Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStation

By: Jukka Larja (roskakori2006.delete@this.gmail.com), April 23, 2019 7:36 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
pgerassi (pgerassi2012.delete@this.wi.rr.com) on April 22, 2019 11:45 pm wrote:
> Jukka Larja (roskakori2006.delete@this.gmail.com) on April 22, 2019 9:54 am wrote:
> > pgerassi (pgerassi2012.delete@this.wi.rr.com) on April 22, 2019 8:33 am wrote:
> >
> > > I did some quick checking on the Steam data directory on the old system. It had 213GB in 174K files in
> > > 8K directories for 65 games. So the average file size is about 1.25MB. That is about 300 4K blocks each
> > > file and 27MB in each directory. It also works out to 3.3GB per game in 2,600 files. A 15ms hard drive
> > > with 160MB/s xfer rate spends about 21 seconds in reading and about 40 seconds in seeking. Cutting that
> > > down to typical USB2.0 speeds of 50MB/s yields 66 seconds in xfer and the same 40 seconds in seeking.
> > > So going from USB2.0 to 3.0 on a 8TB drive (internally its a 7,200 RPM 4 platter 3.5in SATA3 drive), cuts
> > > the time by 45 seconds or 42% of that 2.0 time. Going to my SATA3 480GB (550MB/s read / 450MB/s write
> > > access below 0.1ms) SSD would make for 6 seconds xfer and less than 0.26 seconds seek. That 6.26 seconds
> > > makes for a 17 time improvement or about 100 seconds. The Op600 NVME drive would cut that to 1.83 seconds
> > > xfer and 0.1 second seek totaling under 2 seconds about a 55 times speed up. CPU time dominates though
> > > as the average "old" game takes 30-60 seconds to load even
> > > on that SSD which is mostly covered by the splash
> > > screens on fire up to the main menu. And it takes even more time to start a game from the menu. And lets
> > > face it, on PCs like my two, the whole game is in the DRAM
> > > cache so firing it up a second time is practically
> > > immediate as DRAM in the old PC runs at 25GB/s with single digit ns latencies (0.13 seconds for both xfer
> > > and seek). No way would a console be as fast as a decent PC.
> >
> > You presume too much.
> >
> > You can't just take some random games and presume they represent every other game. 3.3 GBs is getting
> > small even for indie games of today, and is clearly in different league compared to 100 GB AAA monster
> > sold today, for PS4 and Xbox One, so I'm not sure what you are trying to prove here.
> >
> > I fully agree that on average, current games don't optimize loading times particularly well,
> > especially on PC. For an example of AAA game that has horrible loading times (with todays NVME
> > SSDs and CPUs) try Mass Effect 2. Then compare it to Mass Effect 3, which is much better. There's
> > no clear reason why loading times for those very similar games differ at all.
> >
> > I also fully expect loading times of average games to remaing less than stellarly
> > optimized. Even more so if MS decides to stay on HDD with their next console (are
> > they even in any hurry after Xbox One X?). Is that a reason why Sony shouldn't offer
> > an SSD at all? Not offer NVME SSD? How much would going with SATA SDD save them?
> >
> > In Trine 4 (not yet published), game install size is currently about 13 GBs and we load somewhere around
> > 3-4 GBs of textures on level change (for full resolution textures). The full loaded-once-done amount
> > is around 4-5 GBs. They are streamed in (actual, CPU limited level loading is typically few tenths of
> > a second), and we don't yet have the special code to do initial loading fast. We also don't have any
> > intelligence in checking which textures could remain in memory between levels (there would need to be
> > a defragmentation step), but some (about one GB as seen in above numbers) are always resident.
> >
> > Just going with the 4 GB figure and SATA3 speed means eight seconds loading.
> > And this is Trine 4. Most people categorize it as "indie game".
> >
> > Of course, on PS4 and every other current generation console (including Xbox One
> > X) the texture size will be reduced. On PS5? Well, quite a bit of specs are still
> > missing, so we'll wait and see (or don't see, if the game is never ported).
> >
>
> I was using the average somewhat older game. But which loading do you refer to? The initial load of the
> game to the main menu, or the one from the main menu to the actual game to playable start? In the first
> case, it is dominated by the splash screens and fast loading is covered by that. Very little textures and
> such are even loaded at that point so even the 100GB monsters don't use much of that during this initial
> load and it shows. The second load is not complete either as the whole playing environment is just a fraction
> of that size and loads as the game is played. Thus the examples are worst case for the admittedly older
> games, but are likely close for the newer AAA titles on initial playing game initialization.

I'm not really sure what you are asking. I'm interested in all the parts of loading, but the most important for large games is probably the streaming performance. Second most important is "level changing" performance and initial loading to main menu is least important. First two are such that there's no need to optimize more once certain acceptable minimum is reached, whereas it is pretty much impossible to get the streaming performance to good-enough-not-to-care level. If you get better streaming performance, you can reduce memory consumption, which allows using more or bigger textures, which requires more streaming performance etc.

For startup loading performance and level changing performance results for individual games are all over the place and have little to do with technical details. There are limits set by raw amount of data that needs to be loaded though.

> > > So a SATA3 SSD of 500GB in size will be good enough even with huge 4K texture games. And since
> > > I do game at 4K, I know that AA is totally unnecessary as even my large 42" monitor would require one
> > > with 20/20 vision to be 25" from the screen to see individual 3 color pixels in the center and just
> > > 13" to see those pixels at the corners. I game at about 4' from that screen which is good enough to
> > > see individual pixels in the center at 1920x1080 on said 42" monitor. Thus the FHD texture pack is
> > > good enough and 4K is vast overkill. But marketing (and bragging rights) trump common sense.
> >
> > Hmm? 4k texture pack just means textures that are better than what is enough for some lesser resolution.
> > There's no absolute value for goodness. If resolution X is just right for HD, then 4k will need
> > something more than X. It isn't necessarily 4X, but it's clearly something more.
> >
> > Unless your point is that 4k is idiotic in general and every sane person should
> > just play in HD. I don't own any 4k screen myself, and only spent significant
> > time with one in my previous job, so I'd rather not argue about that.
>
> That is not my point. I do game at 4K on real monitors on real CPUs and real GPUs. Optically speaking,
> 4K is above what a normal gamer sees on a big monitor (not many have even 32" as their 4K gaming monitor).
> Optically they see about 1440P or a bit better on a 42" monitor like mine. So 4K gaming s justified,
> but with no AA needed as it is optically taken care of. Any AA will not be seen and is thus wasted effort
> (definition of overkill). Ditto for 4K textures as opposed to FHD ones or 1440P ones.

I don't get this. Why are "FHD" textures needed for FDH, if exactly nothing more is needed for 4k? Couldn't you just use smaller textures on full HD?

> And as you and
> others have said, most of that 100GB is those 4K texture packs. without them we are talking about 30-40GB
> per super AAA titles and a 500GB drive can easily handle 10 or so of those which few play with any regularity
> in a few weeks time frame. Thus off and on loading from a external USB3 HD as the mix changes over time
> will take care of those few who favorites change frequently. I change slowly and have 2-3 games I play
> frequently over a month or two and I am like 90+% of gamers in that regard.
>
> Thus a console covering that typical gamer needs 80-120GB of online storage, 250GB is enough for today, but
> isn't future proof, and 500GB is the next step (480-512GB going by typical retail SATA3 and NVMe sizes) for
> the typical 5-7 year life of a console. A midlife kicker to 1TB would take care of even the worst game size
> creep over that span.

We'll mostly agree on this, except that I don't count game sizes based on what reasonable from technical perpective, but based on what will likely be done (100 GB games exist for PS4. Larger ones will exist for PS5, but teh console doesn't need to be optimized for someone who wants to keep ten largest games around all the time).

> 1TB SATA3 SSD is more than fast enough for FHD textures on GTA-V on my new box which
> will soon be 2 generations back. It does have 48GB of memory (main and VRAM). A non
> 4K texture AAA game fits in the DRAM cache. More memory helps cover size creep.

GTA V is nearly six years old (yeah, there's been updates, but that doesn't change the original target of the engine, and even today the target is PS4 or Xbox One, not a PC with an SSD and crazy amounts of DRAM). Consoles don't have much of a disc cache, so GTA V like practically every other game is optimized to be loaded from slow HDD. So you got it all cached to DRAM? Good for you, I'm sure it won't load slower than from 5400 RPM HDD and that's where the interest to optimize loading times for that case stopped.

It's not hard to take a huge step forward from what current consoles have. Just a fast 7200 RPM HDD would be a big step up. SSD brings much lower latencies to the table, which is nice if you can avoid targeting any HDD based device at all.

A further jump from 500 MB/s to 4 GB/s is again meaningful, if you can count on it. It's not nearly as important as going from that slow HDD to not-bad SSD, but I also don't believe it will cost Sony much more compared to SATA option. So why not? Some PS4 exclusives can certainly make use of it.

-JLarja
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Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationsleep2019/04/16 11:04 PM
  Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationDoug S2019/04/17 12:20 AM
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        Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationAndrew Clough2019/04/17 10:21 AM
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                  Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJukka Larja2019/04/21 07:45 AM
                    Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationpgerassi2019/04/21 06:56 PM
                      Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJukka Larja2019/04/21 09:18 PM
                        Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationpgerassi2019/04/22 08:33 AM
                          Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJukka Larja2019/04/22 09:54 AM
                            Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationpgerassi2019/04/22 11:45 PM
                              Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJukka Larja2019/04/23 07:36 AM
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                    Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationaaron spink2019/04/19 07:25 AM
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            Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationAaron Spink2019/04/18 09:05 AM
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                Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationAaron Spink2019/04/18 02:50 PM
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          Why are you assuming it will even have an optical drive?Jukka Larja2019/04/19 12:19 PM
            Why are you assuming it will even have an optical drive?David Hess2019/04/20 08:45 PM
          the source article...blue2019/04/20 05:50 AM
            the source article...Jukka Larja2019/04/20 07:29 AM
              the source article...wumpus2019/04/20 08:48 AM
                the source article...aaron spink2019/04/20 08:51 AM
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                      the source article...Doug S2019/04/21 12:33 AM
                      the source article...Blue2019/04/21 03:30 AM
                        the source article...Doug S2019/04/21 10:08 AM
                          the source article...blue2019/04/23 12:36 AM
                            the source article...Aaron Spink2019/04/23 08:27 AM
                              the source article...Brett2019/04/23 11:22 AM
                                the source article...Aaron Spink2019/04/23 11:43 AM
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                                    the source article...none2019/04/25 06:14 AM
                                      the source article...Jukka Larja2019/04/25 11:32 AM
                                    the source article...Aaron Spink2019/04/25 07:06 AM
                                      the source article...anon2019/04/25 09:00 AM
                                        the source article...Aaron Spink2019/04/25 12:12 PM
                                          the source article...anon2019/04/26 11:27 AM
                                      the source article...Jukka Larja2019/04/25 11:40 AM
                                        the source article...Aaron Spink2019/04/25 12:08 PM
                            the source article...Doug S2019/04/23 10:33 AM
                  the source article...David Hess2019/04/20 08:51 PM
                    the source article...Jukka Larja2019/04/20 10:00 PM
                  the source article...gallier22019/04/24 12:01 AM
                    the source article...Jukka Larja2019/04/24 05:25 AM
                the source article...David Hess2019/04/20 08:49 PM
                  the source article...Groo2019/04/21 07:41 AM
      Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationDavid Hess2019/04/20 08:19 PM
        Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJukka Larja2019/04/20 10:15 PM
  Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJose2019/04/17 10:00 PM
    Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJose2019/04/18 03:33 AM
      Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationdmcq2019/04/18 05:30 AM
        Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationJose2019/04/18 10:41 PM
    Wired Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStationDavid Hess2019/04/20 09:06 PM
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