The graphics delivered by the Sony PS5 are already jaw-dropping, and with titles like Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok incoming, that raw power is going to be made the most of in a truly spectacular way.
And now, thanks to Sony dropping a long awaited update, it looks like those graphics are about to get a lot better for millions of gamers in the near future.
It starts with the news that Sony is finally starting to roll out variable refresh rate (VRR) to its own TVs. Sony has been a hold-out on this tech, and it's been widely thought it would bring the tech to its TVs whenever it was ready for PS5, as a big double-update.
This is exciting news for all PS5 gamers, then, regardless of what brand of TV you own, because this long-awaited TV update appears to be a tell-tale sign that Sony is finally about to turn on VRR in all PS5 consoles. So anyone with a PS5 and any TV that supports VRR (check out T3's best gaming TVs guide for a list of them) should shortly be able to gain the benefit of VRR.
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Variable refresh rate is a technology that is employed to stop screen tearing in games. Screen tearing is caused when a TV's refresh rate is out of sync with that of the game being played on the console, leading to ugly graphical glitches.
To solve this problem many games on consoles are locked to 30fps or 60fps refresh rates to avoid tearing, as those are both at the refresh speed that TVs default to. But the problem with this is that it leaves performance on the table and also means a console like the PS5 can't make use of its power optimally.
This is because if a game is locked to a refresh rate, when demands on the console get really intense, it is forced to reduce the resolution of the game (dynamic resolution) to maintain that fixed framerate. This is why many games don't run at native 4K 60fps at all times, instead holding the 60fps framerate but reducing resolution to under 4K.
But with variable refresh rate enabled the console / TV doesn't have to be locked to a refresh rate and can drop it or raise it as necessary. This means that the refresh rate in a game like Horizon: Forbidden West could drop in busy scenes instead of the resolution, but without incurring screen tearing, maintaining a better fidelity experience for gamers.
T3's own TV expert Matthew Bolton had this to say on the VRR update:
"Considering that Sony put VRR support on the PS5's box, it's a bit shocking that it still hasn't arrived yet. And the same goes for the TVs that are being updated – it's been a long and uncertain wait for people who bought them. But the end result will be worth it: VRR really is one of the key next-gen features, because it will give developers so much more flexibility to deliver the high-end graphical wizardry we expect from the new consoles."
Which sums this development up succinctly. Variable refresh rate is going to be a key next-gen feature for PS5 as it will, one, not restrict game developers, letting them squeeze every single drop of power out of the console and, two, it will mean gamers get the very best visual experience from the best PS5 games.
And, with the PS5 loaded with an AMD Radeon RDNA 2 GPU that packs 10.28 TFLOPS of power, along with an 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and the fastest storage that there has ever been in gaming console, having the console let of the leash is going to be spectacular to witness.
Here's hoping, then, we see that VRR PS5 console update land very soon, as it would mean a great graphical boost for PlayStation 5 gamers just as we enter the exciting winter holiday game release period.
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