Everything You Need to Know About the PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 Pro
The PlayStation 4 Pro

The PlayStation 4 (otherwise known as the PS4) is a console I’m sure most of us are familiar with. Chances are that you either own one or you know somebody that does, but what are the details surrounding the tech in the box? What’s makes this machine run and what makes it tick?

For you tech heads out there you might already know the ins and outs of the consoles you buy, and make your decision on whether you’re getting the PS4 Pro or the PS4 Slim based on your knowledge.

For those of you not so savvy in that regard, we’re going to break down what exactly is on the PS4 and why (or if) it matters.

Let’s gets started and run through aspects and the different parts that make up the PS4. For the purpose of avoiding confusion, the details listed will be that of those in a standard PS4 model. Details of the extra trims and additions will be included in a separate section at the end of the article.

First of all, I’d just like to say that I don’t take part in the so-called ‘console wars.’ I like both the Xbox and the PlayStation and I think both offer something in their own right. The majority of the time I think it’s the games that are released for the consoles that actually make one or the other stand out.

Now that, that little disclaimer is out of the way, it’s time to dive into the specifications of the PS4 and give you all you need to know about what’s inside that plastic box.

CPU

The PS4 uses an 8-core processor, which is based on the Jaguar CPU architecture from AMD. The CPU’s clock speed is stated at 1.6GHz, which is made up of each core having 32kb L1 instruction and data caches, with one of those cores sharing 2MB L2 per four core module.

This is a CPU not to be sniffed at by any means and it’s one that most custom PCs would be happy with. Theoretically, the system could produce a performance of 102.4 SP GFLOPS, which are some hefty and impressive numbers.

Graphics Processing

AMD is also the basis for the PS4s Graphics Processing Unit as the PS4 includes a 1.84 TFLOP AMD Radeon (similar to a R7 265). The PS4 Pro includes a 4.2 TFLOP (similar to a RX 470) AMD Radeon.

The unit is based on the Radeon GCN architecture and strictly speaking does not have any Video Memory specifically. Instead, the console uses the system memory for its graphics processing, which has 8GB of DDR5 RAM included. Additionally, the PS4 includes secondary ARM processor, which has a separate 256MB of RAM, which is specifically designed to handle the operating system’s background functions.

Hard Drive

The hard drive space will vary from PS4 to PS4, as this is one of the main options you can have when purchasing the console. For the purpose of this article, we will be looking at the 500GB version of the hard drive. It’s good to note that the only difference in the hard drives is the disk space. Each hard drive is 2.5” in size and either comes as a 500GB version or 1TB, the PS4 Pro only comes with a 1TB hard drive, however.

A great selling point from PlayStations perspective is that users are able to upgrade their hard drive by either adding an external hard drive or purchasing a new internal one from an approved manufacturer.

Other Hardware

Looking to other areas of the console, the PS4 has all the outputs and inputs you would expect from a modern machine. HDMI, 2x USB 3.0 or 1x 3.1 on the slim and Ethernet cable ports are all present on the back of the console.

The PS4 also has Bluetooth 2.1 and auxiliary ports that enable the use of the PlayStation Camera and motion detectors if you have them.

There is also a return for the Blu-ray disk drive as the PS4 sports one capable of a 27 MB/s disk read speed. This is a major upgrade on the PS3 Blu-ray drive, which was capped at 9 MB/s. DVDs can also be run through the Blu-ray drive, but it’s worth noting that CDs can not.

Power & Cooling

The power supply for your PS4 comes from an internal 110-240 V AC Power supply. This Wattage can vary depending on your console and what you are exactly doing with the machine at the time. Some games have been found to use more watts than others. Similarly, watching some online streaming services have also seen to increase the used wattage.

To keep the console nice and cool and to prevent any overheating the PS4 uses a single centrifugal fan, which draws air in from both sides of the console. The fan uses an exhaust, which cools the system and then emits the heat from the rear of the console.

Controllers

The PS4 uses the wireless Dualshock 4 controller (get it here), which includes an integrated touchpad. This is one of the best PlayStation controllers to date, with a headset jack, improved built-in Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, six-axis motion sensing system and the new inclusion of a share button – which allows you to share images and videos with friends instantly.

The controller is sleek and it feels sturdy and of high quality. The buttons feel great to touch and the analog also has the right amount of grip.

UI

The PS4’s user interface is clean and relatively simple to understand. The navigation of the operating system is one of the high points. The ease of getting from one selection to another saves time and users frustration. You also have the ability to organize your games and other applications into folders and further personalize the home screen.

Backwards Compatibility

Unfortunately, the PS4 has not caught up to the XBOX One in regards to their backward compatibility model. The only saving grace in this regard is that the PlayStation store does allow some older games to be purchased via the store and then played on your PS4.

This can be harsh on your wallet, however, and the library on offer sometimes isn’t all that appetizing. There are currently no plans for this to change either, which is a rather unfortunate and it’s a big opportunity missed as well if you ask me.

Pro Version 4K Support

The Pro version of this console supports 4K but in limited ways. Some games support native 4K, but some games will only upscale from lower resolutions. Furthermore, the Blue-ray player does not support 4K playback, which in my opinion is quite a missed opportunity.

PlayStation Network

The PS4 uses the, you guessed it, PlayStation Network. In order to play online, you must purchase a PlayStation Plus subscription. This is different than PS3 which had free online play. Plus also gets you free games and other deals and discounts on the PlayStation Network.

If you do not want to purchase a Plus membership you still have access to some features like chat, communications, entertainment services, and web browsing. So although not required, if you are a gamer it would seem like Plus membership is a must.

Console Version Differences

There are some differences between each of the PS4’s versions, which can depend on when you bought the console. The table below lays out the differences between the three models on offer.

PS4 (2013)PS4 (2016)PS4 Pro (2016)
CPU1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar2.1GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar
GPU1.84 TFLOP AMD Radeon1.84 TFLOP AMD Radeon4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon
Memory8GB GDDR58GB GDDR58GB GDDR5 & 1GB
HDRYesYesYes
4K SupportNoNoYes* (see above)
Storage500GB500GB & 1TB1TB
USB2x USB 3.02x USB 3.13x USB 3.1
Wi-Fi802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz only)802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5.0GHz)802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5.0GHz)
BluetoothBluetooth 2.1Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0

Fin

So there you have the ins and outs of the PlayStation 4. Hopefully, you’re now informed of the model you’re purchasing and are on your way to your local game shop to ring up your order, or maybe you’re just after an upgrade to that glorious 4k resolution.

The PS4 is a fantastic console and I’m sure you agree has some rather tasty specifications.

If you would like to help support this site and it’s great content pick up an PS4 Pro here.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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