PlayStation 4: The vision for future of gaming
Almost three and half years ago SONY brought PlayStation 4 to the market. This week Sony introduced two newer versions of PlayStation 4: The Slim and The Pro. Like the previous three generations, The Slim is the slimmer version with almost similar specifications as the original PlayStation 4. On the other hand, PlayStation 4 Pro comes with better hardware and software capabilities. It’s still very early to say if any of these are worthy of an upgrade from the original PlayStation 4.
On the hardware front, PlayStation 4 Slim has exactly the same hardware which we have seen in the earlier PlayStation 4. On the other hand, PlayStation 4 Pro brings a lot to the table.
The PS4 Pro represents a significant upgrade in power over the original PS4, at least in terms of GPU. The PS4 Pro uses a Radeon-based 4.20-TFLOPS graphical processor, impressive upgrade over the 1.84-TFLOP CPU used in the original PS4 and PS4 Slim.
The PlayStation 4 Pro’s CPU gets a clock speed boost, (Actual Values are not known as of now) both systems use an octa-core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU. The storage on the PS4 Pro has been upgraded to 1TB and the PlayStation 4 Slim will have a 1TB version as well. The PS4 Pro has the same 8GB of GDDR5 RAM as the original PS4 and PS4 Slim; this came as a surprise, considering Sony’s constant emphasis on 4K video capability with the PS4 Pro.
Sony boasted a lot about the benefits of ultra high definition (UHD or 4K) and high dynamic range (HDR) television and what the PlayStation 4 Pro can do with it. The new system can output in 4K resolution, while the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Slim cannot. All PS4’s will get a firmware update that will add HDR support to their 1080p output, but we’ll have to see how it’s implemented.
However, it doesn’t mean that the PS 4 Pro will render games in 4K. This seems very unlikely. Sony’s specs state that the PS 4 Pro’s 4K video output can be from either game rendering or upconversion after rendering at a lower resolution, and most games will likely use the latter. Rendering games natively at 4K provide consistently superior graphical fidelity than upconversion, but it also taxes the hardware on gaming PCs that cost several times that of the PS 4 Pro. The much beefier GPU will probably help, but considering the system isn’t getting a major boost in CPU speed or memory, expect most games to be upconverted.
HDR and 4K require a fairly high-end television that supports the higher resolution and greater dynamic range. Prices have gone down significantly for 4K HDR TVs in the last year, and you can pick up a 55-inch screen for around $1,300, but it’s still a sizeable investment. If you don’t have a TV that supports 4K, you won’t be taking advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s higher-resolution output at all.
The PS4 Pro is clearly a superior system based on the specs. It’s more powerful and has a higher storage capacity, but the big benefits will only be seen if you have a 4K TV that supports HDR. If you don’t, there isn’t much reason to get a PS4 Pro. The PS4 Slim ships Sept. 15 for $299, while the PS4 Pro ships in November for $399.