Quite a few people are talking about how the PlayStation 4 is going to use GDDR5 RAM, rather than the more standard DDR3 RAM found pretty much everywhere else in the world of computing. GDDR5 RAM is almost exclusively used in high-end video cards, and that’s about it. So how is Sony going to get away with using this faster, more powerful, higher-end RAM in their new console?
The big fear you’ll likely hear out of gamers is that using this more expensive RAM… 8 whopping gigs of the stuff, no less… is going to jack up the price of the console until it’s no longer competitive against the XBox 720, or whatever console Nintendo releases next. For all I know, that may very well be true, and all eyes, including mine, are on E3 to see if a price-point reveal is coming up. Until then, all any of us can do is speculate as to whether Sony will release a $500+ console, or if they’ll take a big hit on the price until they move a few million consoles.
But there’s another aspect to this RAM story that no one seems to really be discussing. With Sony’s track record of introducing new technologies through the PlayStation, there’s a very real possibility that the PS4′s utilization of GDDR5 RAM might contribute to bringing the price down to a point where it affects the wider computing market, making it possible for both individuals and corporations to use the more powerful RAM in desktop, and maybe even laptop, PCs.
This isn’t something that should really surprise anyone. The PlayStation 2 introduced the world to DVDs, while the PlayStation 3 made it possible for Blu Ray to beat out HD DVD. Some people will even argue that the original PlayStation made CD-ROM drives and burner technology more accessible to PC builders. So it isn’t at all far-fetched to imagine the PS4 breaking the price-point’s back on GDDR5 memory.
This is all obviously speculation. We have no idea how successful the PS4 will be, regardless of how promising the console looks on paper. An outrageous price tag, a lack of launch titles, PSN down-time, production delays… there are a lot of things that could negatively impact the PS4′s launch. But if Sony manages to “win” this round of the console wars, GDDR5 could be coming to a desktop PC near you pretty soon. If this doesn’t give PC gamers a reason to cheer on the PS4, I don’t know what will.