Unlike Microsoft, which showed off photos of the Xbox Series S and X SoCs beforehand, Sony has never shown what a PS5 crystal looks like. Several months have passed since the PS5 appeared, and only now there is an opportunity to examine in detail the chip codenamed AMD Flute.
The Sony PS5 single-chip system, known as Oberon or Ariel, is based on AMD technologies (Flute is the internal name for the same chip by AMD nomenclature). It includes Zen 2 cores and RDNA 2 graphics. Eight Zen 2 cores run at speeds up to 3.5 GHz, and 36 RDNA 2 compute units run at up to 2.23 GHz.
Sony announced that it is using liquid metal instead of traditional thermal paste to cool its PS5 chip. This should provide a longer service life and improve heat transfer between the chip and the cooling system. However, at the same time, this increases the complexity of production and forces Sony to use non-standard packaging to avoid liquid metal spills.
The crystal was imaged with a special microscope using short wavelength infrared light (SWIR). This technology allows the photographer to see the inner workings of the SoC without the usual mechanical tampering and grinding that can destroy the chip.
The Sony PS5 chip has 8 cores located in a compact area on the left side, while 36 compute graphics units occupy the largest area on the chip and are located in the center. The die image confirms that the chip has eight 32-bit interfaces for GDDR6 memory. It also confirms that there are some changes in core design compared to Zen 2 reference APUs. The chip appears to be missing some Fixed Function Units (FFUs), and also missing a single-round multiply-add unit (Fused Multiply-Add, FMA / FMADD). Sony probably removed them in order to reduce the cost of the crystal by removing features that are not particularly needed in a gaming console. By the way, Microsoft previously stated that the real RDNA 2 architecture is only in the Xbox Series X and S.
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