The PlayStation Neo is set to release later this year and will feature much more powerful hardware than that of the regular PlayStation 4; the new console is supposedly able to run movies, TV, and graphics in total 4k resolution as well as being made with the upcoming PlayStation VR in mind.
PlayStation Neo to deliver?
We are still months away from the release of the Neo and as of the time of writing, with a marketing black-out from Sony, it’s still unclear what the official purpose actually is for this faster, more powerful console. The only details we have on the console are leaked developer guidelines, which, among other things, demand cross-functionality with the existing PlayStation 4.
Beyond that, Sony’s recommendations to developers are surprisingly open-ended. All Neo games must render at 1080p or higher at the same performance level, or better. Apart from these requirements, however, developers seem to have the choice in what they want to do with a mooted 2.3x boost to GPU power.
With these questions in mind, one can only wonder: How much of a generational leap does the PlayStation Neo actually represent? According to the leaked documents, Sony’s focus seems to be heavily on supporting 4k televisions, but to what extent is this really possible with the GPU power that the Neo will have? In order to get a better idea as to what the new GPU is actually capable of, Eurogamer decided to build their own “PlayStation Neo” and put it to the test.
Testing the “Neo” with a PC
While this seems a little farfetched, it was in fact quite simple to set up. According to the leaked specifications, the PlayStation Neo is a match for the latest AMD graphics core, which is codenamed “Polaris,” which was released to the public in desktop GPU form as the Radeon RX 480. The testers, using a PC, were then able to leverage out clock speeds that mimicked the internal specs of those of the Neo specified in the leaked documents.
Unfortunately, the results of the testing have shown themselves to be a bit underwhelming, at least in regards to the processing power needed for a full 4k gaming experience. The Eurogamer article goes into much more technical detail, but, essentially, the Neo simply will not be capable of handling the native 4k resolution and graphics that serious console games will no doubt release.
Basically, the PlayStation Neo, if it does ship with the specifications used, will have to be used at a 1440p resolution whilst gaming if one wants a stable and reasonably high frame rate and smooth, though slightly hazy, gameplay on a 4k UHD television. Alternatively, gamers can simply use the PlayStation Neo for some incredibly fast and smooth Full HD 1080p gaming.
While playing games at 1080p, the PlayStation Neo (rather, its simulation) performed swimmingly at reproducing games without frame locks or upscaling such as those found with the regular PlayStation 4.
Neo not up to snuff
In conclusion, at least according to the simulation, the Neo, while it will certainly be solid competition for the upcoming Xbox One S, will not be a serious competitor when compared to Microsoft’s powerful new “Project Scorpio” 4k gaming console, which is expected to release sometime at the end of next year.
There’s both good and bad to take away from this study. The PlayStation 4 Neo is indeed a high-spec PS4, but, in the end, it may not offer a world of difference from the standard model. While these tests may not be completely accurate as the leaked specifications may not be correct, it is certainly an interesting experiment which could help gamers decide if the Neo is indeed worth the upgrade price.
The console is expected to ship later this year, and Sony will most likely be releasing further details on the console very soon.