PS4 Pro Boost Mode Nets Up To 38 Percent Performance Boost For Some Games

The PlayStation 4 Pro is a beefier console than the non-Pro version. That is true of its physical size and more importantly it is true of the hardware inside. Rather than let the hardware upgrades go wasted on existing games that have not been patched to utilize the added resources available in the PS4 Pro, Sony is working on a firmware upgrade that introduces a new boost mode that will give some games a kick in the pants.

Boost mode will arrive with the 4.5 system update that is currently in beta. A bit of early testing shows mixed results—in some games, the performance boost is described as "inconsequential" while in other instances the results have been "dramatic." One thing to keep in mind is that game developers oftentimes set performance targets on consoles. Even if a particular game might be able to run at an ultra-high framerate, V-sync could cap performance at, say, 60 frames per second. In such cases, Boost mode could help stabilize performance.

PlayStation 4 Pro

On the other hand, some games are framerate unlocked. Whereas a game like Destiny will stubbornly stick to 30 fps, other games will go as high as the hardware will take them. Before we get into some benchmark numbers, let's compare the PS4 Pro's hardware to the original PlayStation 4. The original PS4 pairs a CPU with eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz with a GPU containing 18 Radeon GCN compute units at 800MHz. It also has 8GB of GDDR5 memory and 176GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Sony's PS4 Pro ups the ante by goosing those same CPU cores to 2.1GHz and doubling the number of GCN compute units to 36. They're also clocked faster at 911MHz. Finally, the PS4 Pro offers 24 percent more bandwidth at 218GB/s and has 512MB more usable memory.

The folks at Eurogamer did some benchmarking with and without Boost mode enabled. With it turned on, the most dramatic performance bump came in Project Cars, which saw a 35-38 percent increase. And in games with capped framerates, Boost mode helped avoid dips in performance. That was the case in Mirror's Edge Catalyst, a game that targets 60 fps.

"Boost Mode has been designed to provide better performance for those legacy titles that have not been patched to take advantage of the PS4 Pro's faster CPU and its faster and double-sized GPU," Sony said in a statement. "This can provide a noticeable frame-rate boost to some games with variable frame-rate, and can provide frame-rate stability for games that are programmed to run at 30Hz or 60Hz."

Sony also said that the bump in CPU clockspeed could result in shorter load times too, though Boost mode is not guaranteed to do anything at all. That's okay because even in beta form, it appears to be working well, guarantee or not.