PS5 Pro may get a graphical boost thanks to AI — what we know so far

a concept image of the PS5 Pro by Mark Illing
(Image credit: Art Station/Mark Illing)

Following the release of the PS5 Slim, rumours about the upcoming PS5 Pro have begun taking the internet by storm. While the PS5 Slim saw some modest upgrades with its new detachable disc drive and extra storage, the (currently unconfirmed) PS5 Pro looks like it could be the upgrade PlayStation gamers have been waiting for.

As reported by PCGamer, Sony’s next PS5 revision will feature an all-in-one AMD chip that will still use a Zen 2 design with eight cores and 16 threads. However, the boost clock will reportedly go all the way up to 4.4 GHz. Even though the CPU won’t be that much better from the one on the standard PS5, some big changes are allegedly coming to the PS5 Pro’s GPU.

The GPU in the PS5 Pro could end up being based on AMD’s RDNA 3 architecture though it could also incorporate some elements from RDNA 4. To put things into perspective, the standard PS5’s GPU is based on the chipmaker’s RDNA 2 architecture. There’s also a rumor going around that the PS5 Pro’s new GPU design will use RDNA 4 ray tracing units.

Improved ray tracing will be a welcome addition for the PS5 Pro but Sony’s upgraded PS5 could also feature an AI chip inside the console’s APU. Just like AMD does with its mobile Ryzen chips, the chip that will power the PS5 Pro could also feature an XDNA 2 NPU or Neural Processing Unit. 

Based on a post from ResetEra user RandomlyRandom67, this NPU will be used to accelerate Sony’s proprietary, machine learning upscaling technique which will be “one of the core focuses of the PS5 Pro” in a similar way to how the PS4 Pro made use of checkerboard rendering. If this turns out to be true, we could see some of the best PS5 games upscaled to output at 4K at a frame rate higher than 30 FPS.

NPUs aren’t just for AI laptops anymore

Acer Swift Go 14 Meteor Lake hands-on review

(Image credit: Future)

Earlier this week, Intel unveiled its new Meteor Lake chips which feature their own NPUs designed to better handle AI workloads. AMD is doing something similar with its new Ryzen 8040 Series mobile processors that can run AI workloads locally instead of in the cloud.

While AI laptops are being touted as the next big thing by Intel, the PS5 Pro could be the first time we see this technology make its way into a home console. However, as Microsoft’s Xbox consoles also use AMD chips, we could see something similar occur with the company’s Xbox Series X/S refresh (codenamed Brooklin) in the fall of 2024.

The PS5 Pro is rumored to be releasing around the same time and if Sony is going to use the power of AI to improve gameplay and visuals on its current-gen console refresh, I see no reason why Microsoft won’t follow suit.

We’ll just have to wait and see as to what both companies decide to do with AI going forward and who knows, the Nintendo Switch 2 could also pack in some AI technology for better upscaling when docked. That is if Nintendo decides to stick with a hybrid design for its next console.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.