Sony unlocks seventh PS4 core

ps4, game console, Sony
According to data buried in a recent update for the FMOD audio tool, Sony has quietly released an SDK that will maintain Playstation 4’s supremacy over Microsoft’s Xbox One as far as graphics are concerned. Initially, two of Sony’s eight Jaguar cores on the PS4 were reserved for the operating system and other vital console tasks. Now, if this update report is accurate, Sony has opened up one more core to developers for use in games.

This comes after a similar move by Microsoft to try and close the performance gap between the two top-tier gaming consoles that have dominated the console gaming space since their respective releases. Microsoft released an update for Xbox One last year that unlocked more GPU bandwidth and another of the system’s cores, giving developers access to a coveted seventh out of eight. This meant a 10 percent improvement in GPU performance, but it also meant sacrificing some Kinect performance like voice commands — one of the features for which the system was so famous.

Both consoles use semi-custom eight-core AMD processors. While the Xbox One clocks its version higher than the PlayStation 4, technically giving it more CPU horsepower, the PS4 often performs better than the Xbox One due to its more powerful GPU and unified GDDR5 RAM architecture. Sony’s console hosts a GPU that hits 1.84 teraflops of raw power, while the Xbox One’s serves up 1.31 teraflops.

The first reports of Sony’s change to PS4 function came from the line in the FMOD Studio API revision history from November 17:  “Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.” However, Sony has yet to make an official announcement about this, and debates continue to rage on various forums.

PS4 players — and end users — won’t see anything different immediately, but unlocking an additional core could help game performance in the future, and give developers the little bit extra they need to stuff more detail in their virtual worlds.

The PS4 has been selling twice as much as Xbox One, leaving Microsoft to make up ground. We’ll have to wait to the close of the holiday season for more concrete updates on the state of the console wars, but Sony’s latest move will make it just a bit harder for Microsoft to catch up.

Updated 12/1/15 correction to Xbox release date


The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 — will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Trash at 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Use this guide to train up and get good

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest game in the entire series, and it can be overwhelming for newcomers not used to the universe-colliding fighting game. Here's what you need to know when you're starting.

Where we droppin’ (presents)? Perfect ‘Fortnite’ gifts for the fans in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.

Sega Genesis classics now playable on Amazon Fire TV, no retro console required

Sega released the SEGA Classics app for Amazon Fire TV devices, allowing gamers to play Sega Genesis classics without having to buy a retro console. The $15 app contains 25 games, including three remastered Sonic titles.

Have a spooky dance party at an abandoned mansion with Fortnite's new challenges

The Fortnite season 7, week 2 challenges have arrived in Battle Royale. From searching for chests to dancing off at an abandoned mansion, here's how to do them and the rewards you get for completing them.

The Super NES Classic is the perfect holiday gift for Nintendo lovers

Whether you're a long-time Nintendo fan looking to relive the 16-bit glory days or just doing some holiday shopping, the SNES Classic -- now in stock at multiple retailers for $80 -- might just be the perfect Christmas gift for gamers of…

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.