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The PlayStation is a video game console produced by Sony in the 1990s; it was launched in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in the USA on September 9, 1995. It is important in the history of video games in being the first popular console to have the power to render 3D[?] graphics. It was popular and spawned the so-called "PlayStation Generation". Among other games, the PlayStation is well known for the Tomb Raider series of games. Sony now make a compatible console in a smaller (and curvier) case called the PSOne. The original PlayStation has often been abbreviated as the PSX.

Sony's succesor to the PlayStation is the more powerful PlayStation 2 and is largely compatible in the sense that it can play most PlayStation games unmodified. This is done by embedding the most important parts of the PSOne inside the PlayStation 2 design, so two systems can be provided for the price of one. The PlayStation 2 is based on a custom processor Sony developed known as the Emotion Engine[?].

A version of the PlayStation called the Net Yaroze[?] was also produced. It is more expensive than the original PlayStation, coloured black instead of the usual grey, and most importantly, came with tools and instructions that allowed a user to be able to program PlayStation games and applications without the need for a full developers suite (which could cost many times the amount of a PlayStation). However, the Net Yaroze lacks many of the features the full developers suite provides.

The installation of a modchip allows PlayStation's capabilites to be expanded. This allows unauthorised copies of games to be played, but it also allows the playing of games from other countries and the use of the Linux operating system on the PlayStation.

The next generation of the PlayStation is known as PlayStation 3 and expected to be launched in 2005. The PlayStation 3 appears to be the first game console to use grid computing technology.

The PlayStation has historical links to an abortive CD-ROM add on to the SNES which would be able to include large multimedia. For various reasons including the failure of the Sega CD, this project was cancelled.

Table of contents


Main CPU

R3000A 32bit RISC chip running at 33.8688MHz

This is manufactured by LSI Logic Corp with technology licensed from SGI. It also contains in the same chip the Geometry Transfer Engine and the Data Decompression Engine


  • Operating Performance of 30 MIPS
  • Bus Bandwidth 132 Mb/sec
  • Instruction Cache 4 KB
  • Data Cache 1 KB

Geometry Transfer Engine

This Engine is inside the Main CPU chip. It was responsible for rendering the 3D Graphics[?].


  • Operating Performance of 66 MIPS
  • 1.5 Million Flat-Shaded Polygons per second
  • 500,000 texture mapped and light-sourced polygons per second

Data Decompression Engine

This Engine is also inside the Main CPU chip. It was responsible for decompressing images and video.


  • Compatible with MPEG1 and H.261 files
  • Operating Performance of 80 MIPS
  • Directly connected to CPU Bus

Graphics Processing Unit

This chip is seperate to the CPU and handles all the 2D Graphics processing.


  • Maximum of 16.7 Million Colours
  • Can handle resolutions from 256x224 to 740x480
  • Has an adjustable frame buffer
  • Unlimited Colour Lookup Tables
  • Maximum of 4000 8x8 pixel sprites with individual scaling and rotation
  • Can handle simultaneous backgrounds (for parallax scrolling)
  • Can do Flat[?] or Gouraud shading, and Texture mapping


This chip is responsible for sound processing.


  • Can handle ADPCM sources with up to 24 channels and up to 44.1KHz Sampling Rate[?]
  • Could perform digital effects including:
    • Pitch Modulation
    • Envelope
    • Looping
    • Digital Reverb
  • Could handle up to 512Kb of sampled waveforms
  • Supports MIDI instruments


  • Main RAM: 2 Megabytes
  • Video RAM: 1 Megabyte
  • Sound RAM: 512 Kilobytes
  • CD-Rom Buffer: 32 Kilobytes
  • Operating System ROM: 512 Kilobytes
  • PlayStation Memory Cards had 128 Kilobytes of space in an EEPROM


  • Two Speed, with a maximum data throughput of 300KB/sec
  • XA Compliant


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