“I was pleasantly surprised.”
The PS4 Pro may be the most powerful console ever made at the moment, but there is no denying that the system could have been far more powerful, and could have pushed true 4K visuals and media. However, it is also indisputable that everyone who has gone hands on with the system has come away impressed. Sony’s wizardry leads to the otherwise underpowered PS4 Pro punching far above its weight. This is what Mark Williams of VooFoo, Technical Director currently working on Mantis Burn Racing, told us, when we had a chance to talk to him recently.
“I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Not initially – the specs on paper don’t sound great, as you are trying to fill four times as many pixels on screen with a GPU that is only just over twice as powerful, and without a particularly big increase in memory bandwidth,” he explained, echoing the sentiment that a lot of us seem to have, before adding, “But when you drill down into the detail, the PS4 Pro GPU has a lot of new features packed into it too, which means you can do far more per cycle than you can with the original GPU (twice as much in fact, in some cases). You’ve still got to work very hard to utilise the extra potential power, but we were very keen to make this happen in Mantis Burn Racing.
“In Mantis Burn Racing, much of the graphical complexity is in the pixel detail, which means most of our cycles are spent doing pixel shader work. Much of that is work that can be done at 16-bit rather than 32-bit precision, without any perceivable difference in the end result – and PS4 Pro can do 16 bit-floating point operations twice as fast as the 32-bit equivalent.”
Ultimately, this does come back to the point that console specs are far more nuanced than most people expect, and cannot just be broken down into one number.