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What's the point in PS5 Pro if I can't play GTA 6 in 60 fps on it?

 GTA 6.
GTA 6.

Rumors surrounding the PS5 Pro continue pouring in. Gaming insiders claim Sony will release the rumored successor to the PS5 as early as September 2024, offering improved performance and graphical capabilities. Given the purported specs, Sony’s alleged new console could make playing the best PS5 games even better. However, it might be wise to temper our expectations.

Reports claim the PS5 Pro’s CPU will remain identical to the PS5. The main difference is that the CPU will feature a “High CPU Frequency Mode” that ramps the clock speed from 3.5GHz to 3.8GHz — a 10% clock boost over the standard PS5.

On the March 19 episode of DF Direct (via IGN), Digital Foundy founder Rich Leadbetter said that the PS5 Pro’s CPU could mean that GTA 6 might only run at 30 frames per second (fps) on PS5 Pro if it runs at 30fps on the vanilla PS5. Leadbetter emphasized that no GTA game has launched with 60fps… at least not on home consoles.

“Unless there’s some magical CPU stuff being done by Rockstar,” said Leadbetter, “I suggest that’s not going to happen. An extra 10 percent on clock isn’t really going to do much at all. It will help your, sort of, worst possible frame rates when you’re CPU-limited, but it’s not a game changer. I think that’s pretty clear.”

All of this is conjecture based on alleged PS5 Pro leaks. That said, there are various sources (including Digital Foundry) who believe the leaks are accurate. Supposing that’s the case, PS5 Pro might offer a modest performance boost over PS5. Perhaps GTA 6 will sport better ray tracing or other graphical enhancements on PS5 Pro, but overall performance could be on a par with the base PS5 version. If true, then it makes me question the reason to get a PS5 Pro at all.

A cause for hope

Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Marvel's Spider-Man 2

I’ve mostly been disappointed with this console generation thanks to an overabundance of cross-gen titles (games on both PS4 and PS5) and remakes. Aside from a few titles like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (both from Insomniac Games), there have been few games that scream next-gen to me. Even exceptional titles like Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Final Fantasy XVI are best played at 30fps due to how choppy they run in performance mode. Tech-wise and game-wise, this console generation hasn’t been the greatest.

That’s why I was initially stoked when I saw the alleged PS5 Pro leaks. Sources such as Moore’s Law is Dead, Insider Gaming, IGN and Digital Foundry all claim or have corroborated that the PS5 Pro could boast 67 teraflops of compute power equating to 33.5 teraflops of “Floating Point” performance in real-world gameplay terms over the PS5’s 10.28 teraflops.

a concept image of the PS5 Pro by Mark Illing
a concept image of the PS5 Pro by Mark Illing

However, as The Verge notes, comparing teraflops isn’t straightforward due to changes in AMD’s RNDA architecture (PS5 Pro’s GPU is reportedly built on RDNA 3 architecture vs the PS5’s RDNA 2 GPU). A closer comparison would be the PS5’s 10.28 teraflops to around 17 teraflops.

Other rumored specs include audio improvements (as much as a 35% uptick to the console’s Audio Compression Manager), 45% faster rendering speed and a huge boost to ray tracing performance. The PS5 Pro could also have frame-boosting tech dubbed PlayStation Spectral Super Resolution. “PSSR” supposedly operates like DLSS and AMD’s FSR tech, with the bonus that it should support High Dynamic Range (HDR) to produce high-resolution games that sport far more vivid colors than standard SDR.

These reported leaks should theoretically deliver higher frame rates and better graphical effects over PS5, if utilized correctly. However, if Digital Foundry’s assessment is correct (provided the PS5 Pro is real), we might not see the type of performance boosts we wanted.

Tempered expectations

It’s been over a month since I wrote an article discussing 3 features that will make the upgrade to PS5 Pro totally worth it. The features in question were stronger performance, titles that better utilized the hardware, and a slimmer design. The reported leaks haven’t said much (or anything) about the last two, but if Digital Foundry’s analysis proves true, then the system’s performance might not be all that significant.

If Grand Theft Auto 6 and other titles don’t run any better on PS5 Pro than on the base PS5, then I’m going to temper my (already waning) enthusiasm for Sony’s rumored console. Hopefully, this supposed “PSSR” can work wonders like Nvidia DLSS and help boost frame rates. But we’ll see if that’s true if and when the PS5 Pro materializes.

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