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"AMD: PS4 performance advantage over XB1 bigger than many expect thanks to hUMA" (Gaf)


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http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=657221

According to a poster:

These consoles use Jaguar CPUs and GCN GPUs. Jaguar + GCN APUs (Temash, Kabini, Kyoto) don't have hUMA.

HUMA is a feature that will debut on PC in 2014 (Kaveri). So, my guess is that Sony paid AMD to integrate this feature into PS4 while Microsoft didn't.

Someone adding:

The ps4 is going to be the definitive version of every single console multiplatform, no exceptions.

Is hUMA really likely to be that significant?

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We really don't need this thread. Most people here who are wanting yet another weapon for the console warz won't understand the technical details. All we will get is more shitposting.

I'd like to know why people think a random AMD minion is allowed to discuss secret technical details on the SoC made for Microsoft.

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It’s a forum.

Yes but it's the biggest one of its kind in existence K. One forum is not just like another. It's size and high profile nature means it attracts many industry types (as we do, but Neogaf has many more because of its size) and a lot of attention from gamers and industry types.

People don't have to like it as a forum, but trying to downplay its significance is silly. If you're making a point about speculation or unverified rumour being reported as if it were more solid information simply because it is from Gaf than I can understand your point, if it's anything else then I don't agree.

Neogaf is a big presence however you cut it.,

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So, AMD are on the record that PS4 has this and 360 doesn't. (Not just some GAF tipster.) Yet it shouldn't be surprising that they want to translate that into a big performance hike because they want to sell hardware using it. They'll hardly say "oh yeah, it's just another incremental step which makes integrated graphics better on laptops".

Although given how difficult it seems to have been to do, and how difficult it will be to code for effectively, it's probably a bit more than that.

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The HUMA thing is the end goal for AMD's Fusion idea, the last I heard neither of the consoles had it, it would be a useful future proofing hardware design feature if Sony paid extra to get it ahead of the upcoming PC implementation, much like how Microsoft got something similar with the Xenos graphics chip in the X360, it has a design which didn't exist on PC at the time, one which in time has proven to be a master stroke of planning, and something RSX didn't do.

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They've told c't magazine that the PS4 has it. I mean, a senior guy has. Probably Gamescom related.

Edit - I'm reading this second hand, so it's entirely possible wires got crossed. It's a different magazine reporting on what c't was told at Gamescom.

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I'm usually into graphics tech stuff, but knowing how this kind of information will be used in the 'console war' — by which I mean arguments on the internet where people cling to terms they've no real understanding of — is just wearying. It rather makes me wish it would all go away, or at least pass by those merely looking for an angle.

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Given that both consoles have unified memory it kind of raises the question of why MS didn't bother with it, if it's allegedly so important.

I stand by my prediction that we won't hear developers talking about using it until at least the second wave of big games. Stuff that isn't even in development yet.

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Well in terms of what hUMA actually does, it finally removes the split between the CPU and GPU usage of the same memory pool, more flexible than the current situation. This article explains the advantage:

The biggest problem with HSA and AMD's current APU chips is that the CPU and GPU elements of the processor have to share the same memory but cannot access the same memory at the same time. This is what is referred to as Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA): Data being used by the APU has to be managed across multiple groups with different address spaces. This adds significant programming complexity and limits the speed of the processor because every time the CPU side of the chip accesses memory that data has to be copied, synchronized, and undergo address translation so the GPU side of the chip can access the data.

When AMD's Kaveri chips arrive later this year hUMA will solve these problems with bi-directional coherent memory. In the simplest terms, any updates made by one processing element will be seen by all other processing elements -- GPU or CPU. This means both the CPU and the GPU have access to the entire memory space and can dynamically allocate memory as needed.

While this largely sounds like techno-babble to average PC users, this is a significant advancement for programmers because existing CPU multi-core algorithms can be moved to the GPU without complex recoding for the absence of memory coherency. For the last several years PC makers have talked about the performance boosts that come from moving part of the processing workflow from the CPU over to the GPU, but the truth is that few current applications make the most of GPU computing because of the complexity in the code and the amount of data that has to be copied in memory.

AMD's use of hUMA means that there is one less hurdle to the promised performance improvements of HSA. This greater simplicity of programming should also translate into lower development costs since multiple expert programmers aren't needed to write complicated lines of code just to ensure software coherency of data between the CPU and GPU elements on the APU.

7k2FKhg.jpg

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Well in terms of what hUMA actually does, it finally removes the split between the CPU and GPU usage of the same memory pool, more flexible than the current situation. This article explains the advantage:

7k2FKhg.jpg

Seems significant, not too au fait with some of the tech details, anyone have an idea how that might translate to real-world performance?
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