A performance analysis of Sony's new PlayStation 4 Pro console has unveiled disparities in how it operates, including the fact that selected titles actually lose performance compared to the previous-generation PlayStation 4.
Formally announced back in September
and formerly known as the PlayStation 4 Neo, the PlayStation 4 Pro marks Sony's first mid-life specification bump for a console. The internal AMD Jaguar accelerated processing unit (APU) which powers the console received a significant upgrade to its integrated graphics processor as part of the redesign, boosting performance from 1.84 to 4.2 teraflops - an increase in grunt which, the company claimed, allows the PS4 Pro to produce Ultra HD resolution graphics without breaking sweat.
A big feature of the PS4 Pro is in how it handles existing games: developers are free to produce small and relatively simple patches which take advantage of the additional performance on offer, unlocking the Ultra HD resolution output mode or adding more detail to scenes. Unfortunately, it appears that Sony may have bitten off more than it can chew as a performance analysis reveals that upgraded games running on the PS4 Pro can do so at lower frame rates than the same games running on the original PS4 - even when outputting to a 1080p Full HD display.
Eurogamer's Digital Foundry
has published its findings so far following detailed analysis of the console's performance, and warns that the way the system operates can result in a less-than-stellar experience. When connecting the PS4 to a Full HD display, the console renders internally at a higher near-Ultra HD resolution then downsamples in order to improve visual quality - but with the result that frame rates can drop by up to 20 frames per second (FPS) compared with the same game running at a native 1080p on the original PS4.
Such a performance loss, which isn't universal to all games, wouldn't be an issue if Sony offered the ability to disable its supersampling rendering mode - but the PS4 is fixed to using this feature, which cannot be disabled. The result: some games, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Rise of the Tomb Raider in particular, are demonstrably worse on the PS4 Pro than the non-Pro.
Sony has claimed it is actively investigating the issue, but has not detailed how or if it plans to address the problem - though the introduction of a per-game switch to disable the supersampling mode would likely be the most obvious fix.