An upgraded version of Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming console featuring added hardware horsepower and optional 4K image output is expected to launch within the next year, multiple sources confirmed with Giant Bomb this week.
The yet-to-be-announced upgrade boasts a faster CPU and GPU compared to current PlayStation 4 hardware, optionally boosting in-game performance.
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According to Giant Bomb’s sources, the upcoming PlayStation 4 hardware revision, codenamed “NEO,” includes a CPU running 8 Jaguar Cores at 2.1 GHz. The current PlayStation 4 model features 8 Jaguar Cores running at 1.5 GHz.
The platform’s AMD GCN GPU will also see a significant upgrade, allowing developers to take advantage of 36 simultaneous CUs (Compute Units) running at 911 MHz, compared to the current PS4’s cap of 18 CUs running at 800 MHz.
While both current and future models of the PS4 will include 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, memory bandwidth for the NEO model will see a jump from 176GB per second to 218GB per second. TechPowerUp reports that the NEO’s rumored hardware specs are very similar to AMD’s Polaris architecture.
Sony is reportedly taking measures to ensure that the hardware upgrade does not split its userbase. Following NEO’s launch, supported games will offer a “Base Mode” for existing PlayStation 4 consoles in addition to a “NEO Mode” that takes advantage of CPU and GPU upgrades.
Games running in NEO Mode can optionally output video at 4K/UltraHD resolutions, but a bump in resolution is not a requirement for developers. According to Giant Bomb’s sources, however, games that take advantage of NEO Mode must feature an equivalent or improved framerate compared to Base Mode performance.
Giant Bomb additionally confirms that upcoming PlayStation 4 games will not be allowed to use NEO Mode exclusively, and must offer a Base Mode option for the platform’s existing customer base. Sony’s rumored developer guidelines also prohibit PS4 game makers from including gameplay modes and features that require NEO hardware to function.
A launch date for Sony’s upgraded PlayStation 4 hardware is not yet known.