A remarkable story unfolded last April where it seemed that an intrepid explorer of the 3DMark benchmark database stumbled upon preliminary testing for a new gaming processor from AMD dubbed ‘Gonzalo’ – almost certainly a codename for work-in-progress PlayStation 5 silicon. The notion of a PC benchmark database yielding top secret information about an upcoming next-gen console seems implausible – but further leaks over the last few days not only back up the Gonzalo story but also deliver new details about the graphics core of the new machine. On top of that, the leak also contains tantalising hints about the technical make-up of the Xbox Series X GPU too.
The scale and scope of this latest leak is remarkable and the origin of the new information seems even more far-fetched than the Gonzalo story, leading many to believe that the entire thing may be a work of fiction. However, having looked into the situation and independently verified the source, the overwhelming evidence is that the data does indeed originate from AMD – and hasn’t been doctored. We’re lacking crucial context for sure but the reasons to doubt the veracity of the leak are somewhat thin on the ground.
From what I can gather, someone at AMD’s ASIC validation department used GitHub to store fragments of internal testing data from a range of work-in-progress Team Red projects. The leaks include testing of next-gen desktop and mobile Ryzen APUs along with some deep-dive testing on the PS5 chip, now codenamed Oberon. While the data is not public, it’s clear that the GitHub test data has travelled far and wide: further details from the leak mentioned in this article are being discussed at length on ResetEra, for example. The genie is out of the bottle.
My understanding is that this data was first stored on GitHub around six to seven months ago – and looking back over noted leakers’ timelines on Twitter, the source seems to have been picked up on as early as August. While this may suggest that the testing data doesn’t reflect current next-gen console specs, it’s important to remember that developing a microprocessor of the complexity we’re talking about here tends to be a multi-year effort. Testing and validating a chip to ensure that it meets performance targets and that it passes debugging is in itself a lengthy process – and making changes to the architecture of the chip at this point is unlikely. Tweaks to clock speeds or accompanying memory are a possibility but the timeline we have suggests that Sony already took the decision to push GPU clock speeds higher by the time the leaked testing took place.