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PS4 Pro thoughts/questions


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#1 mattw

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 06:11 AM

Given the current situation on OS X with hardware options and the recent problems porting triple A games with the state of graphics APIs today I'm back to thinking about buying a console for the first time - I waited to hear the Sony announcement after the Apple one yesterday.

I have given a bit of thought to using bootcamp on my Mac Pro instead but I'm not sure I want to buy new disks and reorganise my internal storage to make space for this, plus there is the endless reboots between OSes and managing Windows itself and all the various updates etc.

I'm pretty invested in MacOS & iOS so can't see that changing for all my other daily uses anytime soon. I'll still have my Steam, MGS and GOG libraries etc. to keep playing on my Mac and will buy new ports when available as I think the pricing for the Mac is likely to be better and hopefully in the future there will be an upgrade path and things will improve with the Mac, if not I can alway build a gaming PC at that point and get a more basic Mac for everything else.

My questions about trying a console are:

1) How do the digital games and DRM work? I'm not going to be buying them on discs as I already moved away from those for games, music, movies and TV shows so it would be a step backwards for my usage to start managing and storing those again. Is it just like Steam or the App Store were you just sign in on your current hardware? i.e if it breaks or you upgrade to the next version all your purchases can be re-download from the cloud on the replacement?

2) It sounds like there are possible benefits to upgrading to an SSD or hybrid disk - is this straight forward to do without the need of a PC?

3) As a long term Mac gamer I'm I likely to be disappointed with the graphics on my 1080p TV or 720p projector versus the 1440p monitor on my Mac?

4) For racing games with a wheel I take it there is no option other than a very long USB cable? Also the remote play app on the Mac how does this work with controllers? (i.e you use the ones on the PS not local ones and need to be in range?

5) Any other tips?

I'm sure some of these are basic stuff but my only experience with consoles to date has been the occasional game at someones house.
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#2 macdude22

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 07:01 AM

I can't speak to the PS4, other than it has a controller as comfortable as a gas station deli sandwich, but on xBone.

1) Digital games are associated with your Microsoft account. You can download and play these games on any device you are signed into. Additionally you have the ability to mark 1 console as your home console. The console marked as your home console allows for anyone to sign in on the console and still play the digital games associated with your Microsoft account.

e.x. I can set an xbox one in a kids room as my home console so he can play the games I have bought when signed in as him. Then I sign in as me on a console in the living room. Because I can play any games I am licensed for on any console I am signed in on we can play together on separate consoles each signed in as our selves having only purchased the game once.

2) My xBone has the stock 1TB drive in it. It's in instant on mode so it's always booted of sorts. I've never really noticed drastic load times in games. I think they tune them pretty well for the hardware these days. There's no user serviceable internal drive on the xbone but USB3 drives work fine. I have heard plenty of people use an SSD for this and are pleased with the performance. Since most hybrid drives only have 8GB NAND, enough to cache the OS I'm not sure I see the point in them in these consoles for much more than marketing. xBone and PS4 both have "instant on" features where they sit in a low power booted state. My xbone is to the dashboard in 2 seconds from hitting the power button or controller. Additionally the last used app/game is set in a frozen state so you can instant boot that as well.

3) I am old (33 is old damn it) and have bad eyes. These games all seem to look fine at 1080p, but my desktop monitor is 1080 anyway. I have played fallout 4 both on my PC and xBone. They look fine on both, I guess the textures are better on the PC version but I like just lazing back in the recliner on the 55". *shrug*

4) Monoprice or cables to go will be your friend :) PS4 controllers work fine over USB or Bluetooth. Xbone controllers work fine over USB. There currently isn't a Macintosh version of the xBone app but there is a uservoice request for that.

5) Either way you go keep an eye out for discounted PSN or Xbox Live subscriptions. I frequently see both go for under 40 dollars. I've never paid over 40 for live, often less than that. Live stacks so I can just add years to my subscription when I find a deal, don't know about PSN. Either way its a lot of games for not a lot of money. Kind of like a mystery game box of mystique every month.

xBone has some backward compatibility with 360 now, there were a LOT of great 360 games released over the years. xBox live comes with both xbone and 360 games every month, the 360 games given with Live going forward will always be xBone BC games.
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#3 mattw

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 07:34 AM

Thanks for the info - definitely most appreciated.

You also touched on something I forgot to ask about which was the PSN or Xbox live subscriptions - these I think are all about multiplayer access?

I'm not a fan of subscription services unless I'm really sure I'll make regular use and I mainly play single player games or against bots/AI.

For one thing I don't find my skills to be up to much against the experts players you encounter online and I would probably make do with the titles I have on my Mac for any multiplayer whims.

I'm assuming there is no really problem to not taking up the service?
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#4 Janichsan

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 08:08 AM

I have a PS3 and (since quite recently) a PS4, so I guess I can give some answers.

1.) Your digital purchases are tied to your account, so you can redownload them on any (compatible) Playstation you have activated as your own. I'm not completely sure if there is a limitation how many devices you can activate.

It has happened in the PS Store (and I think also the Xbox store) that games have become completely unavailable: in contrast, Steam and the MAS usually keep delisted games available for redownload when you have purchased them.

2.) Exchanging the hard drive in the PS3 and the older PS4 is fairly simple (I can't imagine this would be different with the new PS4 Pro). You will need a PC to download the system software, though.

3.) Probably not, but your mileage may vary depending on your demands in graphics. Keep in mind that you usually won't be sitting as close to your TV as you to your Mac.

4.) I don't think there are Bluetooth racing wheels available, but I might be wrong. The Remote Play app (currently) requires you to have the PS4 controller plugged in via USB at your Mac/PC. Sony has announced a (ridiculously large) USB dongle for the DS4 that enables it to be used wirelessly. In theory, you can get the DS4 (and the DS3) to connect to your Mac via Bluetooth, but the Remote Play app doesn't seem to recognise it then.

View Postmattw, on 08 September 2016 - 07:34 AM, said:

You also touched on something I forgot to ask about which was the PSN or Xbox live subscriptions - these I think are all about multiplayer access?
Mainly, yes. They both have some extra boons as incentives (e.g. discounts, occasional free games, cloud storage for your saved games), but as long as you do not want to play online, you can probably live without a subscription.

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#5 macdude22

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 08:24 AM

View Postmattw, on 08 September 2016 - 07:34 AM, said:


I'm not a fan of subscription services unless I'm really sure I'll make regular use and I mainly play single player games or against bots/AI.


They are required for multiplayer, which I don't partake in often. But there is some value in the games you get (though you have to maintain the subscription to maintain access to the games *shrug*).

https://en.wikipedia...with_Gold_games

I feel like get my 30 bucks worth in games with gold but YMMV.
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#6 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 10:11 AM

1) How do the digital games and DRM work? I'm not going to be buying them on discs as I already moved away from those for games, music, movies and TV shows so it would be a step backwards for my usage to start managing and storing those again. Is it just like Steam or the App Store were you just sign in on your current hardware? i.e if it breaks or you upgrade to the next version all your purchases can be re-download from the cloud on the replacement?

A: I have owned a PS4 since release day and have used it quite a bit. Digital games are purchased and downloaded from the Playstation Store and are managed through the "Library" app on the PS4 where you can download/delete to/from your system. You can play downloaded games without an internet connection IF you activate your Playstation system as your "Primary System" which is done in settings

2) It sounds like there are possible benefits to upgrading to an SSD or hybrid disk - is this straight forward to do without the need of a PC?

In order to upgrade your drive you will need a computer (PC or Mac) for some of the initial setup. It is a pretty easy process. See this guide

3) As a long term Mac gamer I'm I likely to be disappointed with the graphics on my 1080p TV or 720p projector versus the 1440p monitor on my Mac?

The PS4 has ok image quality. I would say it roughly equal to medium settings, 1080p, 30 fps on the PC side of things. Some games have performance issues with framerate drops (Fallout 4, Dues EX: MD, Firewatch). The PS4 Pro has twice the graphics power and around a 25% boost on CPU power so I would expect it to run games much better. For 1080p gaming the PS4 Pro should be fantastic. I have a custom gaming PC with an RX 480 8 GB (equivalent to the GPU in the PS4 Pro) and I am still considering upgrading my PS4 to the Pro.

I play all of my PC games at 1440p, but I still enjoy playing my PS4 games at 1080p.


4) For racing games with a wheel I take it there is no option other than a very long USB cable? Also the remote play app on the Mac how does this work with controllers? (i.e you use the ones on the PS not local ones and need to be in range?

Not sure about racing wheel. I have never used one. In regards to remote play: it works ok. You hook up your Dualshock 4 controllers to your computer using a Micro-USB cable (which is also the charging cable for the controller that comes with the system).

5) Any other tips?

PS4 is a great system. I love mine. I love the controller. Understand that it doesn't compete with a high end gaming PC, but it still gives great gaming experiences.

If you are willing to wait, Xbox is coming out with their "Scorpio" system next year which will be substantially more powerful then the PS4 Pro (but is at least 1 year away). If you want to buy something soon I would recommend getting the PS4 Pro in November.
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#7 Frost

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 06:07 PM

1. Buy it, download it, play it. As long as your PS4 is activated as your primary console, this includes offline. You can also download it and play it on a friend's or secondary console as long as you're signed into your account when playing. Movies and TV shows I wouldn't buy through Sony. Use Amazon Prime or Netflix or something (both have official PlayStation apps). Sony's got a habit of ending/merging services after a while, not to mention they have nowhere near the crossplatform availability.

2. It's very straightforward. Pop the cover, pull the hard drive, screw a new one into the caddy, put it back in. The only thing you need a PC/Mac for is downloading the system software onto a USB drive for the initial install. You'll also need to have a micro USB cable (one's included for charging) to connect the controller during install as bluetooth is not supported while booted into the firmware rather than the full OS. Put simply, 2.5" hard drives are slow. You will get noticeable benefits from loading times with a hybrid drive, and even more so plus quicker bootup with an SSD. I've had mine on a 512GB SSD for a long time and I often load into areas several seconds ahead of everyone else in Destiny.

3. Depends on your Mac. This 33 year-old has large hands with symmetrically placed thumbs and perfect eyesight, so I love the symmetrical layout and wider grip of the DualShock 4 controller, as well as can see a graphical difference no problem. :P

Frankly, the PS4 is a massive downgrade for me from playing on my PC, which is why I never play on it except to play Sony and/or console exclusives. Framerate is lower and detail in most games is quite bad in comparison. That being said, the launch PS4 was horribly weak even for 2013, and I'm comparing it to the graphics a Titan X puts out, so it really isn't a fair comparison. The PS4 Pro is not quite so weaksauce like the PS4, so should look a LOT better, but it still won't approach what is doable on a PC or Mac, obviously. If you're playing on a TV several feet away, the difference from 1440p to 1080p is not so drastic as it is on a monitor on your desktop. It's still there, but less so. I'd say a much bigger issue than the resolution is the framerate. I have never liked playing at 30 FPS and I still don't; it feels like a slideshow. I'm desperately hoping games that are normally 30 FPS will support 60 FPS on the PS4 Pro rather than just bumping up graphics and staying at 30 FPS.

4. Logitech made a wireless wheel for the PS3, but I don't know if they currently make one for the newer consoles.

Remote Play via computer works by plugging your DualShock 4 into the Mac or PC via a USB cable, starting the Remote Play app, and signing into your PSN account. It's like NVIDIA's GameStream service in that you do not need to be nearby at all, just have sufficient bandwidth to your computer. You can be on the other side of the Earth from your PS4. Although that would make your input latency quite bad, of course.

5. If you use optical audio (which I do), definitely don't go cheaper and get the PS4 Slim, as it has none. Also, checking battery and remembering to plug in your controllers blows. Invest in the official charger and just place it near where you game from. Whenever you're done, drop the controller onto the charging dock with a simple click. I haven't had a controller battery run out on me since 2013 like that.
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Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#8 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 07:12 AM

Frost will you be getting the PS4 Pro?

I'm on the fence about it. I would definitely like a more powerful console. but the Xbox Scorpio looks like it will fulfill that niche better (It's GPU is going to be around the 980 Ti level).
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#9 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:12 AM

My thoughts:  

mITX HTPC/Gaming build in your future.  

Wont cost a lot more than the PS4 Pro (which is.. 499?) but will do a great deal more and do it better or just as well.

#10 Janichsan

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:16 AM

View PostTetsuya, on 09 September 2016 - 08:12 AM, said:

… (which is.. 499?) …
$399/€399/£349.

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#11 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:18 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 09 September 2016 - 07:12 AM, said:

(It's GPU is going to be around the 980 Ti level).

Uhh... not sure where you're getting that.  Its going to be marginally more powerful than the PS4 Pro (about ~20%) but just like the Bone and PS4 Vanilla, the two systems are based on identical hardware.

Edit:  about 25%.  (6 TFLOPS vs 4.4).

#12 Frost

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 07:54 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 09 September 2016 - 07:12 AM, said:

Frost will you be getting the PS4 Pro?

I'm on the fence about it. I would definitely like a more powerful console. but the Xbox Scorpio looks like it will fulfill that niche better (It's GPU is going to be around the 980 Ti level).

Almost definitely, yeah. Probably eBay my PS4 and put the proceeds toward the newer model. Just not sure if I'll do a launch purchase or not. Sounds like a decent number of games are lining up with 30 FPS to 60 FPS upgrades, which is super-enticing to me even if I do only play Sony/console exclusives on it.
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Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#13 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 10:46 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 09 September 2016 - 08:18 AM, said:



Uhh... not sure where you're getting that.  Its going to be marginally more powerful than the PS4 Pro (about ~20%) but just like the Bone and PS4 Vanilla, the two systems are based on identical hardware.

Edit:  about 25%.  (6 TFLOPS vs 4.4).

MS is saying the GPU will have 6 TFLOPS, which is similar to the 980ti (bit more actually - stock 980ti is 5.6). The CPU will be weaker then an i5 most likely, but they might make up for it in core count. The published specs of the Scorpio are quite impressive (for a console).

The vanilla PS4 has about a 30% more powerful GPU then the Xbone.
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#14 mattw

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 03:27 AM

Thanks for all the great details and advise folks.

It sounds like it is worth trying a PS4 Pro when they start shipping - at the very least I can play some of the games that never made it to the Mac.

The price difference up from the slim PS4 hardly seems to make that worthwhile now even though I can't see upgrading my TV to a 4K model with HDR just yet.

All the complaints about the Pro I'm reading seem to be the lack of a UHD optical drive (I'm moving away from discs anyway) and the idea that buying a new console every few years is costly.

I can understand the later point but upgrading GPUs on my Mac was generally a similar cost (and I could sell the old console on like my old GPUs), it used to be every few years as well so I could live with that if I can take my library of games to the new one.
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#15 macdude22

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 07:58 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 09 September 2016 - 10:46 PM, said:


The vanilla PS4 has about a 30% more powerful GPU then the Xbone.

Too bad they paired it with a controller that plays like a sandwich and a UI that makes Fisher Price cry.
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#16 mattw

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 10:03 AM

I only recently got myself a Logitech F710 gamepad for my Mac as so many recent games seemed to need a controller rather than keyboard & mouse.

They actually seemed to go out the way to make keyboard & mouse more difficult.

Although this Logitech is not uncomfortable to me I do still find it more difficult to act quickly with it than on older games with mouse & keyboard. WASD and a mouse are kind of second nature after all the years.

Not sure how the Sony & Microsoft controllers compare?
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#17 Frost

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 05:55 PM

View Postmattw, on 10 September 2016 - 10:03 AM, said:

I only recently got myself a Logitech F710 gamepad for my Mac as so many recent games seemed to need a controller rather than keyboard & mouse.

They actually seemed to go out the way to make keyboard & mouse more difficult.

Although this Logitech is not uncomfortable to me I do still find it more difficult to act quickly with it than on older games with mouse & keyboard. WASD and a mouse are kind of second nature after all the years.

Not sure how the Sony & Microsoft controllers compare?

Both are much better, IMO. I'm a big fan of Logitech's products, but their controllers are the exception. Sticks are not as accurate, triggers are a little funky compared to the DualShock 4 and Xbone controller, build quality is lower, and ergonomics are not as good. I initially used them but quickly switched over to the DualShock 4 in 2013 once it became available.

I'd HEAVILY recommend the DualShock 4 for computer usage over the Xbox One controller. DS4 can connect wirelessly via bluetooth and is easy to deal with over USB since it uses a standard HID setup, no need for extra dongles or other other nonsense like that. Custom drivers help (I recommend DS4Windows on the PC side if you're bootcamping) by adding extra functionality like being able to use the touchpad as a trackpad, but otherwise it works without anything extra. Steam also has built-in controller support for it. Xbox One controller uses wifi direct and thus has to be wired (although I think they have a proprietary dongle coming) and needs drivers.

As far as controller accuracy though, that just goes with the territory. You're not feeling less accurate and slower because you're used to M&K, you're feeling that way because a controller is an inferior input method. You're working through acceleration curves on a tiny little stick instead of directly doing what you want with a mouse. Even if you get really good with a controller, when you switch between the two, a mouse feels like you've had chains taken off of you and you can move and do things in the world naturally instead of fighting the input device.

Upside: Controller beats the pants off M&K for gaming from the couch.
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Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#18 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 06:58 PM

The console war is in a quite funny state at the moment. The PS4 is ahead power wise of about 20% compared to Xbox One, but now the Scorpio will be around 25% ahead. The latter will also include an UHD Blu-ray drive, but come out a year later.

It is going to be interesting to see how that pans out. Can Sony continue to maintain the upper hand, since they release their upgraded console first, or will Microsoft finally start selling more consoles than Sony, since they have the better product? And then again, it may come down to exclusives in the end...

And there's the Big N, throwing around with gimmick 1$ games on phones and rumored mutated giant gameboys... Sigh...
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#19 mattw

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 05:59 AM

Would it be OK to swap the hard disk out immediately on opening the box or Is there any reason to first setup the unit with the original disk  in there? i.e settings in firmware or NVRAM?
Mac Pro 09 (now a 5.1, 2 x 3.06GHz Xeon X5675, 24GB, R9 280X 3GB, 480SSD, 16TB HD, MacOS 10.12.6

#20 macdude22

macdude22

    Like, totally awesome.

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 06:27 AM

View PostFrost, on 10 September 2016 - 05:55 PM, said:

I'd HEAVILY recommend the DualShock 4 for computer usage over the Xbox One controller.

Nope.
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