A set of brief predictions for technology trends that will occur, or become apparent, during 2011.
What does the future have in store.
1. The Xbox720 will use an AMD Llano Fusion chip. Fusion APU’s based on the Llano design will provide four modern x86 cores in addition to around five hundred shader units, and being housed in a single piece of silicon will prove economic to manufacture, power-efficient for low heat and noise within cramped console chassis, and cheap circuit board integration. The design is likely to be the Llano successor based on the quad-core bulldozer CPU in addition to the six-series 4-way VLIW GPU architecture, and while initially produced on 32nm will swiftly move to 22nm within twelve months of introduction. The advantages will be a CPU with high integer performance and AVX graphics instructions as well as a GPU with an XNA2 better tuned to modern DX11 PC cross compatibility. The console will have 4GB of unified DDR3 memory.
2. The Playstation4 will use a 2nd gen cell-chip with the CPU architecture migrated to ARM (RISC) from PowerPC (RISC) as well as sixteen uprated vector units. The ARM CPU will be a 64bit Eagle A15 core and will thus permit the use of 4GB’s of DDR3 main memory. Nvidia will supply a mid-range desktop GPU with an OpenGL ES (Halti) compliant core and a 256bit bus with 2GB of video memory. Why? Sony have just bought back the cell-fabs from Toshiba, and Nvidia have long provided excellent 3D support. Additionally, this will provide continuity to a developer base that is finally growing accustomed to using vector units, as well as providing commonality with future mobile gaming products via OpenGL ES.
3. The Wii2 will use an ARM SoC supplied by Marvell, specifically the Armada 628 with three ARM cores, two of which are A9 out-of-order cores clocked at 1.5GHz and sporting a GPU capable of 200 million triangles per second (MT/s), giving it roughly the same performance as a PS3 or Xbox360 has today but at a fraction of the cost.
4. All next-gen consoles will be supplied with 2.5” spinning hard-disks with a capacity of at least 1TB due to the importance of digital distribution post 2011. The PS4 will supply a blu-ray disk drive but it will be mainly to support movies, with games limited to bargain-bin compilations of old-classics so parents can ‘buy’ their kids games at bricks-n-mortar stores.
5. The rise of 960×540 as the smartphone resolution of choice, which at one quarter of full HD will not require battery expensive dithering techniques to sharpen video display for none native HD content.
Update – 27.01.11 – The launch of the PSP2
Boy did I get this wrong, and it has an impact on all of the above. Nice move Sony!
Update – 16.08.11 – Hardocp has some ideas on the Xbox 720
Whadya know! A second generation AMD A-series (llano) APU……..