Sony PS4 Neo May Boast 2304 Core Polaris GPU and 4K

In a move that may replicate their moves around the PS4 launch, Sony appears to be making a major and bold move with the next-gen PS4. Dubbed PS4.5 or PS4K by various sources, the latest codename to come out is Neo. In addition to a new name, the new PlayStation will also feature completely upgraded internals with improved performance. What’s more, the console may even support 4K upscaling.

According to GiantBomb, the Neo will take the current internal hardware and simply make it better. The GDDR5 stays at 8GB but faster modules bring the bandwidth up to 218 GB/s. The 8 Jaguar cores get a clock speed boost to 2.1Ghz, up from 1.6Ghz. The most drastic change is reserved for the GPU, going from 800Mhz to 911Mhz and moving to 14nm Polaris. Furthermore, the CU count gets bumped from 18 to 36.

If Polaris keeps the number of stream processors in each CU, this means the GPU will have 2304 cores. This is smack where Polaris 10 is expected to be and will be a 290X/390X replacement, crazy for a console. What’s more likely is that AMD has shrunk the number of cores per CU with Polaris which would help with the promised efficiency and IPC gains. This would give a more believable core count of 1152 to 1728, much more reasonable numbers.

Finally, the Neo will feature 4K upscaling of 1080p content. This fits with rumours of 4K support and would make the Neo better suited for 4K TV sets. Upscaling isn’t as good as native resolution but it can come performance free with dedicated hardware. This also meshes with the requirements for PlayStation VR, with the better GPUbeing able to offer console levels of detail for the headset. The biggest surprise in my mind is the low $399 cost, the same as the original PS4.

AMD Earnings Call Suggests New Consoles Are Coming in 2016

Even though the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are less than three years old, there’s numerous reports which indicates both console manufacturers could release refreshed models with a higher specification. This is unprecedented for the console industry as the usual business strategy revolves around long hardware lifecycles and encouraging developers to eke out every last inch of performance through optimization. Saying that, the situation in 2016 is quite different due to the rise of mobile and impressive profitability on the PC platform. Furthermore, the current consoles are technically outdated and struggle to maintain 30 frames-per-second at 1920×1080. There’s even been instances where the resolution has been reduced to 720P on the Xbox One which really does showcase the performance problems.

Arguably, Sony is creating a much more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 to coincide with the launch of PlayStation VR. Virtual reality requires a great deal of processing power and the current model will struggle to offer a pleasant user-experience. According to information acquired by Go Nintendo, AMD’s earning call predicts future hardware launches this year and reads:

“In our EESC segment, we had record shipments of our semi-custom SoCs powering the Playstation 4 and Xbox One game consoles,”

“Demand for game consoles looks strong for 2016 and we remain on track to generate additional revenue from new semi-custom business in the second half of 2016.

“Game consoles – we see units going up 2016 to 2015. We’ve also said in the enterprise embedded and semi-custom segment that we will be ramping some new design revenue in the second half of 2016. We have new products being introduced in both the businesses with the new design wins in the second half on the semi-custom side.”

It’s important to remember that this might not be a new Xbox or PlayStation 4, and could refer to Nintendo’s upcoming console, the NX. Whatever the case, I cannot wait to see the announcements during this year and look forward to testing new hardware. Also, if these reports are true, I’m eager to know how console players will react.

Xbox Chief Talks “Xbox One-and-a-Half”

Following strong speculation that Sony is to launch an advanced version of PlayStation 4, dubbed the PS4.5, to offer stronger support for the PlayStation VR headset and 4K output, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer has spoken about the potential of Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon and releasing an “Xbox One-and-a-Half”.

Speaking to press following his keynote at the Microsoft Build 2016 conference, Spencer said, “I’m not a big fan of Xbox One-and-a-half. If we’re going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers.”

“For us, our box is doing well,” he added. “It performs, it’s reliable, the servers are doing well. If we’re going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people–an upgrade.”

While Microsoft may not be revising the Xbox One as the “Xbox One-and-a-Half”, Spencer has spoken in past weeks about offering hardware upgrades for its console as part of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative.

“When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen,” Spencer said last month. “You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”

More PlayStation 4.5 Details Emerge

Following rumours that Sony is working on a 4K version of the PS4 – nicknamed the PlayStation 4.5 – designed to fully exploit the PlayStation VR headset, the Wall Street Journal has effectively confirmed its existence, revealing that the PS4.5 would be released as early as October this year – alongside the PS4, rather than replacing it – and that it would not have any exclusive games or software.

“Existing PlayStation 4 owners would need to buy the new model to take full advantage of the enhanced graphics and power, though it is likely that the current model and the coming one would share the same software catalog,” according to “people familiar with the matter.”

According to the report, Sony would continue production of the standard PlayStation 4, but its presence next to its more powerful cousin would render it more like a budget model of PS4.

The anonymous sources also claim that the PlayStation 4.5 will be announced before the October release of PlayStation VR, meaning that it could be competing for attention with the Nintendo NX at this Summer’s E3 trade fair. If Microsoft gets a move on with its UWP upgrade initiative for Xbox One, 2016 could be pivotal year for the future of consoles, and usher in the death of five-year-plus console cycles.