What Sony's incoming PlayStation 5 redesign reveals about the PS5 Pro

A PlayStation 5 redesign has been leaked as incoming and its details hint at Sony's PS5 Pro plan

PS5 Pro Sony PlayStation 5
(Image credit: Future)

The idea that Sony has a PS5 Pro console in its plans was first reported by T3 back in December last year, with an official Sony Interactive patent describing a new games console that didn't just come with one graphics card, but two.

A PS5 Pro with two graphics cards would almost certainly claim the most powerful console crown from Microsoft's Xbox Series X, as well as offer loyal Sony PlayStation 5 gamers a brilliant new flagship to power awesome next-gen PS5 games in an even greater level of fidelity.

Enter Sony's incoming PS5 redesign, which is reportedly landing next year in order to address the continuing PS5 restock issues that are plaguing gamers. The redesign, which was mentioned by Sony CFO, Hiroki Totoki, is apparently happening because Sony is really struggling to meet demand for PS5 in terms of actually making the consoles due to a semiconductor shortage. Without the necessary semiconductors Sony cannot make the tech that powers the PS5, such as its 7nm AMD system-on-chip (SoC).

However, by redesigning the internals of the PS5 to make use of TSMC's N6 6nm process instead of its N7 7nm one it can attain a better component yield and shorten production cycles. In layman's terms, Sony will be able to make the redesigned PS5 console, which some commentators are indicating could be marketed as an early PS5 Slim, far quicker and in greater volume.

One interesting detail, though, from the news that Sony looks set to move to a 6nm process for this redesigned PS5 is that Sony contemplated moving to TSMC's N5 5nm process too, which offers much more power and efficiency, but decided against it as the costs were so high that the firm would have to raise the cost of the PlayStation 5 console in order to include it.

As such, now we appear to be heading towards a redesigned PS5 dropping in 2022 that will use 6nm technology, and if that does happen then that leaves Sony with, at least to me, an obvious next step – designing PS5 Pro based on 5nm tech.

This makes sense in terms of timings and in terms of the experience gamers are offered. Here's why.

Firstly, while 5nm is too expensive now for Sony to consider, as the last thing it can do right now is increase the cost of its flagship console, by the time the PS5 Pro hits the market, which will likely be 2023 if Sony follows the same release schedule as the PS4 generation (the PS4 Pro came out precisely three years after the PS4, so a PS5 in 2020 = a PS5 Pro in 2023), it likely will be. The cost of 5nm will have reduced and this will allow Sony to release the PS5 Pro for a price that doesn't exceed the PS5's price now.

And, secondly (and arguably more importantly), 5nm tech on board would be perfect for unlocking the console's "Pro" levels of gaming performance. A PS5 Pro equipped with a 5nm SoC and two graphics cards (even though an upgraded one GPU system feels more likely) would be the stuff of gamer dreams, and it would really help make the console stand out against the PS5 and PS5 Slim, as well as the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, which are both powered by 7nm tech.

The PS5 box has "8K" on it and, while that is absolutely true in the sense that the PS5 can output a 8K resolution at 60 fps over HDMI 2.1, which will allow it to display future 8K content from streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus, as well as graphically undemanding indie games, gamers won't be getting new AAA games like Horizon Forbidden West running at 8K 60 fps on it. The hardware in the PS5, while impressive, simply isn't capable of that.

However a PS5 Pro outfitted as detailed above would really help the hardware chase that 8K dream.

Here at T3 we're unsure whether Sony really will change the actual physical design of the PS5 next year, and might just do what Nintendo did with the Nintendo Switch and release a new version of the system with different internals with the same design. This would then leave them 2023 to release a PS5 Slim, which would offer the same tech as the redesigned 2022 console but with a different exterior design, as well as a PS5 Pro later in the same year, which would follow the exact pattern as Sony followed last gen.

Or, if PS5 sales continue to be incredibly strong, the Japanese firm might even push back the PS5 Pro release into 2024 – so much is dependent on factors that, right now, we have no sight on.

What is clear, though, is that Sony looks to be very comfortable with the idea of changing up the design (internally at least) of their PS5 console, and that can only help them lean toward the idea of once more following up with a mid-gen Pro console.

Robert Jones
Robert Jones

Deputy Editor for T3.com Rob covers the latest in computing, gaming, mobile, and home entertainment technology. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.