PlayStation 2 Unveiled

    Earlier today, at the PlayStation 50 Millionth Party, Sony unveiled their next Console, the PlayStation 2. Among the highlights of the system is backwards compatibility and the use of DVD based media.

    Backwards compatibility has long been rumored to be included in the PlayStation 2, and its presence is a cause of celebration among gamers. Not only will software be backwards compatible, but also peripherals. No word yet on whether the PlayStation titles will be displayed in an enhanced mode. The console will be capable of playing DVD music and Movies.

    Several demos were shown at the conference, including the now famous "elderly gentleman" from the Final Fantasy Movie, rendered and manipulated in real time, and a real time rendering of the Squall and Rinoa Dance scene from FFVIII from Square. Other companies with demonstrations included From Software (a possible demo of King's Field) and Namco, demonstrating the Ridge Racer girl, and a graphically enhanced Tekken 3.

    The PlayStation 2 chipset consists of a 128bit, 300 MHz CPU "Emotion Engine", a 128bit, 150MHz GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) "Graphics Synthesizer", a Sound Processor (SPU2), and a dedicated LSI I/O processor. Surprisingly, the development OS for the system is said to be Linux.

Clock Rate: 300MHz
Cache: 16K instruction/24K data
Memory: Direct RDRAM 32MB, Bus bandwidth 3.2GB/sec
Calculation performance: 6.2 GFLOPS, 3D CG coordinates: 66 Million Polygons/sec.
MPEG-2 support

GPU: "Graphics Synthesizer"
Clock Rate: 150MHz
DRAM Bus bandwidth: 48GB/sec
DRAM Bus width: 2560 bits
Maximum Polygons: 75 Million/sec

48 Channels, 44.1/48KHz Sampling frequency.

    LSI Logic is once again making the I/O processor for the system, a chip which consists of a 32bit MIPS core, USB host controller core, Firewire and Phsyical Layer cores. This chip is based on the present PlayStation CPU, running at 33.8 or 37.5 MHz, and features more DMA channels, a 4 times increase in device bus data rates, a greater than 20 times higher performance serial controller, and improved cache-memory architecture. The USB core is OHCI (an industry standard) compliant, and can transfer data to external devices at 1.5-12 Mbps. The Firewire/Physical Layer cores allow transfers of 100-400Mbps. With these t wo supported, the PlayStation 2 can communicate with computers, digital cameras, and other electronic devices. Communication is also possible via PCMCIA cards

    The PlayStation 2 is scheduled for a Winter '99 (Jan.-Mar. 2000) release in Japan with a US release to follow in Q2 of 2000 (July-Sept.?). No price has been confirmed yet, but rumors from various sources say Sony is aiming for the $250-$400 price range.

Sources: [Gaming Age and PSXIGN and GameSpot Japan]

Sony's Killer Console

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Various demo sills

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Square & Namco PSX2 demo stills
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More stills

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