Sony Has Clarified Earlier Claims Digital Foundry Made About PlayStation 4 RAM Allocation

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Last week, Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry reported that the PlayStation 4‘s OS was responsible for eating up as much as 3.5GB of the PS4‘s confirmed 8GB DDR5 RAM. In a nut shell that means PlayStation 4 developers would find themselves with 4.5GB available for game development/code.

In a later update, Digital Foundry reported that additional ‘flexible memory’ was available to devs. The ‘flexible memory’ pool was reported as an additional 512MB on-chip (what is available on current gen systems) as well as 512MB of ‘paged’ RAM would be made available. This memory was said to be static, and not dictated by the OS, making it easier for developers to utilize.

Sony has now come forth and clarified the situation further, while continuing to be ambiguous about the amount of RAM that’s being allotted for the PlayStation 4’s updated OS. Sony’s official statement is as follows,

We would like to clear up a misunderstanding regarding our “direct” and “flexible” memory systems. The article states that “flexible” memory is borrowed from the OS, and must be returned when requested – that’s not actually the case.

 

The actual true distinction is that:

 

  • “Direct Memory” is memory allocated under the traditional video game model, so the game controls all aspects of its allocation
  • “Flexible Memory” is memory managed by the PS4 OS on the game’s behalf, and allows games to use some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality. However this memory is 100 per cent the game’s memory, and is never used by the OS, and as it is the game’s memory it should be easy for every developer to use it.

We have no comment to make on the amount of memory reserved by the system or what it is used for.

The update from Sony seems to bump the earlier 4.5GB number up to a solid 5GB RAM available to developers. We know that Sony is taking extreme measure to ensure that it’s OS is markedly more responsive and fluid on the PS4. After all, one of the main focuses on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be ease of transition. The ability to go from a social interaction, to Netflix, directly into a drop in/out multiplayer session is one of the main features the OS is looking to achieve, and that may need a decent amount of RAM to happen seamlessly. It will be interesting to hear what Microsoft has in store for the RAM allocation on the Xbox One. For now, we have a somewhat ambiguous confirmation on how the PS4 will handle it’s RAM allocation. We’ll keep you up to date with any additional information that comes to light.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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