Conclusions & Looking Ahead
SSD Performance Conclusions
While we couldn't test every PS4 game, our results with a varied list of titles show that the PS4 Pro's SATA III interface does indeed make a difference with games bottlenecked by storage performance. On average, upgrading our non-Pro PS4 to the Samsung 850 EVO SSD resulted in a 9.8 percent improvement in loading times over the stock HDD, with a low of a zero percent change to a high of 22 percent. Meanwhile, the PS4 Pro, fully able to utilize SATA III speeds, saw an overall average improvement of 27.5 percent, ranging from 7 percent to a whopping 66 percent.
This performance comes at a price, however, with our 1TB Samsung 850 EVO currently priced at $350. The prospect of spending nearly the cost of the console itself on a storage upgrade will be unappealing to all but the most dedicated performance enthusiasts. Of course, if your PS4 gaming library is limited, there's also the option to purchase an SSD with a smaller capacity.
Regardless of the value of upgrading your PS4 Pro to a high-performance SSD, however, the answer to the question that prompted this article — does the PS4 Pro's SATA III interface make a difference? — is clearly in the affirmative.
Looking Ahead to "4K"
None of the games used in our tests offered full support for the PS4 Pro's high resolution "4K" mode, as that would have prevented us from performing direct comparisons with the non-Pro PS4. However, the benefit of a high-performance SSD may be even greater with games that do support this feature, as many of them will require the use of larger textures and assets, which would theoretically put greater emphasis on the PS4's storage capabilities.
As of the date of this article's publication, there are very few games which support the full capabilities of the PS4 Pro. As this list grows, we will attempt to revisit this performance analysis to see what impact the PS4 Pro's storage bus has when it comes to loading higher resolution assets. Such an analysis will prevent us from considering the non-Pro PS4 in the results, but will provide further data for PS4 Pro owners weighing the cost of an upgrade to a high capacity SSD.