This is the AMD 4700S Desktop Kit, a small piece of hardware that combines a CPU, cooler, and memory on a tiny motherboard. It’s basically a mostly self-contained computer system that will soon be appearing in more than 80 different machines from AMD’s system integration partners. It’s also strikingly similar to the hardware inside a PlayStation 5 console. In fact, it might be almost exactly that.
When photos of the mysterious AMD 4700S Desktop Kit began surfacing in retail listings back in May of this year, many thought the small-form-factor system might be a version of the AMD system-on-a-chip (SoC) used inside the Xbox Series X console. Now that tech experts have gotten a closer look via the official AMD product listing, it seems more likely that it’s a version of the SoC used for the PlayStation 5 instead. It’s an easy mistake to make. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X utilize a custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor coupled with custom AMD RDNA 2 graphics and 16 GB of onboard GDDR6 SDRAM. The main difference is that while the Xbox Series X CPU can run as fast as 3.8GHz, the PlayStation 5 version runs at a variable rate of up to 3.5GHz.
Upon closer inspection, the CPU included in the 4700S Desktop Kit more closely matches the one in the PlayStation 5. The similarities between the two processors can be easily seen by comparing the shot of the 4700S processor from Korean hardware site BodNara to a photo of the PlayStation 5 CPU from iFixit’s console teardown.
Now before we start marching on AMD for keeping our PS5 components from us, a couple things worth mentioning. For starters, while the 4700S Desktop Kit, which AMD told Tom’s Hardware will soon be appearing in more than 80 different PC models, does share some hardware with the PlayStation 5, it’s not a PlayStation 5. The 4700S has no integrated graphics, which is why the board has no HDMI output, just a single slot for a modest graphics card. This isn’t a case of robbing PS5 to pay PC.
It’s much more likely this is an instance of binning, a common practice among computer hardware manufacturers. Hardware makers have certain standards of performance for the components they produce. Rather than throwing away expensive hardware that doesn’t reach the standards the manufacturer is aiming for, the company will earmark it for use in a different, less powerful product. Maybe the company disables features completely, like onboard graphics, for instance, to sell what might have been a console’s guts as a small-form-factor, nearly self-contained PC.
It may seem like a weird practice to chip industry outsiders, but I like to think of it this way. If my local grocery store takes a bruised apple, cuts off the bruised part and uses it to make a pie, it takes nothing away from the pie. Also, now I am hungry.
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