If you’re curious as to how PlayStation 4 Pro can produce better graphics, provide extra features and still play current games in the process, Mark Cerny has the answer.
Speaking at conference at Sony’s San Mateo HQ attended by Digital Foundry and other outlets, PlayStation architect Cerny explained that in order to achieve this, the hardware has been doubled.
The console will sport two chips and the system uses one to play existing tiles, and then when a Pro game is popped in, both chips work in tangent.
“We doubled the GPU size by essentially placing it next to a mirrored version of itself, sort of like the wings of a butterfly,” he explained.
“That gives us an extremely clean way to support the existing 700 titles. We just turn off half the GPU and run it at something quite close to the original GPU.”
Cerny said he and his team also felt games needed “about 10% more memory,” which is why they added a gigabyte of slow, conventional DRAM to the console making it “DDR3 in nature.”
“On a PS4 standard model, if you’re switching between an application, such as Netflix, and a game, Netflix is still in system memory even when you’re playing the game. We use that architecture because it allows for a very quick swap between applications,” he said. “Nothing needs to be loaded, it’s already in memory.
“On PS4 Pro, we do things differently, when you stop using Netflix, we move it to the slow, conventional gigabyte of DRAM. Using that strategy frees up almost one gigabyte of the eight gigabytes of GDDR5. We use 512MB of that freed up space for games, which is to say that games can use 5.5GB instead of the five and we use most of the rest to make the PS4 Pro interface – meaning what you see when you hit the PS button – at 4K rather than the 1080p it is today.”
During the meeting, Cerny reiterated PS4 Pro isn’t the start of a new generation, per Gamasutra.
“We don’t believe that generations are going away,” he said. “They are truly healthy for the industry, and for the gaming community. It’s just that the objectives for PS4 Pro are quite different.”
Cerny goes into even more technical aspects of the console in the Digital Foundry write up, and you can read it in its entirety over on Eurogamer.
As previously reported, PS4 Pro owners will be able to swap the console’s 1TB HDD for a larger one, and the consoles is also running SATA 3.0. which was previously confirmed by Sony Japan.
PS4 Pro will be released on November 10 and will run you $399/€399/£349.