Gaming is evolving as well as technology. Platform holders want to make sure that their customers get the best experience from their hardware while trying to keep it affordable and technologically advanced. Sony PlayStation decided to lead the mid-generation upgrade by launching the PS4 Pro last year in October with Microsoft following by launching Xbox One X this November.
It’s exciting what the amount of power that these mid-generation upgrades can do with the upcoming games. Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can provide true 4K experience on specific games while newer and demanding ones will use the checkerboard rendering technique (CBR). For those who don’t understand what CBR is, it’s a method where developers are able to make a 4K frame buffer from half of the image pixels to produce a pseudo-4K resolution.
Now this means that both consoles are not fully-equipped to run graphical demanding titles like BioWare’s latest IP Anthem on an actual native 4K resolution. With that, everyone is right when they say that PC will always be the best platform to play games on 4K. However, console manufacturers have worked on techniques to deliver 4K on consoles without bumping the price way up. The direction both Microsoft and Sony have taken are technically similar as both companies want to give their customers to experience 4K without spending a hefty amount of cash.
If you’re planning to buy one of them, let’s go through some of the things that you need to know before handing your money to the cashier for an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Let’s see which platform wins.
As what Mark Cerny told Eurogamer, he still believes in console generations. While PS4 Pro is considered as a mid-generation upgrade and not as a new-gen console, Mark wanted to make sure that the existing library would play smoothly without any possible errors or issues when these games run on the PS4 Pro. They had the chance to install a new CPU to even push the bar a bit higher, but Mark believes that by doing so the possibility that their existing library might suffer. This is why they retained the original Jaguar CPU that the base PS4 was running with and boosted its clockspeed to give a minor boost in performance without sacrificing optimization and stability.
The PS4 Pro GPU is particularly similar to the base PS4 with improved compute units and boosted clockspeed and also a hefty upgrade from 1.84TFLOPS to 4.2TFLOPS to run games on 4K. Another significant upgrade is the RAM. The PS4 Pro offers an 8GB RAM at 218GB/s and an additional 1GB DDR3 for its background application.
Xbox One X
8-core Jaguar CPU 2.1GHz
Custom 8-core Jaguar Evolved 2.3GHz
4.20 TFLOPS AMD Radeon
6 TFLOPS AMD Radeon Polaris
8GB GDDR5 + 1GB DDR3 (for background running apps
Now, when go to Microsoft’s side and talk about the Xbox One X’s power. It’s unbelievably terrific and a whole different story. The Xbox One X is a massive upgrade in this generation and thus making it the “most-powerful” console. Microsoft’s Xbox team has specifically made a custom-built Jaguar Evolved CPU and Polaris GPU, a big load of 12GB GDDR5 RAM for its memory, and a massive 6TFLOPS on its GPU. Microsoft has stepped up and even raise the bar higher in terms of performance. The Xbox One X is impressive when it comes to hardware performance. Some even think that the Xbox One X is a new generation console because of its massive upgrade.
However, we’ll have to wait for the Xbox One X’s launch for us to evaluate if it can run the existing Xbox library without any problems running around. Why? That’s because the CPU that the Xbox One X is using is a little bit different from the Jaguar CPU that the original Xbox One and S are using.
But when we just talk about raw power, Xbox One X takes this round.
Winner: Xbox One X
When you expect a 4K gaming console, that also means that it will offer 4K playback from blu-ray. One factor that Sony definitely left out is the ultra-HD blu-ray player. Some have reacted to it negatively because they want a console that can playback movies on 4K. While the Xbox One S has this feature, the mammoth Xbox One X will also have this feature which places the PS4 Pro in a position where movie-lovers would ignore. Even if consoles’ purpose is mainly for gaming, some buy them for an overall entertainment package.
Winner: Xbox One X
Every consumer would consider where they spend their money on. Each one of you will have to consider both of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X’s Pros and Cons. When brand-loyalty is taken out of the mix, the Xbox One X is far more expensive than the PS4 Pro no doubt, but there’s also a reason behind that and it’s quite obvious if you never skipped the first thing I talked about – the Power. The Xbox One X produces more juice than the PS4 Pro. The console definitely can run both new titles on native 4K and checkerboard rendering no doubt, but what makes the Xbox One X also expensive are both the ultra-high-definition blu-ray player and the custom-built vapor chamber cooler.
When you look at the PS4 Pro, the lack of its ultra-blu-ray player and the type of cooler the console is using, it’s not going to be expensive as what the Xbox One X has to offer.
PS4 Pro: $399 / Xbox One X: $499
Value Winner: PS4 Pro
Library of Games
Software is the most crucial part of the consoles and without them there wouldn’t even be consoles. This generation, Sony has strengthened their first-party studios into producing high-quality exclusives for the PS4 family. With the existing PS4 exclusives such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Bloodborne, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and NiOh make the PS4 Pro a console to get.
While Microsoft on the other hand still lacks their first-party power and relies more on third-party exclusivity deals like Cuphead. Its current lineup of first-party titles like Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, and ReCore might not be enough to make the Xbox One X a big option for gamers.
However, this might not be true for those who love third-party games like Anthem, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Destiny 2 as these games will run beautifully on Xbox One X but these titles will still use the same CBR technique which makes them almost or even on par with the PS4 Pro – thus making the PS4 Pro a great option for both third-party and exclusives for a hundred dollar less.
Winner: PS4 Pro
Sony invaded home-after-home with their PS4 when it launched in 2013 even until this year. For multiplayer experiences, there are more PS4 players than Xbox One. One example of that is Battlefield 1. Based from the third-party website, Battlefield Tracker, as of July 16 5:00AM EST, there are more players playing on PS4 than on Xbox One. PS4 spurred at around 86,176 players while the Xbox One only had 55,793 playing on Battlefield 1
It’s a given fact that majority of homeowners have a PS4 right beside their televisions.
Winner: PS4 Pro
Now, it’s a nice add-on that Sony didn’t integrate on their PS4 units. Alongside the Xbox One X announcement was the reveal that some of the original Xbox games will be backwards compatible with the Xbox One X and the base Xbox One/S. This means users who own an Xbox One unit can play Xbox 360 and original Xbox games!
While it’s never really used as per the other sources, backwards compatibility is one great feature to have. The ability to play old games for nostalgic purposes or even replaying them for its story (Red Dead Redemption is one good example) and gameplay or because you’ve missed the previous generation is a big plus. It’s a pro-consumer move than making a subscription-based streaming service to play the previous generation titles.
Winner: Xbox One X
When the Xbox One X was initially advertised, it was said to have VR but when the big reveal at E3 this year at Microsoft’s press conference didn’t have that. However Sony went to lead again with launching the first VR on console with their PlayStation VR (PSVR). It was the most cheapest VR in the market that can still deliver an astonishing experience to those who can’t afford the Oculus and Vive.
Sony said that PSVR works great with the PS4 Pro as it uses the hardware power that the console gives.
Winner: PS4 Pro
Small Form Factor
Now, for consoles, size is everything. This is why we get slim versions of the PS2, PS3, PSP, and PS Vita back in the years. Sony even launched a PS4 Slim last year. Because the smaller it is, the more space you save in your living room. When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X, all of us were surprised for it being the smallest and most powerful console in the market when it hits the shelves this November. With all of that power, one certainly expects a much bulkier console, but Microsoft proved that they can do more with their resources.
It’s a bit smaller than the Xbox One S, so if you put the PS4 Pro beside the X, you will see how tiny the X can be.
Winner: Xbox One X
PS4 Pro Score: 4 Xbox One X Score: 4
It’s a tie! So this means it’s up to you.
Really, it’s up to you. If majority of your friends play on Xbox One, then you pick Xbox One X. If most of your friends play on the PS4, then pick a PS4 Pro. And if you think you get more if you pick the Xbox One X, then go ahead! The point is, it’s your hard earned cash and the decision is up to you. And I think I laid out the major factors that can guide you for choosing which console best fits your needs.