Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just make your computer faster by making a whole new CPU core appear out of thin air? We’re not sure what Moore’s law would have to say about that, but we sure do think it’d be pretty impressive. While Sony hasn’t quite managed that feat just yet, it has come close after it unlocked the PS4’s seventh core, effectively giving the console extra power to play with.
While Sony obviously hasn’t popped around to your house and shoehorned a new CPU into that PS4 under your TV, what it has done is opened an existing core up for game developers to take advantage of. Both Sony and Microsoft kept the seventh and eighth cores of their respective PS4 and Xbox One machines on reserve to ensure that things like the machine’s operating system were never found lacking for horsepower. The move to unlock one of those CPUs presumably means that Sony is now confident that it can cope.
The info comes from a post on the Beyond3D Forum that quotes a point from the latest changelog for audio middleware FMOD, citing a change made to make use of the newly unlocked seventh core on the PS4.
LowLevel API – PS4 – Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.
The move by Sony comes months after Microsoft also made one of the Xbox One’s cores available for developer use, though it has held 50% of its processing ability back in case the user wants to take advantage of the Xbox One’s voice control features via Kinect. At this point, it’s unclear whether Sony has taken similar steps to ensure the PS4 continues to handle well even with a game running, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it has. After all, both machines require their operating systems to work well even while a game is running, and that needs power.
It is, of course, true that the unlocking of extra cores is never going to make a machine hugely faster than it was before, though it does mean that developers will now have a known, additional amount of power with which to play, and that’s a good thing because more power allows developers to make better games.
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