PS4’s GDDR5 RAM Latency Not A Problem But DDR3 May Have Better CAS Latency – Kursk Dev

But it’s really hard to tell as bandwidth also plays a role, says Jujubee’s Michal Stepien.

Posted By | On 13th, Jun. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

ps4 amd

When the PS4 was first showcased back in 2013, most developers in the games industry were surprised by Sony’s decision to include GDDR5 memory in the console. However there were questions regarding its latency. DDR3 reportedly has better CAS latency compared to GGDR5. CAS (Column Access Strobe) latency is essentially the delay that occurs when the memory controller triggers the memory module to gain access to a memory section within RAM, to the moment the data  is available on the memory section’s output pins. As a thumb rule, lower CAS latency is preferred.

Speaking to CEO and Creative Director of Jujubee Games Studio, Michal Stepien, who is currently working on Kursk, a multiplatform game for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, GamingBolt asked whether they have faced any issues arising out of GDDR5’s potential latency issue.

“I think latency is not a problem. The PS4 chip is quite interesting and because the CPU and GPU are in reality one single chip, the performance is not affected,” Michal said to GamingBolt. However he thinks that DDR3 might have better latency performance but it’s down to the programmer as opinions are divided. “It seems that DDR3 has a better CAS latency, but it’s really hard to tell and the bandwidth also plays a role, so I think that even programmers will have different opinions. For me what matters is the whole performance of the hardware and thus the framerate in the game.”

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for our full interview with Michal.

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  • Triton

    Xbox Won 😉

    • Nick

      god your life must b exciting!

    • Triton

      You shortened “be”. Wow!

    • Guest

      You cared, wow!

    • Mark

      Lol! I shorten alot of my wrds. Lol. That’s funny, I think I’ll use b now.

    • Guest

      PS4 Won 😉


      The PS4 isn’t as powerful as Sony leads people to believe

    • Jecht_Sin

      Maybe. But it’s quite more powerful than the Xbone and that’s all that matters!

    • Pops

      its more powerful by a hair.there isnt a game that the xbox cant handle

    • Gamez Rule

      “There isn’t a game that Xbox can’t handle”?

      Depends on how to you at it really. The games that PS4 outputs at 1920×1080 cannot be done on xbox hence why most of them are out-putting 1600×900, then upscaled to 1080p.

    • Ricoh123

      And the ps4 frame rates suffer as a result.

    • Gamez Rule

      So does Xbones even when running less res- than PS4

    • Icedry

      sony does well to push developers to 1080p if users think like this guy here . Better are the 1080p or a stable framerate ? To say that a console is better than the other is absurd , if it were that one runs the games at 60fps and the other only 30 for example ok. Although it is only marketing material for the fanboys

    • Scott Lindsey

      Not a game, but their are effects that are impossible. For instance the particle effects in infamous would not be possible without GDDR5 because the calculation takes place on the GPU and the data set is larger than what would fit into ESRAM.

    • 2econd gpu unlocking

      Only because the NDA is in place for the 2nd GPU all generation now.
      And it’s something the fans have accepted to keep Sony strong

    • Ricoh123

      It isn’t.

      That’s why games like witcher 3 run like crap on the ps4 with the fps going into the teens and the xb1 fps much higher and stable.

    • 2econd gpu unlocking

      Users are only letting Sony win to keep Apple out.
      We agree as fans it’s better for Sony to be our competition than let Apple join in.

  • Kfal Balli

    It has it’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m glad a dev finally acknowledged this.

  • Guest

    Latency doesn’t matter to GPUs, bandwidth is far, far more important. If latency was so important than MS could have went with even lower latency 1866Mhz DDR3, but nope they went for the higher bandwidth but also higher latency 2133Mhz DDR3 RAM. Show us one example of one game where the RAMs latency has mattered. Yet we can show countless games where the bandwidth difference shows. Hint: just about every game game that has lower res on the X1, is because of either lower bandwidth or to small of a buffer or both.

    • Nick

      what is the speed of the ddr5?

    • Gamez Rule

      5500MHz = PS4
      2133MHz = Xbone

    • Psionicinversion

      each GDDR5 chip is rated upto 28GBs

    • Psionicinversion

      Latency isn’t important at all for the gpu but it is important for the cpu. CPU highly sensitive to latency, gpu doesn’t care about latency

    • Gamez Rule

      PS4 chip= “CPU & GPU are in reality one single chip”, which means that the performance is not affected like it would be on PC hardware setups. So latency isn’t a factor with consoles but bandwidth could be.

    • Psionicinversion

      Yes it is still affected, why do you think the ps4 has 256MB ddr3 in it for OS functions??? Fact its even though it can access the same data the latency still affects the cpu because it takes longer for it to “post” the reply

    • Gamez Rule

      “Creative Director of Jujubee Games Studio, Michal Stepien, who is currently working on Kursk, a multiplatform game for the PS4, Xbox One and PC ( also stated the following ) I think latency is not a problem. The PS4 chip is quite interesting and because the CPU and GPU are in reality one single chip, the performance is not affected”

      So who do we trust.. People telling us that are making games on that hardware or the public that don’t?

      Xbone doesn’t have a big latency advantage with the DDR3 when compared to GDDR5 within PS4. But what we do know is that Xbone relys on its ESRAM to make up for the lack of bandwidth due to using DDR3 RAM. That’s something PS4 has no problems with.

    • Psionicinversion

      hows about the games already out. Theres a reason why ps4 exclusives are so barren, they try to avoid anything cpu related as much as they can and try to offload as much cpu work to the gpu as possible.

      Look at the AAA games that need to run stuff on the cpu, it runs like crap and why? because of the latency and its to slow, bad combination

      It does also depend on the game though a game like kursk wont be demanding at all while a game like Witcher3 or Project cars will be far far more demanding. Gamingbolt has a tendency to speak to developers making indie titles that wouldnt even really challenge a PC’s APU’s. The last one they talked to where it says PS4 has tons and tons and tons of power… could of run there game on the apple smart watch.

      You do know that “CPU and GPU are basically one single chip”… youve got be an idiot to not know hes basically saying its an APU because the cpu and gpu are on a single die. Theres nothing magical, theres nothing new APU been around for quite sometime now

      Kursk reveal

    • Gamez Rule

      Witcher 3 is Native 1080p output on PS4. While Witcher 3 renders at 1600×900 on Xbone. Why isn’t the Witcher 3 on Xbone running at Native 1080p? And do you really think that IF it was able to run it at native 1080p output it would run as good as PS4?

      As for Project cars “Sony’s machine continues to push out a native 1920×1080 image, while Microsoft’s hardware musters an upscaled 1600×900” Also “PS4 does also have an advantage in performance” ( Eurogamer )

      So the two games you mentioned that are more demanding than Kursk are still showing PS4 as the better hardware out the two consoles?

    • Psionicinversion

      PS4 is still having framerate problems on witcher 3 that they themselves say there still trying to fix. The problem is the ps4 is borderline 1080p capable. in its exclusives its fine because everything is tailored just for the ps4 but in multiplats code is generalised to have maximum compatibility across platforms so there inefficiencies in the code

      It has a decent amount of compute units but there underclocked to what they should be running at. Because the bandwidth is shared the more the CPU needs the less the GPU gets and CPU can take upto 30GB/s i think away from the GPU under heavy load. This is its problem. The PS4 has to little bandwidth it should of tried to get about 200+GB/s out of it for it not to be affected.

      Sure the xbox is mostly sitting at 900p because its GPU to weak but its also a more stable 900p. alot people say they cant tell anyway with the upscaler when there sitting a few feet away. I couldnt tell you because i havnt seen an xbox in action.

      but to say that ps4 is definitively better is wrong, if the resolution is all you care about well get a PC but if your content with console only then PS4. But xbox should start to get far more stable framerates with DX12, the biggest part of that for xbox is the new eSRAM code thats been completely rewritten because it was well crap. So have to see how it helps it going forward

    • Gamez Rule

      PS4 hardware is better for gaming otherwise Xbone would be matching the PS4s outputs, ect in gaming. IF Xbone had better hardware it would be running Witcher 3 at native 1080p as an example. ( But it can’t )

    • Psionicinversion

      did you even bother to read what i wrote?

    • Gamez Rule

      Yeah and what I wrote is also correct (IF Xbone had better hardware it would be running Witcher 3 at native 1080p as an example. ( But it can’t ))

    • Psionicinversion

      yeah it is but its only better compared to the xbox. PS4 hardware is better for gaming compared to the X1 but its still borderline better in gaming in general. i3/750Ti (budget grade PC) 95% of the time beats the PS4 in witcher 3 for example. With a DX12 patch just moving to the basic low level nature of it will blow the back doors off it.

      So compared to X1 yeah better, gaming in general not so much

    • Gamez Rule

      PC will always be better for gaming, BUT we are not on about PC.. We was on about PS4 and Xbone, and the above information.

    • Psionicinversion

      technically it will be better although IF xbox is full DX12.1 compatible ($3billion says it might be) it could get closer to PS4 using more advanced rendering techniques.

      If you havnt seen nvidia DX12 mech demo it shows off volume tiled resources where it can tile things like smoke effects.Without it on it turns into a slide show because it has to render the entire scene as the smoke changes. But volume tiled resources can tile a 3D effect like smoke so its only updating that part of the scene and gains alot of performance.

      No AMD GPU currently supports 12.1 and volume tiled resources and AMD have no interest in supporting it so PS4 GPU is not capable of doing it, it can only do tier 2 which is tiled resources on 2D surfaces. MS could of worked with nvidia because they worked with them longer on it and integrated it into the GPU they have. $3billion is the type of money you need to spend to research design and implement non existent tech into a product.

      So we will have to wait and see what happens, them 3D puddles in forza 6 there banging on it may use volume tiled tech for good visuals minimum impact.

      On a side note DX12 is a beast man, conservative raster allows for ray traced shadows because it properly fills all the pixels in a triangle if your interested in watching the 12.1 tech here the link its only like 5 minutes and will give a glimpse into the graphics of tomorrow, probably be a fair few years but still its the right step

    • Gamez Rule

      DX12 is mainly for PC gamers / devs ( Only some DX12 effects will take place on Xbone )

      “No AMD GPU currently supports 12.1 and volume tiled resources and AMD
      have no interest in supporting it so PS4 GPU is not capable of doing it”…Well MS used AMD for it’s GPU too so Xbone will also miss out if what you stated is correct.

      But getting back on track…. The latency of PS4s GDDR5 RAM is not a problem, and has been confirmed by devs themselves. Games will only get better as time goes by ( as seen on PS3 and 360 ) but in the here and now PS4 hardware allows developers to push their games more than what Xbone allows.

    • Psionicinversion

      The GDDR5 isnt a problem if your using the GPU to do the heavy lifting which is what its designed to do

      MS GPU isnt the same as the normal GPU they licensed the tech which means it will be built based on it but can be heavily modified if need to and considering AMD said they dont know whats in it its a sign of a properly custom chip. Maybe it is maybe it isnt, if they dont say anything by the time DX12 is released then it will just be mostly standard fare and bit of a let down

    • Gamez Rule

      PS4 also used a modified custom GPU that’s not standard to AMD so that puts both Xbone and PS4s GPU in the…I wonder if… category

    • Psionicinversion

      nah PS4 GPU is just an hawaii chip modified with that onion ring bus and stuff but AMD wont of had any 12.1 tech or volume resources to give them because its not in GCN 1.1 or 1.2 and doubtful to be even in the brand new Fury GPU so maybe in 400 series greenland chips end of next year might have it

      MS would of built it themselves and seeing as they built dx12 they know what hardware they need to do the features. 360 Xenos chip paved the way for modern GPU design and first chip to feature tessellation cus it was supposed to be in DX10 but nvidia cried about not having a tessellation part so they dropped it to dx11.

      If you want see something awesome and slightly worrying if you came across it click here…. https://robertsspaceindustries

    • Gamez Rule

      yet PS4s GPU is still better than Xbones in the hardware department and DX12 will not change the hardware as you well know. But PS4s GPU is also custom made with AMD ( similar to Xbones ) but better for gaming.

    • Psionicinversion

      yeah im just saying though, would be interesting if it was dx12.1 it would never beat PS4 GPU obviously but would help to gain performance by making it easier on the system to render stuff.

      Thats the way its going now, need to start really looking at efficient ways of rendering stuff. The brute force way is just a waste really. To get them really realistic graphics need to think about efficiency over pure power and then pure power to push us through 😀

    • Gamez Rule

      Like I said before, as time goes by devs with find more ways to push the hardware in consoles and making them more user friendly and easy to develop for.

    • Psionicinversion

      im not talking about consoles im talking in general. Because consoles are fixed hardware they have to make do with what they have till the next gen which is why PC hardware is important. Allows new tech to be introduced and then consoles will use it on the next gen. To get better visuals need new hardware to aid in efficient rendering, more power, better tessellators… the holy grail though is a chip that can do real time full raytracing, atm it will apparently take at least 11TFLOPs to render full ray tracing in real time, but a specialised chip to do it would be amazing.

      Imagination have a hardware ray tracing chip but its not designed for massive high end scenes and more for mobile (called Wizard if your interested) so need a much better one for high end pc games

    • Psionicinversion
    • Scott Lindsey

      X1 and ps4 CPUs are both DX12_0. Both are AMD GCN parts, so that’s that.

    • Mark Burley

      This is irrelevant the xbox one version at 900p looks just as good and performance is better games like wolfenstein scale resolution relative to load the result is better performance which is what matters. I have both consoles I’d assumed ps4 for multiplat and xbox one for exclusives but I’m going to have to start perusing comparison reviews because a minority of games perform better on xbox.

    • Gamez Rule

      Irrelevant to you but not most gamers clearly shown by articles and sales from hardware/software. IF Xbone could output the same res- as PS4 in the above games in question it wouldn’t be running as it is at 900p. ( that’s the point ).

      PS4 could drop res if devs wanted- but Xbone can’t go up res at it would suffer/

    • Mark Burley

      Dont know if you know owt about statistics but the people blathering away would not be a representive sample of gamers skewed severely is what im thinking within 2 standard deviations my outlook would be prevalent and do understand I have both consoles?

    • Gamez Rule

      Hmm yeah right. Ok.

    • Ricoh123

      Bandwidth only reaps benefits all the time you have enough ram and don’t need to flush caches.

      When you’re at ram limit, latency is much more advantageous.


    Some games actually runs better on Xbox One example
    Resident Evil Revelation 2 Witcher 3 Assassin Creed Unity all run better on Xbox One over PS4 even after being patched

    • 2econd gpu unlocking

      also add COD advance and Wolfenstien campaigns have a better 60fps lock.
      Main reason we asked Microsoft to choose DDR3 with ESRAM was
      for the 272GB & higher bus speeds without the CPU bottlenecking
      the PS4 does.
      We, (the fans) ask for better AF and 9/10 get it over the Sony version as well.They have cache bottlenecking so AF textures look washed out.
      We have the more powerful system, but it’s about letting Sony recover and getting out of bankruptcy as well, even if that’s means agreeing to playing a weaker system all Gen.

    • Cypher-Unknown

      Gaffer, you are a silly little billy. When will you learn?

    • d0x360

      Any game that for whatever reason is cpu bound runs better on xbox for a couple reasons. One is the ddr3 is better at cpu tasks but way more importantly the x1 cpu runs at a higher clock speed, has an extra code dedicated to games and perhaps just as importantly the actual Xbox OS uses less cpu and ram resources because its a virtual machine so it can effectively be paused and resources it was using xanybe used elsewhere. On ps4 the OS is always running and always using a set amount of resources.

      Does it really matter? No not really. The difference in visuals is tiny and unless you are comparing them under a microscope you can’t tell. Anyone just playing a game would not be able to pick which is which. Well actually due to the odd fact that ps4 games rarely use anisotropic filtering you could probably tell due to the warped textures at certain angles but most people would never notice that

    • Scott Lindsey

      This idea that GDDR5 has a latency problem is actually just a fanboy myth born from not understanding that CAS latency is relative to bus speed — more like RPM than MPH.

      These guys explain it quite well:

      It is true that ESRAM will have better latency than any either, and it is also true that the CPU on the X1 is (apparently) clocked a bit faster.

  • justerthought

    For cutting edge gaming, it’s all about shifting a smaller number of large data chunks rather than lots of tiny data chunks in rapid succession. The latter requires low latency, the former requires a rapid transfer rate. The latter is better suited to multimedia. The former is better suited to gaming with large HD textures.

    That is why cutting edge gaming rigs are feeding their GPU’s with lots of GDDR5 RAM. If this article was correct, all cutting edge gaming GPU’s would come equipped with onboard DDR3 RAM. You know that is not the case. So ask yourself why, rather than resort to damage limitation.

    The games that run less consistent on PS4 are those that are either pushing the CPU way too hard like AC Unity with all those unnecessary NPC’s or the fact that the PS4 is running the game in superb 1080p clarity which takes 44% more processing than 900p.

    The only weakness the PS4 has at present is the weak CPU but that will eventually change when the devs get up to speed with GPU compute. CPU tasks that don’t require low latency can be transferred to the spare capacity on the PS4 GPU, and allow the CPU to focus on the latency critical stuff. The PS4 GPU is 50% larger than the XB1 GPU to allow for the extra processing.

    • Ricoh123

      In open world games, it’s the opposite of what you said.

      It’s preferable to shift tiny data chunks in rapid succession.

      And to answer your question, gddr5 ram is easier to put together and helps cut development costs where devs don’t need to micromanage lots of streaming tiny data chunks. That doesn’t mean the end result is better…..

      …..the PC platform is notorious for microstutter in its games.

  • Ricoh123

    This is why many games run with better fps on the xbone.

    When all textures at any given moment cause the ps4 to need to do a ram flush, you’ll get stutters and low fps.

    With the xbone, the textures stream through consistently whilst maintaining consistent fps.

    Extremely noticeable in huge open world games like the witcher where the xbone fps rates murder the ps4’s.

    • JuneMas

      Most games have higher frames per second on X1because it usually is running the game at a lower resolution then the PS4.

    • Scott Lindsey

      Games on the X1 sometimes have higher framerates because the developers don’t feel pressured to reach 1080p. If you dropped the resolution on the ps4 the same way, you’d be at a higher framerate too.

  • Ricoh123

    To summarise –

    PS4 has better bandwidth meaning it can load chunks of data at a time.
    Pros – as long as the ram doesn’t run out, everything is loaded at once and not needed to load again. Better suited for games with smaller levels.

    Cons – when the ram needs to be flushed, the fps will drop and stutters can happen. Also longer initial loading times as more data is loaded at once.

    Xbone has better latency meaning it can stream lots of tiny chunks of data continuously.
    Pros – ram flushing is near instant, loading new textures won’t cause fps drops or stutter. Better suited to open world games where streaming textures is preferable to loading them in chunks.

    Cons – ram has to be fast enough to handle higher resolution textures or it will bottleneck forcing lower resolutions. The devs need to micro manage this is in a smarter way and it can be harder to programme. Devs who don’t have the resources to do this will programme xbone games to load large chunks of data at once, but will be sliced into smaller pieces to negate the esram input/output resulting in possible worse performance.

    When done correctly, the ps4 will be better at games with smaller level design and higher polygon counts. (eg Bloodborne has smaller visible areas, but long loading times and looks incredible)
    When done correctly, the xbone will be better at open world games with higher texture variety counts. (eg The Witcher 3 has lots of textures being visible at once and considerably better fps on xbone)

  • Riggerto

    do devotees of the Xbox/PlayStation cults/religions ever find time to play video games??

  • Scott Lindsey

    Wrongheaded article is WRONG WRONG WRONG. CAS latency is a measure of cycles. GDDR5 runs at a higher clock rate, so a request that takes a certain number of nanoseconds will need more “cycles” to complete if those cycles are shorter.

    GDDR5 has exactly the same latency ad DDR3. There is no sliver lining to DDR3; its worse but cheaper, the end.

    • chefsledg

      You seem to know a lot about nothing! Prove it because I”ll make a bet that you are wrong.

    • Scott Lindsey

      You have to understand that a CAS rating is more akin to an engine timing than it is to a measure of speed. You’re not going to say that a Ford Escort is faster than a Ferrari because the Ferrari’s engine is generally at a higher RPM, and therefore uses more cycles, right?

      Red Gaming Tech explains it better than I can, here:

      “The latency on GDDR5 and DDR3 memory does vary some, but the typical CAS latency of most sticks of DDR3 is between 7 and 9 (see the earlier Tomshardware link for more information). GDDR5 RAM meanwhile is a typical latency of about 15. Once again, all of this depends on the make and models of the RAM.

      So – there’s the answer right? Let’s say 8 CAS vs 15 CAS? No, it’s not. We have to remember that the speeds are for all intents and purposes – relative. If you take the CAS of both, and then multiply it by the clock speed – you get the ns of delay. CAS of 15/1.35 = 11ns.”

      Get it? We don’t have exact specs for either the X1 or the PS4, but the two memory types in general have exactly the same latency which is 11ns.

    • chefsledg

      And what if I said Red Gaming Tech is wrong! Anyone can publish any article on the internet and have no clue on what they are talking about.
      But you’re not taking the systems as a whole. The fact that you say DDR3 is worse is what I’m challenging you on.

    • Scott Lindsey

      Don’t believe it because RGT says so, believe it because it makes sense and no one is disputing it. Can you point at an analysis that says that DDR3 has especially short latency? I don’t think so.

      Actually, DDR3 isn’t worse. It’s actually very nearly the same chips — just connected via a bus rather than a point to point connection. The latency is the same, but the bandwidth is slower, so I really don’t see an upside other than it being cheaper.

      If you want to talk about low latency on the X1, look at the ESRAM. It’s tiny, but it’s inside of the APU. The latency on the ESRAM is probably nearly zero.

  • Cyberats

    It does not matter, console gaming is dead, putrid, stinky. Switch to PCs.

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