PS4 essentials: can the PS4 run at 120 fps?

Each year it seems like there are a set of must have features across gaming. In 2021, that means high refresh rates, 8K support, and a slew of new ways to increase general fluidity.

If you’re someone looking to hop on the 120 fps bandwagon with your PS4, you’ll unfortunately have to wait until you lock down a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

No PS4 models support 120 fps both due to power and required spec of HDMI. It goes without saying that the PS4 also can’t handle 144 fps.

High refresh rates have only just now broken into the console space thanks to the bleeding edge tech found in the Xbox Series X and PS5.

PS4 lacks hardware capability

There’s a reason people want next gen consoles. As cool as it would be if the PS4 somehow had all of the same features it’s simply not possible.

Hertz (Hz) refers to the refresh rate of a monitor or TV. Frame rate (fps) dictates the performance of any given game.

Next-gen consoles like the PS5 require 120 Hz TVs in order to play games at 120 fps.

The PS4 lacks the hardware necessary to compete with new consoles and PCs. It also lacks modularity in most ways.

The console is 7 years old at this point and has started to show signs of aging. Features like 120 fps would have been impossible at the start of the generation much less now.

The PS5, by comparison, is substantially improved in all areas of hardware. It’s capable of 120 fps in some games but even it struggles to produce this frame rate in the most demanding games.

Power, however, isn’t everything – the PS4 or PS4 Pro are both absent of an HDMI 2.1 input. This is the required spec of simultaneously driving 4K and 120 Hz.

Which fps does PS4 run at?

The overwhelming majority of ps4 games are going to run between 30 and 60 fps. 60 fps games have become more common on consoles over time, but they still aren’t the standard.

Of course, there are games that struggle to maintain 30 fps and those that exceed 60 fps at times via uncapped frame rate, but you’ll see most games fall within this range.

Frame rate, at the end of the day, comes down to the systems capabilities and a developers vision. Most games could run at 60 fps on the base PS4, but it would require pulling back the graphics significantly. Red Dead Redemption 2 – a game made of technical achievement – would look unrecognizable if it ran at 60 fps on PS4.

PS4 Pro offers better frame rates in some games

While not pushing 120 or 144 fps, the PS4 Pro generally offers better frame rates than the regular PS4 and PS4 slim.

In terms of its GPU, the performance of the PS4 Pro is more than double that of the base PS4.

Many games since its launch have shipped with a performance mode that prioritizes fluidity over visuals.

A game that struggles to remain smooth on the regular PS4 will usually flourish on the Pro.

In summary

No, the PS4 and PS4 Pro can’t run games at 120 fps or 144 fps. Neither console was designed with this spec in mind, and both are significantly less powerful than next-gen consoles.

While technically possible for games on the PS4 to run at 120 fps, no developer has pushed for this due to past market trends and the reduction in graphics quality needed to make it happen.

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