PlayStation 2

October 19, 2000 — Article

Episode 2

As promised, today we bring you our second Wednesday News Special on the PSX2. On the programme this week: technical specifics, with some great photos of the innards of the machine.

The PSX2 is a concentration of multimedia technologies, with most of its components coming from the computer world. There are three processors responsible for the respective management of graphics, video and sound, as well as a modem (specifics aren’t known). In addition, the operating system is a version of LINUX, specially developed for the occasion.

Main Processor: system and graphics

With a memory capacity of 32 megabytes the main processor (or "chip") of 128 bits EE (Sony Emotion Engine) runs at 300 MHz. It is placed in the motherboard of the system, and is backed up by two co-processors (FPU and VUO), guaranteeing a speed of information processing in the order of 150 million pixels per second, as well as the management of 20-million polygons/second. It thus takes charge of graphic decompression, leaving the second processor to take care of video decompression.

Video Decompression

Also placed on the mother board, the Graphics Synthesiser disposes of a cache memory of 4 Mb. Running at a speed of 150 MHz, it’s sole task is that of graphic decompression, linked with games or DVD. The image reaches around 18.75 million colours, while the TV display output handles PAL and NTSC formats for a maximum definition of 1280 x 1024 pixels.

Sound Management

The sound is handled by an SPU2-type processor with a memory capacity of 2 Mb, developed by Sony. It can process up to 48 channels in two dimensions, as well as the decompression of analogue streams – plus digital ones, games (stereo) and those of analogue and digital sound streams stemming from DVD’s (Dolby Digital / DTS). The sampling rate can be fixed at 44.1 or 48 kHz.

Storage (ROM)

As opposed to the X-BOX (which utilises an integrated hard disc of 8 Giga associated with a memory chip of 8Mb), the storage capacity is limited to a slot-in memory of 8Mb.


The built-in player is CD-ROM 24X, and DVD-ROM 4X compatible, and also supports formats such as DVD-ROM PlayStation 2, DVD Video, CD-ROM PlayStation, CD-Audio, and CD-ROM Audio, while still being able to use games from the "old" PSX.


The interfacing, complete and innovative, is composed of a digital optical output (for Audio/Video amplifiers etc.). Two USB ports and an IEEE1394 port allow for the connection of plug and play peripheral devices (printer, mouse, web-cam etc.). Other specific connectors are dedicated to joysticks (4 ports available), as well as the TV output.

Next Week: a comparison with other consoles (including the X-Box and the Cube)