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Post by Eorl @ 09:26am 27/07/13 | 10 Comments
The PlayStation 4 reserves approximately 3.5GB of its 8GB GDDR5 RAM for the operating system according to a new report from Digital Foundry, which revealed that developers now have access to only 4.5GB of that 8GB GDDR5 for game code. According to the unnamed sources, a further 1GB of the 8GB GDDR5 is also suggested to be of "flexible memory" and may be reclaimed from the OS reservation, based on availability.
Sony's internal docs say that 4.5GB is the baseline amount of guaranteed memory available for game-makers (note the memory usage of the Killzone: Shadow Fall demo) and most likely what the lion's share of launch titles will be using. However, other sources close to Sony indicate that developers can request up to an additional gigabyte of "flexible memory", and use it to boost elements of the game - but only if the background OS can spare it. We're told that incorporating this isn't trivial, and it may well be that to begin with only first-party developers target its usage.
According to Digital Foundry, the current PlayStation 4 dev kits have what is being called a "Game Memory Budget Mode" in which the debut settings feature two options: normal and large. Those who choose to code in the normal mode will find the reported 4.5GB of GDDR5 RAM is usable for game code, however those choosing to code in the large mode apparently get an increase to 5.25GB of GDDR5 RAM. The high increase of RAM in large mode is apparently available only for application development, "presumably in order to house debugging data. From what we understand, the extra gig of flexible memory appears to work in addition to these allowances."

However, as Digital Foundry points out, the PlayStation 4 was originally suppose to support a 4GB GDDR5 system, with 512mb of that reserved for OS. The surprise announcement of a increase to 8GB of GDDR5 RAM obviously allowed Sony to offer more in the way of OS interaction, something that Microsoft has been showing off heavily with the Xbox One. A number of features including pausing games and switching to other applications instantly have been touted by both manufacturers, so its easy enough to see where the extra memory is going.

As it currently stands, those looking at both consoles will find that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be launching with 8GB of unified memory, however both will presumably hold a certain amount of that RAM for the OS. It is unclear exactly what will happen in the future with these new consoles, but looking at Sony's previous trackwork with the PlayStation 3, we could see a decrease in the OS footprint in future revisions.

For more on this newly reported discovery, check out the Digital Foundry article over here on Eurogamer.

playstation 4developmentreportsony

Latest Comments
Posted 09:50am 27/7/13
Does it really matter? Won't games be made for the lowest common denominator? I.e. the Xbox1.
Posted 10:58am 27/7/13
That's a s***-load of reserved RAM for what should be a rather basic OS...

Maybe they should do a bit of developing themselves? I mean, I'm pretty sure W7 has never even come close to that.
Posted 11:23am 27/7/13
I mean, I'm pretty sure W7 has never even come close to that.

My Windows8 computer here has 8G - I've noticed that as you increase available RAM Windows will happily use it for the OS, seems to cap out at about 2G which is probably everything it thinks it will ever need loaded into RAM.

The computer I'm on has SQL Server installed plus a heap of s***, its hardly a trimmed down install. With only Chrome open to type this in + taskmgr 2.1G is in use.

F***ed if I know what the PS4 is going to run out of the box...
Posted 06:08pm 27/7/13
The Xbox One was copping alot of flack for this exact same thing, having 2.5Gb reserved and all the PS fanbois were off there heads about it!
Posted 12:39pm 28/7/13
Aye, hogg, it'll gladly nom up a bunch of extra RAM, but worst case I'm pretty sure you can run it with as little as 1/2gb RAM.

The fact that this is using so much more, without having near as many features as a fully-fledged PC OS is astounding.

Maybe some of that RAM is held as a space for that video it supposedly records or something? I can't imagine what else would eat up that much.
Posted 01:34pm 28/7/13
Well it'd use a decent chunk of memory to save the state of whatever game you're currently playing, to do that instant switch thing. Think of how much space your PC uses to save its state when it hibernates.
Posted 02:04pm 28/7/13
Heh Khel, my PC doesn't need to 'save the state of the game' when I alt tab back to Windows, does it?

What you're suggesting is a superbly s***** implementation of a multi-tasking OS.
Posted 04:28pm 28/7/13
Depends how much memory you have, if you tried it with low memory it would thrash the hell out of the hard drive and take ages to swap? So rather than deal with caching they just reserve the memory?
Posted 04:36pm 28/7/13
Heh Khel, my PC doesn't need to 'save the state of the game' when I alt tab back to Windows, does it?

Yeah, but your PC also has a huge page file on the hard drive that it uses to swap things in and out of memory as needed to. I dunno, I'm only really guessing or making assumptions, I just figured since they want it to be snappy and fast they're reserving more memory so they can keep more s*** in memory and not have to swap things out as much?

Or I could just be on entirely the wrong track and making an ass of myself.
Posted 05:09pm 28/7/13
Page files will eventually disappear Khel, paged memory is a bit of a relic to be honest as RAM gets cheaper and cheaper. People are starting to advocate creating a RAM drive for PF which sounds f***en beastly, but is a symptom of the end of paging.

From MS: When lots of memory is added to a computer, a paging file may not be required. You can turn paging off altogether in Windows but its not recommended generally as some legacy functions and apps will rely on it.

I don't think that paging is the problem, its more OS / system architectural, even if they somehow needed to page memory, surely the PS4 is using an SSD...?
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