GPUs running circles around those consoles and 3090, same for AMD, Intel, and Apple.

I agree with CPUs staying more or less the same; 8C/16T seems good and well-realized. I think benefits in CPUs will come about in different ways; there's rumors of AMD experimenting with testing FPGA integration into some internal prototype CPU designs, that could be a potential future for CPUs that can benefit newer consoles down the line.

PS5 Slim revision speculation

Fall 2023 launch
  • same 2 SKUs - PS5 / PS5 DE
  • mostly same specs, larger 1.65 TB SSD option
  • SoC now on TSMC 5 nm, ~ 215 mm^2
  • lower power draw
  • smaller PSU ~ 275 W
  • smaller size, bit shorter & thinner
  • simpler design more like a PS4 (to lower cost)
  • same white & black design
  • matte finish, no glossy plastic
  • no separate base, just simple rubber feet like PS4
  • no removable external plates
  • simpler slide out tray for M.2 SSD (maybe)

Interesting take; I'm curious if Sony would really want to mandate BOM for physical PS5 Slims by building the disc drive in the system, however. I can see this SKU working, but they'll do a physical PS5 via an included Blu-Ray disc reader connecting to the system from one of the USB Type-C ports (not sure if PS5 has one in the front, it might be the back).

I know that probably drums up images of Jaguar CD or Sega CD, but I don't think Sony would use such an add-on to provide extra performance power to a PS5. They theoretically COULD do it; if the USB Type-C port is 3x2 (4.8 GB/s) that could provide enough bandwidth and lowered latency for a dGPU-style setup. But I simply don't see them doing that; it'd just be for physical Blu-Ray playback. Benefit is they can include it in a second SKU for a slight price premium but also sell it as a peripheral for say $60, you can enable any PS5 Slim DE to act as a physical media PS5 Slim this way.

And again, that saves on BOM costs for including disc drives built into PS5 Slims that may not even sell at mass volumes. The only "drawback" here is that the effective volume of a SKU with the PS5 Slim DE and add-on Blu-Ray drive would be very limited and probably aimed at markets where all-digital isn't a genuine option due to limited internet infrastructure.

Pricing

I don't know how likely it is for Sony to be able to lower the cost of the PS5s by $100 by 2023. Or if they will want to. The PS4 Pro allowed Sony to drop PS4 Slim to the $300 price because the Pro filled the $400 spot for 4 years. I don't think there will be a PS5 Pro for $500 in 2023-24, so Sony will instead create a 1.65 TB PS5 slim to sell at $500. From there its unclear if they'd just do the same $400 PS5 DE now with 1.65 TB... or they could do a 825 GB PS5 slim for $400. The only model I could see being at $300 is an 825 GB PS5 DE. The $300 price point is very appealing for pushing volume. But Sony might not want to ever offer any PS5 for below $400.
Scenario 1: Add more storage, keep prices same.
$500 - PS5 1.65 TB
$400 - PS5 DE 1.65 TB
Pro - offers more storage for same price
Con - doesn't lower entry cost, could hurt sales volume
This seems likely scenario if no PS5 Pro.

Scenario 2: Cut price by $100. Add 1.65 TB models later in 2024.
$400 - PS5 825 GB
$300 - PS5 DE 825 GB
Pro - lowers cost for both models
Con - doesn't offer more storage yet (con for Sony is no $500 sku)
I can only see this happening if Sony does create a PS5 Pro for $500.

Scenario 3: Focus on selling digital models, offer models at 3 prices.
$500 - PS5 1.65 TB
$400 - PS5 DE 1.65 TB
$350/$300 - PS5 DE 825 GB
Pro - lowers entry cost and offers more storage for same prices
Con - doesn't lower price of disc model
This could be Sony's way to offer lower price model, but also keep $500 sku if no PS5 Pro.


Just for some context, PS4 slim was $300 for 500 GB model at launch in September 2016, and then became 1 TB for same $300 by April-June 2017 around the world. That was 2x the storage for same price in less than a year. PS4 Pro of course was always $400 and 1 TB.

And who knows if what Microsoft does ends up affecting Sony's plans, or vice versa.

Yeah, I think this is sound. A cheaper PS5 Slim SKU would have to come with less storage. I think there is an "out" for Sony here to cover a $400 and $300 price range though; if they did by chance release a Slim in 2023, then they release the lower-end SKU for $400. But by holiday 2024, they can lower its price to $300 or do so going into early-mid 2025, and perhaps by then they can probably drop the price of the higher-end SKU by $50.

The only reason I think the introductory prices would be lower than $400 and $500, though, is because if Microsoft actually does do a mid-gen refresh like has been theorized in the OP, that puts a $500 PS5 Slim with larger storage in position to look like a bad value proposition comparatively, at least on hardware performance terms. Sony would want to avoid that. In that scenario $299 and $399 would probably be more along what they'd want to aim for but if that type of mid-gen refresh from Microsoft never materializes, then $399 and $499 would be doable.
 

BusierDonkey

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Sep 21, 2018
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Mid-gen refreshes were the final nail in my console-buying coffin. If I have to upgrade every 3 years I might as well be upgrading a PC.
 

kyliethicc

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Interesting take; I'm curious if Sony would really want to mandate BOM for physical PS5 Slims by building the disc drive in the system, however. I can see this SKU working, but they'll do a physical PS5 via an included Blu-Ray disc reader connecting to the system from one of the USB Type-C ports (not sure if PS5 has one in the front, it might be the back).

I know that probably drums up images of Jaguar CD or Sega CD, but I don't think Sony would use such an add-on to provide extra performance power to a PS5. They theoretically COULD do it; if the USB Type-C port is 3x2 (4.8 GB/s) that could provide enough bandwidth and lowered latency for a dGPU-style setup. But I simply don't see them doing that; it'd just be for physical Blu-Ray playback. Benefit is they can include it in a second SKU for a slight price premium but also sell it as a peripheral for say $60, you can enable any PS5 Slim DE to act as a physical media PS5 Slim this way.

And again, that saves on BOM costs for including disc drives built into PS5 Slims that may not even sell at mass volumes. The only "drawback" here is that the effective volume of a SKU with the PS5 Slim DE and add-on Blu-Ray drive would be very limited and probably aimed at markets where all-digital isn't a genuine option due to limited internet infrastructure.

I can't see Sony ever offering an external disc drive accessory that would also work with Digital PS5s because they only reason Sony are selling the DEs for lower prices is the guarantee that all games will have to be purchased digitally by the user. Its the $100 discount to lock in software sales via their store.

But, I could see a scenario where the PlayStation 6 does something like this. I could imagine Sony announcing that all PS6 games will only be available digitally. Then I could see them selling just 1 PS6 model that is of course discless, but offering an external disc drive accessory for users with physical PS5/4 games. It would let users still play their old disc games via BC, but no new games would be sold on disc, so they wouldn't have to bother creating 2 models. And I could Microsoft doing something similar because Game Pass is of course digital only.


Yeah, I think this is sound. A cheaper PS5 Slim SKU would have to come with less storage. I think there is an "out" for Sony here to cover a $400 and $300 price range though; if they did by chance release a Slim in 2023, then they release the lower-end SKU for $400. But by holiday 2024, they can lower its price to $300 or do so going into early-mid 2025, and perhaps by then they can probably drop the price of the higher-end SKU by $50.

The only reason I think the introductory prices would be lower than $400 and $500, though, is because if Microsoft actually does do a mid-gen refresh like has been theorized in the OP, that puts a $500 PS5 Slim with larger storage in position to look like a bad value proposition comparatively, at least on hardware performance terms. Sony would want to avoid that. In that scenario $299 and $399 would probably be more along what they'd want to aim for but if that type of mid-gen refresh from Microsoft never materializes, then $399 and $499 would be doable.

I think Microsoft will just create new versions of their X and S consoles every 3-4 years for the same prices. Whatever they do next, there's gonna be the black X box for $500 and the white digital S box for $300. What those will look like spec wise? Idk.

I could totally see a scenario where all Microsoft really changes about the XSX by 2023-24 is just adding a USB-C port, adding WiFi 6, and going with 2 TB internal SSD. Same $500 price. Maybe slight higher clocks, or just slim the console down and lower power draw. They'll probably use TSMC 5nm as well for whatever they're planning next.

They might also eventually want to introduce a digital only model of the X. Maybe even at $400, but they would have to lower the price of the S down to $250 if they did that.
 
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This isn't a speculation, this is a wishlist thread.

You seriously think you'll get hardware that's 33% more powerful than this hardware and significantly more features for the same cost as this gen's hardware? What kind of koolaid are you guys drinking?? Why would a mid-gen refresh skip an entire line of GPUs (i.e. RDNA 2 -> RDNA 4) in a matter of 3 years? When has the console ever been the first of technology outside of it's PC line up of hardware (i.e. RDNA2 being first introduced by the console BEFORE the 6X00XT line of GPUs) has been developed?

IMO, that last gen spec thread was the main catalyst for the unrealistic expectations of the new consoles as with every single generation. We feed off of looking at milestones in the PC-sector and immediately think that those milestones will be applied to the consoles and at an unrealistic cost estimation. It's simply too "dreamy" to even consider. The latest SSD NvME Samsung drive with 7Gb/sec reads bandwidth just came out and it's going for $430+ on Newegg. You are talking about including an SSD drive in a console that's faster than that and will cost ~$100? In 3yrs??

The hardware specs you listed here has never been implemented in the past - ever. The PS4 Pro was never a full generation ahead of the PS4. Neither was the Xbox One. I would personally reign in on the specs to make them more realistic to start a new discussion on this. It would make the thread way more interesting and believable imo.

Change the RDNA 4 to 3 then and there's nothing ridiculous about his specs. PC players would have said the same thing as you, had you shown them Series X specs and price tag in early 2017... They take a loss on hardware to get you on services and software over 3-7 years (unlike enthusiast PC parts) but very much like every console every released...
 
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VFXVeteran

Industry Professional (Vetted)
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Hmm, I think that's a bit low for a PS6; RDNA 3 will be at least 4 years old by the time of a PS6, unless AMD stagnate badly after RDNA 3 (and hey, anything it technically possible), at the very least I think they would be RDNA 4 or 5. If their focus on increased PC ports continues going forward, they'll want to be at least within a generation's reach of where AMD's GPUs will be by that time, and RDNA 3 would be too old for that.
We shouldn't start trying to "think" like a company. Especially if we never worked for a company like this. It really pushes more speculation into the thread instead of logical thinking.

Just because the generation is 4yrs old doesn't mean it won't be attached to a console. You have to realize that these consoles have to have decisions made pronto so that they have enough time for other things to finalize. A console doesn't get made in 1-2yrs from design to implementation. When these new consoles came out and was announced last year, they were based off of several years old tech from the PC sector. That's normal.

Those were good contacts, because there's something interesting to look at when looking back at PS4 and XBO; for what I've been speculating for 10th-gen systems, I looked at the top-end card at the time of Sony & Microsoft's last releases, and it wasn't even the 1080 Ti, but the 970 Ti. At least in terms of raw TF, anyway.

Even the PS4 Pro did not outdo the 970 Ti in terms of TF; while the One X did, it's arguable that effectively it performed lower than a 970 Ti in TF due to differences in architecture and certain design quirks in GCN that held it back. So now we have the PS5 and Series X, and they are around 2x to 2.25x the raw TF performance of a 970 Ti, but it took seven years to get there.

So that's basically what I'm doing again; the 3090 is the current top performer, but I'm not expecting 10th-gen systems anywhere near 70 TF - 80 TF of performance. No, they'll probably be around half of that, at most. Trends are moving to dedicated hardware accelerators and various image upscaling techniques, ML etc. and hardware built into designs to leverage that. We can basically see this in Apple's M1 chips, and Intel's Ponte Vecchio cards.
Yes, I can guarantee that there will be a DLSS equivalent with AI cores on the 10th gen consoles (i.e. PS6). I'm not sure if AMD will innovate on RT cores or not though.

I don't think yourself or anyone else deserved the level of ridicule you got for basically being messengers when the sources themselves can't be controlled, but it is ironic seeing what stuck the landing vs. what didn't in hindsight.
Very ironic!

That sounds fair; would you say something like a Series 17 or PS5 Slim listed here are concepts you'd feel more assured about if they simply kept the same RDNA 2 & Zen 2 designs ported to a more efficient (and by the time these systems got made, cheaper) node process? I still think MS would want to use a more-recent RDNA generation to keep up with PC since they want that console/PC synergy, but this might not be a factor for Sony for various reasons which were discussed earlier in the thread.

Personally I think PS5 already has a decent amount of features in their APU for VR, so I think there would be impetus for Microsoft to add some of that for their own mid-gen refresh, if they go that route. Unless you mean something more to the scale of more dedicated hardware support for ML that doesn't have to eat at the CU performance, I can see that happening in small doses.
I agree here. I think both are pretty full fledged systems to be honest. I would actually be surprised if they changed anything to call it a mid-gen refresh. Remember, the only reason way PS4/Xbox got mid-gen refreshes is because they were severely underpowered and companies complained. I don't think that's the case this go around.

I don't think that price does well for any 10th-gen system, at least not as something positioned as a console, tbh. It's just too high and it'd be much harder to argue the immediate benefits you're getting jumping in at that price; the rate of visual gains aren't as big as they were going from 4th-gen to 5th-gen, 5th-gen to 6th-gen, etc.

IF Sony and MS agree with you, then their hardware will be even more scaled down than what I presented. You just can't have it both ways tbh. Cell phones are over 1k now. Never thought I'd see that seeing as though the technology isn't giant leaps from one gen to the next but here we are.

Similarly, I don't think 3090 is an unattainable target n terms of baseline performance for 10th-gen. I'm expecting 10th-gen to be around that level in terms of pure TF; not much more than that, if at all. But effective performance should be quite a bit more optimized than 3090. Which is all fair and good because by the time of 10th-gen Nvidia will have even mid-tier GPUs running circles around those consoles and 3090, same for AMD, Intel, and Apple.

3090 is completely unattainable. Why? Because there is a drastic difference in architecture between 20xx-series and 30xx series. Nvidia didn't do a normal iteration with the Ampere cards. It's definitely a huge step beyond the 20xx. I can bet a dollar to a dime you won't see that kind of power in PS6/Xbox+. There is a LOT of silicon in the 3090. First AMD is already behind on even competing with the Ampere cards already with their own iteration, so they still have to catch up. Second, the chips to get that kind of board is too much for a simple console @ $500. No way. There would have to be a DRAMATIC difference in the 3nm tech that allows cheap manufacturing and low costs much less than producing the 3090 in order for me to even think that's possible in a console and it needs to be available NOW so that the console will be ready for the shelves in 6yrs. I will even go on the record to say I don't think the 40xx-based boards will come in the 2yr time frame they usually have and if they do, they won't be a bigger leap over the 30xx series cards like the 20xx series cards.
 
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VFXVeteran

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Change the RDNA 4 to 3 then and there's nothing ridiculous about his specs. PC players would have said the same thing as you, had you shown them Series X specs and price tag in early 2017... They take a loss on hardware to get you on services and software over 3-7 years (unlike enthusiast PC parts) but very much like every console every released...

Agree with this. RDNA 3 sounds much more plausible. And we'll know about it before the 10th gen announcements happen.
 
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