Dev On PS4, Xbox One & PC Memory: Unlikely That Devs Use All of 8GB In A Frame, 16GB Is A Waste

“It is unlikely you will get close to using all of that 8GB in a single frame, so this is actually more than enough,” says Dan Walters, Director of Calvino Noir.

Posted By | On 23rd, Sep. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Memory has always been a topic of much interest for game developers. It seems that they can’t have enough memory and regardless of how much the hardware manufacturer provides, they always seem to run out of it at some point. With the current gen consoles already set for another 5-7 years, judging by their sales figures, is 8GB really enough to satisfy every developer’s requirements out there?

Both the PS4 and Xbox One feature 8GB memory which by today’s PC gaming standards is a bit below. More and modern PC game require a recommended 16GB memory. Dan Walters, Director of Calvino Noir believes that no memory is fast enough and in the end, all of that memory is not even utilized when a single frame is rendered.

“From a graphics programmer stand point, something important to remember is that you can’t read 16GB of memory per frame – no memory is fast enough,” Dan said to GamingBolt in a interview that was conducted recently. “It is unlikely you will get close to using all of that 8GB in a single frame, so this is actually more than enough.”

Few PC games such as Dying Light recommend 16 memory but Dan believes they are a waste in the end. “If a PC game needs 16GB, I would suggest they are wasteful and have a lot of stuff in memory that could just be streamed, and is rarely being used.”

Given that developers have limited frame time [16.6 ms for 60fps and 33.3 ms for 30 fps], utilizing all that amount of memory in a single frame means that a lot has to happen in that time. Obviously, the amount of stuff that is being rendered is dependent from scene to scene but in my opinion 16GB is still overkill.

But what are your thoughts on this? Do you think 16 GB of memory is a waste or will it become a norm in the future? Let us know in the comments section below. On a side note, you must check out our full interview on Calvino Noir. You can read it over here.

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  • Kfal Balli


  • Mr.Towel

    If your game has a minimum requirement of more than 8gb, then you don’t know how to code properly. Plain and simple.

  • Roger Larsson

    Interesting, how much memory CAN you read in a frame (especially system memory)

    PS4: 176 GB/s
    60Hz: 176 / 60 = 2.9 GB
    30Hz: 176 / 30 = 5,9 GB

    XB1: 68.3 GB/s
    60Hz: 68.3 / 60 = 1.13 GB + 32 MB = 1.14 GB
    30Hz: 68.3 / 30 = 2.28 GB + 32 MB = 2.31 GB
    XB1 can read its SRAM while waiting on SDRAM, but can not fill with new data.

    Both consoles reserve a number of GB for the operating system. Usually 5-6 GB remains for the game.

    On XBox One it is kind of wasted… but you need to buffer to be able to read exactly what you need when you need it.

    PS4 @ 30 Hz could actually read it all (theoretically)!

    • Edonus

      Its funny how we where just talking about this and a dev comes out basically saying exactly what told you.

      Your numbers still show you don’t get how eSram works. 32MB eSram moves in real world performance 150GBs on the low end.

      You are trying to suggest that it moves only its self each cycle? If that was the case Gdrr5 only move 8GBs. I don’t know if you just don’t get it or are purposefully lying.

      your corrected numbers would be

      60Hz: 68.3 / 60 = 1.13 GB + 150 / 60 = 3.63GB
      30Hz: 68.3 / 30 = 2.28 GB + 150 / 30 = 7.28GB

      so you are basically doing what the corrupt and bias gaming media did for the first 6 months of the launch of these consoles you completely ignored eSram.

      And just a little more knowledge for you….. eSram on the X1 is 32mb but it is also 4 modules of 8mbs….. thus it can read and write and fill with new data whenever it wants to and faster than any other option or configuration.

    • Guest

      Dude, why are you such a deceitful little liar? Your fanboyism has obviously made you dumb as a rock cuz even the one of the system architecture disagrees with you. But nice try, moron!

      Nick Baker:
      “The same discussion with ESRAM as well – the 204GB/s number that was presented at Hot Chips is taking known limitations of the logic around the ESRAM into account. You can’t sustain writes for absolutely every single cycle. The writes is known to insert a bubble [a dead cycle] occasionally… one out of every eight cycles is a bubble so that’s how you get the combined 204GB/s as the raw peak that we can really achieve over the ESRAM. And then if you say what can you achieve out of an application – we’ve measured about 140-150GB/s for ESRAM.”

    • Edonus

      You do realize your comment actually supports what I said right. Your reading comprehension and math skills are atrocious.
      Nick Bakers comment basically states that eSram has a real world usage of 150GBs….. Like I said. I could explain this to you in more detail but you didn’t even see your comment actually validates me and you attacked me with it…. So you have no clue of whats going on.
      I don’t feel like talking to a Guest…. be a real person and make an account and stand by your comments.

    • red2k

      ?? What is your point.

    • Fayxz

      Errrm he did say 150gb/s for esram…

    • Guest

      Well you just proved that you don’t know what you’re talking about and listen to fanboy conspiracies. If the X1 has higher bandwidth than why does it have so many games that are lower res? You know that thing that takes bandwidth?

    • Edonus

      2 reasons… why the X1 has lower resolutions sometimes.

      The first reason is….. because you have a small penis and cant satisfy women.

      The second reason is because the X1 has a more complex and advanced memory system. the bandwidth is there its just a matter of laying the assets out correctly.

    • Fayxz

      Optimization, it’s not easy to change an engine to run everything through esram, devs are used to throwing chunks of memory through gddr5

    • Roger Larsson

      This was mostly about reading from system memory (I should not have added a single read from eSRAM)

      But lets do it your way – how many times do you actually read all those 32 MB of the eSRAM between frames?

      60Hz: 150 GB / 60 Hz / 32 MB = 78 times
      30Hz: 150 GB / 30 Hz / 32 MB = 156 times
      (rinse back and forth between your teeth…)

      You need to use a rendering algorithm that requires a lot of intermediate store/read using the full eSRAM (and that not can make use of the GPU internal even faster buffers…)

      If the algorithm uses less than 32 MB you need proportionally more times.

      If the algorithm on the other hand needs more than 32 MB, bad luck you have to hit SDRAM…

      And no, you can not fill the eSRAM from SDRAM without penalty.

      Keeping static data in the eSRAM (as you hinted on in another thread) why would you want to read that more than one time? Lets see…

      * Physics simulation of world objects run at higher than frame rate?
      (this easily ends up bigger than 32 MB, guess why MS thinks cloud)

      Someday, someone will find out how to really use XBox Ones complex (I refuse to call it advanced) memory system. But having a program managed SRAM isn’t really anything new… (But motivation has probably grown among companies, professors and students)

    • Edonus

      Your are not making any sense…. why are you dividing the equation of the BW by the size of the eSram? It makes no sense…. the eSram at the size of 32MB has the output real world bandwidth of 150GBs. I think a big issue is that the gaming media hasn’t properly educated the community.. You keep trying to make 32MBs of eSram a limitation like it can only push 32MBs of data in some cases. What you fail to grasp is the difference between physical size and data. When they say 8GBs of Gddr5 ram moves 178GB/s that is it there is nothing else to calculate same thing with 32MBs of eSram having real world performance of 150GB/s that is it 32MBs of eSram = 150GB/s.
      Your crazy equation up their using those numbers could only tell us how many GBs of data a divided MB of eSram could move…… its almost a pointless numbers.
      And to your question of why would you want static memory…… here is an example for you.
      Imagine a building in a game the building is 3d you can go inside and around and needs to be textured so the walls look like bricks and the floors look like marble. In the Ps4 and pretty much PC (the standard way). The GPU has to go to the gddr5 ram get the texture and draw it every cycle. It basically reads and writes the data every cycle that that texture is needed. This is because dynamic ram has to be refilled and refreshed
      On the X1 that texture is written to the eSram once and the GPU just keeps reading that same texture over and over until the scene changes and that texture is no longer needed then another one is loaded in.
      The basic idea would be what more efficient if you had to constantly put your name on a million documents. Ps4 would be a quill and ink the X1 would be a stamp.
      Physics is a CPU activity eSram is connected directly to the GPU for a reason. Its a super fast pipeline for reading and writing from the GPU.

  • Fayxz

    Ps4 game os: 6 cores 4.5gb ram
    Xbone game os: 7 cores 5gb ram

    • Guest


      Ps4 game os: 6 cores 5.5gb ram
      Xbone game os: 6+up to 70% of a 7th core, 5gb ram

      Mmm, I hate to break it to you but you obviously don’t understand the way the flexible memory works. It 4.5GB of “Direct Memory” which is allocated in the traditional way and then an additional 1GB of “Flexible memory” which is 512MB of the GDDR5 RAm and 512MB of HDD space which is managed by the FreeBSD OS which has some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality. So in other words, 5GBs plus another 512MB of HDD space. So the same and better than the X1. And the 7th core on the X1 is only “up to” 70% and can be taken back by the OS at any time its needed, hence highly unreliable and most devs will stay away from. And the PCars devs already used the 7th core on the X1 for sounds and the game still has 44% lower res and a worst framerate. So, so much for that sh’t helping.

      Face it, the X1 is inferior anyway you cut it. Hence why everybody else prefers a PS4 except for you diehard MS fanboy idiots. Keep being stupid and we’ll keep laughing at you.

    • Fayxz
    • Tech junkie

      Although not confirmed. Xbox is apparently opening the 7th core completely with new OS.


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