There's a new "Boost Mode" in Sony's next major PlayStation 4 firmware update, which enables the PlayStation 4 Pro to run older games more smoothly than the PS4 is able to.
Reports of the new setting came from PS4 owners who are currently testing a beta version of the forthcoming software update, version 4.50. Tester Mladen Tapavicki shared a screenshot of Boost Mode housed inside the console's settings menu.
Boost Mode On PS4 Pro
According to the description, Boost Mode will deliver improved performance, such as higher frame rate for "some" games released before the introduction of the PS4 Pro. The beefier sequel-ish to the PS4 can play virtually all PS4 titles, but developers need to specifically patch their games with PS4 Pro support to take advantage of the console's 4K visuals. Otherwise, the game won't run any better than it does on a regular PS4.
How The PS4 Pro Works
The engineering team behind the PS4 Pro designed the console that way. In an interview with Digital Foundry late last year, Mark Cerny, the PS4's lead system architect, said that Sony wanted to ensure every PS4 title can run on the PS4 Pro. The way it made sure of that was by packing twice the graphical power of the PS4 inside the PS4 Pro, while keeping the CPU similar.
"That gives us an extremely clean way to support the existing 700 titles," he said. When the PS4 Pro runs non-patched PS4 titles, it does so by using only half of its total GPU, at a clock speed similar to the regular PS4's. This way, the console doesn't just offload unnecessary graphical power on games that doesn't support or integrate it, which runs the risk of springing forth problems that weren't originally there to begin with.
Higher Frame Rates, Shorter Load Times
It appears that with the forthcoming Boost Mode, Sony's retiring that concept and is letting players squeeze out higher frame rates from non-patched PS4 titles with the PS4 Pro. A representative from the company confirmed to Polygon that Boost Mode will indeed be part of the firmware version 4.50.
According to the company's official description, Boost Mode will let the PS4 Pro run games at a higher CPU and GPU clock speed that in turn will deliver smoother gameplay and performance. In addition, loading times may be cut in some games too.
As per Polygon's update, Sony is apparently bringing more players into the beta version of the new firmware, since Boost Mode gameplay videos have started to inundate the YouTube sphere, and the results, while indeed delivering the promise of a performance bump, vary from title to title.
Of course, it's foolish to think that Boost Mode will improve anything beyond frame rate and load times or similarly minor touch-ups. Games running on Boost Mode, if still unpatched, still won't take advantage of the PS4 Pro's full graphical capability, which is important to keep in mind.
Here are some gameplay videos that showcase the new Boost Mode. Below is Just Cause 3, which ran very poorly on consoles when initially released and didn't improve five patches later. The game now runs much more snag-free in Boost Mode, finally able to hit its 30 fps target without hiccups.
Here's another example, this time with Boost Mode enabled while playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Have you managed to hop on Sony's PS4 firmware version 4.50? Have you tried running games in Boost Mode yet? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!