Earlier, we had a look at how we’d build a PC system that can go head to head with the Xbox One X on all fronts. Today, we’re going to look at how to build a system to match the PS4 Pro. Let’s get started!
RAM: 4×2 GB Kingston HyperX Fury at 2666 MHz
Price at the time of writing this feature:: $52.99
The One X had considerably enlarged RAM pool as compared to the Xbox One. While the Pro technically offers developers an extra 512 MB of RAM to work with, this still only means that 5.5 GB is available for developers to work with—and keep in mind here that this is a shared pool.
While this means that system RAM usage will likely top out at 4 GB, console-side memory optimizations (something developers have had to do since the 256 MB PS3 days) would mean that the Pro can handle plenty of titles that’d just crash on a PC equipped with 4 gigs of RAM. As such, this pair of 4 GB Kingston stick puts our build on par with the consoles: while 16 GB is really a more forward-facing option, there are no games out there today that won’t run with 8 Gigs of RAM.
GPU: Sapphire RX 570 4 GB
Price at the time of writing this feature: $99
The GPU is the PS4 Pro’s strong point. We use the term “strong point” relatively here, though. The way the lower midrange GPU market has been heating up, a lot of options now exist in the $200-300 dollar range that blow the Pro out of the water—not least the GTX 1070-besting 1660 Ti (which might actually compare favourably to the PS5). A consequence of the increased competition here is that older lower-midrange parts have been going for incredible prices. This Sapphire RX 570 for instance has been going for the frankly appalling price of $99, a full $70 below its launch price.
The RX 570, a Polaris part like the Pro’s GPU, comprehensively bests its console sibling on account of a substantially higher 1244 MHz clockspeed. The 200GE doesn’t quite have the throughput to sustain a locked 60 FPS so what this means in practice is a rock-solid 30 FPS experience with all the ultra bells and whistles enabled, and the option to run at unlocked framerates. The 570 can also deliver console-quality experiences at 4K in a pinch.
CPU: Athlon 200GE
Price at the time of writing this feature: $55
While a lot of attention has been given recently to the 200GE’s overclocking capabilities, it compares favourably enough to the Pro at stock clocks: If we were planning a build with an alternative objective in mind—such as more reliably hitting 1080p/60, we may have considered a slightly higher tier B350 mobo which would allow for overclocking.
Our picking a $55 dollar bargain-basement dual-core CPU here says less about the Athlon 200GE’s bang-for-buck (which is very high) and more about just how awful all the 8th-gen consoles are in terms of processing capabilities. We’ve said a lot here over the years about how ill-suited the consoles’ Jaguar-based CPUs are for gaming workloads—and how GPU compute is often used as a crutch for the processor’s inadequacy. On the flip side, this is great if you’re building a PC to go head to head with the PS4 Pro.
The 200GE is a dual-core part at 3.2 GHz, based on the Zen architecture. Zen has a nearly 50 percent IPC boost as compared to Jaguar and the 200GE’s 3.2 GHz clockspeed is considerably higher than the PS4 Pro’s Jaguar at 2.14 GHz. While maximum theoretical throughput may be a bit higher on the Pro’s CPU, real gaming workloads heavily favour single-threaded performance, where the 200GE has a nearly 2x advantage. In practice, this means that the 200GE will offer better results than the PS4 Pro when paired with the RX 570. Moreover, because of the flexibility of PC, it 1080p/60 is a viable option if you’re not just looking for a slight bump in resolution.
Storage: WD Blue 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Price at the time of writing this feature: $48
For standard builds, we’d recommend plugging in a 128 GB SSD alongside your hard drive for a zippier overall experience. The PS4 Pro doesn’t have an SSD, however, so it would be redundant for our Pro-equivalent build to include one. There’s nothing exceptional about the WD Blue. 1 TB of storage matches the Pro and at 7200 RPM, you get reasonable read/write times.
Motherboard: Asus Prime A320M-K
Price at the time of writing this feature: $59
Higher-end motherboards are a bit overrated, to be honest. The additional tolerances built into them are meant, more than anything else, to allow for greater degrees of overclocking. In our Pro-equivalent build, overclocking is fairly redundant as, even with a mere 2 cores and 4 threads, the 200GE readily matches the Pro’s meagre Jaguar-based processor. A320 parts are entry level AM4 boards with overclocking locked out.
In a real-life build, we’d opt for a cheap B350 board. They cost more than the A320M here, but would allow you to overclock the 200GE and eke out higher framerates. As it stands, this Asus board lets us fit all the components in and boot up at the lowest possible price point. And, with a console-equivalent build, that’s what matters.
PSU: Seasonic S12II 430 Bronze
Price at the time of writing this feature: $49
The 430W S12II is perfect for low-profile builds. Thanks to Polaris’ remarkable power efficiency, the RX 570 doesn’t consume more than 200W, and needs just a single 8-pin power connector. Likewise, the Athlon 200G has a mere 35W TDP. You could easily for an even lower-capacity power supply, but the 430W S12II has enough headroom to ensure rock-solid stability.
Keyboard and mouse: Logitech MK550
Price at the time of writing this feature: $44
With peripherals, we tend to prioritize functionality over form. For feature parity, a Pro-equivalent build would need wireless peripherals, not a decade-year old keyboard connected via a janky PS/2 to USB adapter.
The Logitech MK550 is a great option here as it doesn’t require much effort: It’s a mouse-keyboard combo with a single wireless dongle for an effortless plug-and-play experience.
Controller: Dualshock 4 Wirelss Controller
Price at the time of writing this feature: $46
The keyboard-mouse combo is ideal for FPSs, immersive sims, and related genres. However, plenty of console ports benefit immensely from having a controller. Fighting games, for instance, were designed with controllers in mind. And we tried playing Dark Souls with mouse and keyboard for about five minutes. Didn’t end well. As we’re aiming for feature-parity with the PS4 Pro, we’ve included a Dualshock 4 in this build.
Considering how hard it was to get PS3 controllers working on PC, Dualshock 4 support on Windows is remarkable. It pairs as readily as any other Bluetooth device. What’s more, after the rather poor reception of the Steam Controller, Valve rolled out official support for the Dualshock 4 in Steam, allowing for a whole host of additional functionality, like control remapping. As one of the five remaining people still gaming on a Steam controller, it makes me sad to write this, but c’est la vie.
Operating System: Windows 10 Home Edition
Price at the time of writing this feature: $139
Here’s an unavoidable extra: the operating system. A Windows 10 Home Edition license will cost you an extra $139 dollars.
Wifi Dongle: TP-Link
Price at the time of writing this feature: $10
You will need an internet connection for this build. A Wifi dongle is essential since the motherboard doesn’t feature Wifi connectivity built in. This is a standard, no-frills dongle but it’s enough to take advantage of 100 Mbps connectivity.
Case: Thermaltake Versa
Price at the time of writing this feature: $39
This is a large, functional case with plenty of space for enhanced air circulation. It doesn’t have transparent cut-outs or RGB lighting, but it does the job: Keeping your parts together and allowing for adequate airflow.
Final price: $640.99
Well, that’s a wrap. While our final price point here is substantially higher than the cost of a PS4 Pro, our build includes a whole host of stuff, from peripherals to a Windows license. So, the PS4 Pro from a purely technical perspective is much cheaper than a similarly powerful PC.