Sony hasn’t been shy at talking up the PS5’s proprietary 825GB SSD and the performance enhancement gamers can expect as a result when the console launches on November 12. But surprisingly, it appears the company may have been selling its true potential short, according to one development tool maker.
Charles Bloom, a data compression specialist working at RAD Game Tools, has written a lengthy blog post explaining how the company’s Oodle Kraken technology will help give the PS5 “the fastest data loading ever available in a mass market consumer device.” In fact, Bloom continues, “we think it may be even better than you have previously heard.”
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We’re not going to sugarcoat it: the blog post is long and very technical. The main point, however, is that the fast SSD, CPU-dependent IO stack and Kraken hardware decoder combines in a way that makes it greater than the sum of its parts. Kraken, Bloom writes, “acts as a multiplier for the IO speed and disk capacity” which both ensures faster loading times and smaller install footprints.
“Sony has previously published that the SSD is capable of 5.5 GB/s and expected decompressed bandwidth around 8-9 GB/s, based on measurements of average compression ratios of games around 1.5 to 1,” Bloom explains.
“While Kraken is an excellent generic compressor, it struggled to find usable patterns on a crucial type of content: GPU textures, which make up a large fraction of game content. Since then we've made huge progress on improving the compression ratio of GPU textures, with Oodle Texture which encodes them such that subsequent Kraken compression can find patterns it can exploit. The result is that we expect the average compression ratio of games to be much better in the future, closer to 2 to 1.”
But it doesn’t stop there. “Good data compression also improves game download times, and lets you store more games on disk,” Bloom explains, with the compression ratio acting as “an effective multiplier for download speed and disk capacity.”
The long and short of it? “A game might use 80 GB uncompressed, but with 2 to 1 compression it only take 40 GB on disk, letting you store twice as many games. A smaller disk with better compression can hold more games than a larger disk with worse compression.”
Things might get better over time, as well, because the company’s latest Oodle Texture technology, which promises the best compression results, is new enough that not every launch title will benefit. But, Bloom says, the team “expect it to to be in the majority of PS5 games in the future.”
You can read the full explainer on Charles Bloom’s blog, but for most consumers, the headline will be enough: the PS5 has some very clever technology that massively improves the way data is both stored and accessed. The upshot to you? Your console’s storage should go further, and long load times should be a thing of the past. Roll on November 12.