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RAM available grows thanks to more compact OS

The console wars are still raging with the Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 all fighting for what money is left in the pockets of gamers during the recession. The three consoles are all selling, but some of the major companies are seeing profits drop significantly as demand softens.

One of the great things about the PS3 is that Sony is always adding new features and tweaks to the console via firmware updates. In addition to adding new features to the PS3, Sony is also working hard to make the console's operating system smaller.

Joystiq reports that Sony has quietly updated the PS3 over the last few months to unlock extra RAM for developers. The latest firmware update reportedly adds an extra 70MB of RAM for the developers to use. The extra RAM comes as a result of reducing the footprint of the PS3 OS from 120MB to 50MB.

SCEA's Patrick Seybold confirmed to the publication the change had been made. Seybold said, "Since the launch of the PS3, we have been continuously making efforts to reinforce our support system to game developers, allowing them to express their creativity freely on the PS3. As part of this support for game development, the size of the PS3 OS memory footprint has been reduced through network update for the game developers."

According to developers, the extra RAM is nice and they aren’t going to complain, but gamers shouldn't expect huge improvements in games with the extra RAM available. An unnamed developer told
Joystiq, "Any bit of RAM helps. Generally it probably won't change design, but might allow extra effects resolution or dynamic lights or something. Probably more beneficial from the systems and art side then from design/gameplay."



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70 MB is huge increase...
By Iridium130m on 2/24/2010 11:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
considering the PS3 only has 256MB of application space to begin with. I hope the game quality increases significantly with this change.




RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By dark matter on 2/24/2010 11:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
256Mb seems awfully low for a machine with a supposedly 10 year life span.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Flunk on 2/24/2010 11:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
I'm hoping that they're lumping the graphics memory usage with the main memory. Otherwise 120MB is ridiculously bad memory usage for the PS3 (which has 256MB main/256MB graphics memory)


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By billythefisherman on 2/24/2010 5:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
This news story is a load of old b@"£ox's I don't know where they get a figure of 120MB from... Maybe if you used all the sdk's feature's at the same time, but then you should be fired for being dumb.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By TennesseeTony on 2/24/2010 6:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, yeah, used to always be about a 120MB download for an update.....


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Low Key on 2/24/2010 7:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not all 120 of that goes into the ram. The update is stored on the hdd...


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Alexvrb on 2/25/2010 12:02:31 AM , Rating: 3
They are lumping them together. But what makes matters worse is that Shane here was only parroting Joystiq. They didn't recover 70MB. Read the original article:
http://www.playstationuniversity.com/ps3-os-footpr...

Originally PS3 OS used 120MB spread over main and video. This was soon after reduced to 96MB. Just recently, it has been reduced again to 50MB. So they're really only reducing footprint by 46MB! That's still really good, but not as good as the 360's footprint.

Anyway, PS University also gives some good reasons why it was difficult for Sony to further reduce size from 96MB to 50MB. It's a good article, unlike the Joystiq one Shane parroted.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Iridium130m on 2/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Samus on 2/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By quiksilvr on 2/24/2010 6:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
The main reason why they would do that is because of stability. I agree, there is no reason why it couldn't have been 512MB/512MB, but it's still nice (and incredible) that they cut off a whopping 70 MB off the OS.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By EglsFly on 2/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Iaiken on 2/24/2010 12:19:52 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
256Mb seems awfully low for a machine with a supposedly 10 year life span.


Not really, it just means you can't approach coding like some jackass C# developer who needs a memory nanny to keep you from running the system out of space.

Unfortunately, this means that programming in the confined space of the PS3 requires a much higher level of expertise than for the PC. This has been the most serious drawback of the PS3 to date in that you basically need to be incredibly talented with regard to memory management and parallel processing because the SDK isn't going to do it for you.

Hopefully Sony will learn their lesson and that the next PS will be much more programmer friendly because a console with no developer support is just a paperweight.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By gamerk2 on 2/24/2010 12:49:22 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed; 70MB is huge, as thats almost 30% of the RAM suddenly becoming avaliable for use.

Consoles aren't like computers; up until the Dreamcast [which was still mostly done in C], Assembly was the norm. As such, you had manual memory management, and very careful, optimized design. [As opposed to PC's, which left this up to the OS/Garbage Collector, one which doesn't always detect leaks, and the other you never know exactly when it has actually freed up resources]. As such, you can create the same effects with a much smaller memory footprint. [In the end, Malloc/Free > New/Delete > Garbage Collecter > OS Memory Management]. Hence, why PC games typically need at least one patch to fix a memory leak somewhere down the line...


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Lerianis on 2/24/2010 2:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to inform you of this, but console games have memory leaks as well.... I remember playing Chrono Trigger for the PS1 for HOURS, only to have it lock up after about 20 hours of playtime/runtime (had it on and running while asleep).... I went online, and it was because of a memory leak that happened.

Sony advised to play for 8 hours at most, then restart your system and resume from a save.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By MonkeyPaw on 2/24/2010 5:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
You are seriously using a PS1 title to refute his claim? I'd like to think that software development has come a long way since then. Even so crashing at the 10 hour mark kills hl2.exe, which crashed on me virtually every time I ran it under TF2.

Sure, consoles can't match PC image quality, but considering what you do get with just 512mb of dedicated memory (VRAM + ram), consoles can be very efficient at what they do.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By gamerk2 on 2/25/2010 8:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
I never said they can't; but its a LOT harder to pull off, mainly because most of these problems with allocation are discovered in the design phase, rather then deep testing.

Garbage collectors fail, and fail badly. I can give doesnes of examples of C/C++ API's that do not clean up after themselves; the C++ Windows treading libarary being one of the better known examples...[AfxEndThread/Endthread cleans up the variables used, but doesn't delete the underlying CWnd object that holds them to begin with!]


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By ipay on 2/24/2010 2:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Not really, it just means you can't approach coding like some jackass C# developer who needs a memory nanny to keep you from running the system out of space.

Suddenly, i imagine you (c developer) talking to a young and talented 'just hired' c# developer:

Mark my words boy, and mark them well, I have survived your predecessors, and I will survive you!


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Iaiken on 2/24/2010 5:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Suddenly, i imagine you (c developer) talking to a young and talented 'just hired' c# developer:


Actually I am both... I write web services/interfaces in C# because that's just a pain in the ass to do in C. However, any time-sensitive computationally-intensive operations happens in C++ COM wrapped objects that are called from the .Net CLR. Play to the strengths of each and you might be surprised what you can accomplish just by being flexible.

I've found one of the largest aspects of being a programmer is living within the confines of deadlines and software performance expectations. If I were back programming real-time systems within the confines of PLC's I can guarantee you I wouldn't be using C#.

Just becomes another case of "the right tool for the job" really since in a lot of cases I can just rely on the increasing speed of processors to prevent the use of intermediary languages from hindering user experience.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By GTVic on 2/24/2010 4:04:19 PM , Rating: 3
Do you really want non-talented programmers creating games for you?


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By porkpie on 2/24/2010 4:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
"256Mb seems awfully low for a machine with a supposedly 10 year life span."

I've seen some pretty bang-up games done in 64K (not 64M, but 1/1000 as much) RAM. If you're a good programmer, the only thing that eats up RAM is graphics...and if you're good about loading only what you need at one time, you'd be surprised what you can do.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Lugaidster on 3/1/2010 11:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
"If you're a good programmer, the only thing that eats up RAM is graphics..."

Clearly you know a lot about programming... NOT

There are many things that can use memory in a game, not just graphics. Leave the programming talk to those who know please.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By TSS on 2/24/2010 12:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
It has twice that.

256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz
256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz

I'll guess the OS runs on the main ram, so if any game takes advantage of it it'll be more physics interactions or more advanced AI, instead of graphical effects (textures and such will be in the GDDR3, which is unaffected).

I recently bought red faction guerilla, which has realistic destruction models. I figure from this update alone it'll run a bit smoother, due to more memory for the calculations (provided the bottleneck currently is memory and not CPU power). So it might even have a benifit for games already out there. We won't know untill benchmarks, of course.

Even so. With 512 mb memory, it can run MGS4. If they make 10 years of games looking like that, i'll be a happy man.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Iridium130m on 2/24/2010 12:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
the 256MB main ram on the cpu is the application space...load ubuntu on your PS3 and thats not a lot of ram to do anything with. the 256 for the video card is strictly for framebuffer, textures and pixelshaders. Neither is a lot when you start running apps in 1080P resolutions.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By walk2k on 2/24/2010 12:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
It has 512mb. 256mb high-speed XDR ram + 256mb of vram.

That's 8 times more than the PS2 (32mb) and it lasted about 10 years..


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By seraphim1982 on 2/24/2010 1:48:07 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the XDR have a ridicolous internal clock, as it is based of RAMBUS Tech?

As the 256MB of VRAM is dedicated to the video sub-system, thus this free up of 70MB of memory in XDR (System Memory), have minimal effect in the game. What I might suspect, loading and updating would see some improvements.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Hiawa23 on 2/24/2010 2:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
256Mb seems awfully low for a machine with a supposedly 10 year life span.

PS2 anyone...


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By scrapsma54 on 2/25/2010 6:55:56 PM , Rating: 2
You have to understand the philosophy behind console games. Consoles do not follow the cluttered out-of-order execution that pc's follow, pc's are required to multi-task in order to meet the consumers needs.
Consoles however use much more condensed application data because there only needs to be one application running at a time. Close one out, then go to another.
pc games aren't set to one system so they have much more breathing room.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By tastyratz on 2/24/2010 12:01:27 PM , Rating: 3
I have concerns of this reduction because there is not always a free lunch. What was running that is not now? That's such a massive change that it cant just be optimization - something was cut.

I may not have been more curious had I not heard the recent rumors that Sony is planning to drop otheros support from the ps3 entirely (rumor source: yellow dog linux)


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By driver01z on 2/24/2010 1:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
The PS3 slim already has the "Other OS" functionality cut out of it.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By tastyratz on 2/24/2010 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
correction:
The new slim ps3 doesnt have otheros anymore. The older units do. I have a 60gb launch console and it has otheros right now...


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By alanore on 2/24/2010 12:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would expect this to make any specific impact on games, as the visual are held on the 256MB of graphics RAM, it could allow for greater complexity of games.

Hopefully this is a sign that Sony are making development for the PS3 easier. Microsoft have been a lot better at giving developers want they want, in terms of tools and frameworks.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Jedi2155 on 2/24/2010 12:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder what took them so long to finally provide this space if its been out for so long and the possibility for such levels of optimization were there.


RE: 70 MB is huge increase...
By Hiawa23 on 2/24/2010 2:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
That is huge. You guys have to think in terms of consoles, not PC, The PS3 & 360 has what they need to make great games, 10 years, I think this means Sony plans to support the console for 10 this doesn't mean we will not see another PS before the 10 year cycle. In Console terms the 360 & PS3 has the most ram of any of any console generation before em, I am totally happy with both so that extra 70 is huge for the PS3, huge by console standards. I am sure Sony could have added more ram out of the gates but most of you were already whining at paying $599 for the console. You would have really been whining had it rolled out at $699-799.


Moot point
By PublixE on 2/24/2010 5:18:19 PM , Rating: 1
70MB will not help an outdated console. I am not just dissing the PS3 here, but also the Xbox 360.

Neither can display Native 1080P content for ALL games.
They can only "upconvert" via software to 1080P resolution.

If they tried doing that with Modern Warfare 2 - they would probably have crappy textures and it would run around 15FPS with either console.

The next generation consoles will require a minnimum of 4GB per console to display massive textures (1080P). And with 2160P coming up in the next decade - 4GB will again be much too small.

If there are any console makers out there reading this post, please put at least 6GB of ram in your consoles!




RE: Moot point
By nuarbnellaffej on 2/24/2010 7:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
How many people had 1080p sets when the Xbox 360 and PS3 launched? I doubt it was very many, and heck most people I know who have either one do not even run them @ 720p... So it doesn't make sense to jam all that expensive tech into them if the VAST majority of people will not even be able to take advantage of it. Besides everyone was already complaining about how expensive the consoles were compared to the previous generation, how much do you think they would have cost if they would have put 8800 GTX's in them?

I'm a PC gamer through and through, but for most people a game console for a few hundred bucks is a good deal. But for those who want the latest and greatest tech, there's PC gaming, and the fact that such people like myself exist I don't think PC gaming will ever die. :)


RE: Moot point
By BansheeX on 2/24/2010 10:42:17 PM , Rating: 5
2160p? It took 60 years to move from NTSC to 1080p. It's a huge mistake to think 1080p will be succeeded that quickly. It's also a huge mistake to think that video resolution will continue going up indefinitely. Human vision taps out at 1080p on a 50" set at 10ft away. It's the same reason DVD-Audio and Deep Color failed to catch on. If it demands more space and bandwidth, but you biologically can't perceive the difference, it's not going to be adopted.


RE: Moot point
By EricMartello on 2/25/2010 3:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
True enough, and when he hit the limits of human perception the medium itself changes. HD, at the very least 720P, is establishing itself as a standard in many houses due to the drastically lower costs of TV sets which can display at least 720p. 1080p will probably be the upgrade that people go for a few years down the line so it should catch on quickly - the main hurdle was not so much consumer adoption as it was content availability. There is so much more HD content available from major TV networks now than there was even a few years ago; so now people have a reason to get an HDTV aside from bragging rights.

That being said, 3D screens seem to be the next big thing. I would expect that we'll see a push for 3D TV sets (considering the popularity of 3D movies nowadays). The first generation models will probably require you to wear some kind of glasses to get the 3D effect, with later generations allowing you to see depth without the need for add-on glasses. I would imagine they may accomplish this by making curved screens similar to IMAX using OLED technology or something along those lines.

Solid 3D display technology would be huge for gaming as well as movies...it's the same as going from stereo to 5.1 surround, but it's not going to happen over night. I would expect that the newest consoles released in the future will offer some kind of support for 3D gaming.

Another thing about maximum resolution - you need to keep in mind that while the effective DPI resolution of human eye is limited, its range is infinite since it is an analog receptor. 50" is the minimum screen size that is required for a TV to be able to fully display 1080P and it is not a referencing a limitation on human vision. Continuing to increase the resolution beyond 1080P would still yield visible improvements in image quality.


RE: Moot point
By Aloonatic on 2/25/2010 5:02:02 AM , Rating: 2
I thin there are a lot of factors that are yet to resolve themselves, with regards to video.

There seems to be a (very) slowly growing number of TVs in 21:9 format for movie watching. Small, but who knows what people will be convinced that they need in 5 or 6 years time?

Then there is 3D, which might mean that its not so much a question of screen size, as frame rate. I freely admit that I don't know too much about it, but surely there is a need for a greater number of frames per second at whatever resolution when rendering for realistic/smooth/comfortable 3D?

If any console makers out there are listening. Please put 16GB of superdoopa fast RAM, a 32 core processor, 4 graphics cards, and a 1TB drive in it, all for about £400, thanks.


RE: Moot point
By Hiawa23 on 2/25/2010 9:51:56 AM , Rating: 1
70MB will not help an outdated console. I am not just dissing the PS3 here, but also the Xbox 360.

Neither can display Native 1080P content for ALL games.
They can only "upconvert" via software to 1080P resolution.


for us console only gamers who could care less about the PC, this is great for the PS. I have both the 360 & PS3 connected to my 1080p TV via HDMI. I think most of us know that the games are upscaled, & honestly I did not expect games to run 1080p natively on the consoles this gen to begin with.

All I am saying is what the games makers have to work with on the consoles are fine, & they have more freedom now than they ever had, or more power than before.

Outdated, not sure I would say that, the PS3 is not even 4 years old & based on the games we keep getting from both consoles they don't look dated to my eyes, but of course for the PC guys, well, if they are dated then continue enjoying your PCs, cause I don't need games to run 1080p natively to enjoy em, & with this economy I surely don't plan on buying anymore consoles so I hope they last as long as they can. I am totally fine with both consoles, if you are not then you knnow your options.


PS4 memory prediction
By iluvdeal on 2/24/2010 3:43:45 PM , Rating: 3
PS1: 2MB
PS2: 32MB
PS3: 512MB

If this 16-fold increase in RAM continues, the PS4 should have 8GB of memory. :)




RE: PS4 memory prediction
By nuarbnellaffej on 2/24/2010 7:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Lol maybe, of course by then 8Gb likely won't be all that much.


RE: PS4 memory prediction
By Vagisil on 2/25/2010 2:32:14 AM , Rating: 2
May i put a hole in that prediction?
The initial amount of memory was cut in half for the PS2 release due to cost :D


More ram (shrugs shoulders)
By dijuremo on 2/24/2010 8:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
I would trade 70MB of RAM for MKV support and the ability to connect external devices formatted with NTS and or extX file systems (without having to run Linux). I really want to use my PS3s (yeap I got more than one) as media centers.

Oh, and while you are at it, please allow me to play content stored from one of my PS3s in another one through my home network, e.g (PS3 to PS3 live content sharing/streaming).




RE: More ram (shrugs shoulders)
By Hiawa23 on 2/25/2010 10:36:04 AM , Rating: 1
I would trade 70MB of RAM for MKV support and the ability to connect external devices formatted with NTS and or extX file systems (without having to run Linux). I really want to use my PS3s (yeap I got more than one) as media centers.

Not sure that is even possible, either that or Sony doesn't want this. I understand where you are coming from, but I use mine for Blu ray movies & games, I am not even sure what Linux is. I am assume it's some sort or OS.


That can't be right...
By therealnickdanger on 2/24/10, Rating: -1
By therealnickdanger on 2/24/2010 11:24:56 AM , Rating: 1
Oh nevermind... I need to RTFA closer. Me no read good today.


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