PlayStation 4K Neo simulation analysis indicates weak 4K gaming performance

by on August 1, 2016

Stephan Jukic – August 1, 2016

The Sony PlayStation 4K Neo gaming console, which is the key rival to Microsoft’s new Xbox One S, is expected to go on sale later in 2016 and just like its Microsoft rival, will also offer 4K media playback support along with HDR capabilities. However, unlike the Xbox One S, the Neo is supposed to also come with support for 4K gaming.

As a result, a study has been done of this particular gaming ability in the Neo, courtesy of the website Eurogamer with one of the core purposes of the analysis being to determine just how well the new Sony console will manage to handle 4K ultra HD gaming graphics on a TV.

Now obviously, since the 4K Neo isn’t available to anyone in the public yet, the analysts weren’t able to use an actual console with its own internal hardware for testing. However, by using one of AMD’s new Polaris 10 GPUs, like those found in the graphic card maker’s latest cards, the testers leveraged out clock speeds which mimic the internal specs which have been leaked for the PlayStation 4 Neo. The results of the testing have shown themselves to be a bit underwhelming, at least when it comes to the processing power needed for 4K gaming.

The original article itself, which you can read here, goes into much deeper detail on all this in case you’re interested.  However, if you just want the brief summary of results, the Neo simply won’t be capable of handling the native 4K resolution and graphics that serious console games will plow out.

Basically, the console will have to be used with gaming at 1440p resolutions if you want decently stable and reasonably high frame rates and smooth albeit slightly hazy gameplay on a 4K UHD TV, or alternatively, users can simply use the Neo for some really fast and wicked Full HD 1080p gaming. During gaming at 1080p, the Neo (or at least it’s simulation by EuroGamer) does a good job at reproducing games smoothly without frame rate locks and upscaling blocks such as those found in the older PlayStation 4.

In other words, the Neo, while a solid competitor to the soon-to-be-released Xbox One S, is likely not going to be a serious competitor to Microsofts powerful new Project Scorpio 4K gaming console which is expected for “Holiday 2017”.

The Eurogamer researchers found that the PS4K Neo console will be ideal for multi-platform gaming due to its delivery of a product which looks wonderful and plays smoothly. Furthermore the console delivers superb support for true 1080p graphics and would work wonderfully with games like “Star Wars Battlefront” or “The Witcher 3” at true 1080p and with higher frame rates.

The previous speculative name for the PlayStation 4K box was PS4.5, before the Neo name was leaked

The previous speculative name for the PlayStation 4K box was PS4.5, before the Neo name was leaked

On the other hand, for actual 4K gameplay, the Eurogamer analysts suspect that the performance many gamers will want won’t be reachable in the new console and also believe that Sony is going to use a pixel-cutting mechanism called a 2×2 checkerboard for attaining such graphics. Basically, this is a form of 4K upscaling which uses half the normally needed pixels for native 4K to create its visual result. It is not however true native full-pixel 4K resolution that is being produced with such a technique.

Of course, all of these benchmark conclusions are based on actual testing with an AMD Polaris GPU architecture like that built into the newly released AMD RX 480 GPU that has recently gone on sale. Yes, the roughly 36 compute units and 2.3x boost to GPU power that we know are the case for the PS 4K Neo match the performance power of the RX 480 GPU more or less but there may be other mechanisms or even changes to processing power which come along by the time the console goes on sale to affect its performance further, in a positive way we’d hope.


Furthermore, it should be noted first of all, the RX 480 itself isn’t really a 4K gaming card, but more of a 1440p and Full HD gamer’s GPU. Thus, if the PS 4K Neo is going to run at comparable speeds, it’s unlikely to match 4K gaming requirements either. Additionally, we note that the Neo is expected to offer up a lower clock speed than the RX 480’s Polaris chipset. Instead of the RX 480 GPU’s max capacity of 1266MHz, the Neo processor will likely only manage 911MHz, a limitation which is a product of its small, closed form factor inside the PlayStation Neo body.

Again, if you’d like to rally go into the details of the Eurogamer PlayStation Neo simulation, check out their analysis. Even if it’s speculative, the study is remarkably robust and loaded with further details.

We also recommend this video from the Eurogamer reviewers, it covers the comparison as well.

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