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 Furthermore, the current consoles are technically outdated and struggle to maintain 30 frames-per-second at 1920×1080.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.

Sony ‘PlayStation 4K’ Probably Won’t Game at 4K

Right now, it has more or less been confirmed that Sony is working on an update to the PlayStation 4. Referred to as the PlayStation 4K by multiple sources, the console won’t be running any games at 4K anytime soon. Contrary to the expectations from its name, the new console probably won’t be able to game at 4K, with the update more of a performance bump rather than a giant leap.

From the various leaks, it looks like the update will be based on the new 14nm process AMD is using for Polaris. With the new process, Sony has a chance to use cheaper and more power efficient dies to either cut cost or grow performance for more or less free. Right now the PS4 has hardware similar to the 7870 based on GCN 1.1. With an update, Sony has a chance to jump to Polaris with GCN 1.3/4.0 along with a significant power efficiency increase, allowing the console to stuff a 7970 class GPU in the console. While not enough for 4K, this should allow many more titles to run at 1080p and at a higher level of quality. From what Sony has hinted at, the PS4K will simply be the same PS4 but with improved graphics and higher FPS. This should allow for a similar gameplay experience for users and ensuring games still work fine with the stock PS4. The update to a new architecture will also bring HDMI 2.0 support, which will allow for 4K at 60fps, a first for a console. This pairs up nicely with the Ultra HD Blu-Ray support we are expecting which will allow for 4K content at 60fps.