Rumor: PS4 reserves 5.5GB of RAM for games
posted on 07.26.13 at 11:20 AM EDT by (@admeady)
3.5GB used by console's operating system, although allocation is "flexible."


PlayStation 4 will use 3.5 gigabytes of RAM for its operating system, leaving 4.5 gigabytes “guaranteed” for games, according to purported Sony internal documents.

Of that 8 gigabytes of total RAM, however, 1 gigabyte is described as “flexible memory,” which can possibly used by game developers for up to 5.5 gigabytes of game RAM.

Eurogamer claims that Digital Foundry, a subsection of the website dedicated to gaming technology, was shown the documents by a “well-placed development source.”

“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,” said Eurogamer.

“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.”

Using this additional 1 gigabyte “isn’t trivial,” according to the report, and speculates that, initially, only first-party developers will attempt to use it.

Xbox One allocates 3 gigabytes of RAM to the operating system – some of which is said to be reserved for the system’s evolution over a ten year life-cycle, a “Microsoft insider” reportedly told the site.

It’s also reported that both consoles allocate two Jaguar CPU cores to their respective operating systems.

Sources have also reportedly told Digital Foundry that PlayStation 4 is, like Xbox One, capable of seamless app-switching without having to restart games.

But Eurogamer goes on to say that the sitatuion could change in regards to the PlayStation 4’s operating system allocation.

“However, sources close to Sony suggest that the PS4 approach is perhaps more flexible – the current allocation in terms of both CPU cores and memory could be reduced once the operating system is complete and then streamlined,” Eurogamer said.

“In short, while there is no guarantee of change in the future, Sony is at least leaving the door open to the opportunity and the R&D team has experience in reducing the OS footprint – just as it did on PlayStation 3.”

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  • DarthBrian

    3.5 + 5.5 = 9 last I checked.

    Unless the rules of math changed suddenly while I was away.

    EDIT: Also, not entirely sure I believe this rumor. 3.5GB seems an awful lot for the OS to require. *shrug*

    • Alex Plant

      It’s more like 3.5 + 4.5… which can be adjusted to 2.5 + 5.5.

    • Yuri Meitzen

      its 3.5 for the consoles, 4.5 for games… so i think according to this

      “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.”

      they borrow 1 gb from the OS memory so…

      OS = 2.5
      game = 5.5

      • Bobby Jennings

        Ah alright, thank you.

    • Adam Meadows

      I updated the tagline to mention flexibility. Hope it makes a little more sense.

  • Bobby Jennings

    So Sony has 10GB of ram.

  • bldudas

    That seems like an awful lot of RAM for an OS.

  • EX+

    You have to think about this. The constant rumors were that the PS4 uses 7GB of GDDR5 RAM for games. Seeing as the PS4 does way less of the multimedia BS than the Xbone, I highly doubt this. Keep mind that the PS4 uses GDDR5 RAM, which is a lot faster than the DDR3 that theXB1 is using, so 3.5GB of GDDR5 RAM for the OS is overkill. I call BS. Shuhei Yoshida will probably debunk this in a tweet or Sony will make an official announcement at Gamescom to troll M$ once again.

    • Adam Meadows

      Given all the supposed features though, 1GB seems like very little RAM. But I suspect that all this RAM talk will become meaningless when the systems are in the marketplace.

    • Yuri Meitzen

      there will be that movie recordingeditinguploading thing while you play, so i don’t discard the possibility

  • Locksus

    So, the Xbone runs 3 OSes, but only uses 3 GB of ram, while PS4 has a single OS and still manages to use more ram?

    Anyway, calling BS until confirmed.

    • Elvick

      From my understanding, it doesn’t use all three at once. Especially since they described one of them as being a mixture of the other two.

      Doesn’t really matter here.

    • jujubee88

      This is a weird rumor that Sony and developers don’t even care to respond to. That says a lot about how good (or bad, maybe) the set-up is as it is now. So whether this rumor is true or not (hiphopgamer already says his sources confirm this rumor is false and more RAM is usable on PS4) the PS4 will be competitive with Xbone and good gfx cards.

  • InsaneChronos

    Something smells fishy.

    • KnifeAndFork

      are your legs open

  • Adam Meadows

    Updated again to make the numbers make sense earlier on in the article :)

  • rurifan

    That “flexible” RAM probably means that the game can use it, but has to give it up on demand when the user attempts to perform certain system/OS actions (like switching to another app etc). That’s a complicated and a pain to design for, so it makes sense they expect it to be uncommon.

  • rockman29

    DF’s article isn’t cutting it. Short article and only gives KZ SF as an example for the 5.5 GB. Sources aren’t described well.

    Needs to be confirmed a few more times to be considered reasonable right now.

    • Adam Meadows

      I don’t find the figure that unbelievable myself. As hardware ages, the one thing they can do to keep a device relevant is update its functionality – much like we’ve seen this generation.

      So, to reserve RAM for that purpose doesn’t seem ridiculous. Plus, there’s game recording, streaming, Vita stuff, app-switching and who knows what else.

      • rockman29

        That isn’t the point… there is not enough evidence to corroborate this.

        One source with barely any details is not what I want to call reliable…

        Just look at Leadbetter’s new article about the “theoretical” PS4 performance based on “Microsoft insiders”.

        The baloney just gets smellier and smellier everyday.

    • EX+

      This whole 5.5GB rumor isnt true:

      “Cerny later added that the PS4 will feature a secondary custom chip that manages uploads and downloads of shared content and that “digital titles are available to play even as they download.”

  • gerald

    Even if this is true (and it’s looking pretty dodgy at the moment), most people on gaming sites I’ve seen are misunderstanding what it means.

    It does NOT mean that all that extra RAM is used for the OS, it simply means they’ve given game devs a capped amount that can be increased later if necessary because once it’s given to devs it can’t be taken away.

  • Zancrow

    [rumoring intensifies]

  • Sal Romano
    • EX+

      Lol, NeoGAF. Sometimes I eat popcorn while reading their threads. LOL. Sal, I don’t have a link, but I’ve heard on places like N4G in the comments, that Cerny said the PS4 uses a completely separate chip for recording, the OS and stuff like that. That MIGHT be true. What do ya think?
      EDIT: Scratch that, I have a link
      “Cerny later added that the PS4 will feature a secondary custom chip that manages uploads and downloads of shared content and that “digital titles are available to play even as they download.”

    • Bryce Blalex Douglas

      Went and read it and thanks it was very informative. It actually makes a lot of sense from Sony’s standpoint. Saving 1Gb for future improvements to the OS is futureproofing their device, which sounds good.

      Plus my own thoughts, 4Gb of ram is more than enough when you think about the fact that all console games this gen were working with less than 1Gb.

      If Sony’s saving 1Gb for the OS and 1Gb for devs then there’s really nothing to worry about because at the end of the day Sony is just making it so that the PS4 can be improved later on.

  • Bob Obb

    5GB of RAM is shit… BUT, it really doesn’t need any more of it. You can have 20GB of RAM, doesn’t matter because the GPU will bottleneck you. Neither PS4 nor Xbone have impressive GPUs (by PC standards)

    • Adam Meadows

      Yeah. 7GB would have overkill, I think. Bit like trying to paint a house with a crayon. All that space is useless if you don’t have the means to ‘draw’ on all of it.

    • KainArkanos

      That statement…was obviously made with no knowledge of GPUs. First of all, the PS3 GPU is in comparison to an AMD 7850. While not awesome, it’s a much much more powerful GPU than was in the PS3. Second of all, unlike a PC, the graphics card in a console is much more dedicated to the game than one in a PC is, it’s working multiple background processes too, even if you don’t have them all sitting right infront of you on the monitor.

  • bloodiOS

    That’s still a lot of RAM though. In the first place, the devs should really be focusing on utilizing those coumpute units and the CPU more effectively before worrying about not having enough RAM (and unlike most of the consumers and fanboys, they’re not really worrying about it.)

    • EX+
      “Cerny later added that the PS4 will feature a secondary custom chip that manages uploads and downloads of shared content and that “digital titles are available to play even as they download.”

      • bloodiOS

        Oh, then we’re back to the PS4 having more RAM for gaming then necessary.

        • EX+

          Lol, looks like it uses the full 8GB of GDDR5 RAM for games. I hope 3rd parties (especially the Japanese ones) Take advantage of the power. I wanna have a next gen Tales game with awesome cel-shaded graphics and a huge world and I wanna play FFXV-2 with a larger scale. If it means ditching Xbone, do it.

          • bloodiOS

            It can have 100GB of RAM and it won’t matter, RAM isn’t the whole picture. That said, having GDDR5 still makes a big difference and I give Sony credit for decided to go with 8GB of it.

  • ギャビン

    The only real OS features I want is cross party chat friends & IM. All the other stuff is not really necessary for me.

  • Learii

    is this good for ps4 or bad?

  • GhostNomad

    The genius of Sony.

    DRM rumored to be a thing on the PS4.

    During E3
    Sony announces no DRM, kills it.

    RAM rumor is rustling people’s jimmies, no comment from Sony.

    During Gamescom
    Sony slams rumor, standing ovation.

    The only thing this scenario needs in order to be complete is Microsoft going first at Gamescom again and focusing on their ‘superior’ amount of RAM.

  • shogunknight

    Ok, from this statement the ps4 uses at most 5.5gb of ram for games while about 2.5-3.5gb is used for the OS? Quick question: whats in the OS? i think I may need to see a video of their new xmb/OS and how that console works to be clarified (not sure if that would make a difference, but hey XD). Its still good but if the ps4 gets toned down ports of games like some old ps3 games did, then we have a problem

  • Willgaea

    An OS that needs 3gbs of ram to run? I’ll wait for the second model. My comp runs on half a gb. I don’t need all this mumbo jumbo. I’ll hold out till FF 15 comes out.

  • $3582264

    lol 3.5gb for OS

  • InsaneChronos

    Now there is “512 MB of flexible memory”:
    I think Digital Foundry and Eurogamer don’t know anything, it’s just BS.

  • DrForbidden

    I don’t understand why a non-PC OS would need 3.5GB of RAM…

    Is it because of all that social-media crap constantly running in the background?