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PS4 Neo rumor round-up: everything we know so far about the next PlayStation

It hasn’t even been three years since Sony released the PlayStation 4, yet both Sony and Microsoft have more powerful consoles in the works. After the seven-year life span of the PS3, a new PlayStation may seem sudden, but Sony’s new console isn’t an entirely new device. Instead, it will be a refined version of the PS4, running the same software but on more powerful equipment.

Why iterate on the PS4? Technology moves fast, and consoles quickly become outdated in terms of performance and graphical power as PC hardware continues to advance. By updating console technology over the course of a generation, Sony — and Microsoft with its recently announced Project Scorpio — can provide console users with gaming experiences that won’t lag too far behind those on PCs. In a way, console manufacturers are simply following the model set by other devices, namely smartphones, improving on hardware rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with a each generation.

Related: The 20 best PlayStation 4 games you can buy right now

Although Sony has yet to formally reveal its forthcoming console, leaks and rumors have been flooding the internet for months. Here are some of the bigger rumors and leaks about the new PS4, some substantiated by Sony, some not.

The biggest leak regarding the new PlayStation came from Giant Bomb’s Austin Walker, who received documents outlining Sony’s plans for the console. The project is codenamed “Neo,” though many have taken to calling it the Playstation 4.5 or PlayStation 4K. The Neo’s CPU will apparently have a faster clock speed, running at 2.1GHz (up from the current model’s 1.6GHz). The report also indicates that the Neo will have a more advanced AMD GPU, with 36 compute units (CUs) running at 911MHz, up from 18 CUs running at 800MHz. Finally, the Neo is said to have an increased memory bandwidth of 218GB/s.

These hardware improvements would allow for better performance and graphical fidelity. In particular, The Neo can support 4K resolution and virtual reality, which is fitting given that Sony is producing both 4K televisions and the PlayStation VR headset. For those unsure what 4K means, when it comes to televisions, 4K refers to pixel resolutions of 3,840 x 2,160, which offers four times as many pixels as a typical 1080p display.

Related: Your 1080p TV is old already: Everything you need to know about Ultra HD 4K

Giant Bomb’s sources indicated that, although Sony is not mandating that developers support 4K, Neo versions of games must have frame rates that meet or surpass the current frame rates on the current PS4.

The advent of virtual reality seems like a good reason for designing a better PlayStation. Although PlayStation VR will be compatible with the current model PS4, virtual reality is incredibly taxing on even high-end PCs. If Sony wants to offer a competitive VR experience, Neo’s more powerful hardware is a rational step.

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