Earlier this week we discussed Sony’s Boost Mode for the PS4 Pro. The idea behind Boost Mode is that some of the PS4 Pro’s clock speed improvements can be harnessed to make older titles faster, even if those titles don’t receive updates to take full advantage of the improved hardware under the hood. Now, we have some idea what kind of benefits Boost Mode can deliver — and frankly, they’re pretty impressive.
Eurogamer has tested a number of titles and seen encouraging results, though the figures are a bit split. Boost Mode allows the PS4 Pro to use its higher core clocks — 30% higher on the CPU, 14% higher on the GPU — but which titles benefit is interesting. Some games, like BioShock Infinite, Killzone Shadow Fall, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition see improvements in the 5% – 17% range, with several improving by 14% — exactly the size of the PS4 Pro’s clock speed boost over the PS4. Other games, like Assassin’s Creed Unity, Battlefield 4, Mighty No 9, and Project CARS see jumps of up to 38%.
There are a few interesting takeaways here. Pushing the CPU and GPU clocks seem to have resulted in a better-balanced system as a whole, with few problems or rendering issues encountered in Boost Mode. Clearly, giving the PS4 Pro more CPU horsepower has helped it significantly in some cases, and it does lend some credence to the idea that the CPU component of the system was less powerful than might have been useful.
The flip side to this, of course, is that plenty of great games seem to be more GPU-limited than CPU-limited. Unreal Engine 3 ports to the PS4 notoriously struggle under that engine, and it’s possible the problem is less Jaguar’s horsepower and more an optimization issue. Several of the games that show the biggest increases (BF4, AC:U) are also games that shipped early in the PS4’s life-cycle, and may not have been as well optimized as they ought to have been. Achieving high performance from Jaguar requires significant multi-threading, and developers may have had to focus more on hitting release dates than performance tuning.
Either way, this is the kind of benefit to owning a PS4 Pro that could change the equation for a lot of people. When the new platform debuted, we evaluated its capabilities and concluded that unless you owned a 4K TV (ideally with HDR) the benefits of the new platform weren’t all that great. Now, more gamers have a reason to pick the system up — even if your favorite games don’t get patched, you’ve got a good chance of seeing noticeable performance improvements anyway.
Putting a program like this in place now also positions Sony to put its best foot forward against whatever Microsoft’s Project Scorpio can do. Scorpio is expected to outperform the PS4, but software compatibility will count for a great deal. Sony has most of a year to polish its offerings before Scorpio hits shelves, and we expect the company will be doing everything it can to woo gamers before Microsoft enters the ring.
Now read: The 10 best PS4 Pro game updates