Wednesday, 26 January 2011

PSP2 Hardware Revealed?

Recent rumours have put the PSP2 has being as powerful as the PS3, to having a quad-core GPU and cut down CELL processor, neither of which seemed to make any sense given both the power draw and overall cost requirements usually adhered to by the vast majority of handheld devices. However, the latest rumour does indeed shed some light on past statements – particularly the one about the system using a quad-core GPU, whilst firmly de-railing others.

According to French site, more concrete evidence of the PSP2’s hardware specs have surfaced via supposed information taken directly from the system’s development kit. Interestingly, the specifications reveal a system that features the very same CPU/GPU combo that will power the upcoming iPad 2 and iPhone 5, thus firmly shooting down reports of the machine being ‘as powerful’ as the PS3. Instead, the system looks to be at the forefront of mobile technology, but still behind both the RSX and Xenos found in the PS3 and 360 respectively.

Other details include a 5″ OLED multi-touch screen (that’s the front screen and not the rear touchpad), up to 512 MB LPDDR2 RAM and 16 GB’s worth of flash memory. The system also is said to feature an SD card slot for games, although it isn’t known whether this supports either SDHC, SDXC, or both.

Seeing as many PSP titles are currently approaching the 1.8GB capacity of the system’s UMD discs, and PSP2 titles are going to require far more, SDHC – which currently supports up to 32GB of storage space – isn’t going to be enough for storing lots of downloaded content from PSN. In which case, it’s almost certain that SDXC – which can hold up to 2TB (64GB in current sizes), and indeed SDHC for completions sake, will be supported.

In addition, as recent rumours suggest, the system will reportedly feature 3G support, thus having full wireless support via the use of a mobile phone network (although no phone support is planned), along with both standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Two cameras will also be present; one on the front, and one on the rear, while in terms of size, the PSP2 won’t be as wide as the PSP3000 but will instead be slightly longer.

Interestingly, like the 3DS, the PSP2 is said to sport motion control via the use of both an accelerometer and a gyroscope, thus covering another base in the market. 3D however, is currently out of the question. Perhaps, given the already high-spec nature of the device, the use of a quad-core CPU/GPU, and OLED screen, that inclusion of such a feature would raise the cost significantly more than what would be acceptable. Although, the current spec and feature-set will put it way above that of the 3DS in terms of pricing anyway.

A full list of the PSP2’s specs can be found below:

Screen: 5″ OLED multi-touch screen
Control: A Multi-touch trackpad (rumored to be on the rear of the unit), four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, two analog sticks, directional pad
Resolution: 960 x 544
CPU: Quad-core ARM Cortex A9
GPU: PowerVR SGX 543 MP4+
RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 in the Debug unit, with 512 MB possible in the retail unit
Storage: 16GB flash internal (like the PSP Go) and an SD slot
Connectivity: Wi-fi, 3G, and Bluetooth

At the moment, all the details are simply rumour and well-informed speculation. However, we’d be rather surprised if there wasn’t more than a fraction of truth to these and other such reports.

In terms of the hardware spec, if true, it seems that Sony have taken a reasonable step in balancing raw hardware capability with heat dissipation and power draw – two of the largest concerns when designing a handheld; that is to say, that it is possible that titles could display PS3 and 360 quality visuals, but certainly not in a like-for-like manner. Various cuts, such as less in the way of geometry and advanced hardware effects are a given. Although, seeing as the screen will be only a fraction of the display sizes most people play their PS3/360 titles on – and still a reasonably high 960 x 544 resolution – simulating current-gen console graphics in this way shouldn’t be a problem.

So, while exact PS3 quality visuals remain firmly – whatever hardware Sony actually has under the hood in the PSP2 – something of a pipedream, and judging by developer comments, pure PR hyperbole, the system’s hardware make-up still makes it an incredibly powerful device, especially compared to other handhelds.

Certainly, despite using the same CPU/GPU combo as forthcoming Apple products, direct access to the hardware via the development kit – and without needing to conform to Open GL standard for cross compatibility with older devices – will easily lead to a noticeable leap in performance by comparison. There’s nothing really standing in the way of coders from extracting every last drop power from the machine via low-level optimisation of the hardware in ways where software API’s often restrict.

The real question though, is today’s hardware reveal actually what’s inside Sony’s next-gen handheld at all? All that, and more I expect, we will find out tomorrow, at the company’s worldwide unveiling of the device itself. Until then, the specifications listed on this page are perhaps the most tangibly convincing we’ve seen, representing both a powerful but power conscious device; one that is well above existingly comparable mobile products.

No comments:

Post a Comment