The PlayStation 4K continues to be a console that only exists as a rumor. But if the details are to be believed, then Sony is planning to release an updated version of the PS4 hardware capable of achieving higher resolutions and improved frame rates. Now a partial spec of the new console has leaked along with some other interesting details.
Internally, Sony refers to the PS4K using the codename NEO. The leaked partial spec
for NEO is minor in terms of actual hardware, but enough of a change to make an impact for gamers.
The original PS4 uses an 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU running at 1.6GHz. The NEO is expected to have a similar 8-core Jaguar chip, but running at 2.1GHz. It’s a similar situation with the GPU. The PS4 uses an AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) chip with 18 Compute Units running at 800MHz. The NEO will also use a GCN, but increases the Compute Units to 36 and runs at 911MHz. Finally we have the RAM. The PS4 includes 8GB of GDDR5 running at 176GB/s while the NEO increases that to 218GB/s but does not increase the amount of available RAM.
So the NEO is offering a significant boost in performance, but Sony is also thought to have unlocked 512MiB of extra memory for developers to use. Taken altogether, it means PS4 games will more easily achieve 1080p resolution while retaining a solid and high frame rate. It also unlocks 4K resolution for some games, and the ability to upscale all 1080p games to 4K or near-4K on compatible TVs.
So far this sounds like the NEO will have its own games, but Sony is ensuring that isn’t going to be the case. All games released in the future must run on both the PS4 and the NEO. These games can enhance the visual output on a NEO, but the game must remain the same experience otherwise with the odd exception, for example, local multiplayer may support more players on the NEO. Gameplay, online multiplayer, and access to additional content must retain parity. As for existing PS4 games, they can be enhanced for NEO, but it’s up to individual developers to decide to do this and patch their game(s).
Surprisingly, Sony does not intend to replace the PS4 with the NEO, instead continuing to support both machines. What that may allow is for Sony to discount the PS4 further and turn it into a budget/entry level machine while also offering a profitable NEO option for gamers with 4K TVs. As parity is retained across all games, you aren’t losing out on anything but visuals by selecting the cheaper PS4. As for the NEO, the price is expected to be $399.
I hadn’t thought about the PS4 as an entry level option selling alongside the NEO. The PS4K had always been seen as a replacement. So in that sense, I could see how this may work. The claim of 4K gaming is suspicious, though. Sure, 4K games may be possible, but I doubt you’d get a Call of Dutyor Fallout running at 4K on this hardware. It’s more likely smaller, less intensive games could hit a solid 4K/30fps consistently.