PlayStation 5 May Not Have Hardware-Based Ray Tracing and Variable Rate Shading

Image: Sony

PlayStation 5 architect Mark Cerny claimed in August that Sony’s next-gen console would have hardware-based ray tracing (“There is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware”) , but the reality may be a little different.

Hardware leakers have discovered new information pertaining to “Oberon” and “Ariel,” which are believed to be APU variants for the PS5. There is no indication of ray tracing (RT) or variable rate shading (VRS) in either.

This is not the case for the Xbox Series X’s “Sparkman” and “Arden” chips. RT and VRS are mentioned for both, which seems to confirm that Microsoft’s method will be hardware-based.

The findings open up the possibility that the PS5’s RT/VRS implementation will be done via software. It’s pointed out that Ariel is a Navi 10 (non-RDNA2) part, which lends credence to the lack of hardware-based RT/VRS for Sony’s console.

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have yet to be revealed in full, but it is being rumored that they are very close in power. In a recent report, it’s revealed that Sony’s next-gen console is ahead in terms of performance, but the gap is expected to be closed before release.


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