How the Razor Profiler helps in saving microseconds which could mean the difference between 30fps and 60fps.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony does not have a PR team for its behind the scenes development team. So naturally, you will hear more about Microsoft’s upcoming technologies and programming methods but the people behind PlayStation 4 prefer to work in secrecy. But it seems that Sony’s ICE team are not the only wizards who put in all the hard work in optimizing the console’s GPU driver and graphics API. A little known team called as SN Systems are also working on optimizing PlayStation platforms.
As revealed by Sony’s ICE Team Programmer Cort Stratton, the Razor Team [SN systems] is actually a part of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. So what does the team do? Quite a lot of things. They are working on the PlayStation 4’s GPU performance analysis and debugging tool, and Razor, a CPU profiler for the PlayStation 4.
Razor Profiler showing which function is taking the most time and other parameters.
SN Sytem’s official website also reveals a few interesting details on what they are currently working on and how they are trying to squeeze every bit of performance out of the PlayStation platforms. Using the Razor Profiler’s Program Counter, developers can find out what functions are being called and executed the most. Termed as ‘hot’ functions, Razor allows developers to get a visual overview along with timings for each and every function that is being executed. This helps developers to find out which functions are taking too long execute which results into optimized coding and programming. In the end a few microseconds could be the difference between a game running at 30fps or 60fps.
The advantages of dead stripping and de-duplication in middleware demos and PlayStation 4 games.
Given that storage isn’t getting any cheaper, SN Systems further optimization works include dead stripping and de-duplication. The former is about removing unused code from the executable files since that particular portion is ‘dead’. Dead Stripping reduces executable size by around 5-10%. De-duplication further optimizes the executable file by removing duplicate copies of the code and read only data. In this way multiple references to the original are removed, resulting into a reduction in executable size of 1-2%.
It is indeed intriguing to know that Sony have been pushing to further optimize the PlayStation 4’s performance. Given that it has the best looking and performing multiplatform games till date, it will be interesting to see whether they can hit 60 frames per second more consistently with AAA games. Plus as they say, with time and dedication everything improves.
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