PS4 memory allocation debate rages on


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Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t care (kinda like us, to be honest) you’ll have seen the shitstorm brewing online over how much RAM in the PS4 is reserved for the operating system, and therefore how much is available for use by games.

With the Xbox One, it is believed that 3GB of its total 8GB of RAM is reserved for the OS, leaving 5GB for games. In fact, a lot of the furore in the online debate war currently raging is because of this. Playstation fans previously thought they had “one up” on the Xbox One because of this RAM segregation, and now it turns out we may be in the same boat.

So what is the deal with the PS4 and its RAM exactly? Well, after numerous rumors and posts from various sources (mainly via Digital Foundry/EuroGamer and also NeoGAF) Sony issued the following statement:

We would like to clear up a misunderstanding regarding our “direct” and “flexible” memory systems. The article [link] states that “flexible” memory is borrowed from the OS, and must be returned when requested – that’s not actually the case.

The actual true distinction is that:

  • “Direct Memory” is memory allocated under the traditional video game model, so the game controls all aspects of its allocation
  • “Flexible Memory” is memory managed by the PS4 OS on the game’s behalf, and allows games to use some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality. However this memory is 100 per cent the game’s memory, and is never used by the OS, and as it is the game’s memory it should be easy for every developer to use it.

We have no comment to make on the amount of memory reserved by the system or what it is used for.

You’ll notice there are no numbers mentioned by Sony. This is where things split into two camps:

  • Digital Foundry: Speculate that the there is essentially 4.5GB of RAM set aside for PS4 games, with an additional amount (as yet undefined) courtesy of the “Flexible Memory” referred to by Sony above, and that this will be a minimum of 512MB at all times. This means at least 5GB RAM for games on the PS4.
  • NeoGAF/Sources: The PS4 has 6GB of RAM available for games. This number comes courtesy of several well-regarded and respected developer sources who are actually making games for the Playstation 4. [link]

So, there you have it. The joy of console wars and we still don’t know where things stand! We’ll keep you updated when anything official comes out, of course.

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  • MadMac

    Blah blah blah who cares? Bunch of fan boys fighting over nothing. Wait for the games I say

    • NotHC

      Couldn’t agree more. This sort of thing is definitely only for the very hardcore gamer