If you enjoy video games, you might often appreciate comparisons between different gaming platforms. How does the PS4 compare to the PS5? What about PC alternatives?
There are a lot of gaming options out there, and knowing what’s what can help you make decisions about what you might want to buy, or it could just satisfy your curiosity.
So, what is a GPU that is roughly equivalent to the hardware in the PS4?
The original PS4’s GPU is comparable to an AMD Radeon HD 7850, NVIDIA GTX 660, or NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti.
All About the PlayStation 4
The original PlayStation 4 (PS4) was released in November 2013 for most of the world. That’s a long time ago – especially when considering the rapid pace computer hardware advances at.
At the time, the PS4 was competing with the Xbox One, which was launched at around the same time. The Wii U is also a competitor, although it had already been out for about a year.
The PS4 was designed to have an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), which is a combined CPU and GPU. The hardware found in the PS4 was far better than its predecessor, the PS3, and was expected to give the PS4 a very long life.
In fact, the PS4 had a lot of similarities to the hardware you’d find in personal computers. The idea was that it would be easier for game developers to create games for the PS4 due to the similarity to a computer.
The PS4’s GPU
If you look at PlayStation’s official technical specifications for the PS4, you’ll find that the information provided is pretty vague. The GPU for a PS4 is described only as a 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon based graphics engine.
You definitely can’t pull out a PS4’s GPU hardware, put it in a computer, and expect things to work. The GPU in the PS4 is custom-designed and engineered to work on the PS4 only.
That means the GPU will have to be compared to other brands and models based on expected performance, based loosely on the TFLOPS the GPUs are rated for. The price is also something to consider when comparing GPUs, since the $400 retail PS4 includes more than just a GPU.
What are FLOPS and TFLOPS?
These metrics are used frequently to describe GPUs. Floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) indicate what the performance capabilities of a piece of computer hardware is like.
A floating-point operation is basically any single mathematical operation done between two real numbers. Multiplying decimals, or adding two whole numbers are examples of floating point operations.
It doesn’t take a GPU to do floating-point calculations, CPUs are also capable of it. However, FLOPS is frequently used to describe GPU capabilities as rendering graphics requires a lot of math.
GPUs are much better than standalone CPUs when it comes to graphics, largely because they’re designed specifically for parallel calculation, making them great at performing the same operation on a large dataset.
One TFLOPS is equivalent to a trillion FLOPS. So, the PS4’s 1.84 TFLOPS GPU is capable of performing some serious calculations, allowing gamers to have great graphics, right?
TFLOPS and Gaming Performance
A higher amount of TFLOPS does not necessarily mean that you’ll get better gaming performance. There are other factors that can affect graphics rendering aside from the GPU’s computational capacity.
That means you can have two separate GPUs, one capable of 1 TFLOPS and another 2 TFLOPS. While 2 TFLOPS is twice as many operations per second as the 1 TFLOPS unit, your device’s gaming performance likely will not be twice as good.
When comparing TFLOPS across different GPU architectures, it’s difficult to draw a direct conclusion as to whether or not something with a slightly higher TFLOPS count can outperform another GPU when it comes to gaming. The best way to understand how well a GPU works for gaming is by looking at benchmarks showing the frames-per-second (FPS) they’re able to generate, though even FPS is affected by more than just the GPU.
Nonetheless, TFLOPS is still used by GPU manufacturers and console makers to describe their devices, and marketed with the mentality that more is better.
Consoles do More with Less
While desktop computers can be constantly upgraded and modernized, consoles generally keep the same hardware for their entire lifespan. People who bought the original PS4 in 2013 might still be buying and playing games on it today.
You can’t swap out the GPU for a new one, you’d have to buy a newer PS4 Pro or PS5 for an actual hardware upgrade.
Console manufacturers understand this, and want their devices to be able to handle games for years to come. Having identical hardware in every PS4 allows game developers to optimize their games for the console to a much greater capacity than they can for gaming computers, where there can be thousands of different hardware combinations.
Due to optimization and other tricks such as frame pacing, the PS4 is able to provide a smooth looking gaming experience even with potentially lower FPS than a computer.
Standalone GPUs Equivalent to the PS4’s GPU
Since the PS4’s GPU was created by AMD, we’ll start by comparing an AMD GPU to the PS4. At the time, the closest GPU to the PS4 was likely the AMD Radeon HD 7850. This GPU was capable of 1.761 TFLOPS and cost $249 on its release in 2012.
Depending on the game you were playing and the graphics settings you had, the Radeon HD 7850 could potentially get 60 FPS with 1080p resolution. This could potentially provide a better-looking gaming experience than the 30 FPS a PS4 would be locked into.
Just keep in mind that not every game would run with a constant 60 FPS, and there could be dips below even the PS4’s standard 30 FPS, depending on how you configure the game’s graphics settings.
If you’re looking to buy this GPU in today’s market, you’d probably be able to find a used one for around $50. Production of this GPU was put to an end long ago.
NVIDIA is the largest GPU manufacturer around, and had a couple of GPUs that had similar specifications. The GeForce GTX 660 was released in 2012, similar to the Radeon HD 7850. With 1.981 TFLOPS, the GPU was also around the same ballpark as the PS4’s GPU.
The GTX 660 had a retail price of $229, meaning it was a direct competitor to AMD’s Radeon HD 7850 upon release.
You’ll also find many sources point towards NVIDIA’s GTX 750 Ti as a similar GPU to the PS4s. This is accurate, however the GTX 750 Ti was released in 2014, after the PS4. This card also used a newer architecture, allowing it to compete with the PS4 despite its comparatively much lower 1.389 TFLOPS. The GTX 750 Ti had a retail price of $149 on release.
In September of 2016 Sony released a new model of the PS4 – the $299 PS4 Slim. This console was about 40% smaller than the original PS4, though it had very similar hardware to the original.
The PS4 Slim will not give you a different gaming experience than the 2013 PS4, as it has the same APU. The Slim does have some minor improvements, such as access to the 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi band for faster wireless internet.
The end result is this: if you’re looking for a GPU equivalent to a PS4 slim, it’ll be the same as the standard, original PS4. The AMD Radeon 7850, NVIDIA GTX 660, or NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti will do it.
Unlike the PS4 Slim, the PS4 Pro gave gamers a significant hardware upgrade compared to the original PS4. The PS4 Pro was launched in November of 2016 with a retail price of $399.
The PS4 Pro had a vastly improved GPU and supported 4K resolution gaming. Even today, the PS4 Pro is a viable option for gamers who want good bang for their buck.
The GPU in the PS4 Pro is listed as a 4.20 TFLOPS AMD Radeon based graphics engine. Even though the additional TFLOPS don’t directly translate to better gaming performance, there’s bound to be a lot of improvement over the original’s 1.84 TFLOPS. This is especially true since the PS4 Pro is using a newer GPU architecture.
PS4 Pro Equivalent GPU
The PS4 Pro’s GPU blows the previously listed GPUs out of the water. Since the PS4 Pro came out in 2016, comparing it to other 2016 GPUs seems fair.
On the AMD side of things, the PS4 Pro’s GPU was somewhere between a Radeon RX 470 and Radeon RX 480. The RX 480 would outperform a PS4 Pro with its higher clock speeds, but the RX470 might fall slightly short.
The RX 480 retailed for $229, and the RX 470 was $179. Either way, you’d still be spending roughly half the price of the console on an equivalent desktop GPU, just like with the original PS4 in 2013.
The RX 470 had 4.940 TFLOPS, while the RX 480 boasted 5.834 TFLOPS.
NVIDIA’s Equivalent GPU
In 2016 NVIDIA released their GTX 10-series GPUs, with the GTX 1060 being the closest equivalent GPU to the PS4 Pro’s. The GTX 1060 was a match for the RX 480 in performance, which meant it outperformed the PS4 Pro’s GPU by a bit.
This should be expected, since the retail price of the GTX 1060 was $299. With only 4.375 TFLOPS, it still gave an even slightly better performance than the RX 480.
NVIDIA also had the older GTX 970 available at the time. This GPU had a launch price of $329 in 2014, but it offered similar performance to what the PS4 Pro had in 2016.
Comparing 2022 GPUs to the PS4
Any GPU made in the past couple of years is likely to crush even the PS4 Pro’s upgraded GPU. For instance, AMD’s RX 6500 XT retails for $199 and outperforms the RX 480 and GTX 1060.
Likewise, NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 has better performance than even the RX 6500 XT for $249. The 9.098 TFLOPS is beginning to give diminishing returns, especially when compared to the GTX 1060.
Despite the better performing GPUs, you’ll still be hard-pressed to build a desktop computer for $400 that can compete with the PS4 Pro. You’d need to buy secondhand parts to even get close.
Should You Get a PS4 or PC?
If all you do is game, then a PS4 Pro might be the best value for you. If you have a lot of friends that also game on the PlayStation Network, this also might be a reason to opt for a PS4.
If you want to do more than just game, a gaming PC might be a better option. The extra expense involved with a computer purchase can be justified by its added utility.
You can use the computer for work, school, or anything else computers are used for.
The other thing to keep in mind is exclusive games. Some games are only available on the PlayStation, for instance.
Lastly, you might want to consider looking at PS5s instead of a PS4. It’s a bit more expensive for the newer generation but it will make sure you have access to the newest titles for years to come.
The PS5 came out in November of 2020, with a retail price of $499. As the next generation and successor to the PS4, the PS5 has all-around better-performing hardware even when compared to the PS4 Pro.
The equivalent GPUs to the PS5’s would be either AMD’s RX 5700 XT, or NVIDIA’s RTX 2070. Since AMD once again designed the PS5’s GPU, the RX 5700 XT is likely closest in both architecture and performance.
Both of these GPU’s are more expensive relative to the PS5 than past GPUs were to the PS4. The RX 5700 XT retailed for $399, and the RTX 2070 was $499.
This makes the PS5 look like a much better deal than trying to purchase or build a desktop computer with comparable specs.
There’s also now a PS5 digital edition available for $399, which does away with the built-in disc drive. Instead, gamers must download games before playing them.
Originally, the PS5s were flying off the shelf and scalpers drove the price up far beyond the MSRP. Now that their availability is better, the PS5 is a great option for gamers seeking a powerful gaming device for a good price.