How Powerful Is PS4 Neo Really?

Based on leaked specs, how much of a jump are we looking at compared to the base PS4 model?

Posted By | On 30th, Apr. 2016 Under Article, Graphics Analysis


This console generation’s certainly been…well, is interesting the right word? Nintendo outed an underpowered machine that many people thought was a touchpad add-on for the Wii. Development costs spiraled upwards with games like Grand Theft Auto V eating through budgets larger than some third world economies. PC increasingly became a mainstream space. Hardware like the GTX 970 offered eye-opening levels of performance without price-tags that broached the “elitist” label, while the Pentium G3258 AE took us back to a time when power-users could tinker to shape their own bang-for-buck propositions.

But perhaps, what has defined this console generation more than anything else is compromise: Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 were behemoths for the time: The Xbox 360’s ATI-designed Xenos GPU outdid ATI’s own 2005 and 2006 flagships, and the PS3’s 8-SPU design anticipated the transition to wide, parallel, multithreaded computing by years. These were high-end machines, expensive to manufacture and sold at a loss, the idea being that console games retailing at $60 a pop would recoup the hardware loss and drive long-term profit. Maybe it had to do with the 2008 recession, the aftereffects of which were still being felt in 2013. It could’ve been on account of the rise of smartphone gaming, or the freemium model where hardware vendors don’t get anything off game sales because of the $0 price of admission.

Whatever the reason was, both Microsoft and Sony abandoned their loss-leader strategy with the PS4 and Xbox One. They began selling hardware at a profit—but to actually break even while hitting reasonable retail prices, they had to compromise big. The bulk of that compromise fell on the eighth-gen consoles’ hardware spec: In late 2013, the PS4 and Xbox One arrived with what amounted to lower-mid-range GPUs based on the already-ageing GCN architecture, and CPUs that could charitably be described as anemic. PC hardware grew by leaps and bounds to the point that budget cards like the $150 GTX 950, and entry level processors like the i3-6100 are already orders of magnitude more powerful than the console hardware spec. Consoles are fixed platforms, and regardless of optimizations and low-level access, there’s only so much a particular console platform can offer.

The Last of Us_new (3)

"Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 were behemoths for the time: The Xbox 360’s ATI-designed Xenos GPU outdid ATI’s own 2005 and 2006 flagships, and the PS3’s 8-SPU design anticipated the transition to wide, parallel, multithreaded computing by years."

The 360 and PS3 were “future-proofed” with their high-end internals and it was only towards the very end of their 10-year cycles that compromises such as sub-native resolutions and 20-25 FPS framerates became the norm rather than the exception. With the PS4 and Xbox One, that barrier was hit within a year—As early as 2014, ambitious titles like Assassin’s Creed: Unity crashed and burned on consoles, with sub-30 FPS updates and 1600×900 framebuffers.

Consoles are the least common denominator in game development terms, and the console audience is the largest, by far. With that in mind, any game a AAA studio develops must run on console. With the PS4 and Xbox One both hitting brick walls in terms of performance, there are only two possible outcomes for the future: Either game complexity—not just in terms of visuals, but in terms of scope, AI simulation, everything—has to plateau, in which case we’re looking at another 5 years of 2014-era games. Or the console hardware itself needs to be booted up a notch on the ladder.

As hard to believe as it may be, a mid-cycle console hardware refresh is actually happening—at least as far as Sony’s PS4 platform is concerned. We’ve yet to receive official confirmation, the PS4 Neo’s a leaky boat if there ever was one. Leaked documentation points to the Neo featuring 2 times the graphics horsepower of the original PS4, a 31 percent increase in CPU performance, and faster GDDR5 RAM. But how much of a difference are these specifications going to make for the end-user? Is the PS4 Neo going to be a worthwhile upgrade if you’re already a PS4 owner? Is it enticing enough to convince fence-sitters to jump onboard the console bandwagon instead of building budget gaming PCs? And crucially, is it enough of an upgrade that it’ll stave off the hardware plateau the PS4 and Xbox One are racing towards all too quickly? Let’s have a look at PS4 Neo hardware spec, part by part:

The CPU—Still a Bottleneck 

Assassin’s Creed Unity

"The bottom line here is that a CPU-side bottleneck, of the kind that the PS4 Neo will have, will place an upper barrier on the depth and complexity of game experiences. Sure The Witcher 3’s sprawling landscapes and handcrafted quests are a marvel. But why do townspeople move around like clockwork robots? Why are non-essential NPCs so…paper-like?"

The PS4 Neo’s CPU is set to gain a 31 percent increase in CPU performance over the original PS4, thanks to a clockspeed bump up to 2.1 GHz. A 31 percent increase in CPU power may look great on paper, but reading between the lines, the Neo’s CPU gains aren’t as straightforward. For one, the Neo uses the very same Jaguar CPU found in the PS4. AMD’s Jaguar architecture was built with a low power/low performance profile in mind. Entry-level netbooks and Windows tablets are the target devices for Jaguar—AMD’s all-in-one APU designs with Jaguar CPU cores and integrated Radeon graphics are a great value proposition for low-profile computing. But with the low clockspeeds and terrible IPC (instructions per cycle), a Jaguar CPU is about as far from ideal as it’s possible to get for a gaming machine, unless you’re looking to cut costs.

While the Neo’s processor is certainly an upgrade over the PS4, this a case of the Neo scoring an easy win just because the bar was set so low to start off with. The Neo runs 8 Jaguar cores at 2.1 GHz. There are longer-term implications for this design choice:

Unlike Intel, which invested R&D dollars towards developing stronger, more efficient processor architectures, AMD bet the barn on wide, multi-core designs—spreading the workload over multiple, less efficient processor cores. This is a sound strategy in theory, but in practice, writing multi-threaded code, to take advantage of wider architectures is complex. It’s much easier for code to take advantage of fewer, stronger cores—writing properly multi-threaded code that fully-utilizes eight cores is more of a human challenge than a technical hurdle, and while that human element is there, the CPU bottleneck isn’t going to go anywhere.

The CPU handles physics modelling and the simulation aspects of games—the complexity of the AI and other dynamic, emergent aspects—procedurally generated landscapes in Minecraft are an example of a CPU-intensive task. The bottom line here is that a CPU-side bottleneck, of the kind that the PS4 Neo will have, will place an upper barrier on the depth and complexity of game experiences. Sure The Witcher 3’s sprawling landscapes and handcrafted quests are a marvel. But why do townspeople move around like clockwork robots? Why are non-essential NPCs so…paper-like? Simply put, it’s because neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One had enough free CPU cycles to process dynamic, simulation-based events, and advanced AI.

Ashes of Singularity is a PC-exclusive RTS game. It’s not very pretty, but it tanks on anything less than an i5 paired with a high end GPU. Why? Ashes features one the most complex AI simulations found in a game. To put it simply, you need a lot more processing grunt than either the PS4 or PS4 Neo can offer, in order for games to go deep, to simulate human-level interactions, and not just add a fresh lick of paint on top. With that being said, even if the PS4 Neo exclusives materialize at some point (and design documentation says that Sony doesn’t want this to happen), don’t expect Neo experiences that are substantially deeper and more complex than what’s already on offer.

Memory Bandwidth—Respectable Gains Will Raise the Bottom Line

ps4 amd

"To an extent, the PS4 Neo’s memory bandwidth gains will help it hit 1080p in games the PS4 struggles with at subnative resolutions. Also, with 1080p being the new “minimum,” supersampling AA may be on the cards for the PS4 Neo—less intensive titles can downscale to 1080p from higher resolutions such as 2560×1440."

The PS4 Neo is set to receive a 24 percent bump to memory bandwidth courtesy of new 7.0 Gbps GDDR5 memory modules. This will boost memory bandwidth up to 218 GB/S, from 176 GB/S on the original PS4. What are the likely implications of this? They’re certainly not earth-shattering. Modern games are bound much more by shader and ROP limitations than by memory bandwidth.

Take the Radeon Fury X for instance. AMD’s flagship rocks 4GB of HBM memory running at an eye-watering 512 GB/S. The GTX 980 Ti has scarcely two-thirds the memory bandwidth, at 336 GB/S. Yet, the 980 Ti dominates in benchmarks, especially at lower resolutions—this is where things get interesting: Memory bandwidth scales somewhat with resolution—the more bandwidth you have at your disposal, the less of hit it takes to run at higher resolutions, though, again other factors are typically much more important.

The Fury X takes the lead when running higher resolutions because of its tremendous amount of memory bandwidth. But a 5 FPS performance gain isn’t much to write home about when neither card can hit 30 FPS at 4K in many games. What does this mean for the PS4 Neo? Sony’s developer documentation makes it clear that 1080p is the “minimum” resolution that games can run at on the Neo. A 24 percent gain in this area isn’t much, but when hitting 1080p/30 FPS is a challenge, every frame matters. To an extent, the PS4 Neo’s memory bandwidth gains will help it hit 1080p in games the PS4 struggles with at subnative resolutions. Also, with 1080p being the new “minimum,” supersampling AA may be on the cards for the PS4 Neo—less intensive titles can downscale to 1080p from higher resolutions such as 2560×1440. Combined with post-AA this can lead to noticeably fewer jaggies in many games on the Neo.

The GPU—Polaris and Real Performance Gains

the order 1886 ps4

"The PS4 Neo’s design is extremely “top-heavy.” It pairs what’s still a very weak Jaguar-based CPU with a very strong graphics component. The issue here is that the CPU will struggle to keep pace with the GPU, making it much more difficult to hit higher framerates."

The PS4 Neo’s GPU upgrade is the single standout spec improvement on offer. At this point, it is not clear as to whether the Neo will be using a GPU based on AMD’s upcoming Polaris architecture, or if we’re looking at an older, but scaled-up semi-custom design. The PS4 Neo’s GPU is to feature 36 CU clusters—totaling 2,304 shader cores. The theory that the Neo’s GPU is based on Polaris comes from this number: AMD doesn’t have any desktop or mobile part shipping with 36 CUs. There’s a 32 CU part—the R9 380X, a 38 CU part—the R9 290. At the higher end, there are 64 CU parts—the Fury X and Fury Nano. But there’s no current AMD GPU that features 36 CUs.

Meanwhile, leaked Polaris specifications point to a Polaris card—Polaris 10 specifically—which features just that number. More tellingly, AMD themselves recently claimed to have secured three major “design wins,” for semi-custom chip designs this year. Polaris is new. It’s built on the (new) 14nm process. If AMD’s own early Polaris demos are true, it’s set to be extremely energy efficient, which would be ideal to stick within console TDP limits. It would be ambitious and exactly the opposite of what Sony did when it re-purposed AMD’s ancient Pitcairn GPU for the original PS4. And that’s good news.

What does this mean for games? With over twice the GPU grunt of the PS4, the PS4 Neo should have absolutely no issue hitting a consistent 1080p/30 FPS update in AAA games, where the PS4 struggles at times to output 900p/30. 1080p/60 FPS is another question, entirely. This is where the CPU bottleneck we mentioned rears its head. The PS4 Neo’s design is extremely “top-heavy.” It pairs what’s still a very weak Jaguar-based CPU with a very strong graphics component. The issue here is that the CPU will struggle to keep pace with the GPU, making it much more difficult to hit higher framerates.

A good example in the PC space would be pairing a GTX 970 with a Pentium G3258. The 970 by itself is more than fast enough to power through most games at 1080p/60 FPS. But the G3258 is simply unable to issue draw calls to the 970 fast enough—this causes framerate spikes—second to second fluctuations from 50-60 FPS down to the low 30s, leading to a very inconsistent experience. The PS4 Neo should, however,be able to hit 1080p/60 FPS with ease in games that go light on the CPU—corridor shooters like Call of Duty should hand in a much more consistent 1080p/60 FPS experience than on the PS4. The massive GPU gains may also translate into better onscreen effects. While the scope and complexity of open world titles are more dependent on the CPU, high quality lighting, particle effects, texture filtering, and high-resolution shadowing are all GPU-intensive tasks that the PS4 Neo will be able to handle a lot better than original PS4. Because of CPU-side bottlenecks, many titles may target 1080p/30 FPS on the Neo and that frees up a lot of headroom to push intensive GPU-bound effects. Apart from what we’ve just mentioned, high quality ambient occlusion, global illumination and soft shadows are some of the many eye-candy effects we’ll see on the Neo.

Upscaling is another possibility to make use of the Polaris GPU’s extra muscle. They’re nicknaming Neo the “PS4K” for a reason: The PS4 Neo is meant to able to handle 4K content. While a native 4K experience is almost certainly off the cards for AAA games, considering that highest-end graphics cards of today struggle at that resolution, upscaled 1440p would certainly be more attractive on 4KTVs than blowing up a 1080p image.

Having a 4KTV and a 980 Ti, I can attest to this personally: Dark Souls III looks positively muddy when upscaled from 1080p. Though native 4K is, of course, sharper by far, upscaling from 1440p offers great image quality without placing as much strain on the GPU—with the 980 Ti and Fury X consistently hitting 60 FPS at 1440p, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the PS4 Neo’s Polaris-based GPU make a good effort at 1440p/30 in upcoming AAA games. Also,sidescrollers and simple Indie games may actually hit 4K/30 FPS on the Neo, making 4K gaming a reality in the console space.

Sony’s Content Parity Policy—Limiting What the Neo Can Do

Uncharted4-11

"The PS4/PS4 Neo divide is similar to the difference between building a budget PC rig and an upper mid-range rig: You can turn the settings up a notch and get a smoother framerate but ultimately you’ll still be playing the same game."

Despite the substantial GPU-side gains reasonable additions to memory bandwidth and CPU power, ultimately Sony’s apparently platform parity policy will decide how much of a difference the Neo will actually make. Per leaked developer recommendations, Sony requires that all games that work on the Neo must run on the PS4, and that both the “base” and Neo versions of the games must have feature parity—that means gameplay-wise, the Neo version cannot do something the PS4 can’t. This limits the real benefits of the Neo to higher resolutions, stable framerates, and fancier eyecandy.

In this light, the PS4/PS4 Neo divide is similar to the difference between building a budget PC rig and an upper mid-range rig: You can turn the settings up a notch and get a smoother framerate but ultimately you’ll still be playing the same game. We wonder, though, if Sony’s going to stick to its guns on platform parity in the long run: What’s going to happen to the Neo when the PS5 is announced? Will it still be running trumped-up PS4 games? Or will it be a bridge to the true next-gen? Only time will tell.

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  • Gabriel Porto

    I don’t think CPU will be a bottleneck for the resolution. If I’m not wrong, the PS4 uses a low level API based on Mantle since day one and if they’re not sleeping, they’re going to use new Vulkan API, which improves draw-calls from the multi-core CPU.

    On the other hand, if MS decided to do the same and didn’t have DX12 on their system, that I’d call a disaster. They’d need a much faster CPU to achieve higher resolutions and frame.

    • Psionicinversion

      no ps4 uses GNM/GNMX sonys own API and not mantle and theres absolutely nothing saying ps4 will use vulkan. They are one of the partners but doesnt mean it will be used for the playstation

    • Paul

      Even if they did use Vulcan, it won’t help much if at all because consoles are already low level access to the hardware, on PC is where the real benefits will come about from Vulcan and DX12 because PC’s don’t use low level access to the hardware until now, well until late this year and next year when games start to use it.

      I can’t help but think the cpu on the PS4.5 will hold it back over time, 31% upgrade isn’t much when they are more or less doubling the gpu and we already know the PS4 struggles in some games compared to the Xbox One thanks to the cpu.

    • Eddie Battikha

      That’s why Sony unlocked the 7th cpu core in November 2015 so it can compete a little bit better against Xbox One. The thing about the cpu being a bottleneck in the PS4 NEO is that It’ll last 3 years and Sony is going to be moving to a 3 year cycle and a new Stronger Playstation will launch at the end of 2019.

    • jzgames

      Xbox runs worse than ps4 without the 7th core, wth are you talking about

    • Paul

      True about the 7th core but I still think 31% boost to the cpu and more or less double performance to the gpu seems like a bad match when the cpu on the current PS4 struggles compared to the Xbox One, if it stands, the cpu is going to be by far the biggest weakness on the PS4.5, even more so then how the PS4 shows because this time the graphics can take a bigger leap forward.

    • Psionicinversion

      the main benefits for sony using vulkan is for developers. Less porting time

    • Paul

      True and it’s likely one of the main reason for them to use it, performance won’t be one of them, also with Microsoft using DX12, porting process to and from PC and Xbox One should be quite easy, it also meams the code base on them two will be better optimised then on the Sony platform, that might be the main reason for Sony to adopt Vulcan so Sony can push developers on PC to use Vulcan and not DX12.

    • Psionicinversion

      no sony wouldnt have any say whatsoever in pushing away from dx12. dx12 isnt the problem its MS UWP crap.

      What it would mean for developers is if they used vulkan it would be easy to port to PC, playstation, NX. steamOS, linux and mac. doubt MS would budge on it though. If the UWP picks up then game devs might do x1 and pc with uwp (hope not) and rest with vulkan

    • Gabriel Porto

      Yes, it was low access but the old Xbox One API based on DX11 wasn’t THAT good. It still had CPU overhead and they had problems dealing with ESRAM.

    • Paul

      Psion, I think you are missing the point, if Sony was to adopt Vulcan then a lot more developers will use it, with the PS4 having more than double the market share of the Xbox One, a lot of developers could think, why support DX12 when they can use Vulcan that would make the porting process from PC and PS4 much easier, in the process doing harm to Microsoft because DX is the main lockin that Microsoft have with gamers on PC, it also means the Vulcan version of games are likely to be better optimised than DX12 version of games, Sony could do some harm to Microsoft if they play there cards right.

      In any case, I prefer Vulcan over DX12 because of it’s open nature, I feel it could create more competition in the PC market.

      Gabriel, yeah I’ll agree that DX11 isn’t the best thing on Xbox One, more so because of the ESRAM but DX11 on Xbox One is still low level access to the hardware, DX12 might get about 5% or 10% performance improvement on Xbox One, the real area where it really shines is in ease of use, more so for developers that target PC and Xbox One, now on PC, DX12 and Vulcan could change everything being that PC isn’t low level access until now, performance increase could go through the roof when they get to grips with it, so much so that performance could end up being similar to consoles on similar hardware.

    • Demetrius Radford

      The CPU will be a bottleneck will be a bottleneck. Because it wont be able to feed the gpu as much data as the gpu can process. Therefore the gpu wont be able to render enough data because the cpu isnt gonna be able to send enough data to fully utilize the gpu

    • Eddie Battikha

      Sony and Mark Cerny know exactly what they’re doing. The CPU in the PS4 NEO will last 3 years as Sony is moving to a 3 year refresh cycle The APU in the next PlayStation in 2019 will have a way better CPU setup.

    • Demetrius Radford

      And ik how hardware works. Theres gonna be a bottleneck. Theres things that can be done to reduce the bottleneck but its gonna be there. That 8core jag cpu clocked a 4ghz still wont beat a 2nd gen i7.

  • Chensu Omagid

    Can you confirm whether or not the PS4K comes with a 4K Bluray player or did Sony exclude it to limit the cost of the new console. Thanks.

    • Holeybartender

      Its a rumor,NONE OF IT is confirmed.

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    • Eddie Battikha

      The insider Osirisblack that supposedly works at Gamestop called the specs right and said it will come with a 4k blue ray player. Soon well find out for sure.

  • Ivan Johnson

    Xbox one and PS4 isnt really underpowered. Just different so some just dont know how to make the games right. Assassins creed Unity ran more horrible on PC. Just because the developers dont know how to work it right.. then you have developers like naughtydog running uncharted so nicely and The Order. And xbox one with Ryse crazily good graphics. When you look at some of the games that released the consoles have the power just gotta unlock it.

    I think most games will run at 1080p with the Neo just more anti-aliasing and shadows and textures. 4K i dont know.

    • Psionicinversion

      Unity didnt run more horrible on PC it was far worse on console to the point where disconnecting the console from the internet actually gave it a frame rate boost

    • Paul

      They are underpowered for what hardware is available on the market, both consoles can be pushed to get better results out of them but the same can be said for the PC, more so in fact.

      Imagine if they did games like Uncharted, The Order, Assassins Creed Unity and Ryse on PC and really push the hardware with the new api’s like Vulcan and DX12, with the hardware gap from PC and consoles, I would love to see what they could do.

      If the hardware is used right, games on PC would be many folds better then consoles whereas the PS4 should be around 40% better than the Xbox One if they don’t bring parity into it, it’s also part of the reason why many are watching Star Citizen because here we’re talking a game that’s high end and PC only, in other words, a game that really can show what the PC can do and not only that but show us how far games could go which is good considering how stale the gaming market is.

    • Ivan Johnson

      I dont know, there are some games out that actually dont look all that different from pc and consoles. When ps4 came out it closed the gapsa little. Unless you play in 4k. I do think if there is this Neo that will push power then pc will get up there too. But now there is a higher chance that pc and consoles gaming is getting closer to visuals.

    • Paul

      Mozef, it’s mostly a matter of market share in the higher end to mid range market, as that grows which it seems to be doing at a rapid rate, developers are more likely to take the PC platform more serious, in any case, the PC been growing quite fast, faster than even the consoles the last few years which is impressive considering how well consoles are doing.

      Really what I want to see is developer push each platform as much as they can, that will mean the PC version being much better then the console version but so it should be considering the hardware it’s got, I also think they should use the PC as the lead platform, it’s a lot easier to downport then upport, it also should mean parity shouldn’t be a thing anymore which it seems to be with the PC, PS4 and Xbox One now.

      Ivan, the really problem is that for the last few years, graphics have not really gotten any better, games that was coming out a year before the PS4 was released still look impressive today, so much so that it’s been one of the slowest upgrade cycles I’ve ever seen on the PC, only upgrade I’ve done in the last 5 years is my gpu to a 280x, in the past I likely would’ve had to upgrade almost everything but as it is, a small upgrade that only cost me £120 after selling my old card on Ebay and with all that, I still get much better performance than the PS4.

      PS Neo could change all that, if Sony are planning on doing upgrades every two to three years then things can start moving forward, I’m a PC gamer but I would love if consoles close the gap with PC’s, we all win in the end with potentially better games if developers use the hardware right.

    • I do agree with you, I have been thinking about getting myself a nice future proof Gaming PC, just like what you said about the last time you upgraded you GPU, which means it has run all your games perfectly. Yet when I look at the current games, it doesn’t entice me “at the moment’, it makes me settle with consoles.

    • Paul

      For the most part, most console games are on PC now and PC has many exclusive games as well, what gets me is what’s been happening the last few years, we are seeing a lot more where games are PC and PS4 but not Xbox One and PC and Xbox One but not PS4, this didn’t happen until this gen of consoles got released and it’s making the PC the best place to be for exclusives unless you have both consoles.

      My advice if you are planning to buy a PC, wait till after the new microns come out for cpu’s and gpu’s, some big upgrades coming up this year and next, also it’s better and cheaper to build your own PC and avoid the top of the range hardware, might be the best but it’s better to stay one step behind, your bank balance will thank you for it and you don’t lose much in performance if you buy your time, you can get some real bargains if you buy at the right time, mostly when big sales are going on.

    • JomJom

      There’s a large difference in texture quality on AAA games, like GTA V. Going from console to PCs that have GPUs that cost more than the console itself. There’s way more variety of cars, paint jobs, pedestrians, ect that consoles just don’t have the video memory to use.
      Consoles can never keep up graphic wise, because the majority of people wouldn’t be able to afford the consumer high end tech.

    • Some Guy

      You are an anti vaxxer piece of trash. Worse than a pedophile.

    • JomJom

      Lol. R u mad? quit stalking me troll. 🙂

    • Some Guy

      You’re the one who abuses his children. You deserve to be ridiculed!

    • JomJom

      I’m actually entertained by this cat and mouse game you started. We can both hop all around Discus, you can be mad. And I’ll continue to joke around. It’s not everyday I get to play with a paid troll.

    • Some Guy

      Prove that I’m a paid troll. Once you’ve done that, prove to me why you would be my target.

    • JomJom

      Can’t prove that your paid. Indeed you are a troll. I’m your target cuz u r mad. LOL

    • Some Guy

      Okay, but if I am a paid government troll, why are you the target? Are you special somehow?

    • JomJom

      We are all special. You’re my special troll. ❤️❤️

    • Some Guy

      I can’t believe I’m wasting all this time with a high school dropout. Oh well.

    • JomJom

      Whoops, your mistake.

    • Some Guy

      I love your reasoning for distrusting something is basically, “if the government is involved in any way, it’s evil.”

    • JomJom

      Not “evil” per se. But it needs to be questioned. There’s theory of an elite ruling class working in the shadows. It’s just a theory, but one that means we need to be cautious about government action. The fact that government is not transparent, but highly secretive only enforces my beliefs.

    • Some Guy

      Actually, that isn’t a theory at all. Conspiracy theorist hunches do not constitute a theory.

    • JomJom

      Umm, ok…

    • Some Guy

      It’s not my fault if you don’t understand the definition of the word ‘theory’.

    • JomJom

      It’s ok, nobody blames you. I’m aware of what theory is, the word you’re looking for is hypothesis. Cheers!

    • Some Guy

      No, it isn’t. Define theory.

    • I agree with you, I was thinking the same, till I really was fed up with this theory and this question “Why games developers not pushing the PC? when PC get a really powerful CPU and GPU!!!!. Always been thinking what is missing, specially when I sow the Division the first time in E3, I though Game Devs have stepped up and raised the bar by using the real power of PC, and later this year The Division was downgraded. I was really disappointed and wondering what has happened? I made some research and I found that all game developers develop games at the must GPU owned which 970 2GB, which is the majority of PC gamers have this GPU and few have the must top One like 980Ti. So I do agree and I wonder what can be done if games developers take advantage of those GPU card in the market like GTX Titan and GTX 980 Ti, plus the new ADM GPU.

    • cosmicrays

      Well the 970 is a really good card for what it is. It would most definitely push some really amazing graphics if it was well optimized for hardware combinations. The real issue is because dev will make more money on consoles. More people will by the game on consoles so why put in all the hard work in optimizing for PC? I would rather have amazing PC games too, but the major money maker is in consoles. Less time to develop and optimize and more potential sales, that is the root of the issue imo.

  • Andy Maas

    To me PlayStation neo is a stupid name

    • Paul Savoie

      It’s just a code name, not what it’s actually going to be called.

  • Gamingfan

    If you already have a ps4 and upgrade to this then I’m sorry but you’re a corporate sheep.

  • parrotcam

    i’m not disappointed by the power of this generation.. I’m unimpressed by the lack of games on PS4/X1. There’s simply arent enough games for this generation. During the PS1/PS2/PS3 era, there were games released every week. Nowadays, we get almost nothing.

    • paprika

      Totally agree. Nowadays there are just “blockbusters” and idiotic indie… Nothing between that. No mediocre games which may not have greatest graphics, but are fun to play (e.g. Eatt Lead for PS3 atc…)

    • InvisiGhost

      Absolutely Unimpressed..you hit the nail on the head with this one..mine just collects dust basically..but hey at least it can play Netflix

    • parrotcam

      exactly! PS4/X1 has so few games that they have to pad out the library with old ones. For PS4/X1, they’re padding out with old PS2 ports and old 360 games. Developers aren’t making games like they used to in past generations. that’s the most disappointing thing about this generation. all i see is junk on the PS4/X1 store. I see a ton of cheap looking indie games, old PS2/360 games, phone games.

    • InvisiGhost

      no doubt about it..It’s almost as if it’s like having to go Rogue and take new ideas to the Black Market to get a new good solid fun game these days

    • tplarkin7

      Indie games will die out. Too many people trying to make a billion dollars with a million dollar investment. Mobile and indies will crash, but they will learn to come together and make AAA games.

    • PuiuCS

      i don’t see mobile games crashing anytime soon. they take advantage of people having less and less time to play big PC/console games.

    • Onnawa

      That’s because the Modern Gamer is concerned with nothing but graphics. Indie companies do fairly well for themselves because they often pay more attention to story and gameplay than graphics horsepower. The “Eye Candy Lemmings” have amplified Moore’s Law to its breaking point; the modern AAA title takes 4-5 years to realize and hundreds of thousands of man-hours (or more) to produce, and often a good third of that time (or more) involves a developer being forced to retool a game for new capabilities and hardwares because what is already a good game isn’t “Shiny” enough. Numerous highly anticipated titles (and the studios producing them) have met their end in recent years due precisely these types of cost over-runs.

      As long as the gaming public is willing to pay $60+ dollars for 30-40 hours of gameplay, this trend will continue , and developers will continue playing catch-up and going where the money is…often being forced into conglomerates like Microsoft or EA in the process, not just for publishing, but literally selling their souls (and themselves) in the process just to finish a game and recoup investments and losses. As long as graphics quality remains the primary measure of what makes a good game…and as long as gamers keep demanding top-dollar graphics from underpowered obsolete hardware (the very purpose and definition of a console as “Gaming on a Budget”) then things will continue just as they are. Developers will continue to ruin themselves trying to make a living.

      It’s not a matter of If the bubble bursts…just When.

    • Purist

      the last time i got invested in a story in a game is something i cannot even remember. THe last of us, a bit… castlevania maybe… its strange to see these people happy and big gaming media house making money writing articles and ad like ign and gamespot. At the end none of the hype games are good to be honest. They have bad to decent reviews. not emotionally attachable story. U buy some games just because ur friends has them or u see them playing on friends list. the few good games are 20fps.

    • tplarkin7

      Ditto. I’ve played the 360 more than Xbox One and PS4 combined this gen. However, Dead Rising 3, Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V (GZ & TPP) were good (especially MGSV).

    • InvisiGhost

      yea I have Witcher 3-it was great but I got bored with it fairly quickly to be honest, Metal Gear was awesome as well have it too–got bored fairly quickly with it as well but thats only b/c I had to play them to death being there’s not many great ones to choose from..for me at least..

    • Hvd

      the real issue with the ps4 this gen was games.it still has none and more hardware is coming out..lol.xbox one still had the best exclusives and more of them this gen.ill take it all day over no games.

    • InvisiGhost

      yea I agree..I was talked into getting a ps4 from a friend who insisted for over a year that I should. I finally broke down and got one coming from mainly playing the 360. I have the ps3 as well but only use it for movies not games anymore. Anyway, got a ps and have seen game after game after game that I’d like to play on the X1…It’s almost comical now b/c I’ve used the ps3 only for netflix and now the ps4 only for netflix.

    • Hvd

      i have had all the consoles from atari to the xbox one and i have a gaming pc as well.i just skipped on the ps4 because of no games for it.i have my pc for AAA multiplats and console for exclusives.i wish i could have keeped all my old consoles.

      the real reason im sure everyone can areee on behind ps4 neo is psvr.

    • justerthought

      I’ve played a lot of great games this gen on PS4. The power of the map editor in Far Cry 4 was something I never expected I would ever see on a console. Huge upgrade in performance from the Far Cry 3 version. I’ve made about 20 huge maps that play like free high quality DLC games to play coop with friends. My friends claim my maps are higher quality than DLC you actually buy. That was the defining feature of this gen for me. Full creative freedom.

      Perhaps you’re just tired of gaming and should stop, or maybe you’re just reading too many grumpy comments instead of jumping in and trying it for yourself.

      Even AC Unity was a great game, but it played like crap on PS4 so I had to put it on hold. If Ubisoft give me a Neo optimisation patch that cures it, I will return to the series and buy AC Syndicate if it gets the same treatment. Ubisoft could undo all the damage AC Unity did in one fell swoop.

    • Chris Sanchez

      You’re exaggerating.

      I can’t even keep up with games.

      I just finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, have Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 DLCs (+30 hours of gameplay added), Elite Dangerous, UFC 2, Need for speed, NBA 2k16 career mode, … and the list goes on and on, I barely scratched the surface of those games.

      Do you sit down and play games all day? You have no job?

      You’re saying you played all the released games and beat them at 100%?
      I’m having some serious doubts.

    • Hvd

      he must only play exclusives all he talked about was the play station which had a real lack of exclusives this gen.

    • PuiuCS

      doesn’t the PS4 have double the exclusives and the number is set grow even larger this year? why are people saying that it doesn’t have exclusives.

    • Hvd

      no

    • PuiuCS

      do i really need to link you to the game lists? don’t be lazy and do it yourself. this is why people call you guys fanboys.

    • Oliver Queen

      Yes PS4 has nearly 3 times the exclusives that XB1 has. Most of the XB1 exclusives are being taken away and also being released on PC making them no longer exclusives.

    • R4G3

      Elite Dangerous? Since when, and where?

    • Hvd

      same here i did not care about the resolution and fps as most did.just make the fps shooters 60fps and the rest can be 30 fps for all i care.there are a lot of xbox one exclusives and good 3rd party games.you mist have a ps4 with the lack of ps4 exclusives.

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    • Icebergg

      This isn’t a console issue, even PC is short of AAA games. There is an uprising of indies for a reason. Look at all the Publishers that went bankrupt during the 7th gen. They would dump all their eggs into one basket and fail. I can name all the big publishers easily now. I used to have problems during the ps2/Xbox era. The publishers are killing each other off. The ones that survive, if it’s not a 100% sure fire success idea, they are not going to publish it. New IPs like Overwatch and Battleborn are extremely rare. It’s either a remaster, sequel, or remake now from AAA publishers. They are scared of failure, as it could mean their company.

      It’s really the gamers that made this happen. We buy call of duty because we know our friends are going to buy it, not because it’s a good game. We purchase based on nostalgia and peer pressure. We let these companies die, then we complain that the companies that survived only release the same products over and over again.

    • Purist

      ya this was bad year for gaming. last couple of yrs i should say on consoles.

  • Squidgybo

    Nothing to do with the lack of power. It’s just the games devs. I mean, look at what Rockstar North do with GTAV. GTAV is an massive living breathing world with an insane amount of content and detail. Yet it was made for the older Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles that only had 512MB of Ram. These new consoles have a massive 8GB of Ram. And the GTAV remaster for PS4 and XO is still the most amazing looking and technically advanced game on the new gen. Can’t wait to see what these consoles are really capable of when Rockstar North release GTA6. They will show other devs how its done.

    • HANDxOFxGOD

      Totally agree with you. Also, PS3 has 256MB of RAM! It’s a ridiculously low amount. Insane that GTA V ran as well as it did on them. (Although, it did occasionally drop to as low as 23 fps, which is not that pleasant.)

    • BB Scales

      No need, Naughty Dog already showed everyone how it’s done. Currenty the best animations and graphics on both PC and consoles. I doubt GTA6 will top it. GTA5 animations weren’t as good as Last of Us and Uncharted 4’s are borderline lifelike

    • Squidgybo

      Silly comment. Uncharted games are linear levels. Linear levels allow for better graphics. There isn’t a huge living breathing open will with a million things going on at once, so you have more resources to make better animations and better graphics. Big open world games like GTA have to cut back on graphics etc to allow for a big open world. All developers, Naughty Dog, Hideo Kojima and many other say that they have no idea how Rockstar North are able to make games like GTAV. It blows them away. GTAV is a technical marvel. How they made that game fit on 360 and PS3 that only have 512MB of Ram, i’ll never know. It is bordering on wizardry.

    • Kehool

      The game world has no real depth… the people walking around are just dumb mannequins, like in witcher 3 or AC unity and that is precisely what the author is talking about.

      Also I can’t hear that “massive 8 GB of RAM” nonsense anymore.. that’s not massive, that’s just about enough for today’s games. Also that’s not the real issue at hand here, CPU power is and upgrading that is difficult since using a new CPU architecture would mean breaking backwards compatibility.

  • maxinthefax

    only time will tell of course but according to what i read it can make one do nothing but wonder, why is SONY releasing such device? it only defeats the purpose if you ask me; JUST RELEASE A PS5 AND SAVE YOUR (our) TIME & (our) MONEY SONY.

  • justerthought

    Great article that paints an accurate picture, but it forgets that from a console gamers perspective, the PS4 comes very close to being the perfect console compared to what we had previously. In most areas it does the job perfectly well on a 1080p TV, but a few performance issues have stopped it being truly perfect overall.

    The PS4 Neo is designed to overcome that issue and remove those flaws that prevented perfection. Games will always get more and more complicated but games have to target the market. That means you don’t go making an over ambitious game like AC Unity and run the PS4 into the ground.

    I’m not saying AC Unity should not be ambitious. I’m saying the PS4 optimisation should have taken care of that by dailing back something to maintain the performance, rather than running it into the ground trying to match a high end PC.

    Yes the lame CPU is still a concern for me as well, but to claim a 34% increase via over-clocking is negated because the Jaguar is still a Jaguar, is just a denial. PC gamers have been over-clocking for years in order to squeeze out extra performance. The new AMD chips will be running cooler so heat generated by over-clocking is compensated for.

    It’s perfectly possible to create games with detail AI physics and just reduce that detail depending on the platform via scaleable optimisation. All that has nothing to do with the PS4 Neo. PC can still go have a higher spec optimisation, but the crucial thing to understand is that the PS4 Neo allows a more comprehensive optimisation that the PS4. That is all it’s designed to do, and that’s enough until the next one in 3 years time.

  • MadMen

    Love it, as someone who always waits for consoles to come into their prime, its a perfect time for me to toss my Xbox 360 and PS3 and replace with the new Xbox Slim and PS4 Neo! Looking forward to E3

    • Mark

      Nice

  • HAppY_KrAToS

    There is something I don’t understand :
    Why couldn’t Sony, like they already do with their ps4 co-processor to encode/decode/stream data and other tasks, use some kind of chip, that would only have one task: applying an huge antialiasing processing, like MSAA 8X or casa, or something really powerful.

    Such chip would come at the end of the display chain, just before the hdmi output.

    Antialiasing is what can make a game look nice, good, amazing or insane. A game can have some ultra high quality textures, but with a poor AA processing, everything will look really bad, with edges everywhere. But, a game with correct textures, but with some great AA processing, everything will look ultra sharp, like it was running at 14th or 4k.

    For example, mass effect games on my ps3 had some really cool graphics and textures. But the lack of a great AA just made it look like a blurred ps2 game. The same with batman games.

    The problem is, AA is often cpu-taxing, and many compromises must be done. Also, often, when a company has finished writing most of the code, with all the sounds, graphics, effects, AI, etc etc, there is only a tiny % of power left. As a result, the studio will apply a cheap simple AA, to save on cpu, but thé final graphics will take a hit.

    now, with such chip/component, studios could concentrate on making the best game they can, and at the end, just before outputting the frames, that chip will apply a crazy full-scene AA x128 (I exaggerate ), and the final frame will look like a pixar/Disney sequence, where each frame Wil be calculated on multi passes, until it looks perfect.

    I am sure such chip/co-processor could cost like 5 or $10 max to make, but the final results would be far far better than a solution with a much faster cpu, gpu and overall bandwidth that would cost 50 or 100$ extra.

    Why not having such chip on the next Sony or Microsoft console ?

    • Greetingsfriend

      “applying an huge antialiasing processing, like MSAA 8X or casa, or something really powerful”
      That’d just be another GPU-esque chip. And MSAA isn’t great in todays deferred rendering pipelines. MSAA only applies to polygonal edges. Does nothing for secular and shaded aliasing which are far more common.

    • PuiuCS

      Sony already has multiple smaller coprocessors (for background tasks, for audio, for video encoding/decoding, network, etc). And the GPU features a really good amount of async compute engines which can help a lot in CPU bound tasks (but there are only a few games that use them effectively).

  • Hvd

    for the price of a gtx 970 you can save a little more and get one of these console upgrades.the card is still around $330 for 3.5 gb…

  • XbotMK1

    Another cringe worthy article from one of the industry’s worst habitual offenders.

    “Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 were behemoths for the time”

    Complete bullsh*t. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 were streamlined computers with awkward, non-PC architectures, and were optimized for running games at a budget price. Same as the PS4 and Xbox One with the exception that the PS4 and Xbox One are now using a PC architecture instead of a new architecture like the PS3 and 360. Seems like another attempt at just trying to make the PS4 and Xbox seem underpowered so you can feed people a garbage PC sales pitch.

    The difference in power between PC and console between this gen and last gen has more to do with PC than console. PC hardware and APIs weren’t as optimized as consoles or relevant back when the PS3 and Xbox 360 launch. But now PC has become more relevant which is why it may seem as though the PS4 and Xbox One are underpowered when they really aren’t.

    SIE tried to develop a stronger processor with the PS3 but devs complained because it wasn’t X86, so now SIE went with X86 because it is cheaper. Why waste money trying to develop new hardware when you can just use what is already there such as X86 parts? The downside to using X86 is that consoles are more limited to PC parts now but consoles still retain the advantages such as being more streamlined and cost efficient. But now that SIE is using X86, people still complain about it. You can’t have it both ways.

    “The issue here is that the CPU will struggle to keep pace with the GPU, making it much more difficult to hit higher framerates.”

    More bullshit. A CPU and GPU are not limited to certain tasks. A CPU can run graphics and a GPU can run AI and physics. A CPU doesn’t have to keep pace and if games are expected to run on a base PS4 as well, it doesn’t make sense to equip a new CPU which would increase costs.

    • Tina Brandy

      The PS3 featured a very high-end pc graphics card, a powerful CPU, some of the fastest memory available and a bluray player in 2005. If that’s not a behemoth then I don’t what is.

  • Kelvin Gudgeon

    I’m not a tech guy, but what I get from this is that the neo won’t be playing games at 60 fps at 1080p.so what’s the point then.im not shelling out another 400.00 quid for a better resolution.the first time I’ve really noticed where a better frame rate would be nice is Ac unity.I was hoping neo would play that game at 60 fps.

    • Mark

      Gotta agree. If we can’t run these console games @60fps, well, yeah. Lol. I’m hoping it does tho we have to wait n see

  • Mark

    Great stuff Gbolt, thanks for the early breakdown!

    • Arjun Krishna Lal

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Matt Henzel

    I still think think Sony should have delayed the PS4 by a couple of years and just released this superior hardware right from the get go.

    The PS3 was still doing fine with games such as GTA V, Beyond Two Souls, The Last of Us, and others still impressing and looking incredible.

  • Matt Henzel

    If Sony had any idea they were going to do this from the start they really should have just included accessible and swappable RAM and CPU, as they do with the hard drive bay. If they are going to treat it like a PC it might as well be designed like one.

    I personally think it’s a mistake to do any of this. The 4K crowd still makes up less than 8% of the gaming community and even the launch window titles such as Killzone Shadow Fall, inFAMOUS Second Son look better than most games on competitive consoles. Also, Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted 4 are incredible games and they don’t need to be anything more.

    I think this is a case of Sony listening too much to “Resolution-Gate” and PC Master Race comments on YouTube. 4k isn’t needed yet…Save it for the PS5.

  • Kehool

    “AMD doesn’t have any desktop or mobile part shipping with 36 CUs.
    There’s a 32 CU part—the R9 380X, a 38 CU part—the R9 290. At the higher
    end, there are 64 CU parts—the Fury X and Fury Nano. But there’s no
    current AMD GPU that features 36 CUs.”

    AMD didn’t have a GPU with 18 CUs on offer either, and yet the PS4 had one anyway.

  • Hvd

    i think it will be a cut down version of the r9 380x which is what i have now but the real issue with the ps4 neo is the overclocked 3-4 yars old jaguar cpu with a new gpu.it will bottle neck like crazy.

    thats like putting a gtx 970 with a fx 6300 in pc terms.bottleneck which means it will run poorly.


 

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