Sony’s PS5 isn’t due for another few months yet, but there’s already a hint that the Pro model could be on its way, and it might sport multiple GPUs.
At least that’s going by a new Sony patent — flagged by TweakTown — that details a “scalable games console” with a CPU and GPU design for “home console and cloud gaming.” This would suggest a future PlayStation console with effectively two graphics accelerators to supercharge its power.
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The two GPUs come in APU format; aka accelerated processing unit, the name AMD gives its system-on-a-chip (SoC) tech with a CPU and reasonably solid GPU built-in. The PS5 and Xbox Series X will both use a custom AMD APU, so we could expect the same for the console detailed in the patent; only with two APUs rather than one.
However, things aren’t that simple. The patent details how the console would connect to a “cloud gaming management server,” which suggests that the pair of GPUs will be less about delivering pure pixel-pushing power and will instead be used to smooth out cloud-based game streaming.
Effectively, Sony’s summary in its patent covers both bases, discussing how a high-end console could have two GPUs but also feature a version optimized for cloud-powered game streaming.
“SoC technology can be applied to video simulation consoles such as game consoles, and in particular a single SoC may be provided for a ‘light’ version of the console while plural SoCs may be used to provide a “high-end” version of the console with greater processing and storage capability than the ‘light’ version,” the patent said. “The ‘high end’ system can also contain more memory such as random-access memory (RAM) and other features and may also be used for a cloud-optimized version using the same game console chip with more performance.”
It’s an interesting patent to chew over and gives us an impression that the PS5 could get a mid-generation refresh like the PS4 did with the PS4 Pro. Of course, a lot of patents are just ring-fenced ideas that never come to fruition, so this could be the case here.
And it’s worth noting that getting dual GPUs on a single chipset or in a single machine to work well together for gaming performance is tricky. The two graphics accelerators need to communicate effectively and at speed with each other. And then there are shared resources, power consumption, and heat management to consider; all of which can make building a dedicated dual-GPU games console at a price that’s still affordable a challenge.
With 10.28 teraflops of computer power, 16GB of RAM, and an 825GB custom NVMe SSD, as well as 3D audio capabilities, the PS5 isn’t going to be a slow or poorly equipped console as it is. So we’d not expect to see such a pro version anytime soon.
However, if this patent is more cloud gaming-oriented, then we’d not be surprised to see a cheaper console dedicated for PlayStation Now game streaming if Sony expands the streaming element of the service. Such a machine would likely challenge the rumored Xbox Series S, a lower-powered Xbox Series X designed for supporting game streaming via the likes of Project xCloud.
We suspect that in the short-term Sony will simply concentrate on the PS5 and its Digital Edition, and build out first-party games for its next-generation console. In the long-term, Sony could come out with a PS5 Pro, but we’d not place money on such a prediction just yet.