Developers have once again pinpointed the SSD as the most important new tech in the next gen consoles, as they promise the end of loading screens.
‘The world of loading screens is over’, according to Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney, as he and other developers explain the underlying tech behind the stunning Lumen In The Land Of Nanite demo.
Solid-state drives have been around for years for PCs and while they are faster than a hard drive they’ve never been considered that much of a game-changer before. But that’s partly because most games have never been made with them in mind and partly because the PlayStation 5’s SSD is apparently more advanced.
Speaking in an interview with Geoff Keighley, Sweeney said that the PlayStation 5’s SSD is, ‘not only the best in class in console but also the best in class on any platform; better than high-end PC. This is going to enable the types of immersion we’ve only dreamed of in the past.’
‘The days of pop-in and geometry popping up as you’re going through these game environments are ended. The resulting effect is the ability to build games that are fully immersive from start to finish over hundreds of hours of gameplay.’
Sony has already stated that the PlayStation 5’s SSD is faster than any similar device on the market and according to Sweeney, ‘The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on PC for any amount of money right now. It’s going to help drive future PCs.’
The Xbox Series X also has a SSD drive but it doesn’t seem to be as fast. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that Epic Games and Sony have obviously been collaborating very closely lately, so anyone from Epic isn’t necessarily offering an unbiased opinion.
On paper, the Xbox Series X seems to be the more powerful of the two consoles but tech experts have been arguing that point ever since the two next gen systems were announced.
Sweeney describes the PlayStation 5 as a ‘remarkably balanced device’ with ‘an immense amount of GPU power, but also multi-order bandwidth increase in storage management. That’s going to be absolutely critical’.
As impressive as the Lumen In The Land Of Nanite demo is it’s only running at 30fps and 1440p resolution. Although, unlike Microsoft’s claims about the Xbox Series X, no-one from Sony or Epic had offered any guarantees about 60fps or 4K beforehand.
Interestingly, the demo also doesn’t use ray-tracing, despite it being one of the most popular next gen buzzword. But in a sense that’s quite encouraging, as it means later next gen games may end up looking even better than the tech demo.
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