The PS4 Pro from Sony is being touted as the next big refresh for the PlayStation brand during this console generation. It’s supposed to allow PlayStation gamers to experience their games at resolutions of up to 4K, but contained within a $399.99 box. Most people who know tech know that that’s not really a feasible price to power ratio if you’re looking to play games at high fidelity in native 4K, and the tech savvy skeptics proved to be right after new benchmarks came out proving that the PS4 Pro isn’t such a pro at playing games at native 4K.
Digital Foundry did a six minute rundown of The Last of Us: Remastered running on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro, and what did they find? Well, the PS4 Pro couldn’t quite maintain 60fps at 3200 x 1800p, a sub-4K resolution.
If you’re wondering what’s up with that resolution it’s a few notches lower on the scale than ultra HD. Also, despite the PS4 Pro claiming to be a 4K popper, the reality is that the benchmarks show it has trouble keeping above 55fps at a sub-4K resolution when running The Last of Us: Remastered, which is a slightly buffed up game from the PS3, which originally came out back in 2013.
They note in the video that the game runs pretty smooth at half the refresh rate at native 4K, which is 3840 x 2160. So playing the remastered version of a 2014 PS3 game at 30fps and native 4K on the PS4 Pro is ace; trying to play it at 1800p at 60fps is not.
They also found that Naughty Dog has a hard-lock on the internal resolution, so even if you try to lower the game to 1080p to play it at 60fps, the external resolution may be 1080p but the internal resolution is still at 3200 x 1800, which is a weird decision. Hopefully they scale the internal resolution to the native output resolution in future games attempting to make use of the 4K properties of the PS4 Pro.
There’s 2.5 million pixel difference between 3200 x 1800 and 3840 x 2160, so it’s not like the resolution decrease is negligible, but the fact that the decreased resolution and increased frame-rate still gives the PS4 Pro problems means that Sony may have bit off more than they can chew. What happens for open-world games? Or newer games pushing god rays, dynamic ambient occlusion and real-time dynamic shadow displacement? There’s no way the PS4 Pro would be able to handle anything bigger at 4K and 60fps, especially if it’s barely able to maintain a steady refresh rate above 50fps when the resolution is rendering 31% fewer pixels.
This frame-rate to resolution discrepancy does not bode well for the future of the PS4 Pro. As a system running games at 1080p at 60fps, I think the PS4 Pro will do well. Trying to battle it out in the big leagues with the 480x or GTX 1080? Fat chance.