PS5 Pro: what do we expect from mid-gen Sony

PS5 Pro: what do we expect from mid-gen Sony
While Sony is seeing staggering figures with the launch of the PS5, they are already laying the groundwork for the next game machine in their R&D centers. As it was logical to expect after the launch of Playstation 4 Pro, even in this ninth generation of consoles we will probably see an enhanced model of the basic version coming in a few years. Although the Playstation 5 has a computational power and a hardware in general respectable, it struggles already at launch to guarantee high performance with 4K resolution, 60 frames per second and active ray-tracing. There is therefore still much room for improvement in the future to ensure the best gaming experience via a simple living room console. With this in mind, a new patent was recently filed, which provides for the use of a double calculation unit within the hypothetical Playstation 5 Pro. Similar to what happens in the PC world with SLI technology, Sony intends to simply insert two Playstation 5 chips in its enhanced version of the console. What would be the advantages if it were to adopt this type of solution? How would consumption and heat dissipation be managed? What could be the price of a console with a dual compute unit? Let's try to answer these questions, putting ourselves in the shoes of Sony engineers with this new patent available.

Double computing power

The Playstation 5 chip is equipped with an AMD Ryzen CPU with 8 Cores flanked by a 10.3 TFLOPS AMD Radeon RNDA GPU. A very respectable hardware for a console sold starting from 400 €. Unfortunately, however, as we saw in the first benchmarks on launch titles, this computing power cannot guarantee the reproduction of video games with 4K resolution, 60 frames and active ray tracing simultaneously. In fact, in most titles you have to sacrifice one of these three parameters, choosing between playback in "performance" mode (with 60 frames per second), or one based on quality (with ray tracing and 4K, but without 60 FPS). Spiderman Miles Morales for example offers truly breathtaking graphics in 4K and with active ray tracing, but playing it at 60 frames per second greatly improves the experience and interaction with the software. Since the launch of Playstation 5 it could be said that there is a need for greater computing power. Maybe many gamers do not pay attention to these details, but some certainly may turn up their noses for having to give up particular visual effects already at the beginning of the generation.

Thanks to the new patent filed by Sony, this greater power could arrive very soon with a Playstation 5 Pro. Mark Cerny in addition to having directed the development of the hardware in a very intelligent way, balancing well the power offered with the cost of production and ease of development, would also pay attention to scalability. Through the previously mentioned patent, Sony could in fact integrate on the same motherboard of the console, two computing units to simply double the power. It would seem a simple and easy thing to implement, but the hardware must be designed for this type of integration in order to reap the real benefits. If Sony really had this technology available on Playstation 5, it would be able to significantly reduce the development costs of the hypothetical Pro version. It would be enough to produce twice as many chips and then fix them on a new motherboard capable of hosting two computing units, without having to redesign the entire CPU and GPU part in order to obtain greater performance.

4K, Ray Tracing and 60 FPS

Having double the computing power undoubtedly brings numerous benefits. Finally, the technical standard of all video games would become 4K resolution with ray tracing and 60 frames per second, something that was already expected from current gaming machines. Many titles could also aim for an 8K resolution for supported TVs and monitors, perhaps with some compromise, or offer 120 FPS using dynamic 4K. The implementation cost for this power would be very low, so Sony may decide to invest the resources available to improve other components of the console. For example, an SSD with a larger capacity, perhaps even reaching 2 TB of internal space. This would trivially allow us to have more space available for our game library, but also to implement functions such as Microsoft's "Quick Resume". The function present on Xbox Series X / S in fact saves the data present in the RAM memory in the SSD, in order to restore them quickly and bring us back exactly to the point where we had suspended the game. The "Quick Resume" undoubtedly takes up additional memory, something that is very scarce with the Playstation 5 and its 664 GB of effective space made available to the user.

One of the biggest problems in the design phase of Playstation 5, at least according to the various statements, it was the dissipation of heat. Sony has managed to implement a good ventilation system, keeping the console noise low. The price to pay, however, can be seen in the rather generous design of Playstation 5. By implementing two compute units in the hypothetical Pro version, Sony should also rethink a good heat dissipation system, trying at least to maintain the same dimensions as the body. Finally, assuming that Sony only implements a double computing unit, maintaining the same design, the same SSD and the same internal components, it could still gain an advantage in terms of price. The goal would be to launch a Playstation 5 Pro with the same prices as the current models, thus reducing the price of the latter to approach the € 300 figure set by Microsoft for the Xbox Series S.

Playstation VR 2

Sony has always supported virtual reality technology since the launch of its first headset dedicated to Playstation 4. The Playstation VR is currently already compatible with the next generation console, albeit with a few minor headaches. For some time, there have also been rumors of the arrival of a new augmented reality viewer, entirely dedicated to Playstation 5. Sony has already filed several patents that confirm its intention to significantly improve the technology to offer a product up to the competition. in the world of PC gaming. Sony's goal will always be to bring to the market a device with the right ratio in terms of price quality, which directly exploits the computing power of the console to guarantee an excellent gaming experience.

Precisely for this reason the additional computing power due to a double CPU and GPU could represent the real turning point for VR technology. With the new hardware, a refresh rate of 120 frames per second would be easily reached for each display screen, in order to minimize "motion sickness". In the same way, the graphic detail can be pushed more to enjoy the same technical experience of a "traditional" game. Obviously, owners of the current Playstation 5 will also be able to use VR, but perhaps with some more limitations.

Cloud gaming

The potential benefits due to this new Sony patent could also be linked to the cloud gaming. Locally, the new Playstation 5 Pro, having more computing power, could become a perfect machine for streaming video games. The additional power would be exploited to better manage the transmission of the video signal and the synchronization of commands in our local network or even outside. In this way we will be able to access our Playstation 5 even on the move with our smartphone or computer to be able to play the titles as if we were directly connected to a Playstation Now server, therefore with a much higher quality and stability. Everything will always depend on the quality of our home connection, but greater computing power also serves to optimize transmission with the right compression of the video and audio signal.

In the same way Sony could easily improve the server infrastructure dedicated to cloud gaming, thanks to the scalability of this new technology. In the future the Playstation Now servers could host the Playstation 5 hardware with the opportunity to upgrade thanks to the addition of additional chips working in parallel. Using the same hardware for both consoles and their server counterparts would ensure perfect software compatibility, without further developer intervention.

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