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Crash Reveals PS4 HDD Details and Streaming?

by Justin B. June 11, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

PS4 Error

Within the first 10 minutes of the doors being opened at E3, a game had already crashed. That game was none other than the PS4 exclusive Knack. While being played at the Sony booth, the game crashed mid-game to reveal an interesting screen which you can see above.

HDD – Usable Space Closer to 400GB

The error screen had a lot going on, including an information box that revealed the current HDD space usage. If you look carefully the dev unit had 385GB out of 423GB free space. When you factor in how manufacturers rate the drives you get actual usable space of 465GB. Now subtract that from what we saw on the crash screen and we get roughly 42GB of reserved system data that is not user accessible. That number could decrease or increase on actual retail systems.

What does all this mean? Well that’s simple, the actual usable HDD space on the PS4 system is a lot closer to 400GB than the 500GB HDD stat that you have seen in the past 24 hours. It’s likely that Microsoft’s Xbox One will also follow a similar path though, so this is not just Sony’s issue.

Are Demos Streamed?

An interesting question I’d say. I ask this question for a variety of reasons:

  • APP_HOME (DATA) and APP_HOME (HOST) text is visible, HOST suggesting some sort of networking is involved (usually streaming when dealing with a “host” system). This could just be referring to something else entirely though. Update: Hellcat just polietly informed us that APP_HOME (HOST) is “old stuff” and references the inter-connectivity between the console and the dev PC.
  • That streaming icon! The icon shows a screen receiving a wireless signal, most likely streaming a game (hence the player vs player icon within the screen)
  • The IP Address is listed within the information box (also generic information)

Mike Bendel, who was there with me, also mentioned he noticed some input lag on the Knack demo. I personally did not notice this, but then again I was more worried about surviving on hard mode than anything else.


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BlackSheep says:

is it streaming?

funkyellowmonkey says:

interesting article, well done! :)

Trigun says:

Closer to 400GB? That's pretty expected these days unfortunately. I'm not sure if that'd be the same with an SSD.

I'd love to stick a 2TB+ drive in there as long as speed/access time didn't decrease and increase respectively.

The input lag could probably be if it was indeed streaming from a dev-PC to the output on the console itself. Just a guess though.

And if the game runs 30FPS at retail, there will be at least some input latency of some degree.

x3sphere says:

It does run 30 FPS and there was some slowdown here and there which contributed to the input lag. From an image quality standpoint it didn't look like it was being streamed though.

Trigun says:

Slowdown? Now THAT is disappointing. But considering IMO that Knack has the best IQ, texturing and AA i've seen of any PS4 game(IMO) I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I was hoping for at least a Solid stable 30FPS with no slowdown this generation.

As far as input lag, it could also be the display+Double/triple Buffered Vsync input lag+30FPS input lag. Most LCDs have 2+ frames of latency T_T and some plasma's can just as bad or worse.

I'd guess you were probably seeing 80+ms of input lag if it was noticeable. If it was streaming you may not have been able to tell due to the environment maybe. The usual thing to look for is pixellated Reds and Magenta's. When color is sub-sampled those take the biggest hit and are the first to go.

a20052001 says:

The difference in space is due to the way hard drives are sold today. They use the measure of 500 Gigabytes the base10 definition (1GB = 1000000000 bytes) while the actual system is measuring using the base2 definition which is (1GB = 1073741824 bytes)

Computers use base2 so the difference is just the way hard drives are sold today to give them nice round and slightly larger sizes. As the hard drive gets larger the more the difference becomes and the datasheet for the PS4 notes the units and size will be less than the total space.

For SSDs even more space can be lost due to something called overprovisioning which the MFG allocated some portion of the advertised space to backup as flash memory has limited write operations relative to a magnetic disc. Some have 0%-25%+ or user configurable.

The main loss of space is going to come from the operating system install where the space is taken up by critical files to run the system. Expect microsoft's system to have a lot more space used for the dual VM OS and HyperV sub-system.

FrozenIpaq says:

We are very well aware of this (read the article). The "story" here is the potential size of the OS - nearly 40gb on the dev unit.

thethiny says:

Actually, that's not USED HDD space ,it is Remaining Space. If they were streaming , they would've faced connection issues with all of the consoles streaming at once. but since the loading times were the same, it ain't streaming.

x3sphere says:

Yes, you're right. Fixed the wording. I don't think the Knack demo in particular was being streamed, but nonetheless it is interesting the icon showed up on this screen.

TZuck says:

So Knack takes up 38GB, and the OS partitions about 43GB, not surprising, it's what the PS3 did, it would take up more space for itself the bigger the HDD you put in it. For instance I have 1TB in mine but can only access 931GB

slicer4ever says:

that's not true, the OS takes up the same amount of space. it's just that hdd advertised sizes != computer hdd sizes. (see a20052001 post for why)

so when you buy a bigger hdd, you're actually getting further away from the actual size the pc see's, which is why the gap seems to get bigger and bigger, as you buy larger and larger hdd.

FrozenIpaq says:

I wasn't actually referring to that - should've clarified it more. I didn't pay attention to the first number at all - just look at the second number (423). I theorized that since the since the HDD is 500gb that the usable space for the PS4 was 465gb (with nothing installed). I then subtracted 465 from the 423 number which I theorized as the total user space available after you factor in the system reserve and OS - roughly 40gb. Does that make sense?

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