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Sony tipped to be preparing a PlayStation 5 Slim with 6nm APU

by Mark Tyson on 7 May 2021, 12:11

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE), AMD (NYSE:AMD), TSMC

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Last month there were murmurings of Sony planning a PS5 Slim with a refreshed 5nm processor. The introduction of a newer, cheaper, and slimmed down console iteration is a common strategy for Sony, a few years after the original console. However, details about this PS5 Slim were very thin on the ground.

On Thursday a similar story, with a bit more flesh on its bones, popped up on Taiwan's DigiTimes, via Tom's Hardware. Sources claiming to be from Sony manufacturing partners tipped off the IT industry journal that production of a redesigned PS5 was being set up for Q2 and Q3 of 2022. Interestingly part of the revamped design will be an AMD designed SoC fabricated on TSMC's N6 process. The current AMD processor in the PS5 is a TSMC N7 part.

There are some important benefits worth highlighting, moving from TSMC N7 to N6. For a start N6 can achieve better yield and shorter production cycles compared to N7 technology in the manufacture of the same products which is good for the economics of production. Secondly the design rules are fully compatible with N7 but deliver an 18 per cent density increase (also helping lower costs). DigiTimes indicates that TSMC N5 was a too costly option for this project. Volume production of N6 parts for TSMC clients was supposed to have started at the end of last year.

Designers have been busy imagining what a PS5 Slim might look like (Google image search result)

Sony's PS5 consoles are very popular with gamers but the shape/design is ungainly and not very practical. Feedback about this, might have nudged Sony into a slim redesign earlier than what it would otherwise have decided. It will be interesting to see what a new processor and design can do to the console's fortunes, what it might mean in terms of console performance (if anything), and if the new 'Slim' can bring the price down to better combat the cheaper Switch and Xbox Series S.



HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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That would keep AMD quite busy re-designing for 6nm.
Would hope Sony would spec with more redundancy or whatever is needed to actually meet their clock targets, as current rumours still point to Sony having to scrap lots of (otherwise working) dies to meet the current PS5's spec after Sony changed the clock targets so late in the development cycle.

Since Sony is expected to ship around 15 million PS5 per year or so, this will continue put huge strain on TSMC wafers - just 6nm rather 7nm wafers.
hexus
For a start N6 can achieve better yield and shorter production cycles compared to N7 technology
First time I've seen this - if true that bodes well, I thought N7 was already pretty good.
kompukare
That would keep AMD quite busy re-designing for 6nm.

erm, from the article:

Secondly the design rules are fully compatible with N7

so almost no design effort required on AMD's part, and I imagine the testing of new parts is split with Sony.

These will be the same starting wafers regardless of whether they hold a 6nm or 7nm design, so if the design becomes 18% more dense you get more chips per wafer, and then hopefully fewer chips rejected, so it could have quite an impact. If it didn't then Sony wouldn't stump up the cost of new masks, so they must see a long term cost saving which can only be gotten through getting more chips per wafer.
Hopefully won't just be a optical drive-less slim model and just a V2 with both options available. Maybe finally get one Christmas 2022 :)
DanceswithUnix
erm, from the article:



so almost no design effort required on AMD's part, and I imagine the testing of new parts is split with Sony.

These will be the same starting wafers regardless of whether they hold a 6nm or 7nm design, so if the design becomes 18% more dense you get more chips per wafer, and then hopefully fewer chips rejected, so it could have quite an impact. If it didn't then Sony wouldn't stump up the cost of new masks, so they must see a long term cost saving which can only be gotten through getting more chips per wafer.

I forgot that TSMC's 6nm and the 7nm are meant to be so close.

Still, a quick port might not do anything for yields.

And, since we suspect that Sony's last minute change to clocks is the reason for poor yields, addressing that must be a high priority. Okay, not a lot of work - and after all AMD pushed out three consoles SoC, Zen3 and Renoir (plus others?) over the last year - so one new chip shouldn't be too hard.

Unless making sure more candidates can hit the wanted speed involves lots of work. While we don't even know which part of the SoC often cannot hit their clocks, it could be as simple as a minor part of the GPU. Or it could be every part of the SoC, we simply don't know.