Patent suggests future PS5 Pro console could challenge Xbox Series X for perfomance crown thanks to dual CPU-GPU combo; PS5 Lite may debut as early as H2 2021 to ease current supply woes
At the time of the PlayStation 5 launch, there was some speculation that Sony may also be developing a Pro version of the console similar to what it did with the PlayStation 4. While there was no information (leaks or otherwise) as to how the "PS5 Pro" would eventually turn out to be, recent patents seem to suggest that Sony's future console upgrade may put the Xbox Series X in a quandary.
Recently, a patent for a "Scalable game console CPU/GPU design for home console and cloud gaming" came to the fore describing a concept featuring two GPUs and two CPUs within the same console. The idea is to distribute the workload for better efficiency and throughput. According to the patent application's abstract,
In a multi-GPU simulation environment, frame buffer management may be implemented by multiple GPUs rendering respective frames of video, or by rendering respective portions of each frame of video. One of the GPUs controls HDMI frame output by virtue of receiving frame information from the other GPU(s) and reading out complete frames through a physically connected HDMI output port. Or, the outputs of the GPUs can be multiplexed together."
The patent notes that the same frame is rendered by both GPUs simultaneously or is split between the two. Ultimately, only one of the GPUs sends the combined final video out to the display. Several methods by which this can be accomplished are duly detailed in the patent. This approach would enable better local as well as cloud gaming along with potentially offering much better VR and a solid 4K 120 fps gaming. The patent also suggests that "plural SoCs" can be offered in a "high-end" version of the console with increased memory and storage.
While the prospect of a future PlayStation 5 Pro console having two GPUs seems exciting, there are many challenges to overcome, especially on the software side of things. There's also the question of thermal management, which gets even more complex with dual CPUs and GPUs.
Meanwhile Chinese publication Sina Daily (via Entrepreneur) reports that a PlayStation 5 Lite is slated to come as early as H2 2021 to ease some of the availability woes of the current PS5 console. Specifics of this console are still unknown, but the expectation is that it could be a compact version of the PS5 possibly with reduced resolution output a la the Xbox Series S.
All said and done, not all patents make it to market so it's best to keep expectations tempered. It may be several years before we may even get to see such a PS5 Pro in action. In the meantime, it would be interesting to know if Microsoft is having any such tricks up their sleeves. An Xbox Series X Pro, perhaps?