The Architecture of PlayStation 1

Home / The Architecture of PlayStation 1

The Architecture of PlayStation 1

December 9, 2015 | Article | No Comments

PlayStation, or PlayStation 1 (abbreviate as PS1), is the first generation of home video game console made by Sony Coputer Entertainment.

This article will discuss about PlayStation architecture and some important aspects.

General Specification

PlayStation features ability to read and play audio CDs or Video CDs. The CD player has the ability to shuffle the playback order, play the songs in a programmed order, and repeat one song or the entire disk. PS1 doesn’t have internal storage in which it use external memory card to record data. Memory card is managed by Memory Card Manager which can be accessed by starting the console without inserting a game or keeping the CD tray open.

PlayStation 1 support two slot for wired controller and two slot for memory card.

The Central Processing Unit

Sony PlayStation employ MIPS R3000A compatible 32-bit RISC chip running at 33.8688MHz. The feature of the chip:

  1. Operating performance of 30 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second)
  2. Bus bandwidth 132MB/s
  3. 4kB instruction Cache
  4. 1kB non-associative SRAM Data Cache
  5. 2 MB of RAM (integrated)

Geometry transformation engine employed by the CPU give additional vector math instructions used for 3D graphics. The features:

  1. Operating performance of 66 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second)
  2. 360,000 polygons per second
  3. 180.000 texture mapped and light-sourced polygons per second

Inside the CPU also resides MDEC which responsible for decompressing images and video. It reads three RLE (Run Length Encoding) encoded 16×16 macroblocks, run IDCT and assemble a single 16×16 RGB macroblock. The output data may be transferred directly to GPU via DMA (Direct Memory Access). The features:

  1. Compatible with MJPEG and H.261 files
  2. Operating performance of 80 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second)
  3. Directly conneced to CPU Bus

Graphics Processing Unit

The GPU handles 2D graphics processing separate from the main 3D engine on CPU. It features:

  1. Maximum of 16.7 million colors (24-bit color depth)
  2. Resolution from 256×224 to 640×480
  3. Adjustable frame buffer
  4. Unlimited color lookup tables
  5. Emulation of simultaneous backgrounds (for parallax scrolling)
  6. Flat or Gouraud shading and texture mapping
  7. 1 MB of VRAM

Sound Processing Unit

The SPU supports ADPCM (Adaptive Differential Pulse-code Modulation) sources with up to 24 channels. The sampling rate of up to 44.1 kHz and having 512 kB of memory.


The drive is a tray with XA Mode 2 Compliant. It use CD-DA (CD-Digital Audio) and use 128 kB buffer with maximum data throughput reach 300 kB/s


PlayStation has AV Multi Out. As PlayStation has numerous variants during its production, the hardware configuration especially connectivity might vary.

For SCPH-100x to SCPH-3xxx, PlayStation has RCA Composite video and Stereo out. It also has RFU DC Out.

The older SCPH-1000 has S-Video out.

, ,

About Author

about author


A man who is obsessed to low level technology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial