At E3 2016, Microsoft announced an updated version of the XBOX One, with new hardware that supported 4k gaming, as well as a slimmer, more refined chassis. This is not the first time a company has released a refined console in between generations, far from it. In the past, we have seen manufacturers incrementally upgrade their hardware to match the standards of rapidly evolving technology. And while Microsoft was updating its console to reflect the move to 4k TV’s and higher quality visuals, Sony was working on a new update of their own.
Enter Playstation 4 Pro. Previously codenamed the Playstation 4 Neo, the new console takes the old Playstation 4 and brings it to the next level. Though it uses the same CPU as its younger brother, it overclocks it from it’s base clock of 1.6 GHz to 2.1 GHZ. While that isn’t a huge jump in overall computing power, the biggest change is present in the system’s GPU. The AMD powered system has been updated from a graphics chip that outputs 1.84 Terra-flops to a whopping 4.20. If you don’t know what this means, a terraflop is equivelent to 1 million floating point operations per second, which means the new GPU is about 2.28x faster than the previous iteration.
These specs weren’t thrown into the new system for nothing. Sony is touting that the Playstation 4 Pro has the ability to output HDR video as well as play 4k titles. At Sony’s launch event, they showed off the system playing titles such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and a new Spider Man game in 4k, proving that the system has the ability to play extremely high resolutions at decent frame rates. If you’ve been itching to bump up the overall look of your games on a new 4k TV, this is something to get excited about.
The company has also stated that the new system will improve Playstation VR games, rendering scenes at higher resolutions to create more immersive experiences. Cranking virtual reality experiences to as high resolution as possible is crucial to maintain realism and immersion, as choppy, low resolution experiences can often cause headaches and motion sickness among users. The HTC Vive has already been criticized as having mediocre resolution at 2160 x 1200, so maxing out the graphics on the Playstation VR’s 1920 x 1080 screen is crucial to keeping players immersed.
The system can play older Playstation 4 games as well, and Sony is saying that the Playstation 4 Pro will be able to pull “new detail” out of older titles. We’re not sure if this means the system will be artificially upscaling these games to a higher resolution, or if it will just be able to take advantage of the HDR capabilities of some newer TV’s, but either way, this will be great for users looking to get the absolute best visuals out of their favorite games.
Are you looking to pick up the new console? The refresh seems to be pretty massive, scaling quite a bit better than some of its competitors. At $399, the console might be the one to beat, but we’ll have the see how it stacks up against its main competitor, the XBOX One S.