PS4 Pro vs. PS5 | Digital Trends

Sony is ramping up production on its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, and the machine is expected to be way more powerful than its predecessor, the PS4 Pro. That might seem obvious, since we’re about to enter a new generation of video games, but how exactly does Sony’s new system stack up against the one that came before it? The PS4 Pro got the job done for a while, but it seems its community is ready to move on to a newer and better console. With Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X on the horizon as well, Sony has to come out of the gates swinging to meet the high expectations of its fans.

There’s a lot we know about the PS5, so let’s dive in and compare it to the PS4 Pro.

Further reading:

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 specs

In nearly every regard, the PS5 is a better machine than the PS4 Pro. The one thing that — at first glance — might seem off is the PS5’s smaller hard drive size, which comes in at 825GB of memory. We’ll cover the system’s internal memory in more detail below, but for now, it’s important to distinguish the PS5’s solid state drive (SSD) from the PS4 Pro’s hard disk drive (HDD). The PS5’s SSD is one of its shining factors, which will bolster the machine and make the user experience better, thanks to its faster load times and an upgrade in overall performance. So that 825GB isn’t as much of a hindrance as it may seem, even if we are losing 175GB of storage space.

Aside from that, you can clearly see the improvements the PS5 has over the PS4 Pro, from its 10.3 TFLOPs to its 16GB GDDR6 memory, and the ability to accept Ultra HD Blu-ray disks. The only downside we know of when it comes to its specs is its weight. A listing on Amazon Germany recently leaked the PS5’s weight and it’s apparently going to be 10.54 pounds — nearly 3 more pounds than the PS4 Pro. But when you factor in what the system can do, a heavier machine isn’t so bad.

Below is a table with each system’s specs.

PlayStation 5 PlayStation 4 Pro
CPU 8-core, 16 thread, up to 3.5Ghz (variable frequency) 8 Jaguar Cores, 2.1GHz
GPU 36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs (variable frequency) 36 CUs at 911Mhz, 4.2 TFLOPS
Memory 16GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR5
Internal Storage Custom 825GB SSD 1TB HDD
External Storage NVMe SSD slot, USB HDD 2.5-inch HDD, USB HDD
Optical Drive Ultra HD Blu-ray Blu-ray
Video Output 4K at 120Hz, 8K 4K
Weight 10.54 pounds 7.3 pounds

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 graphics

During system architect Mark Cerny’s “The Road to PS5” speech, we got our first look at the PS5’s specs. Like the PS4 Pro, the PS5 will also use a custom AMD Radeon chip, but as you’d expect, the newer system will be more powerful. The PS5 has over double the number of CUs than on the PS4 Pro, but the main thing that will make a world of difference are its teraflops. TFLOPs is a term you might have heard a lot recently when discussing the new systems. It’s sort of a buzzword, but it does matter a great deal.

In essence, a TFLOP is a direct measurement of the computer’s (or in this case, the console’s) performance. The term refers to the system’s ability to calculate one trillion floating-point operations per second. The PS4 Pro includes 4.2 TFLOPs, which means it can handle 4.2 trillion floating-point calculations per second. The PS5, on the other hand, will double that and then some, offering 10.3 TFLOPs.

Thanks to the PS5’s 36 CUs and clock speed, it will be able to achieve a lot more from a graphical standpoint than any other PlayStation system before it. The PS5’s 2.23GHz is, again, over double that of the PS4 Pro, which comes in at 911Mhz. This measurement refers to the rate at which the system can perform internal operations, and it’s measured by cycles per second. With the PS5, its clock speed will vary based on the game and how much is required of the GPU.

When comparing the PS5 to a machine that’s four years older than it, even more can be said about the power of the new machine. As pointed out during Cerny’s discussion, the PS5 can do what the PS4 Pro can do, but with much less effort, due to its modern architecture. So when simply comparing numbers, it’s important to take into consideration that the new system will feature newer parts.

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 resolution

But what about resolution? We want our games to look better than ever, and Sony will deliver in that regard. The PS5 will support 4K output at 120Hz, as well as 8K, though don’t expect to see the latter used for a few years, as 4K displays are still making their way into the homes of consumers. Though the PS4 Pro can also output at 4K, it doesn’t support that resolution with all titles and doesn’t feature variable refresh rates.

The PS5 will support 120Hz displays, which is great for eliminating screen tearing and handling higher frame rates. We’re hoping for a standard 60fps across the board, but some games like Dirt 5 will apparently support up to 120fps on PS5. You’ll need a higher-end monitor to enjoy these frame rates, which is where the system’s support for 120Hz displays comes into play.

Also worth mentioning is the system’s HDMI 2.1 port, which isn’t standard yet but is a great move in the way of future-proofing. Again, this port is in line with what was mentioned above: Screen-tearing prevention and variable refresh rates. We’ll likely see HDMI 2.1 become more ubiquitous — along with 8K displays — as the PS5’s life cycle goes on.

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 price

Price is a major factor when deciding whether or not to upgrade to a new system. Just look at how a high price impacted the sales of the PS3 in 2006, which infamously set consumers back $599. In 2006, that was a huge turn-off and would likely still steer potential buyers away today. Fast-forward seven years later to 2013 and the Xbox One suffered a similar fate due to its $499 price point — $100 more than the PS4’s. There are many factors that can impact a console’s overall success, but starting off on the right foot with a consumer-friendly price makes a world of difference.

As it stands, we don’t know how much the PS5 will cost, but analysts are estimating it will be around $499. Earlier this year, a Bloomberg report explained that it costs around $450 to manufacture one PS5 system, which seems to give credence to the estimated $499 price point. However, as we recently discovered, there will actually be two PS5 SKUs — a standard version with a disc drive, as well as the all-digital edition, without a disc drive. It’s unclear how Bloomberg’s report ties to the two SKUs — and whether the $450 production cost is in reference to the standard or digital edition. It stands to reason the digital edition will be less expensive, but by how much is a mystery.

If one of the models does turn out to cost $499, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Accounting for inflation, if the PS4 at $399 were to release in 2020, it would cost around $440, which isn’t too far off from that estimated $499 price. Given the PS5’s improvements over the PS4, that estimated price seems fair. Even the PS4 Pro’s $399 price when it launched in 2016 would cost close to $430 in today’s money, adjusted for inflation.

On the flip side, it’s not unheard of for a console manufacturer to actually lose money with each system, at least at first. Sony famously took a huge loss on each PS3 sold in 2006, with the $599 model costing the company around $840 to produce. The idea is to make money on software and accessories and to regain lost money over time, as the system becomes less expensive to produce. Given the history, it may be within the realm of possibility to expect a $399 system, even if it costs $450 to produce. However, it might be difficult to sell a console for hundreds of dollars later this year, due to the financial crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Right now, you can grab a PS4 Pro for around $399, though consistent sales have seen it go as low as $299. We imagine by the time the PS5 comes out, a PS4 Pro will be relatively inexpensive to purchase.

Speaking of which, we don’t know when we’ll get our hands on the PS5, as Sony has yet to announce a release date. The system is still slated for a holiday 2020 release, and many are expecting it to launch around Black Friday. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is set to release on November 17, 2020, while the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is set to launch on November 19, two days later. Some speculate the PS5 will launch close to, or on one of those dates. In looking at previous PlayStation systems, the PS3, PS4, and PS4 Pro have all launched in November, so it’s a safe bet Sony will continue with that time window with the PS5 later this year.

Nikkei and Bloomberg both report that Sony has doubled the number of PS5 systems that will be produced by March 2021 to around 9 million units, due to high demand. This will hopefully mitigate supply issues at launch.

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 storage

The PS5’s 825GB SSD might seem like a downgrade when compared to the PS4 Pro’s 1TB, but it’s actually an upgrade, at least in terms of performance. Sure, you’re losing 175GB of storage space, but the benefits of the SSD cannot be overstated. The PS5’s custom SSD features a raw read bandwidth of 5.5GB per second and is built specifically for the system, meaning it will run more efficiently than if it included a standard SSD. Even still, a stock SSD would outperform the PS4 Pro’s current HDD. According to Cerny, the PS5’s raw read bandwidth is “higher than any SSD available for PCs,” at least as of 2019.

Aside from the SSD’s sheer processing speed, it will also allow for the decompression of file sizes thanks to the Oodle Kraken algorithm from RAD Game Tools. This data compressor will allow developers to be more efficient when placing assets into a game, which will free up space and reduce texture pop-in. The files are read from the SSD in milliseconds, and developers are now free to get closer to their fully realized vision when creating games.

The SSD will not only impact PS5 games going forward, but can also vastly improve the performance of PS4 games, which will be playable (at least in some capacity) on the new system. Takashi Mochizuki of Bloomberg uploaded a video last year showcasing the PS4 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man running on PS5, compared to the same game running on PS4 Pro. The video depicted a segment of the game loading in less than a second on PS5 when compared to over eight seconds on PS4 Pro. You can check out the video below:

Since SSDs will be standard with the PS5, developers will be free to compress file sizes across the board, which will, in theory, allow you to store much more on the system’s drive. Suddenly, that 825GB of storage space doesn’t seem so bad if it means file sizes will be smaller. It’s unknown how much smaller they’ll be, but we’re hoping the days of 150-plus GB file sizes will be over.

You’ll also be able to expand the PS5’s memory by inserting certain M2 SSDs; though, as Cerny confirmed, these drives have to be as fast as the one included with the system and aren’t fully available to purchase quite yet. Cerny estimates that it might be a little while before those drives hit the market and advised to “hold off on getting that M2 drive until you hear from” Sony. Hopefully, the system’s 825GB will hold you over until those M2s are available to the public — possibly in 2021.

At the end of the day, the PS5’s SSD is one of its key factors that will make it a powerhouse of a system, not just in its performance, but in the freedom it will give developers.

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 games

What good is a new system if it doesn’t have a variety of games to play on it? Luckily, the PS5 will have us covered on that front. We got a slew of new game announcements during Sony’s recent PS5 Future of Gaming event, showing off what to expect from the PS5’s library of games. The list was widely varied, from family-friendly titles like Sackboy: A Big Adventure, to more core experiences such as Horizon: Forbidden West.

Here’s a list of every confirmed game for PS5:

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Bugsnax
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Death Loop
  • Demon’s Souls Remake
  • Destruction: All Stars
  • Dying Light 2
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo
  • Godfall
  • Gods & Monsters
  • Goodbye Volcano High
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Hitman III
  • Horizon: Forbidden West
  • JETT: The Far Shore
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  • Little Devil Inside
  • NBA 2K21
  • NBA Live 21
  • Oddworld: Soulstorm
  • Outriders
  • The Pathless
  • Pragmata
  • Project Athia
  • Rainbow Six: Quarantine
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
  • Resident Evil VII: Village
  • Returnal
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Solar Ash
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Stray
  • Tribes of Midgard
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • WRC 9

And these are the rumored games that might be available for PS5:

  • Diablo 4
  • Dreams
  • The Elder Scrolls VI
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • God of War 2
  • The Last of Us: Part II
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
  • Overwatch 2
  • Project Awakening
  • Silent Hills
  • Sniper Elite 5
  • Starfield
  • New Uncharted game
  • New Bioshock game
  • Unnamed Guerrilla shooter
  • Unnamed Harry Potter RPG

There’s a lot to discuss when it comes to games — especially when comparing the PS5 to PS4 Pro. Of course, the PS4’s library is rich with thousands of offerings across seven years of the console’s life cycle. Games like God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Persona 5 Royal, and a number of excellent third-party offerings like Resident Evil 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are absolutely worth checking out. You can take a look at our list of the best PS4 games here. In short, if you have a PS4, whether it’s the base model, slim, or Pro, you’ll have a ton of fantastic games to enjoy on it.

It seems the PS5 will continue the legacy of top-notch games, simply judging by the list of confirmed titles. We’re eagerly awaiting the release of Demon’s Souls Remake, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Resident Evil Village, and a lot more. And, of course, there’s a ton we don’t know about as well.

The big kicker comes with the supposed introduction of more expensive games. Earlier this month, publisher 2K announced that NBA 2K21 would cost $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X — a $10 increase from current-gen AAA games. It’s unknown if this will translate to other releases across the board, but many are suspecting the $70 price point for games will be the new norm for next-gen consoles. That might sound bad, but considering game prices have stayed the same since 2005, it’s about time we saw an increase in cost.

Again, when accounting for inflation, a $59.99 game in 2005 would cost nearly $80 in today’s money, so the $69.99 price isn’t even as high as it ought to be. Considering the meteoric cost to develop AAA games, in conjunction with microtransactions and DLC running rampant, the supposed $70 price could mitigate some of those issues — making games feel much more complete and less “predatory” when it comes to their business practices.

Another big factor to consider is the idea of backward compatibility. At first, many believed the PS5 would be fully backward compatible with PlayStation’s entire library of games — from PS1 to PS4. Though, that idea has mostly been squashed due to the wording of Sony’s marketing for its new system. We do know the PS5 will play PS4 games, but how that process will work still remains to be seen.

Plus, with the idea of upgrades from PS4 games to PS5 games, the notion of backward compatibility starts to get muddy, and leaves lots of questions that need answers. For example, which games will be upgradable? Which PS4 games will be playable on PS5? According to the PlayStation Blog, “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5,” as explained by Sony’s Senior Vice President of Platform Planning Hideaki Nishino. But why the limitation? We’ll likely find out more soon enough.

Other questions are regarding the possibility of cross-generational play. Will PS5 players be able to pair up with PS4 players of the same game? If not, that could severely split the player base. But if so, will those on PS5 have an advantage due to the system’s improvements and power?

With the idea of power and size, we do know the PS5 will support larger games than the PS4 Pro. The PS5 will feature an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, which has the capability of accepting Blu-ray discs of up to 100GB of data. The PS4 Pro includes a standard Blu-ray drive that was outdated even when it released in 2016. You’ll recall that the Xbox One X launched with a 4K Blu-ray drive just a year later.

PS4 Pro vs. PS5 controllers

DualSense controller ps5

The PS4 and PS4 Pro use the DualShock 4, an evolution of Sony’s trusted controller. The Dualshock 4 was relatively similar to the previous PlayStation controllers that came before it, with a few added bells and whistles. But now, the PS5 has dropped the Dualshock branding altogether, in favor of the new DualSense controller. While it still features the same basic button layout from before, the DualSense includes innovative features that aim to change the way we play games — or at least, that’s how it’s being marketed.

One of its highlights is its adaptive triggers, which will offer varying degrees of resistance depending on how far you pull them. This will up the ante in the immersion department and feel unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Additionally, you can expect haptic feedback from the DualSense, replacing the old rumble feature from the DualShock 4. The other new addition comes with the controller’s Create button, which aims to replace the Share button from the DualShock 4. The details of what this button will do differently are unknown, but judging by the name, it should give players more freedom with what they can do when it comes to capturing, editing, and sharing gameplay clips.

And, the most obvious change comes with the DualSense’s physical appearance. Gone is the single solid black color found in the past three iterations of PlayStation controllers. Instead, the DualSense has a bit more heft to it and comes in a mashup of black and white, mirroring the console itself. It will likely come in more colors down the line, much like the DualShock controllers before it.

Again, we don’t know how much these controllers will cost stand-alone, but if their new features are any indication, we could be paying $70-$80 for them. A standard DualShock 4 controller retails for around $59.99 today.

PS4 vs. PS5 editions

Finally, let’s get into the different versions that will be available with the PS5. We covered it briefly above, but yes, there will be two PS5 SKUs: A standard edition and a digital edition. The two models were revealed during the recent PS5 Future of Gaming event, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about them. What we do know is that they look nearly identical. If you look closely at the image above, you can see the slight bump on the standard model on the right, where you’ll be inserting your Blu-ray discs. The model on the left, the all-digital edition, is slightly sleeker, due to its lack of disc drive.

It’s unclear if these two models will launch alongside one another or if they will feature the same internal specs. We can assume so, but Sony has yet to confirm these details. As we covered above, we also don’t know how much either will cost.

There is only one version of the PS4 Pro in terms of specs, though the system itself serves as an iteration on the original PS4. There are, however, multiple editions of the PS4 Pro that feature different designs. We love the Marvel’s Spider-Man edition that features a red PS4 Pro system with the spider logo in the center. Oftentimes, these special-edition consoles come with exclusive controller variants, as well. There are PS4 Pro models for Death Stranding, God of War, Destiny 2, and, most recently, The Last of Us Part II.

Sony hasn’t confirmed if we’ll be getting any special edition PS5 systems, but we think it’s likely we’ll start to see some new colors and variants in the future. If Sony does make special edition PS5 systems, will they be available for both the standard and digital edition? We’ll have to wait to find out.

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