AMD HUMA Gives PlayStation 4 Graphics Boost Over Xbox One – Analysis of HUMA Architecture

AMD HUMA Gives PlayStation 4 Graphics Boost Over Xbox One – Analysis of HUMA Architecture

AMD’s senior product marketing manager Marc Diana has revealed over
at Gamescom 2013 that PlayStation 4 would feature AMD’s HUMA
(Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture) that would boost its
performance compared to the Xbox One which doesn’t makes use of the next generation technology. AMD’s HUMA and HSA enhancements would debut this fall with the arrival of Kaveri APU for desktop/mobile PCs and PlayStation 4.

AMD HUMA Detailed – PlayStation 4 Boost Over Xbox One Explained

AMD HUMA which is a part of the HSA (Heterogeneous System
Architecture) which allows a GPU and CPU to share a common memory pool.
Currently, the a GPU requires the CPU to write the contents of an
address to a standalone memory pool of the GPU which is time consuming
and puts alot of load on integrated system
chips. This isn’t much of a problem with discrete GPU based PC
solutions but when it comes to SOCs and APU, it can be the cause of
inefficient and more complex programming. Using a separate
memory pool for smaller integrated solutions is costly hence the memory
has to be shared across a common path for adequate operations. A
coherent memory architecture would not only ease development for APU/SOC
powered consoles and desktops would also deliver a boost in performance with faster graphics rendering and better compute performance. A more detailed explanation on the ineffectiveness of a separate memory path has been provided by PCPerspective which can be noted below:

CPUs and GPUs do not share common memory pools.  Instead of using pointers in programming to tell each individual unit where data is
stored in memory, the current implementation of GPU computing requires
the CPU to write the contents of that address to the standalone memory
pool of the GPU.  This is time consuming and wastes cycles.  It also
increases programming complexity to be able to adjust to such
situations.  Typically only very advanced programmers with a lot of
expertise in this subject could program effective operations to take
these limitations into consideration.  The lack of unified memory
between CPU and GPU has hindered the adoption of the technology for a
lot of applications which could potentially use the massively parallel processing capabilities of a GPU. via PCPper

We saw Intel using eDRAM chips abroad their Haswell chips while the
AMD APU on the Xbox One in addition to the 8 GB DDR3 memory comes with
an integrated 32 MB eSRAM package. Once again, these turn out to be separate
pools of memory and won’t deliver as much performance as a unified
approach would. AMD HUMA on the PlayStation 4 not only allows cross
sharing of the memory between CPU and GPU, but the memory used itself is
GDDR5 grade which turns out to be better at the gaming front and
delivers faster graphics rendering. While Xbox One’s DDR3 is better for
its operating system needs, its not as better in gaming performance as
compared to GDDR5 which is the complete
opposite of DDR3. GDDR5 or (Graphics Dual Data V5) offers faster
bandwidth coupled with higher latency while DDR3 has lower bandwidth
with lower latency. The lower latency results in more responsiveness of a
system but being a gaming console, GDDR5 would have been a decent choice for MS.

AMD HUMA Features

How would AMD HUMA affect the desktop PC market? Intel is going forward to adopt DDR4 starting with their Haswell-E HEDT platform in 2014 and Skylake
in 2015. On mobile front next year, Intel is expected to boost their
graphics performance with Broadwell architecture which would also
feature on-board eDRAM chips, their path won’t be as efficiency as HUMA
but its almost adequate for their integrated graphic chips. With DDR4,
Intel will get faster bandwidth and much lower latency and we expect
that Intel with such a big RnD team might as well develop some kind of
Unified memory path for their SOCs.

AMD HUMA Coherent Unified Memory Path

AMD on the other hand would begin fusing the HSA enhancements by the end of this year with Kaveri APU.
AMD HUMA would be useful for Kaveri APU since the next generation chips
would feature a faster Radeon graphics chip based on the GCN
architecture. A cross shared path with high performance memory would
result in better performance and lesser bandwidth starvation. This would
allow better and increased compute capabilities out of AMD’s GPU that
can only be unlocked through the use of AMD HUMA.


This article originally appeared on WCCFTech (Link)

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