Sony has finally released the latest iteration of their Playstation games console.
Following months of rampant speculation, educated guesses and rumours, Sony has officially announced the impending release of a new cutting edge console at a Sony press event in New York City last week.
Codenamed project Neo, the existence of this new platform was hearsay until the official release divulged all of the technical specifics for the console.
Designed to provide gamers with extremely high resolution gameplay at the fast frame rates required for VR gaming, Sony appears to be future proofing their product line with this new Playstation.
Offering 4K output along with a plethora of high dynamic range playback capabilities and vastly upgraded internal components that put many custom build gaming pc rigs to shame, the PS4 Neo, or Pro as it is officially names, is able to run higher quality games more smoothly and faster than its precursor.
The clock rate of the console has also been upgraded as well as the hard drive, coming in at 1TB standard- overall the PS4 Pro is almost twice as powerful.
This turbocharged Playstation console, while not the Playstation 5, is expected to provide front line support for early adopters of Sony’s Playstation VR project and deliver better graphics to older games.
In this article we’ll break down the core specs of this new console platform and outline the key benefits to help you decide whether the Playstation 4 Pro is the right gaming choice for you.
PS4 Pro Hardware
So what exactly has Sony changed in the PS4 formula for this pro iteration of their home gaming console? While Sony didn’t make the tech specs available during their press conference, the details have been published and the hardware looks extremely powerful.
Retaining the custom chip single processor of the original, the CPU of the PS4 Pro is an 8 core X86 AMD Jaguar, with the same octa core configuration as previous models.
The GPU of this new Playstation provided near PC gamer levels of power, with 4.20 TFLOPS pushing through an AMD Radeon based graphics engine.
The PS4 Pro offers 8GB of GDDR5 RAM with an internal storage size of 1TB, a large step up from previous models.
In terms of overall appearance Sony has crammed all of these ingredients into a form factor similar in looks to the original PS4, with an extra layer on top to store all of the extra tech.
The original PS4 configuration has two layers stacked on top of each other with the disc drive and two usb ports in between, whereas the PS4 places another smaller layer on top, keeping in the same style.
In terms of physical size the PS4 Pro is slightly larger at 295 x 327 x 55mm, or about 2 cm larger on all ends.
The PS4 Pro retains the super speed USB 3 connections of the standard PS4, adding another to make three slots available, which may play an important part in the configuration or connection of the Playstation VR project.
The PS4 Pro also has an aux connection in a similar fashion to the PS4 standard, but does not have an optical audio output in the back.
In a puzzling move Sony has decided not to include an Ultra HD Blu Ray player in their new system, opting only for a full HD 1080p Blu Ray disc player.
Sony may be holding off on high end disc drive technology in a move to push gamers towards purchasing digital editions of games, or saving the technology for later iterations of the PS4 or even PS5.
PS4 Pro Performance
The primary reason for the release of the PS4 Pro is undeniably performance.
With consumer virtual reality technology already released into the wild and highly prevalent in the top end PC gamer market, as console technology catches up many video game console designers and manufacturers are ensuring that their equipment has the guts to stand up to the high processing requirements of virtual reality games.
The bare minimum for optimal gaming through a virtual reality headset without inducing VR sickness or detracting from the gaming experience is a stable 60 frames per second at 4K resolution.
This standard is extremely taxing on older hardware used to performing at less than half of that, so presumably in order to offer the best possible user experience for their upcoming VR offerings, Sony has upgraded the hardware of the PS4 Pro to deliver.
Able to play games at 2K resolution for each eye at a stable frame rate suitable for VR, the PS4 Pro is set up to blow the competition out of the water in the upcoming VR console wars.
The PS4 Pro is also backwards compatible with current titles.
At launch of the PS4 Pro in November, players of existing games such as Days Gone and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be able to take advantage of the technical capabilities of the new console and upscale their older games to 4K resolution with a simple patch.
To allow developers to use the full capabilities of the newer system game creators will now have access to an ‘enhanced mode’ that will sit alongside and complement the standard PS4 system.
While there won’t be any games created exclusively for the PS4 Pro, many games will begin to ship with a ‘PS4 Pro Enhanced’ tag that allows users to boost game performance through the full capabilities of the new console system.
The release of the PS4 Pro will occur in November 2016, and is set to retail for $399 USD.
While not a full console upgrade, the PS4 Provides a huge boost to the internal hardware of the Playstation 4 system and provides future proof support for the impending release of Sony’s VR project.
Perhaps not quite tempting enough for owners of the existing PS4 system to splash out on, the PS4 Pro places Sony’s console offerings above the competition and will provide excellent value for money.