Sony Is Working On AMD Ryzen LLVM Compiler Improvements - Possibly For The PlayStation 5

Written by Michael Larabel in LLVM on 19 May 2018 at 02:00 AM EDT. 52 Comments
One of Sony's compiler experts has taken to working on some tuning for the AMD Ryzen "znver1" microarchitecture support within the LLVM compiler stack. This begs the question why Sony is working on Ryzen improvements if not for a future product.

Sony's Simon Pilgrim has been recently investing time in the "znver1" AMD first-generation Zen CPU support within LLVM. Simon has been a programmer for Sony for the past decade. His LinkedIn reveals that indeed at Sony he's working on compiler tooling for the PlayStation devices:

On Friday he submitted a cleanup for the znver1 code, last week were more Znver1 changes across multiple commits, and these upstream Znver1 LLVM improvements by this Sony programmer have been going back at least two weeks with this just not being some one-off cleanup attempt. Thanks to Phoronix reader Stephane for helping to spot this trend.

It's interesting that Sony is working on upstream LLVM improvements specific to AMD Zen processors when they aren't currently shipping any Ryzen/EPYC-based systems. But let's not forget that the PlayStation 4 is powered by a semi-custom AMD Jaguar CPU with GCN Radeon graphics. On top of that, Sony indeed uses LLVM/Clang as the compiler for the PlayStation 4. In fact, they contributed the PS4 support to upstream LLVM and have dealt with the upstream LLVM compiler community over the years.

So for now we're thankful that more hands are working on AMD Zen compiler improvements, but if I had to bet, it wouldn't be too surprising if the PlayStation 5 is powered by a Ryzen CPU/APU given the PS4 being a semi-custom AMD part and that the PlayStation 5 is speculated for debut in the next year or two.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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