Yet Another Advantage of PS4’s GDDR5 Memory: Allows High MP3 Bitrates & Less CPU Compression Cycles

Brett Paterson talks the advantages of faster memory bandwidth for reading and decompressing audio data.

Posted By | On 29th, Oct. 2014 Under News

ps4 amd

It’s easy to get caught up in the resolution war and the power of graphics with the Xbox One and PS4 but there are several other benefits that the technology bestows. Speaking to Firelight Technologies’ Brett Paterson, GamingBolt learned how the PS4’s GDDR5 RAM presents advantages to the audio framework FMOD. Firelight’s FMOD is a special set of tools for creating interactive audio and is used across just about every single game you can think. Dragon Age, World of Warcraft, Forza – roughly 1500 different games use FMOD.

So what advantage does the PS4 bring to FMOD with its memory? Paterson stated that, “Audio deals with large amounts of raw compressed sound information. The faster memory bandwidth is, the less cycles it takes to read and decompress audio data. There is certainly a benefit, because unintuitively, less compressed information can consume CPU more times to manipulate than highly compressed data, because there is more data to transfer.

“Higher bitrates in MP3 for example can now be used at the cost of more memory being used, but without the overhead of the bandwidth stalls.”

What are your thoughts on this, especially with the emphasis on updates for the PS4 and Xbox One serving to unlock more of the their respective consoles’ power? Let us know in the comments.

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  • paul middleton

    How come am sitting here reading about ps4s advantages with audio compression and fmod With a great screen in the centre advertising advanced warfare on xbox. Xbox.

  • Vance

    my thoughts is that you mentioned an xbox exclusive in that: forza.
    from the fact that forza has great audio simply says that gddr5 isn’t much of an advantage here.
    firelight said gddr5 presents advantages, but advantages as opposed to what, last gen?
    does FMOD use LZ compression? because if that’s so then the xbox has over 2 dedicated LZ encoding/decoding engines which works independently from the CPU. so i’ll ask again: gddr5 presents advantages, but advantages as opposed to what? and are we talking last gen or this gen? these things are unclear and or omitted in this article.

    • Daniel evans

      I dont think they were dissing forza or anything as im sure the audio was good in the game. You say because it has good audio, gddr5 cant have an advantage but that might not be the case. If forza was to be on ps4 then who is to say the audio wouldnt be better on ps4? The ps4 has its own audio chip also so maybe that +gddr5 is where the benefits are. But who knows xD

    • Psionicinversion

      Bandwidth has got nothing to do with it, higher the quality DSP/codecs the better the audio. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell anyway. Like soundcards in a PC, if you’ve got a decent set of speakers or sound system then get a soundcard if there not that brilliant then use onboard audio because the quality it’s outputting the speakers can’t reproduce it.

      These articles are full of sh#t. What about sound studios that create professional sound are would they benefit from GDDR5 no because it doesn’t take up alot of bandwidth, it may take up alot of RAM but bandwidth no.

    • Michael Norris

      Well Ps4 uses True Audio,which is an awesome piece of tech.I am not sure if the Xone has it because both AMD and MS have not said a thing.Both consoles are well equipped to handle sound.

    • Vance

      both consoles are equipped to handle sound, yes. but this article referenced compression and cpu cycles as advantages taking into consideration gddr5 so I asked couple questions to get more understanding of what is being said here.

    • d0x360

      Except neither console actually uses mp3 based audio they use true HD audio which is lossless and not compressed like mp3 is but advantage wise it goes to the Xbox which has a dedicated SPU. To compare to a PC the Xbox is like having a dedicated sound card like a sound blaster and the ps4 handles its audio with the CPU.

      In the modern world it doesn’t make much of a difference because audio doesn’t cost much but it does have a cost. A dedicated chip can also produce higher quality audio and if really needed can also be backed up by the CPU.

    • Matt

      Well it’s not compressed like MP3 per se but it is still compressed otherwise the sound files would be the main thing taking up disk space instead of textures.

    • Matt

      If it has a dedicated sound processor it shouldn’t be to difficult to match what true audio does.


      non techie here: i guess it puts less stress on the ps4’s CPU, and because of the underpowered cpu’s on both next gen systems; anything that helps put less work on the CPU’s are good, whether its the gpu or memory.

    • Matt

      Here’s an article on the Xbox One’s sound chip:

      It may have more dedicated hardware for sound, versus the PS4’s brute force approach (unified memory)

    • Vance

      the xbox’s audio chip can do 512 simultanious streams + kinect’s audio
      the ps4 can only do ~200 simulations streams
      with that if it’s a discussion about which audio chip is better then there’s no contest here.

      but the discussion was about audio decompression and cpu cycles.
      the author referenced the xbox in the article and in the same paragraph stated that gddr5 presents an advantage. there is more info/explanations needed for making such a statement which was not quoted but paraphrased.

    • Matt

      There probably aren’t any pro-Xbox articles at this site. I see it frequently linked on N4G and it’s always some “PS4 can do this! na na na!” kind of stuff.

      That said, I don’t know what advantage it is to use over 100 streams of audio anyway. How often is this taken advantage of in any game?

    • John Nemesh

      There aren’t many “pro-Xbox” articles here, or anywhere else, because there is very little to be “pro” about with that console. Less powerful, fewer games, less support from developers, fewer sales. Sure, there are always the die-hard loyalists (what did MS do to deserve them? I mean, besides releasing the last console with a 59% failure rate?)…but, by and large, most people aren’t stupid enough to buy an Xbox One this gen.

    • Matt

      Seems like a pretty good system to me, but I haven’t used one yet.

    • John Nemesh

      To be fair its not THAT bad. However, it’s not equal in performance or in the game library to the ps4. The main problem is that instead of focusing on what matters, the games, they put too much emphasis on multimedia features and kinect…hoping to cash in on the “casual” gamer. They had a flawed vision to begin with, and released a console with less graphical power than the competition. The problem is. ..they can’t go back and fix it. What they have is what they got for the entire generation. I am also not convinced that the executives even now know what they are doing. They are lacking in exclusive titles (which will be shown in dramatic fashion next year), yet, instead of investing in first and second party studios. …they spend $2.5 BILLION on Minecraft! Personally, i think they are done if the price cut and Halo don’t turn things around this holiday.

    • XboxGamer33

      Your posts flag you as a flagrant fanboy. Don’t respond with the rhetoric “well you’re one” never said I wasn’t, but Sony has delivered everything but greatness so far

    • John Nemesh

      Fanboy? No. Anti Microsoft? You bet. If you READ my posts, you will see logical, fact based reasons why i am upset with them and why i feel the Xbox is a bad deal at any price. You don’t have to agree with my opinions, but they ARE my opinions, and i am entitled to them as everyone else is to theirs. Still don’t like it? #justdealwithit

    • XboxGamer33

      Alright fair enough I can respect opinions, but your facts are hilariously skewed when Sony has it’s problems and you don’t ever address them, just bash Xbox. In my eyes that makes you clear cut fanboy, don’t like my observation it is my observation.. #justdealwithit

    • Guest

      You’re a P A U P E R. That’s what we see.

    • Guest

      In comparison to other systems that use fmod, that’s what. I love how you try to deflect cuz god forbid it shows another inefficiency of the X1

    • Vance

      I was going to reply to you with a meaningful comment but then I realized your account is one derp used to use. so to me you’re not even worth a meaningful comment.

    • Section8

      But yet you just did by acknowledging that you were going to comment.

    • Vance

      i have no problem in acknowledging someone’s comment and that’s all I did with my reply..

    • Lag-Fighting Tactics

      Just wait until we get our GPU upclocked to 1Ghz.
      There are no inefficiencies.
      Just professional 2nd to 3rd layer unlocking.

    • Psionicinversion

      none of that stuff in the article means anything. There hasnt bin any problem in audio decoding for 15 years, GDDR5 means absolutely nothing. You can put out 3D/true HD audio on a mobile phone with surround speakers, the dev is talking complete nonesense

  • d0x360

    There arw some caveats to this. First off mp3 audio isn’t going to use any resources at all on a modern system so talking about the advantages of faster memory is pretty moot. We are taking about an audio format that works fine on a original Pentium 1 running at 100mhz and 256mb of SDRAM so…there’s that. Any past technology will obviously run better on a future technology. If you want to talk about actual audio benefits it bears to mention the Xbox one has a dedicated audio processor so it doesn’t touch the CPU at all. That’s a much bigger advantage than gddr5 for audio tasks.

    That aside games use mp3 based files for almost nothing in the modern world. Mp3 regardless of bit rate is a lossy format and does not support the amazing things modern audio codecs do. Most games now are using HD audio, lossless HD audio not mp3. They are Dolby or dts HD with 7.1 channels of seperation. Ever wonder why games get so big? Its not just graphics. Even if you were to use a lossy codec for audio files there are far better ones to use that provide better audio quality than mp3 at comparable file sizes.

    Even that side…FMOD is an audio toolkit that supports basically every audio format so why are we talking exclusively about mp3 here? It is totally irrelevant.

  • Psionicinversion

    What another bullsh#t article if the audio took up that much bandwidth GDDR actually affected it then there would be none left for the game and it would tank. Feel like I’m losing IQ points everytime I read these things

    You know what now I come to think of it I wondered why every little tiny MP3 player that cost£10 stuttered when I used high bitrate MP3’s oh wait it didn’t!! Dumb, how do ya think phones from 10 years ago got on, iPods don’t see any gddr5 anywhere near them. Some people have no intelligence

  • Matt

    MP3 compression/decompression is the least taxing thing you could ever compare between consoles. Having the files resident in memory is something any recent console can do without any performance impact just as long as the audio chip/codecs are up to par. The only way this turns into a legitimate claim is if each file for a sound is prerecorded for any given situation and held in memory to be pulled up when needed instead of having one sound file in memory and then being processed to sound the way it needs to.

    Anyways… once you hit 512Bit it’s done unless you just use .wav files and that can fill up a bluray rather fast.

  • Mark

    Hot dam I tryin to understand all this hardware and programming speak……cycles, stalls and stuff. Lol. But for me, ultimately, the studios who make the best use out of the X1 and PS4 are first and 3rd parties for exclusives. I mean look at The Order, Qbreak, The Tomorrow Children (the lighting!), FH2 and Ryse. Imo, anybody who says either console doesn’t pump out big time graphics is trolling to me. I am still learning about each system though, but both are equally impressing me on graphics.

    Debating about differences in RAM is cool to me as long as it’s informative and constructive, not personal. Too much bias on the net for me. I say buy the system with 1) The best exclusives (subjective) 2) The more comfortable controller (subjective) 3) and Network.

    Boom. U can’t go wrong with that formula.

  • Brett – FMOD

    Hi Guys, Brett here. Sorry I am confused about this article, we were asked a bunch of questions about audio, and one I thought was odd was about DDR ram, but I answered it to the best of my ability. Seems like I wrote pages of answers so that one line could be cherry picked out to make it look like we prefer one console over another? The difference in ram has virtually 0% difference in performance, and voice count with compressed data. The only time it may have mattered was when we streamed sound from the RSX memory to the SPU on the ps3 which was notoriously slow.


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