Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

Sony introduced PS4 Pro at the beginning of september, and from november 10 it will actually be available. This mid-generation upgrade’ will be in the market in addition to the PS4, which recently in a substantially more compact version and for a lower price point became available. The ‘old’ PS4 now costs 299 euro, the PS4 Pro will be 399 euros is going to cost you.

Typically, we pay but little attention to the world of video game consoles but for the PS4 Pro we made like an exception. This console has what concerns us two interesting claims to fame: 4K gaming and HDR, both made possible by an allegedly considerably faster GPU than the one in the first version of the PS4. This is based on AMD’s Polaris architecture, which we of course know of the RX480, RX470 and RX460 video cards. In terms of performance, the PS4 Pro GPU and 4.2 teraflops each, significantly more than the 1,84 tflops of the PS4 and something less than the 4,9 of the RX470.

One of the features of Polaris, where AMD with the introduction, of course, quite a few highlighted was the possibility of HDR images to process and deliver it to the display. Where we in the PC world yet to notice had to assume (in the absence of HDR monitors), it has big implications for how games look on the PS4 Pro.

In addition, we were curious about the 4K gaming claims of the PS4 Pro. Do you want 4K gaming on a PC, then you have a solid video card – a GTX 1070 or RX480 are actually the minimum, and that his video card with a price at which you either largely, or almost a complete PS4 Pro can buy. Even if you have all the ifs and buts of the pc vs console debate takes, it will be interesting to see what the ‘4K experience’ the PS4 Pro can offer.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

The event where we were focused is actually entirely on the experience of the games, and almost not on the technical details – we have a lot of representatives of the studio’s voice, but really deep, they could not unfortunately. So, this is a topic where we later on want to come back. We love it here in our own, subjective, impressions, and the sparse information we do have could get.

It was in any case remarkable that the additional time investment that gamestudio’s do to the extra features and processing power of the PS4 Pro use, limited seems to be. Sony wants to anyway that all of the titles from its own studios in 2017 on the market extra pomp and circumstance on the more powerful console, but it seems that a lot of other developers, the opportunities are not unused, will not be.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro is a significantly larger console than the slimmed down PS4. When you approach the measure of his 30×5,5×33 cm. Just like the PS4, it features a 8-core AMD ‘Jaguar’ processor (running at 2.1 instead of 1.6 GHz), but the GPU is a lot more powerful. Speculation online talks about almost twice as many shader cores, but because it is a different architecture, a direct comparison is difficult to make the speed according to Sony’s 4.2 tflops more than twice as high as the 1,84 tflops of the first PS4. CPU and GPU can make use of 8GB of GDDR5, the same as in the PS4 but with a bandwidth of 218 Gbps instead of 176 Gbps. Also includes the PS4 Pro a gigabyte of extra DDR3 memory for non-gaming related applications, thereby effectively about 512MB of memory of the GDDR5 will be released for games.

Sony provides the PS4 Pro including a 1TB hard drive and a Blu-ray drive. In terms of connectivity, you can have gigabit ethernet, 802.11 ac wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 3x USB 3.1 and an aux jack. It is also an optical audio output. The HDMI output can be 4K, and HDR output, and so will be HDMI 2.0 compatible. Now, it is not known whether the signal is protected by HDCP 2.2. The claimed consumption of the PS4 Pro is substantially higher than that of the PS4: 310W versus 165W for the PS4 Slim (and 250W with the original PS4).

Of course the PS4 Pro is fully compatible with the PS4 ecosystem, including the Move controller, the PS4 camera and last but not least, the recently introduced PSVR, formerly known as ‘Morpheus’.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

The added value of the Pro versus the standard PS4 for that last application, is unclear. Possible can the Pro HDR display on the OLED screens of the PSVR headset, but it is not in line with expectations that a higher frame rate is possible: the PSVR should anyway at 60 fps turning. Also the resolution can’t be higher, of course. However, there are several improvements conceivable that you, as a PS4 Pro possessor would be able to receive, such as greater draw distance or more shader-intensive effects without the frame rate suffers. The titles that we have tried could one of us here, unfortunately, nothing to tell.

That brings us to the main point of the PS4 Pro: what is the added value and why a mid-generation upgrade? That is a exceptional event. In the words of Sony, it is a matter of responding to the technical possibilities of modern 4K HDR televisions: the company wants the group of demanding gamers, mostly real PlayStation fans, do not wait for a ‘real’ next generation now 4K is becoming commonplace. The existing PS4 (just like the competitor of Microsoft) computing power deficit to 4K gaming. The PS4 Pro solves this issue, without that Sony prematurely, the current generation should be replaced.

The way the company has done is no more elegant. All PS4 titles work on both PS4 if PS4 Pro but on the last and usually in a higher resolution, sometimes with a higher frame rate, sometimes with more graphical effects, HDR the most eye-catching. Because the PS4 Pro focuses on 4K gaming, its crooked faces between PS4 owners and PS4 Pro buyers probably rarely needed: if a game on 60 fps 4K runs on the PS4 Pro, it runs on the PS4 in 60 fps, but in 1080p. Of course the extra detail of 4K display is a tactical advantage, as well as a larger draw distance in some games. Nevertheless, you as a user of a standard PS4 on a full hd tv will not suddenly deprived, to feel: you like access to the same titles, which are there on ‘your’ resolution is also good will see – that is quite a difference in a real transition to a new console generation, where the owners of the ‘old’ platform with heavy eyes should ensure that there is always more for the new, and less for the old device is being developed. Now, it is there in the PS4 Pro not the case.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

PS4 gaming in 4K

There will in the coming months, probably many more discussions to be dedicated to: what is 4K gaming and what not? The PS4 Pro always offers a 4K UHDTV signal at – 3840×2160 pixels. The way in which that is achieved, varies by game and even within a game vary. Just like the full hd display of games on the PS4 (and Xbox One) is always 1920×1080 for the tv to arrive, but internally sometimes at lower resolution were rendered to be opgeschaal, will the 4K signal from the PS4 Pro also quite often partly interpolated. Many titles could or wanted to the representatives present there is nothing about lost, but where that was the case, it emerged that there are quite a few use was made of internal rendering at a lower resolution – as is ‘1800p’ or 3200×1800 still much more detailed than full hd. Many titles make use of a renderingtechniek that one, ” the checkerboard rendering calls, which makes it possible to in spite of the (in comparison with high-end graphics cards) modest specifications with high resolutions at high frame rates can be realized. Very simply put checkerboarding, that is, frames individually rendered at 1920×2160, but by combining this arises from a standstill to a full 4K image while in motion by use of data of the previous frame and the underlying 3D data, an image is created that 4K at least approached (and full hd exceed). There will reportedly also titles are internally rendering at 2160p, but it is the question of whether the difference is going to be like on a normal speelafstand.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

The added value of the additional detail was seen in the titles that we watched. In Infamous: First Light – a title in 2014, which in three weeks would be PS4 Pro support – we could during the play seamlessly switch between PS4 and PS4 Pro mode. People were first of all the much nicer light effects thanks to HDR, but was also the fine detail in objects and opponents in the distance directly visible.

First Light with HDR – our camera, but your monitor are, unfortunately, a limit to the difference transparent

Also Uncharted 4 was the detail that was possible by the high-resolution directly observable. Here fell with rapid movements, however, that the anti-aliasing is not kept, but to be honest, just playing it was not a moment distracting, only for very specific things, as the camera around the main character around to make it run.

The upcoming Watch Dogs 2 – only a few days after the release of the console should come on the market – made the added value of 4K clear at a glance. Both the many detailed textures, of skin to the hundreds of items of clothing that you can collect in the game, as the large draw distance with a lot of detail in distant objects ensure that the game alone, this is a major improvement on the predecessor. PC gamers had that already, of course, in a higher-quality experience, but on the basis of a half an hour of gaming on the PS4 Pro we dare to propose that part 2 of the PC experience of part 1 in high quality easily equals or even overtakes. Also the remaster of The Last of Us looked razor sharp.


Of course, We have already several times written about HDR in the context of modern 4K tvs. For those who have articles missed, a very short summary. So far, the norms and standards that were used for display of images, there was a fairly large degree of compression of the color information. With the latest 4K HDR standards, a much less stringent form of compression is used, making both much more brightness information, if a lot more color information in the signal can be recorded. That makes for images with many more shades of color – including colors in an older display could not be displayed – and a much larger difference between light and dark, again with a lot more nuances. Due to the increase in gradation of brightness remain visible detail in images that, until recently, as a completely white or completely black would be displayed. It is also possible to at the same time, deep black and bright white to reproduce.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR

Crucial in the above paragraph, the phrase can be recorded. 4K HDR televisions are, of course, and happily – backward compatible with older uitzendnormen and beeldstandaarden. That is a good thing, too, because a lot of workflows – such as uitzendstraten in tv studios – are not at all calculated on the larger colorspaces, or dynamics. Even register the cameras a lot more brightness and color information (luminance and chroma, in jargon), then it is still a large part is lost as soon as the editing begins, because the software and equipment to work with compression.

For this reason, the amount of available HDR material at this time is still very small – the online streaming video providers, which are relatively recent in equipment investment and in addition a large customer base to want to bind, make the most of the productions. For HDR you need is currently on Netflix and Amazon, and some experiments on YouTube.

Sony brings the PS4 Pro and Polaris-based GPU a new source of HDR to buyers of a luxury, modern 4K tv. Titles such as the upcoming GT Sports are a great way to the possibilities of the new purchase to show and vice versa, they will truly come to their right on such a television. Moreover, Microsoft introduction of the Xbox One’s also HDR support announced; here, however, it is primary to HDR in video display of streaming services and UHD Blu-ray. A small number of titles with HDR is also mentioned, which Gears of War 4 be the first on the market would be. We have the HDR implementation on the Xbox has not yet seen, but in games the how to full hd HDR geüpscaled to 4K.

Annoying for us is that it is difficult with photos the difference between regular view and HDR display to show, because most of the digital cameras on this field, their limitations – and that goes also for the Rec.709/sRGB display standaardmonitoren and video cards. In this article, we have tried to image that the difference is somewhat transparent, but 100% is representative of the not – in practice, see HDR clearly better.


The introduction of the PS4 Pro is for the pc gamer especially interesting because for the first time, is that we HDR really in action can be seen in games. About the added value we can be brief: just like the movies, which may be even bigger than the higher resolution of 4K. The combination of the greater dynamic range and larger color space make for a much better experience, whether it be the realism of a driving sim as GT is, or the immersive environment of games as Horizon: Zero Dawn. For pc gamers the wait is on hdr displays, that we do not actually for the second half of 2017 expect. The question is whether pc titles than fast hdr will provide – may be faster in games for the PS4 Pro are optimized.

Of gaming in 4K on the PS4 Pro will the average pc gamer a little less impressed. Not only is that already a while as possible, with a powerful pc, also is there to discuss about how the 4K Sony compares to a powerful gaming pc. Moreover, we find that it is mostly an academic discussion, because it is but the question of whether the difference would be between “real” 4K, and Sony’s checkerboardtechniek. Probably see the most people only if they are on top of the tv, sit down and look at specific parts of the image with rapid movements. Not really how you usually play a game.

For avid gamers it seems the PS4 Pro as yet no more a huge improvement from the original console, compatibility with all existing (700) PS4 titles reserves, while a growing number of them are by means of a patch or direct to appear a lot more beautiful. Sure who already have a ultra hd tv set, or purchase them in the near future considering the Pro version to choose: the higher price compared to the standard ‘slim’ version, he is on the basis of what we already have seen without more worth. An important point here we should mention: the HDR effects of the PS4 really is good to experience, also you have really a 4K HDR tv is needed. On a device with a maximum brightness of 350 nits, there remains virtually nothing about HDR, while from about 700 nits are very clear differences. Televisions that have the required brightness to be able to deliver are generally significantly more expensive than models that only according to the label HDR-compatible. For Sony, this is potentially a challenge, because we can imagine that a buyer with a less luxurious 4K tv are cheated feel; on the other hand, the PS4 Pro still offers plenty of other aspects to its higher price to justify.

We hope in the short term itself with a PS4 Pro to get started, and in more detail to be able to tell about the performance and image quality of the games. At the moment, we are impressed with the performance that Sony, with a device of 399 euros know to put down, especially because the time it will take to honor developers this can take full advantage of.

Sony PS4 Pro gaming impressions: added value of HDR was last modified: November 6th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby