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Will PS6 and Xbox Series Next use ARM based custom-SoCs?

mili2110

Member
Seeing that Microsoft, Apple, Amazon Google, Samsung etc. are building their own ARM based Custom chips for their special use cases e.g. Microsoft/Amazon/Google for their cloud services, will the next gen consoles use custom build ARM SoCs as well? I mean look a the Apple M1 Pro/Max. Its the best Notebook Processsor by far. Now imagine a 250W ARM SoC with a GPU (200W) and a 50W CPU. I think they could run PS5/XSX games if they use something like Rosetta to emulate x86 Code for BC. Do you think Sony would go that route? I can imagine that MS is at least considering it. Just read the news, everybody is trying to hire SoC Experts from one another. Nintendo is already doing it and I dont think they will ever go back to x86 arch, doesnt matter if mobile/handheld or traditional home consoles..
 
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M1chl

Currently Gif and Meme Champion
Well MS snag someone who worked on M1 chips so it's possible. But I am not so sure if the next-gen will be like this. It has a long way off still. Maybe Sony will be faster.
 

Sosokrates

Report me if I continue to console war
It really depends on the cost/performance.

From my understanding google and apple use ARM because the design is cheaper to license then other vendors like AMD/Intel.

So if the performance is there I think they will because its cheaper.

But it might depnds on the scale of usage if its a big upfront investment, I think Microsoft could be more likely to design there own silicon because they can use it in there cloud,Xbox and surface hardware.
 

intbal

Gold Member
Microsoft might not release any more console hardware.
Perhaps a small box (or HDMI stick) that runs a customized Edge browser for accessing XCloud games.
Maybe something that could include ML hardware to improve the quality of the streamed frames, thus lowering bandwidth requirements.

Even if they release a full bore Xbox Series XX, you have to know that the above plan is simmering somewhere deep in the MS labs for future deployment.
 

LordOfChaos

Member
Sony is pretty conservative on how their BC works and I don't think they'd be trying to do cross ISA translation.

Let alone that outside of Apple most ARM cores are not so ambitious, we'll see with Qualcomm aquiring Nuvia whose results will take a few more years to show. But if you want full native backwards compatibility, want a single chip APU/SoC, then x86 and AMD is pretty well still the game in town. Who knows with Intel getting serious about GPUs but they historically didn't like console margins and handing over control, even though they poached the OG Xbox from AMD.

I think at minimum the PS6 and Xbox Infinite stay with x86-64, and then maybe the generation after it drops it in a clean break for higher performance per watt/cost.
 
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The M1 is good not just because it's ARM, it's because it's a SOC with a fuckton or hardware accelerators. That's why it's so fast, but x86/64 CPUs are also becoming SOC with dedicated hardware, so this advantage from the mobile chips will be lost.
By the time the next consoles will be made the market will be very different.
Also, in the end you need someone to design and fab the chips for you, and what are the options? There aren't many left. Don't know if Microsoft or Sony will use AMD for non portables, I only know that it'll be AMD again and there's a 30% change that AMD will create something use ARM cores because it's on their portfolio.
 

ReBurn

Gold Member
Yes, they will. x86 is not the future for gaming tech. Look at the performance of Rosetta 2 on MacOS.
If history repeats itself Rosetta 2 will disappear just like Rosetta did. It's meant to smooth the transition from one architecture to another, not be a permanent solution. At some point Apple is probably going to stop supporting it and expect developers to write apps native to their M-based architecture.
 

ZywyPL

Banned
Do ARM CPUs actually have the power to run full-fat AAA games? Everyone seems to be praising ARM, how great they are, but where are the actual results? Because all those useless synthetic benchmarks are exactly that, useless.

Besides, switching yet again to a completely new architecture would kill both BC, cross-gens and PC ports, simply put it would do nothing but hurt their revenue, and that's an obvious no-go.
 

winjer

Member
ARM cores are a bit more efficient, because they don't have to maintain a large set of old instruction sets. This implies more used space and power for microcode and for the decode stage.
For companies that use old software and need these instructions, Intel and AMD can't remove these instructions. So they must be kept on the PC side.
But for a console, most of these old instructions can be removed without any loss of compatibility with very old software.
 

stranno

Member
Do ARM CPUs actually have the power to run full-fat AAA games? Everyone seems to be praising ARM, how great they are, but where are the actual results? Because all those useless synthetic benchmarks are exactly that, useless.
As long as it can run Bejeweled Classic HD fine.. Google Play / App Store have their market covered.
 

Mabdia

Member
Serious question here. Will we have a nextbox and a new PlayStation?

Each time that they talk about a game releasing also in PC I feel that we don't more consoles anymore.
 
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Imagining changing architecture again and fucking BC again + ease port from/to PC...

This is the biggest reason it won't happen; carrying digital libraries forward is a big deal now and people expect BC native support as well. It's no longer a luxury; it's expected as something normal.

I don't think ARM alone offers the performance needed for full next-gen gaming workloads, and it's not like x86 chip manufacturers don't have power-efficient chip designs in the pipeline. Intel already have their Efficiency Cores, which they'll improve going forward (such as adding more thread support), and AMD are likely looking into something similar (though I've also heard their approach would just be more bigger cores and running some of them at low clocks, particularly when they aren't needed for background tasks...though don't CPUs already do this more or less? Not all cores run at full frequency unless the workload requires it and throttling isn't a concern).

Doing that while still keeping things x86/x86-64 means the microarchitecture stays the same, and no need to lose performance through emulating the microcode on ARM. Besides if we look at PS5 and Xbox Series, the main thing eating at power consumption aren't the CPUs; it's the GPUs, memory and storage. Particularly data accesses since those require way more energy than the actual computations (including even costly AVX 256 calculations on the CPU).

If there's anything the 10th-gen systems will focus on (architecture-wise), it's addressing data locality and latency in order to massively bring down power usage that can be better directed to arithmetic. Probably using a mixture of approaches. Memory type, for example: there's no way in hell they're using GDDR for those systems, it''s a dead end.

Serious question here. Will we have a nextbox and a new PlayStation?

Each time that they talk about a game releasing also in PC I feel that we don't more consoles anymore.

Yes there'll 100% be a 10th-gen PlayStation and Xbox. Something has to serve as a stable baseline and you can't necessarily do that on PC especially considering what we're seeing happen right now.

ARM cores are a bit more efficient, because they don't have to maintain a large set of old instruction sets. This implies more used space and power for microcode and for the decode stage.
For companies that use old software and need these instructions, Intel and AMD can't remove these instructions. So they must be kept on the PC side.
But for a console, most of these old instructions can be removed without any loss of compatibility with very old software.

I mean, that would mean something a bit more significant if Sony & Microsoft used off-the-shelf CPUs, but they both do custom designs with AMD. Meaning they can shave off certain features they don't need.

Probably can't shave off as many as they could if they went with ARM, but there are features ARM doesn't really support which have helped x86-based processors maintain performance edges, such as speculative execution (though ironically that also made ARM chips less vulnerable to Spectrum, Meltdown and such...not that they aren't affected) and I'm sure quite a few others.

Maybe the next systems can use a mix of x86-64 and ARM for specific tasks, that's what the PS4 kind of did.

Microsoft might not release any more console hardware.
Perhaps a small box (or HDMI stick) that runs a customized Edge browser for accessing XCloud games.
Maybe something that could include ML hardware to improve the quality of the streamed frames, thus lowering bandwidth requirements.

Even if they release a full bore Xbox Series XX, you have to know that the above plan is simmering somewhere deep in the MS labs for future deployment.
They're prob def doing something as you describe (and I wouldn't be surprised if that came out this generation, let alone next), but they won't drop traditional consoles anytime soon just to do so.

Streaming will be a big part of things but they're not going to give up the opportunity to get 30% off 3P software sales. That side of the market isn't going to just completely disappear and game subscriptions/streaming in particular would need to have an absolute explosion of mass adoption in order to get Microsoft to justify going only that direction.

I'm talking they'd need 15 to 20 million new subs every year...and the vast majority would need to be through mobile. If the majority are still through console then that'd suggest a lot of people still want good-enough to powerful local hardware for their games, also suggesting they are probably not streaming the majority of the games they play via xCloud (but could be using it to preview a game as a demo, for example).
 
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LordBlodgett

Gold Member
Just because design has probably already started on next gen or mid gen refresh I say no way. In order to keep backwards compatibility they would need to build the arm chip and then recompile everything. If ARM chips start massively outperforming x86 based AMD or Intel chips then we might see a move, but it's going to be a ton of work if they want to keep any type of BC
 

winjer

Member
Probably can't shave off as many as they could if they went with ARM, but there are features ARM doesn't really support which have helped x86-based processors maintain performance edges, such as speculative execution (though ironically that also made ARM chips less vulnerable to Spectrum, Meltdown and such...not that they aren't affected) and I'm sure quite a few others.

Maybe the next systems can use a mix of x86-64 and ARM for specific tasks, that's what the PS4 kind of did.

ARM CPUs also have speculative execution. Remember those big cores are OoO.
 

Zug

Member
I doubt they'll do it. MS and Sony choosed to switch to x86 10 years ago for software reasons more than hardware reasons in my opinion.
Having x86 native games everywhere (PC, consoles) allows the use of unified tools and saves a shitload of money on game dev budget.
If PCs also switch to risc-based cpus like Apple MACs then this scenario is plausible, although probably not the next generation but likely the one after, if such a generation concept still exists for consoles.
 
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JohnnyFootball

GerAlt-Right. Ciriously.
AT the moment they've got a good thing going with AMD so it's unlikely they break away from that unless they get too good an offer from nvidia, Intel or ARM.
 

Matt_Fox

Member
I suspect there may be one more gen of consoles but it will be a transitional gen, that makes a significant move towards digital /streaming.

The physical only brigade 'you'll have to pry that disc from my cold dead hands' are either going to have to convert or make good on their claim.

All evidence from other media shows that evolution iterates towards a more compact frictionless form factor. A game pad and streaming app on your TV will be the future form, and if it works seamlessly then yes, why not.
 
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Let’s see what the next few years bring before getting ahead of ourselves. Arm may not grow as much as before and x86 has made massive strides in the last few years.
 
ARM CPUs also have speculative execution. Remember those big cores are OoO.

Seems like they do, but x86 still has some other advantages. Just in addition to ease of development for ports between console and PC, it's less memory-intensive for x86 instructions compared to ARM ones, from what I've read. And RAM prices aren't necessarily going down while module capacities seem to have been set at 2 GB capacities for the longest time.

So for running certain complex code that games may end up eventually doing, do they trade off CPU performance for a bit more memory and maybe less power used? Or do they stick with more complex CPUs if it means needing less RAM capacity for equivalent tasks? It's not like the CPUs in the new consoles eat that much power anyway, they're based on mobile Zen 2 CPUs IIRC.
 

Ozzie666

Member
I am guessing third party developers, mainly Western studios may have some say in this decision. With the rise of PC gaming and decent sales for Japanese developers, going ARM may not be as desired as it was previously. Unless the thinking is to easily port to Switch and another console instead of PC. Or at least spend more on a PC port. But somehow I feel any Nintendo console will be so lower powered, that's enough to ruin any costs savings.

But if third party developers want it, I could see one of the big 2 caving, in fear of losing future support.
 

Tams

Member
No.

Not unless some company is prepared to go to the extents AMD are to customise designs for them. As it is, SoC designers expect customers to confirm to what they offer.

Microsoft should be more likely to design their own console SoC, but games consoles don't have anything like the return servers/the cloud do(es). I don't think it would be worth their time if AMD can make them something close or even as good (Apple's M1 capabilities are quite exaggerated so even now AMD can compete).
 
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