Sony had their PlayStation Meeting just yesterday in which they had a few new, yet predicted, iterations of their PS4 to show the world. Andrew House was excited when he took the stage in New York to unveil the newly minted PS4 Pro, and of course the PS4 Slim that fans have been eagerly awaiting.
PS4 Pro packs 4.2TF of GPU power inside a double-decker shell
The new console is the first of a new way of upgrading a platform, instead of simply releasing a full new console we’re seeing a mid-cycle upgrade of the hardware. Sony was quick to remind the crowd that all games would be backwards compatible, just with less fidelity and a decidedly lower resolution. They’re calling this a high-end PS4, though the PS4 Pro name suggests some sort of professional capacity. The outer case of the 30% less voluminous machine almost harkens back to a few memes regarding the mashing together of two PlayStation 1 consoles to make the next. Regardless, inside is a vastly upgraded infrastructure, on the GPU end. The CPU remains the same 8-core Jaguar-based arrangement, though it seems they’ve upgraded the GPU to a Polaris variety. That speaks to the modularity of AMD’s custom APU engineering. The Polaris GPU gives a full 4.2TF of compute power, which means it’s slightly faster than a consumer RX 470. The total power consumption of the PS4 Pro has increased to a rather massive 310W, however.
The benefits of that increase in power is that it can support higher resolution, in the form of actual 4K gaming or through super-sampling for those without a 4K capable TV or screen. With the quick progression of graphics and graphical technologies, it’s likely that the PS4 Pro won’t be capable of actual 4K gaming for terribly long, or at the very least at high levels of fidelity and high settings. The PS4 Pro will be $399 starting on November 10th 2016.
One of the major improvements being discussed during the meeting was the addition of HDR, expanding the color space to provide more colors in more variations than ever. The idea is actually one that has a real-world benefit, should you have an HDR compatible screen to take advantage of it. It looks better, though perhaps subtly so. HDR is something that all version of the PS4 will be capable of providing the newer, expanded color ranges, though older versions only with a firmware update coming soon.
In addition to the PS4 Pro, which was not previously torn-down to pieces far before the event, they announced the PS4 Slim, a version that significantly decreases the size and volume of the previous console. The PS4 Slim does not have any enhancements aside from being a much smaller package, not adding in even the ability to watch 4K video content. The PS4 Slim will be available September 15th for $299, and is the new “standard” PS4 version. The old version is going to be phased out.