Earlier today, Sony began rolling out firmware 4.50 for both the PS4 and PS4 Pro. Numerous small UI and social tweaks are now in place, but the biggest user-facing changes revolve around external storage improvements and the addition of a Boost Mode for unpatched games on the PS4 Pro.
On the official PlayStation website, the most recent patch notes reveal what’s changed in 4.50. In addition to the much-lauded Boost Mode, USB 3.0 hard drives between 250GB and 8TB can now hold your games, Remote Play users can take advantage of voice chat, screenshots can serve as backgrounds, the PSVR can play 3D Blu-rays, you can now export animated gifs, and much of the social interface has been significantly streamlined. Truth be told, this is a massive update.
Back in February, the beta for 4.50 rolled out with support for Boost Mode, but Sony was relatively quiet about this exciting new feature. When enabled, games without explicit PS4 Pro optimizations can see bumps in performance up to 38 percent, so it was a bit odd when it was barely mentioned. At the time, some of us were even skeptical that Sony would keep the functionality in when 4.50 shipped to the masses.
Thankfully, the nail biting was for naught. Boost Mode is available as a toggle under Settings > System > Boost Mode, and it seems to work just fine. There’s always the possibility that enabling it could introduce oddball bugs, but most of the reports we’ve seen have been overwhelmingly positive.
While Boost Mode was still under beta testing, the Digital Foundry team looked at some of the most popular non-Pro PS4 titles, and found that many of them benefited significantly. Games like Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Assassin’s Creed Unity have damn-near all of their instability smoothed out with the extra horsepower, and some of the most problematic games become more playable.
Just Cause 3 still can’t stick to 30fps, but the additional CPU and GPU power offer a better experience. Until Dawn, one of our personal favorites, drops less frames on average, but the uncapped frame rate means that it still wobbles between the mid-twenties and mid-thirties most of the time.