PS5 storage architecture: RIP SATA SSD

Discussion in 'Gaming (Software and Graphics Cards)' started by hfm, May 17, 2020.

  1. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    I thought we were talking about implementing this stuff in the upcoming PS5, not previous generations. Even using SATA SSD at all when the previous generations existed would have been too much cost, doesn't even matter what size it was. Let alone PCIe.
     
  2. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Deity

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    I exaggerated a touch...but like a 4tb game drive can be found for the price of a 1 TB PCIe m.2 SSD..and could be significantly cheaper paired with optane if they got a deal with Intel and Seagate...was just an idea and I could be off...but what do you guys think...was it a good idea to go fast low capacity over slow high capacity
     
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  3. ryzeki

    ryzeki Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Most of your posts were covered by both MS and Sony in different articles/presentations. Particularly, the limits of regular HDDs when it comes to game design, and not just about hardware/software improvements due to speeds.

    HDDs are so so very slow, but basically required, to ensure level of detail and assets that wasn't possible before. When designing your game you need to take into account the current limits of your memory and how you handle assets. This was also discussed during development of Spiderman for PS4. When you design and area, assets, the whole level you need to decide what goes into RAM and what gets stuck in the HDD. Naturally you can't fit the entire level on RAM (specially open world games) but you can save specific size, vertices and general geometry and only load relevant assets onto RAM from where the player is interacting. You can cull/remove everything out of sight or blocked, to ensure you are not wasting memory and performance there.

    However, HDDs are hella slow compared to what current hardware can do. We are talking mere hundred MB/s at best, less than half at worst. They also have added latency for seek times, as you need actions to spin the disc, locate the memory map, locate file, and transfer it. This data also was compressed, so you needed to decompress the data before using it. This meant that if you needed any sort of information such as music/sound, graphics, geometry, sequences etc, that the player suddenly triggered, then you better have that on RAM, or else you will be stuck several seconds just finding and loading that (a typical simple example is pop-in, where textures, geometry, entire levels or triggered sequences get stuck loading and then BAM they appear infront of you).

    This meant that your games will be limited in interaction because you can never have something too weird triggered by the player/user that needs non-loaded assets. Because of this, level design and general game design had to take into account areas or places to keep the player busy without them noticing too much, and keep loading/streaming data behind them. The infamous examples are "Press button for 5 seconds" or "walk slowly behind this corridor" type of stuff. Or simply, making a level have a weird/longer walking/running area used to mask asset streaming from behind. Another example of being limited by HDD is travel speed- you can't travel faster than what is being loaded/rendered. Open world games often limit your max speed of travel because you would run into weird glitches of non rendered parts and full of pop in. Infamous second son is an example of this, when using the neon dash for super fast running- it's supposed to be like lightning but it just feels like you are running faster than regular.

    Basically- Game design up until now has been done considering the entire limits of the HDD medium. This means that SSDs up until now have only been used as supper HDDs, and never really taken into account when designing a game properly (a notable exception might be Star Citizen, as the game literally drops framerate when using HDD instead of SSD).

    In theory, next gen games, as devs get the hang of it, will develop games that take into account the existence of SSDs. This might mean that new games in PC might also start having recommended/minimum requirements to HAVE and SSD, let alone a fast one. We might have new settings in the form of "asset streaming speed" that will depend on how fast your SSD is. And all of this will be taken into account when designing a game from scratch.

    All that wall of text.... and THEN you have other improvements and detriments- not relying on HDD means data no longer needs to be duplicated. It is shown by Insomniac devs that Spiderman had over 10GB out of 45GB of the game being entirely duplicated data. Meaning the game itself could have been just 35GB had it been made for an SSD.

    Anyways, I do believe the inclusion of a forced SSD in next gen consoles, even if 1TB or slightly less, was the right call. It will ensure new game design and performance to remain fast throughout the gen, even when graphics are no longer as capable. You can still use external HDDs on next gen consoles as way of BC with current consoles, and there will certainly be games that don't use the SSD so you might be able to install them to HDDs.

    As for PC? I don't think a particular speed of SSD will be required at first, but obviously NVMe drives will have greater impact. SATA SSDs will probably be "required" for some next gen multiplatform games. I am looking forward to it. Imagine your current performance in games, but the single change of having a super fast SSD, means you can keep your current performance and simply dramatically increase world detail without pop in.

    This also means, for PC, that we will require even faster/multicore CPUs. Unlike consoles, we don't have custom hardware decompression and handling of data- we do all with our CPUs. I bet quad cores are finally going to get choked.
     
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  4. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Deity

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    That was quite the wall of text, but explained in a non reticent and cogent manner very well worded and explains everything thus far, I would love to be as helpful as some of the genius members but blame god our parents or the schools we attended or simply genetics we are not all genius like Ryzeki or papusan or even Mr.Fox...

    Yeah after reading that I realize my errored questions and digress. It's truly amazing to see what they do with this new avenue of technological exploration pardon the pun. thanks again and I'll try n hold back before posting. sorry :(


    edit I tried its hard being smart when your not, feels unnatural
     
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  5. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    You're being too hard on yourself. We're all here to learn, a lot of times people get caught up trying to be the smartest person in the room and lose sight that we're all learning every day, day in and day out. Show me someone who thinks they're the smartest one or knows everything and i'll show you someone that's either dangerously ignorant, a liar, or both.

    Some people have had the privilege even existing in a certain way to be able to concentrate their full cognitive load on learning new things and being supported in doing that even if it's passively by living in a way that you don't have to worry about basic human things. Some have to spend their thoughts on things like surviving day to day and how am I going to walk to work today without being victimized. That's another aspect people lose sight of.

    We're all here to support each other hopefully, stick around and learn stuff with us. No one is born knowing anything, they have to have the space and suppott to take the time to learn it.
     
  6. ryzeki

    ryzeki Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I am sorry if you felt attacked with my post. It was never intended that way. What I wanted to address was several of the posts you have previously asked for, but I felt quoting you directly with several posts was not ideal, as you yourself had several questions unanswered or wanted more information.

    I am not a genius nor trying to appear as one. I wanted to keep my post as simple as possible without going into extreme detail because a lot of the fine grain part either escapes me or have no way of putting it in words. I resorted to use the examples that are most common because they can easily encompass the differences we want to show.

    The forum is made to share knowledge and help each other be better and learn more. I have no intentions of putting you down, and I do hope I was able to help answer at least 1 doubt you might have had. I don't know everything but I am happy to share what I understand.

    You don't need to hold back from posting. When you want to know more about a subject, you should be encouraged to ask more and research more.
     
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  7. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    I should be perfectly clear none of what I said was about you in my post it was just a general statement. Your posts are very informative and helpful. :) (I can't give you rep because you are the last person I gave rep .. so rep..)
     
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  8. ryzeki

    ryzeki Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Hey don't sweat it, I know it wasn't about me no problem :) And don't worry about rep, as long as I contribute somewhat, that's enough, I don't really care about rep numbers hahaha

    And back on topic, in case people are interested, Linus just apologized to Tim Sweeney after going PCmaster race attacking Tim because PS5's SSD


    Basically when people don't understand the underlying changes in technology, they can get a very wrong initial impression focused on numbers. It slightly addresses the new tech in consoles, and how PC might even become the slowest common denominator for some games, due to aging HDD still widely used.
     
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  9. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    Nice! Well said Linus. I wish we had more people being accountable for mistakes and owning up and fixing it. World would be a better place.
     
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  10. Mastermind5200

    Mastermind5200 Notebook Virtuoso

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    I was responding to a previous comment. Also side note, you can easily replace the PS4's internal HDD with a SSD, but it is not offered out of the gate
     
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