Jan 27 2007, 06:13 AM
The Mysterious PS3 Hardware Scaler Exposed
Posted by XanTium | 27-1-2007 0:13 EST
Since its launch last November, Sony's latest gaming platform has given early adopters trouble when attempting to play certain titles in 1080i/p. The console did not automatically upscale its video output to desired resolutions; it was up to either the game software to support these resolutions natively or the internal scalers of users' HDTVs. This forced many people, developers and owners alike, to question the very existence of scaling hardware in the PlayStation 3.
With the latest PlayStation 3 software development kit (SDK) update, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) has finally exposed part of the built-in hardware scaler to developers.
Will this mean that most, if not all, future games will support output at 1080p/i resolutions? Moreover --and this is the question that owners of 1080i-only CRT HDTVs crave to see answered--does this mean that current PS3 games may eventually support the native HD resolution of their televisions? Well, the answer requires some good old-fashioned explanation, so let's start already!
Full Story: beyond3d.com
Jan 27 2007, 05:42 AM
Still no Bluray in 720p though......??
Jan 27 2007, 06:59 AM
I want to see pics of where this scaler is on the motherboard (like the pics of Ana and Hana). I'm still kind of thinking this "hardware scaler" they're referring to is actually the RSX, like Twisted and Incognegro said in another thread. It is "hardware" and it can scale resolutions if you program it to do so...
QUOTE(Archalien @ Jan 26 2007, 09:49 PM)
Still no Bluray in 720p though......??
It probably wouldn't be that hard to do - if Sony would just get around to doing it. I'm sure there's still plenty of processing power available for scaling when you're playing BD's, so even if this "hardware scaler" is really the RSX like some think it is, it wouldn't really hurt performance to use that to scale the picture.
Maybe it'll come in the march update, along with DVD upscaling?
Jan 27 2007, 07:07 PM
This has been answered by mhail in a thread under general he states what i had a hunch on all along, there is no hardware scaler.
Also blue ray and hddvd require a lot of processing power. When playing a blue ray disk on the ps3 it draws more amperage than playing a game. There was also an article on the HD-DVD player for the 360 a while back and the dev stated it took all the power of the 360 to play an hddvd.
This is why a hardware scaler is important it takes a ton of stress off of the cpu and gpu and actually does a much better job than software.
Jan 28 2007, 02:13 AM
on the AVS forums a while back there were a couple people who appeared to have inside info on the ps3 and stated the exact things this article states. basically, the scaler is present on the ps3 just sony wasn't allowing the use of it. every game that is currently out for the ps3 will have to be patched in order to make use of the scaler.
Jan 28 2007, 02:35 AM
good news indeed! wonder WHY IN THE HELL they didn't enable this in the first place.
Jan 28 2007, 05:03 AM
its not a hardware scaler, its just a patch
Jan 28 2007, 03:03 PM
CAN ANYBODY THIS DAY read with understanding?
-it's a horizontal *stretcher* ONLY
-REQUIRES ANAMORPHIC [squashed] picture to work [like this:]
-only 3 resolution supported 960x1080 1440x1080 1600x1080
-at least 10% more costly than 720p
-REQUIES GAME ENGINES REWRITE to work with older and new titles
-ENGINE MUST have 2 DIFFERENT modes suported - for anamorphic output AND normal output [rest of resolutions]
-it works by doubling [for 960]/puting 1 extra pixel for every 3 pixels /puting 1 extra pixel for every 4 pixels 
-WON'T WORK with PS1 / PS2 games
It does NOT upscale to 1080 - frame is already in 1080.
for example 960x1080
sending lines 1,2,3,4,itd from 1080
it simply addas pixels:
X360 scaler works in all directions, it's similar to analog knobs on CRT monitor stretching picture.
PS3 uses TRICK - uses probably changed timings in output - puting extra pixels
like somebody said it's a trick similar to that used on PS2:
Uh, isn't this the same thing that the PS2 did when it went into "16:9" mode in 480p? They didn't actually increase the output resolution... they just, umm, squished the image so that it looked correct on a 16:9 display. :|
Jan 28 2007, 05:37 PM
anyone remember this quote "Microsoft is trailing behind us, but they are not a threat. They are good at improving [on products], but we will be advancing to the next level with revolutionary technology."
-- Ken Kutaragi
Jan 28 2007, 06:15 PM
I agree all scalers are just "stretchers"
If you only have 480p of "data" you are not going to get 1080i of "data" on your sceen.
All you will get is 480p stretch to 1080i (example). On a big sceen TV, the picture will look sharper.
Playing (for example only) Halo 2 on my xbox360 at 720p looks the same as it does at 1080i or even G.O.W.
but playing G.O.W at 480p does not look as sharp as it does at 720p/1080i.
For the PS3, all that scaler allows it to do is "stretch" a 720p to 1080i instead of going from 720p to 480p (on older HDTVs that do not support 720p)
The gave developers have to write a "patch" for this to happen (like Resistance:Fall of Man from Insomiac)
Only "half" of this scaler was exposed (from what I read) so who knows what other mysteries are under the PS3s cover.
A huge firmware update is schedule for March 2007 (at the European Lauch of the PS3) so maybe more of the features will be unleashed.
At the end of the day, this is good news for everyone who bought a PS3 and have an older HDTV.
I love my Xbox360 but I also own a PS3 so I not a fanboy of either, just a gamer.
The biggest threat that the PS3 has to the Xbox360 is that the Live service of it is free. ( mind you it sucks for now but can only improve with time since Sony is going gun-ho to match that of the Xbox-Live service). Mircosoft has to offer some kind of free service of its Xbox-Live or the Xbox360 will be doomed.
Jan 28 2007, 09:13 PM
There is no hardware scaler in the PS3 period.
This means any scaling is software based and will kill performance on any game for the ps3. If the programmers use the RSX for scaling they will have to take things away in other areas.
It would seem the PS3 is not powerfull enough to have motorstorm at 1080p scaled or not. If they could have scaled motorstorm to 1080p don't you think they would have?
And i would like to add these "insiders" at the avs forum were talking strait out of there ass, there is no hardware scaler, this has been confirmed by m_hail as well as people who took pictures of the motherboard, there is no chip on the motherboard for scaling!!!!
Jan 28 2007, 10:24 PM
Yes, and there's no antialiasing hardware into PS2... until they decided to enable it.
Sony already "added" a feature at a later date, and the scaler can easily be embedded inside the GPU; we've to stop and wait to see what's going to happen, period.
Jan 28 2007, 10:53 PM
There is one unutilized chip on the PS3 that can be used for hardware scaling, it is the PS2/PS1 backward compatibility chip. Unfortunately Sony planned on removing this chip on future versions of the console as it costs 50 dollars a unit to include in the PS3.
However there is way to solve this problem, simply use the PS2 chip now, then when you remove it replace it with an inexpensive scaler. The SDK would need to be aware of what chip is in the unit and handle the low level instructions to each chip operations appropriately.
Jan 29 2007, 03:15 AM
A hardware scaler does one thing and one thing only, it scales nothing else.
If there is some sort of hardware on the PS3 that can be used as a scaler it is not a hardware scaler it is a software scaler. Software must be written to make the hardware do soemething it was not desined for. Software scaling sucks and this is all the PS3 has it does not have a hardware scaler, and it should.
Jan 29 2007, 03:24 AM
Even though the scaler in the PS3 does not have the same functionality of the scaler in the Xbox360, it is still an scaler. Just because it was locked and hidden (for what reasons, only Sony knows) it is still a scaler period. Although Mircosoft did an excellent job of using the scaler in the Xbox360 from day one, it was very weird why Sony did not do the same thing with the PS3. It just proves to a lot of people that the PS3 was rushed to market and Sony is now playing catch up. Hopefully this firmware update schedule for March 2007, will unleash more of the hidden powers of the PS3.
To say the PS3 does not have a scaler after a few facts are released is ignorant.
A scaler is a scaler is a scaler.....just some do more than others.
A car is a car is a car.....just some are better than others.
Jan 29 2007, 02:11 PM
It's been confirmed that this is, in fact, NOT a "real" scaler. It can't handle its processing internally like 360's Ana, and is thus basically no better than a software patch. And all it's been confirmed to do thus far is fix width, which is only really useful for VGA fans.
And yes, it's basically the exact same as what PS2 had- only this one can horizontally stretch as opposed to vertical squashing, which is again only useful for widescreen output (and maybe VGA?), and only for fixing up the display so you don't need "the black bars" on the sides. 360's Ana still reigns supreme.
And the post of the thread:
"It would seem the PS3 is not powerfull enough to have motorstorm at 1080p scaled or not. If they could have scaled motorstorm to 1080p don't you think they would have?"
And if you actually PLAY a lot of online games, Sony's online service is no threat at all. On 360, you have cross-game invites, unified friends lists, private chat to anyone anywhere anytime, etc, etc. As an EGM reviewer put it, "You have to actually call your freinds to organize a game" on Sony's network. Because if they're not online and on the exact same game as you, you can't message them.
Heck, on 360 (and I've done this), you could be playing Gears and see someone else online on some other game, invite them to chat, and stay in chat while they switch discs to join you in Co-op. Talk about badassness. Experiences like that are worth paying for.
Jan 29 2007, 05:26 PM
QUOTE(julesthejackal @ Jan 29 2007, 03:31 AM)
A scaler is a scaler is a scaler.....just some do more than others. A car is a car is a car.....just some are better than others. Get it?
A scaler that can't reduce image size at all and can only increase horizonal width is like having a car with one wheel. You need to be able to adjust size in all four ways for it to be a fully functional scaler.
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