Comparing PS3 and PS4 specs: what it means for everyday use

PS4 will improve upon many other facets of the system beyond just prettier graphics. We take a look at Sony's official specs and breakdown what to expect.

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PlayStation 4 is obviously going to be a much more powerful system than its predecessor. But, PS4 will improve upon many other facets of the system beyond just prettier graphics. By looking at Sony's officially released documentation [PDF] on PS4 specifications, we can see some of the more subtle changes coming to Sony's next console. Faster Blu-ray drive For example, the Blu-ray drive gets a significant boost on PS4. The slow 2x drive found on PS3 proved to be a bottleneck for some games, as its 9MB/sec transfer rate was actually slower than the DVD drive found on Xbox 360. While Blu-ray can store many times more data than DVD, the slower transfer rate meant that developers had to deploy many tricks to compensate. For example, many developers opted to have large HDD installs which led to Capcom's infamous advice to "go make a sandwich and grab a soda, then come on back" during a PS3 game installation. With the 6x drive of PS4, we may never have to sit through lengthy mandatory install screens ever again. USB 3.0 PS4 comes equipped with USB 3.0 ports, which were unavailable when PS3 launched in 2006. The upgrade enables significantly higher transfer speeds (up to 4.8Gbps). A potential benefit could be the ability to reliably use external hard drives to expand PS4 capacity. Although PS3 allowed users to open the chassis and replace the hard drive, many will likely prefer the simplicity of plugging in a USB 3.0 hard drive instead. In addition, USB 3.0 can transfer up to 80% more power, which will be especially helpful in charging any USB-powered accessories. Recharging a DualShock controller, for example, should be a far more speedy affair.

Recharging PS4 controllers should take far less time

Wireless N Although every PS3 includes wi-fi built-in, it is notoriously slow. Try plugging in your PS3 directly, and you'll see download speeds more than double. Sony's upgraded the network support in PS4 by providing a card that not only supports the 802.11 b and g standards, but the new n standard as well. This should result in significantly greater speed and range for those that opt to use PS4 wirelessly. Bluetooth 2.1 PS4 includes support for Bluetooth 2.1. While a miniscule numeric jump from PS3's support for 2.0, the improved functionality should make it much easier to pair devices with the PS4. Crucially, the 2.1 standard allows devices to pair via NFC. Sony's "one touch sharing" feature was a big talking point during the company's CES keynote, and it would be incredibly surprising if similar functionality wasn't included in PS4. DualShock 4 Sony's upgraded DualShock is loaded with added functionality, from a touch pad to PlayStation Move-inspired motion controls. DualShock 4 will likely consume far more power than its predecessors--but the controller has a heftier battery to help compensate. DS4 features more than 60% greater battery capacity than DS3, but weighs only 0.6 ounces more. While initial prototypes of the controller appeared bulky, it appears holding the DS4 will not be unlike using a DS3.

Here's another picture of DualShock 4, because we don't know what the PS4 looks like

With PS4 incorporating many of the tech advances that have occurred since the launch of PS3, using Sony's next home console should be far easier, and far more connected. Of course, many questions still remain regarding the hardware. For example, how many USB ports will there be (and will any be located behind the system)? Will the box still include composite cables instead of HDMI? And most crucially, how much will this all cost?
From The Chatty
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    February 26, 2013 9:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Comparing PS3 and PS4 specs: what it means for everyday use.

    PS4 will improve upon many other facets of the system beyond just prettier graphics. We take a look at Sony's official specs and breakdown what to expect.

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      February 26, 2013 9:18 AM

      I'm still hoping they abandon their legacy Dual Shock thumb stick layout and flip/flop the D-Pad and left thumb stick so that when you hold the controller in a natural position your right thumb is over the buttons and your left thumb will be over the left stick instead of the D-Pad.

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        February 26, 2013 9:21 AM

        But, but, that would mean admitting that it needs to be changed.

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        February 26, 2013 9:23 AM

        [deleted]

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        February 26, 2013 9:23 AM

        This. It made sense for the PS1, it doesn't make sense anymore.

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        February 26, 2013 9:26 AM

        no no no no

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          February 26, 2013 9:29 AM

          Seriously? What is one good reason to maintain the current design?

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            February 26, 2013 9:44 AM

            Because I use it all the time on PC and PS3 and it works perfectly for me?

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              February 26, 2013 9:46 AM

              That's just because it is what you are used to. The fact is, the location of the sticks doesn't take into account ergonomics or comfort, they are where they are because they were tacked onto the PS1 controller. That's poor design, and it is silly to not take the opportunity of a new console to make a better controller.

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                February 26, 2013 10:19 AM

                I've used a 360 controller quite a bit too and I don't feel like its layout objectively "better". It's just different.

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                  February 26, 2013 10:41 AM

                  Yeah. I've large hands and I've no problem playing with either controller.

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                  February 26, 2013 10:49 AM

                  I'm not assuming that a better controller design is the 360s, I'm just saying Sony shouldn't stick to the Dualshock, since it wasn't designed in the first place.

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                    February 26, 2013 11:22 AM

                    Maybe it was a happy accident then and it works anyway! Thinking it's wrong just because of how it came to be that way is kinda silly. Whether it was designed to be or not, I think the Dual Shock layout is pretty great.

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              February 26, 2013 10:25 AM

              I don't get it either, they are perfectly fine.

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        February 26, 2013 10:49 AM

        For action games, you want want both thumbs on the stick anyways so that's not really an argument. It makes more sense that both sticks are in the same place as each other. Whether that should be where the xbox puts their left stick or where the playstation puts both of it's sticks may be up in the air, but having them in symmetrical locations makes more sense than not when using both simultaneously.

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        February 26, 2013 11:18 AM

        That's a ridiculous thing to hope because A) the controller is just fine and B) they've already shown it.

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      February 26, 2013 9:20 AM

      Damn, only a 6x BD?

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        February 26, 2013 9:22 AM

        three times faster than the ps3. should be fine.

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          February 26, 2013 9:25 AM

          12x exist, 10x is common, I would have expected at least an 8x. Why skimp out on that?

          Seek times are still going to suck. At least they're offering digital purchases on everything.

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            February 26, 2013 9:26 AM

            difference between a $1 part and a $0.10 part perhaps.

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            February 26, 2013 9:54 AM

            At least they're offering digital purchases on everything.

            I would guess this is a big part. Why decrease the margins for every unit sold if they expect/hope most games to be played off the hard drive (whether installed or downloaded) by the end of its lifetime.

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              February 26, 2013 10:03 AM

              i personally don't plan on using the PS4 drive for anything but blu-ray movies. i want a 100% downloaded library with instant launching. no getting up or fishing discs out.

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            February 27, 2013 10:55 AM

            All games will be digital download. The last two computers I got don't even have a cd/dvd/blu ray drive.

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              March 1, 2013 5:49 PM

              Not everyone wants to use the Net.

              Also I much prefer buying games, new, but on physical format. Older games - but still brand new copies - are much cheaper as there is a market and the market drives down price. When one entity (be it MS, Sony, Apple, etc.) get to set the prices they get to rig the market.

              For example, some of the dodgy older games I'm considering getting Kane & Lynch 2 (I know I know) is is £9 to buy physically and £18 to download.Alpha Protocol is £10 to buy and £20 to download. Witcher 2 is £15 to buy and £30 to download. Syndicate is £6 to buy and £24 to download.

              From four games that's over £50, that's some $75, more to purchase online than physically. And that's not even second-hand, that's brand new.

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                March 2, 2013 3:09 AM

                They are going to be digital soon like it or not, even if some people don't want to use the net to download games or can't use it. physical media is dying.

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        February 26, 2013 10:38 AM

        the blu-ray is the worst bottleneck. I really have to wonder if they won't just remove it from the system in the future. it's a digital world at this point anyway.

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          February 26, 2013 10:39 AM

          there are still people who need discs. also, movies. sony gets a piece of all blu-rays sold.

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            February 27, 2013 11:00 AM

            Do they need those discs at 8x instead of 6x that badly?

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        February 26, 2013 3:35 PM

        The WiiU should prove that a faster BD doesn't automatically guarentee faster load times.

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      February 26, 2013 9:38 AM

      Cool, anyone know the SSD or HDD and sound chip specs for the PS4? Also I wonder if it will have a reg LAN port?

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      February 26, 2013 9:57 AM

      This article missed the biggest bullet point over the ps3, which is 16x more RAM and that its all GDDR5, which is pretty awesome and will make a big difference.

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        February 26, 2013 9:58 AM

        Yeah. Article stopped pretty abruptly. Only a few got covered.

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        February 26, 2013 10:58 AM

        I think "games will be better" is a pretty obvious bullet point that doesn't really need much more hammering on. I wanted to focus on things that are less obvious.

        That being said, I'm assuming the added RAM will be helpful with all the sharing features PS4 is promising.

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          February 26, 2013 11:19 AM

          Added RAM will be helpful with everything.

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            March 1, 2013 5:35 PM

            QFT. The biggest thing to hurt open world games was the lack of RAM. This will help things immensely.

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        February 26, 2013 10:23 AM

        Also the info on the wireless b/g/n doesn't mention the fact that it's 2.4ghz band. Some are hoping they bump it to support 5ghz band.

        As for the bluray drive there is no info yet on whether it supports reading BDXL discs or not which would be odd considering they are saying the console will output 4k video unless it's just 1080p upscaled to 4k. h.265 support is another feature not mentioned yet.

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          February 26, 2013 10:59 AM

          Yeah, for this piece we only wanted to focus on what's been officially released as spec, and avoid as much speculation as possible.

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            February 27, 2013 11:02 AM

            I would prefer you instead speculate as much as possible.

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      February 26, 2013 11:31 AM

      All this is fucking moot if it takes 45 minutes to download and update every time I turn it on.

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        February 26, 2013 11:44 AM

        So you didn't watch the stream? They're specifically addressing that issue, or at least making a pretty valiant effort to.

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        February 26, 2013 1:48 PM

        Really?...EVERY time?...

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        February 26, 2013 3:39 PM

        Good thing that Sony put in an actual processor just to handle background tasks so this wouldn't happen!!

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        February 26, 2013 3:42 PM

        Automatic updates are built in this time and happen even while the machine is powered down.

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        February 26, 2013 3:42 PM

        and the PS3 isn't bad either if you have Plus

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      February 27, 2013 3:56 AM

      First off playstation 3 has 9 cores not 7 cores plus this comparison isn't complete it's missing the ram core clock speeds,processor core clock speeds,memory bandwidth amounts,memory bandwidth core clock speeds etc..which are provided if you dig hard enough so you can give a proper comparison.

      Cell processor:

      http://youtu.be/gV_95-rmYNo

      http://www.blachford.info/computer/Cell/Cell5_v2.html

      https://www-01.ibm.com/chips/techlib/techlib.nsf/products/Cell_Broadband_Engine

      http://www.rambus.com/us/technology/applications/gaming/ps3.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_4

      Cheers Gamers & Happy Gaming!

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        February 27, 2013 8:50 AM

        I vaguely remember reading that PS3 could only use somewhere around 6 of the cores for gaming but for purposes such as Folding it can be utilized to its full potential.

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        February 27, 2013 12:13 PM

        its 6 spes but inorder to increase yield only 6 of 8 are required. because yield is somewhat random there are ps3s between 6 and 8 functional spes. since games need to hit a min spec so that all games work all games can only use up to 6. Something like folding might be able to use the disabled spes.

        heres an image of a capped cell.
        http://static.trustedreviews.com/94/036690/a9ed/8889-ibmcellspan.jpg

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      February 27, 2013 8:49 AM

      The unsung hero of it all will be that PS4 uses an x86 architecture. This will make development for the system much easier than that of the PS3 thus bringing more games to the system from 3rd parties and especially indies.

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        February 27, 2013 12:15 PM

        the funny thing is that the x86 will only embolden pc development. more and more console games will make their way to pc due to the more simple porting transition.

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          February 27, 2013 12:49 PM

          This is a good thing. The tired piracy argument has been long debunked. Games still gather profits on the platform regardless with a long term window and near zero overhead. While PC piracy is a bugbear, consoles has one of their own in the form of second hand circulation.

          Having PC as a platform that is once again viewed as a respectable priority platform with proper porting will encourage competition between platforms. Consoles should emphasize their own variety of product differentiation without forcing developers to pick and choose a platform to champion.

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        March 1, 2013 5:34 PM

        The Playstation is dead.

        The architecture is the primary difference, the PS is dead.

        This is the Sony Xbox.

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          March 23, 2013 10:24 PM

          You sir, officially, make no since. If the iPhone has nearly the same specs as say the HTC one x, it doesn't make it a apple one x. Just because the ps4 will kick ass (as far as we have heard) doesn't mean you have to fanboy about how it will be a good competitor to the 720 or Durango or whatever they are calling it.

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