We build a PS4! What can the rumoured specs do?

Just Cause 2 PS4 Frames Per Second: 21

With the Quasi-PS4 up and running using a complex system of rubber bands and lolly sticks, we ran some of the most demanding games (for PCs and PS3s) out there, starting with technically challenging open world liberate ‘em up Just Cause 2:

So in raw numbers, the test rig didn’t exactly knock our pants off (that’s the saying, right?). In fact with an average frame rate hovering just above twenty, the PS3 looks positively sprightly in comparison – according to Digital Foundry it renders JC2 at between 20-30 fps.

But there’s more to it – for starters, the PC version uses a number of post-processing effects like multisampled antialiasing (edge-smoothing, basically) and a ‘Bokeh’ filter which increases the depth of field effect.

More significantly, the HD 6670 is a DirectX 11-capable graphics card. DirectX is a programming language that allows developers to code in shiny features like tessellation (increased polygon and texture detail), and the latest version, 11, is capable of far prettier, shinier effects than the modified version of OpenGL, a rival programming interface which is open-source – and happens to power the PS3.

Well, kind of. Without getting too bogged down in technicalities, OpenGL runs over the top of another completely bespoke programming language on PS3 called LibGCM. Apparently that makes it quite hard to code for, so it’s good news that the PS4 reportedly supports OpenGL natively, according to unnamed sources - it makes life easier for developers.

DirectX 11 is a step up from the PS3′s graphical capabiulity, but it’s the tech of today, not tomorrow. High end PC owners are already waiting for DirectX 12, so whatever iteration of OpenGL makes it to PS4 better be impressive. If Sony released this video to showcase the PS4′s capabilities, I don’t even want to see the comments section below that video. Ahem. On to the next game!

This time we ran Epic’s high-kicking, imaginitive swearword-coining Bulletstorm, running alongside the PS3 version so you can easily see the differences. Sure it’s easy on the eye on PS3, but when you crank all the graphics options to the max it becomes a real beauty on PC. Can our ‘PS4′ handle it?

Bulletstorm PS4 frames per second: 30

Right, well this is more encouraging. 30 fps is perfectly playable, and the difference between PS3 and our test rig is really clear. The ground textures are sharper, explosions are crisper, and there’s a nice depth of field effect in the ‘PS4′. The two videos aren’t night and day, but there’s clear if subtle progress.

We’ve got one more game to test, though. A game we simply couldn’t omit from this feature, such has been its tendency to court controversy (read: outright disaster) when it comes to frame rates and visual performance. Ladies and gentleman, Skyrim.

This isn’t just the vanilla version of Skyrim on PC though – it’s the beefed-up, super-HD texture version. Bethesda released the high def texture packs with the 1.4 update on PC, and we couldn’t resist pitting our test rig against them. With all the draw distances and detail settings maxed out, obviously:

Skyrim PS4 frames per second: 27

Wow, that’s close. Frame rates look close, texture details looks close, draw distance too. One element that does set the two apart is the volumetric lighting in our ‘PS4′ video – there’s a thickness and depth to the fog and cloud, giving the sky a realistic quality. You can also see more of a sheen to the carriage driver’s leather garments in the ‘PS4′ version. It’s practically a photo finish in terms of detail, but it’s a bit disappointing to see the frame rates ducking below 30.

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