Home / Opinions / Forget 4K Blu-ray, as a die-hard PC gamer I'm hugely impressed by the PS4 Pro

Forget 4K Blu-ray, as a die-hard PC gamer I'm hugely impressed by the PS4 Pro


OPINION Did Sony just upset the PC gaming crowd with the launch of its PS4 Pro? PC gaming fan Michael Passingham explores the first-ever '4K' gaming console.

Amidst a sea of well-targeted negativity surrounding Sony’s omission of an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, a seriously impressive technical achievement seems to have been lost: Sony has produced the first games console in history to output games at a resolution greater than Full HD, which steers it into territory that only custom-built gaming PCs costing in excess of £500 have been able to achieve.

In our Best Gaming PC spec guide, resident custom builder Ed Chester managed to construct this PC for around £500. Granted, it's slightly more powerful and has loads more storage, but if you're playing on a TV a few feet away, you can spend a lot less on a PS4 Pro and get (possibly) a very similar experience.


The £500 gaming PC:

CPU: Intel Pentium G4400 – £54 at Overclockers.co.uk | $60 at Amazon.com

Motherboard: ASRock H170A-X1 – £73 at Scan.co.uk | $73.99 at Amazon.com

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB 2400MHz, 2 x 4GB – £36 at Ebuyer.com | $44 at Amazon.com

Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB – £209 at Ebuyer.com | $249 at Newegg.com

SSD: 120GB Kingston SSDNow V300£39 at Amazon.co.uk | $43 at Amazon.com

HDD: WD Blue 1TB – £39 at Amazon.co.uk | $49 at Amazon.com

Power Supply: Corsair VS450 – £33 at Amazon.co.uk | $58 at Amazon.com

Case: BitFenix Nova – £26 at Overclockers UK | $40 at Amazon.com

Cooler: Included with CPU

Windows 10: £75


And that's before we get into buying a controller.

As a die-hard fan of PC gaming, I have to admit I'm impressed with what Sony has done. It has produced the most powerful console available today for a much lower price than many would have imagined.

There are several ingredients to this success. First is AMD’s Polaris architecture. The fruits of this labour can be seen in the company’s Radeon RX 480 graphics card that retails for under £200 in its 4GB guise. It’s a card that’s capable of smooth Full HD (1080p) gaming at Ultra settings on PC and good 1440p performance at Ultra, too.RX 480 ReviewAMD's RX 480 was a game-changer when it arrived earlier this year

The addition of Polaris-based hardware to the PS4 Pro has given the console mid-range gaming PC levels of performance in terms of raw, brute-force power. In fact, the chip inside is exactly the same as the one in the RX 480 (albeit at a slightly slower clock speed), which is a great sign.

This in itself is impressive, but it’s actually some software wizardry from both Sony and AMD that has allowed the graphics chip to perform far beyond its specifications would suggest. Indeed, without this new technology, there’s no way the PS4 Pro would be able to get even close to the visual fidelity that’s been claimed.

Related: PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S

What have they done? For 4K upscaling, the prevailing theory is that the PS4 Pro renders double the number of pixels to Full HD (around 2,688 x 1,512 according to Digital Foundry) and then uses advanced upscaling technology to delicately massage it up to 4K resolution.

This is done by using clever anti-aliasing algorithms that take an intelligent look at a set of pixels and decide how to upscale them. The result? Sharper-looking transitions between objects, more detailed images and none of that horrible, blurry softness you get with the most basic upscaling tech.

This means the GPU only has to render double the number of pixels to Full HD instead of six times for 4K. That makes a huge difference to performance.

It’s never going to be as good as true 4K, but the promise is that many games will be able to run at the crucial 60fps at this upscaled resolution, which is unheard of for a GPU of this calibre. If developers are actually able to make this happen, this is a huge deal.

Watch PS4 Pro: Everything you need to know

This house of cards is held up over the assumption that the player is plugging the PS4 Pro into a TV that’s a few feet away from them. The closer you get, the more obvious this anti-aliasing will appear. If you game on a TV that’s, say, 10 feet away, it’ll be a lot harder to see the slightly softer image created through this anti-aliasing tech. If you play on a monitor that’s on your desk, mere inches away, you might be disappointed. Until someone on the Trusted team has seen it with their own eyes, this is purely speculation.

Don’t have a 4K TV? Don’t fret: the PS4 Pro could still be for you. The suggestion is that PS4 Pro owners will be able to play games at higher graphical settings if their console is hooked up to a Full HD TV. If this turns out to be a seamless experience, this could be a very tempting upgrade path for current PS4 owners who don’t yet have the cash to buy a 4K TV.

Bottom line: getting this sort of performance on a compact living room PC for £349 is impossible right now. While I am disappointed Sony hasn’t bothered to include an SSD instead of a clunky old mechanical hard disk, it’s an impressive piece of kit.Xbox Scorpio 2The Xbox Scorpio could still be a threat

Of course, you can’t write a piece like this without acknowledging the Xbox Scorpio. We know that it’ll be around 50% more powerful than the PS4 Pro when it launches at the end of next year, which is certainly not to be sniffed at. But without a price or any further details, it’s entirely up to buyers as to whether they’ll wait a year or buy a PS4 Pro right now.

Custom PC builders need not fear: there are still enormous advantages to building your own PC, not least the ability to upgrade the graphics card every two or three years when gaming technology advances. That, and the fact actually buying PC games is a lot cheaper in the long run. The so-called 'PC Master Race' probably isn’t worried, but everybody else looking for higher quality graphics on consoles should be delighted.

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Do you agree with Michael? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.


September 10, 2016, 1:52 am

To be honest as a PC gamer I wasn't really that impressed with PS4 Pro, it's made the PC seem more appealing and cheaper, also I think they should've focused on 1080p 60fps upscale to 4k and not try to do native 4k because the power isn't there, it could also backfire for Sony because they keep going on about 4k this 4k that and many console gamers are going to think it's 4k native when hardly any games will be, many might end up feeling conned over time.

Also, anyone thats got a half decent rigs will think it's not worth getting the PS4 Pro when they can plop in a better gpu in the PC for less money, and with no online sub, cheaper games and DX12 and Vulkan that will likely make PC gaming even cheaper and more powerful in the long run, I have to wonder why Sony would try to compete with the PC because they can't win that unless they are willing to bump up the price a lot and even then it's unlikely.


September 10, 2016, 5:17 am

Not impressed. This is just clearly a path to satisfy the console crowd from abandoning the PS(console) ecosystem for more raw performance elsewhere.

Couple points to clear out;
- There isn't much to support this being a underclock RX480 <--To early to call it out.
- $400-500 "gaming" computers are mostly 1st timers getting their feet wet (entry-level market, nothing to worry about)
- Playstation always had the lower-level GNM api, PC now has Vulkan(Thanks AMD ;)

The console space was in need of a faster hardware release change to satisfy the market. So seems the incremental hardware updates are here to stay. Every 4 years expect a new "incremental" hardware release of the previous console.

This can be good for the console crowd but still pales in comparison to what the PC enjoys. IMO, this just shows how desperate and fragile the console space is. Hopefully Nintendo continues in their own path.


September 10, 2016, 11:10 am

This Pc vs Console debate is quite frankly, boring...and yet, amusing at the same time. Your bias is clear, which is your prerogative of course. But, I'd suggest your lack of perspective and tediously dismissive attitude towards individuals (not a crowd) who chose a platform you don't, simply perpetuates the negative stereotype that gamers and their pursuits are childish.
You presumably enjoy your chosen hardware, good for you...To each their own.

Sun Streaker

September 10, 2016, 1:43 pm

If it is to each their own, then why not leave him to it?, why take the high horse?.


September 10, 2016, 4:25 pm

There isn't a debate of which is the superior platform in my eyes, to each their own. Something you fail to realize, and where am I displaying a "dismissive" attitude? Just because I wasn't impressed?

There is no entitlement when someone simply points out the facts in this sudden, major change from the console space. Recount the last 10 years of what was stated by console titans themselves; console, lasts more than 5 years without ever needing to upgrade, game visuals/performance is the same for all on the same game per console, just plug-in-play, never needing higher visuals/FPS to play a great game, etc...

It's simply that the traditional console lifestyle has changed drastically from what it once was. -Do I think that's bad? No. -Do I hate consoles? No. -Do I bring false information to slander the author or console fans? No.

It was painfully obvious the PS4 Pro was meant as an alternative against the PC from the get go. Here's a quote where Sony boss speaks to Guardian:

- Regarding the PlayStation 4 Pro, he suggested the Xbox wasn’t even being considered its main competition. Rather, it was the PC. “I saw some data that really influenced me,” he said. “It suggested that there’s a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had. We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro – and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement.”


September 10, 2016, 6:30 pm

Game are rendering at 1440p and then upscaled to 4k with some anti aliasing algorithm.I think only games will look nice will be playstation exclusive titles like God of wars etc. rest of the 3rd party title will just upscaled version and will get worse as the console life cycle degrades.
If on a budget it is a better option.


September 10, 2016, 9:22 pm

To each their own...opinion. My opinion is, terms like 'desperate and fragile', and 'pales in comparison' hide a thinly veiled PC master race snobbery. I don't have to prove my point, or even qualify what I write, the same as Fleetwood doesn't. Is that okay with you? :-)

Sun Streaker

September 11, 2016, 9:11 am

But you don't need to prove and yet you somehow call yourself right in this situation and he doesn't have to prove either and yet he's somehow wrong?.

I believe you're twisting this to benefit your own side rather than admitting that you took the high horse the moment you entered the stable.

Also "pales in comparison" isn't a negative way to describe something. You could have a scientist tell you that our planet pales in comparison to the sun in terms of size, energy etc and you shouldn't *choose* to feel offended, same goes for fragile.

The smiley face at the end tells me that you're not really taking this in stride and that you're eventually going to crack down with witty retorts, I hope to god I'm wrong and that you don't go down that path, because that's what a good chunk of random folks end up going with on the net.


September 11, 2016, 11:57 am

The smiley face was my attempt to calm you down, as you seem quite angry for some reason, and you've taken this all very personally and seriously. You hope to God you're wrong about what I write, and how...really?
Hopefully this reply fits in with your expectations and how you'd hoped to control, or stifle conversation...I have no wish to cause you more anxiety, so I'll leave you to the self-aggrandizing weirdness. All the best :-)


September 11, 2016, 12:02 pm

The second some one says forget 4k Blu Rays I know they are full of crap and cant be trusted.

I am a gamer. I dont like gaming on PC but understand why some do and am not opposed to some of the benefits PC gamers get like better performance and graphics in my games.

But.... I am also an entertainment consumer. As the TV and tech get bigger and better I grow with them. Not at audiophile or videophile levels but when HD became a thing I bought a 32in 720p, then later 2 plasmas 42 and 50in 1080p tvs over the last 8 years. 4k is the new thing about 4 months ago I bought a 55in 4k tv....... soon to buy a 55-70in 4k tv because the sales rep didnt tell me anything about HDR.

Now.... with that said I want some real 4k content for my current and future TV. I play X1 games and they look great to me..... sure they can probably look better but Halo 5 looks awesome, and I am sure Gears 4 will too. I could get a Ps4 Pro and get a decent I guess bump in some games and that would be nice but it would not be using my 4k tv to its fullest. Now I have an Xbox One and am looking at a One S..... sure the game will not be as nice looking as the Ps4 Pro but my movies will with the 4k Blu Ray player. Right now that is the only device that will make having a 4k TV really worth it...... I am going to try and hold out for the Scorpio but it gets hard. Ps4 Pro can still sell me if PsVR proves to be worthwhile.

Sun Streaker

September 11, 2016, 12:14 pm

I'm actually quite relaxed at the time of writing that reply as well as the others, so no need to worry that much there.

At last you have gone with the self fulfilling prophecy of the internet.

Bob Sacamanto

September 11, 2016, 1:07 pm

The PS4 Pro is a lot of things, like UGLY, UNDERWHELMING, made of the CHEAP plastic and so on, but one thing it is not, and that is hugely impressive. Anyone who says it is, is either heavily influenced by Sony marketing, or a complete diehard Sony fanboy and by extension lacking in credibility.


September 11, 2016, 1:21 pm

Frankly it is odd that sony isn't including 4k blu ray playback. In my case, I wasn't going to upgrade my 50+blu ray collection to 4k anyway. I just wanted to play ps4 exclusives and upscale my movies which ps4pro does ( I think?). If anything this actually got me thinking to purchase a 4k hdr tv so I can enjoy upscaled movies and upscaled ps4 titles. Yeah its not real 4k and I'm ok with this since I already have a gaming PC capable of native 1440p.


September 11, 2016, 1:30 pm

Yeah, so save that money on the gimped experience you will get and spend that on a capable TV!? It's only going to be like $1200 to get a decent one, so I guess the goes your cheap console price for half the experience.

And BTW streaming is no where near the capable quality of a physical disc, so the quality all around is a joke.


September 11, 2016, 1:38 pm

Came here just for the title of the article.... Because it is onlyclick bait. First off it is a lie and the author is lying because one will have to have a capable TV in order to take advantage of the PS4 PRO's feature set. Go ahead and look at all the video comparisons online.....they ALL say that one needs a 4K HDR capable screen in order to "actually see the difference.....!!" That is just watching a video on YouTube, but I guess the experience is going to change once you are sitting in front of your eight year old 1080p TV.

This incremental system BS release is just that BS..... The newer system is to be held back by the older system and so forth.....they have even concluded that it was the case just by saying they had to keep the RAM for developmental "parity" sake!! When the "new NEW" drops in a couple years if not next year it will still be held back by the same developmental parity. That is unless they ditch the old all together and make an upgrade the only option they will still be coding backwards!

Sony: "Hey........do we have a deal for you guys....!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

The truth-ier

September 11, 2016, 1:48 pm

This is a terrible article, written by a sony fanboy, and no die hard PC gamer is going to build a mid range at best rig like that. The PS4 PRO is not impressive to any die hard PC Gamer, and your excuse in your opening is just a precursor to more crap.

Jason V

September 11, 2016, 1:54 pm

What PC fanboys are forgetting is that these more powerful consoles may not gimp their games. As probably a few of you know consoles have held back the PC market for years. Having more powerful consoles allows for those games that are made on console first easier and less of a hassle for devs to port to PC in a higher resolution and graphical quality. Yes we all know the broken record story of "PC games look better" But this makes so much easier for devs in the long run. Imo PC gamers are the worse of all the fanboys. I game on 3 current gen platforms (including some PC), retro consoles and a few handhelds. I don't really care too much about what a game looks like or try to prove a corporation is better than another. Because really they are not. All just want your money. Whether it's SONY vs MS, Nvidia vs AMD or Intel vs AMD. So put your money where your mouth is, shutup and stop being an arse. Just enjoy gaming.


September 11, 2016, 2:00 pm

a die hard pc gamer impressed by 4k upscaleing?...lmao i have herd it all now.

LordCancer Kain

September 11, 2016, 2:50 pm



September 11, 2016, 2:50 pm

Reading must be hard for you.

Matthew Bunton

September 11, 2016, 5:03 pm

It's an opinion piece you fool.

Matthew Bunton

September 11, 2016, 5:06 pm

Why not its a small £350 console offering near to 4k quality graphics albeit via 1440p etc. scaling and some clever algorithms.


September 11, 2016, 5:37 pm

lol near 4k quality you are sipping the sony koolaid.its upscaled from 900p or 1080p uts a $400 console thats doing UPSCALED 4K/30FPS..lol.

you are just paying $400 for upscale ...lol


September 11, 2016, 5:39 pm

yep paying $400 for upscale 30fps...lol


September 11, 2016, 5:43 pm

if no one buys it they wont release a mid gen upgrade again when they lose money on it.all we have to do is not buy it and we wont see one next gen.

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