Is the PS4 Pro Worth It?

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Author: BimWebsite:
Bim is a socially adjusted geek with an unhealthy obsession for burgers. Follow him on Twitter (@TheBim) if you like high fives and nonsense.


The quick answer to that question is "it depends." There are a number of criteria that have to be fulfilled before I can say that "yes, the PS4 Pro is a good buy for you."

Let's start with the basics. What can the PS4 Pro do that the regular PS4 can't? In a nutshell, the PS4 Pro upscales your PS4 games to 4K resolution and improves gaming performance, pretty much. The Pro's GPU is 128% more powerful than the vanilla PS4, and that allows for the 4K output. The CPU of the Pro shares the same architecture of the vanilla PS4, only with a higher clock speed. Those two things are the main differences, but the Pro also sports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth has been bumped up to 4.0 from 2.1. The bump in Bluetooth improves power consumption, data transfer rates, reliability, security, speed - all that good stuff.

An increase in specs is always appreciated. That's always good, but it isn't always necessary.

If you have a PS4 now, but you're using a 4K TV that supports HDR, then it's a no-brainer, go for the PS4 Pro. You've been playing at 1080p or even 900p on some games on your 4K display, which means you've been greatly under-utilizing it. Those things cost an arm and a leg. However, if you don't have a 4K TV yet, but you're on the fence about buying one, the PS4 Pro might be for you, but be careful. 4K displays weren't typically designed for gaming. There's a reason why 4K TVs don't usually talk about their response time in their marketing materials.

Now, if you have a PS4 and you're playing on a 1080 display and you plan on doing so for the foreseeable future, then you might not have to upgrade. Sony said their games will play alike on both the Pro and the launch units - there will be no Pro exclusive titles, just maybe Pro-exclusive features and settings. Your games won't play any worse or any better on your current PS4.

However, there are advantages to using the PS4 Pro on a 1080 display. If you want to play your games looking clearer and crisper and running at a higher frame rate, then it might be a good idea to upgrade to the Pro. I've always maintained that frequency > resolution.

Some games will even have options to support both 1080 displays and 4K displays on the PS4 Pro. The Last of Us will have two graphical modes - 4k at 30 fps, and 1080 at 60fps. Rise of the Tomb Raider is going to have 3 - 30fps at 4K, 60fps at 1080, or 30-45ish fps at 1080 but with all the improved graphical settings. What those settings are, we're not too sure about just yet. To be honest, I'd rather go with 60fps on 1080 simply because smoothness of movement trumps clarity of detail for me. Besides, I can't afford a 4K TV anyhow.

PS4 Pro on 1080 comes with a caveat, though - your multiplayer games will not run at 60 fps even on a 1080 display. This is because Sony says they want to provide a level playing field for everyone on the PlayStation, which is understandable. You shouldn't get an unfair advantage just because you have the Pro... except that you kinda do. With 4K resolution, even on 30fps, you're going to see your opponents in better detail and from much farther away than your opponents running 1080, whose framerates are also kept to 30.

On most PC games, frame rates and resolution and screen sizes vary very greatly. Peripherals and hardware range from low end to the ridiculously high performing high end. Does this give players who have invested in better GPUs and better displays and better peripherals an advantage? Hell yeah it does, but has it ever been such a big problem? No, not really.  Not in years of PC gaming has it been such an issue that developers have actively nerfed games for it to be fair for the lowest common denominator.

Now, let's talk about the PS4 Pro in terms of investment. So, let's say you're on a 1080 display and you want those extra frames. It wouldn't be such a problem if you've got 400 bucks or in our case, Php 22,000 just burning a hole in your pocket. But for guys like me who can't drop that kind of cash, especially since we have a fully functional PS4 in our living rooms already, getting the PS4 Pro is going to be hard to justify. Especially to our wives. Thankfully, it isn't such a problem because of the measures Sony is taking to ensure the launch PS4 owners experiences are similar to the Pro owners. It is NOT a next generation console, and they're being very clear about that. If you're in that camp, then waiting for your PS4 to break down would probably be a good idea before upgrading. Or I guess you could sell it off but with the Slim coming in at a very reasonable $299 or Php 17,000, you're gonna have to take a huge loss on your launch PS4.

If you're planning on buying the PSVR, even without a 4K display, then the best experience will definitely be on the PS4 Pro. This, of course, is going to be quite a hefty investment coming in at a total of $800 or around Php 43,000. Just thinking about it makes my heart ache. But for that money, you'll be getting the best the PSVR can offer - improved frame rates and higher pixel densities, which are both very important for virtual reality experiences. Or at least, so I've heard.

As for me, this is what I plan to do - I just put together a PC. Sure, it isn't top of the line - I have the GTX 980Ti, which I bought a few weeks before the 1080 was released, but that's still plenty stronger than the PS4 Pro. The GTX 980Ti processes about 6.5 teraflops, which beats the Pro's 4.2. So, for 1080 gaming at past 60 frames per second, I'm golden. I am thinking of buying a PSVR, though, but I could drop the money for the PSVR headset now, and wait for the PS4 Pro to drop in price a bit before biting that bullet.

How about you? Do you think getting a PS4 Pro is worth it? Did you pre-order it? Are you going to buy one at launch? Let me know in the comments below and let's talk about it!


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