It seems the PlayStation 4 is now just a little more powerful than before. At least for game developers, anyway.
None of the console’s components have changed — instead it’s being reported that a seventh core has been “unlocked” in the CPU. Until now, six of the PlayStation 4’s eight-core CPU have been dedicated to games, while the remaining two handle the operating system. In all likelihood, this was a conservative setup to ensure consoles ran smoothly at launch. It also gave Sony some wiggle-room if they needed to make any system changes or optimizations. Now, however, it seems the company is happy with the console’s performance and willing to give developers a tad extra power.
Spotted by members of the Beyond3D forum, the newly unlocked CPU core is mentioned in recent release notes for FMOD Studio, a piece of game development audio middleware: “PS4 – Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.” Sony is yet to confirm the move or comment on the matter, but this would suggest that the core, at least in some capacity, can now be utilised by game developers.
Microsoft has taken a similar approach with the Xbox One, opening up a seventh CPU core in January and, as a consequence, relinquishing some of its reserve system resources. For the time being, little will change with your PlayStation 4 experience — games will run as before unless developers release a targeted patch. In the future, however, it’s possible that new releases will look or perform just a touch better than before. We’ve got our fingers crossed the Naughty Dog team is already utilising it for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.