Sony’s PS5 Pro is real and developers are getting ready for it

Sony is getting ready to release a more powerful PS5 console, possibly by the end of this year. After reports of leaked PS5 Pro specifications surfaced recently, The Verge has obtained a full list of specs for the upcoming console. Sources familiar with Sony’s plans tell me that developers are already being asked to ensure their games are compatible with this upcoming console, with a focus on improving ray tracing.

Codenamed Trinity, the PlayStation 5 Pro model will include a more powerful GPU and a slightly faster CPU mode. All of Sony’s changes point to a PS5 Pro that will be far more capable of rendering games with ray tracing enabled or hitting higher resolutions and frame rates in certain titles. Sony appears to be encouraging developers to use graphics features like ray tracing more with the PS5 Pro, with games able to use a “Trinity Enhanced” (PS5 Pro Enhanced) label if they “provide significant enhancements.”

Sony expects GPU rendering on the PS5 Pro to be “about 45 percent faster than standard PlayStation 5,” according to documents outlining the upcoming console. The PS5 Pro GPU will be larger and use faster system memory to help improve ray tracing in games. Sony is also using a “more powerful ray tracing architecture” in the PS5 Pro, where the speed here is up to three times better than the regular PS5.

“Trinity is a high-end version of PlayStation 5,” reads one document, with Sony indicating it will continue to sell the standard PS5 after this new model launches. Sony is expecting game developers to have a single package that will support both the PS5 and PS5 Pro consoles, with existing games able to be patched for higher performance.

I understand developers are able to order test kits right now and that Sony is expecting every game submitted to certification in August to be compatible with the PS5 Pro. Insider Gaming first reported the full PS5 Pro specs and indicated the console is set to release during the 2024 holiday period.

While Sony is improving the GPU side of the PS5 Pro, the CPU will be the same as the standard PS5 but with a new mode that clocks it higher. “Trinity has a mode that targets 3.85GHz CPU frequency,” says Sony in a document to developers. That’s around 10 percent more than the regular PS5. Sony will offer developers the ability to pick between a “standard mode” at 3.5GHz or the “high CPU frequency mode” at 3.85GHz.

The standard mode operates just like a regular PS5, where a certain amount of power is allocated to the CPU — it runs at 3.5GHz if the power budget allows for it or lower frequencies if the PS5 is performing “power-intensive operations.” Sony says these lower frequencies are rare and that unused power on the CPU side is sent to the GPU.

In this new high CPU frequency mode for the PS5 Pro, more power is allocated to the CPU, which means slightly less to the GPU. The GPU is downclocked by around 1.5 percent in this mode, which results in “roughly 1 percent lower performance,” according to Sony.

The PS5 Pro will also have some changes to system memory for developers. The standard PS5 memory runs at 448GB/s, but Sony is bumping this up by 28 percent to 576GB/s on the PS5 Pro. As the memory system is more efficient on the PS5 Pro, “the bandwidth gain may exceed 28 percent,” says Sony.

Developers will also get more access to overall system memory. Games can use an additional 1.2GB of system memory on the PS5 Pro, so that’s 13.7GB overall compared to the 12.5GB allocated to games on the base PS5.

The increase in memory speed and allocations “may be useful” for Sony’s new PlayStation Spectral Super Resolution (PSSR) support. This is essentially Sony’s upscaling answer to Nvidia’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR to improve frame rates and image quality on PlayStation. Sony has built a “custom architecture for machine learning” on the PS5 Pro, which supports 300TOPS of 8-bit computation.

This new architecture supports Sony’s custom PSSR upscaling solution, which is designed to replace a game’s existing temporal anti-aliasing or upsampling implementation. Sony notes that “inputs are quite similar to DLSS or FSR” and that full HDR support is included. This support requires around 250MB of memory, which is why the memory allocations on the PS5 Pro should help here. Sony says there is around 2ms of latency involved in upscaling a 1080p image to 4K and that the company is working to support resolutions up to 8K and even improve the latency in the future.

If developers are able to get their games ready in time, I fully expect to see a PS5 Pro launch this holiday season. Sony appears to be following the same playbook as the PS4, with a “Slim” PS5 model and then a Pro edition. I’m expecting to see an “enhanced” library of existing games for the PS5 Pro launch and new first-party games arriving over time with improved ray-tracing support for this new console.


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