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Is ChatGPT Plus Worth Paying For? Comparing GPT-3.5 vs GPT-4 Performance

Author: CodebagelTime: 2024-02-07 13:45:01

Table of Contents

Generating Video Descriptions with ChatGPT and ChatGPT Plus

As an avid ChatGPT user, I was eager to try out ChatGPT Plus and its early access to GPT-4 when it was announced. However, the price tag gave me pause. To help determine if ChatGPT Plus is worth the cost, I tested it head-to-head against the free version of ChatGPT on a series of tasks.

The key advantage of ChatGPT Plus is access to the newer GPT-4 model rather than GPT-3.5. GPT-4 is more accurate and efficient. Most importantly, it will eventually support multi-modality to accept visual inputs. This will be a game changer, but image uploads aren’t supported yet.

To compare them, I gave ChatGPT and ChatGPT Plus creative writing, coding, and problem solving challenges. I assessed their responses for speed, accuracy, reasoning ability, and efficiency to see how they stacked up.

Speed and Accuracy Tradeoff

On simpler creative tasks like generating video descriptions, the free ChatGPT was faster but more prone to mistakes. It took just over a minute versus two minutes for ChatGPT Plus. However, ChatGPT Plus wrote a more compelling, clickbait-style description with hashtags and calls to action. This aligns with the expectation that GPT-3.5 emphasizes speed over reasoning ability. The slower GPT-4 clearly aimed for higher quality output, even on basic requests.

Emotional Appeal Difference

An interesting observation was ChatGPT Plus's attempt to add emotional appeal and invoke curiosity in its writing. For example, it asked viewers to like, subscribe and comment at the end of the video description. This demonstrates stronger emotional intelligence. It aims to form a deeper connection with the audience to drive engagement. The free ChatGPT did not demonstrate this ability.

Building a Discord Bot

Coding tasks reveal an even more pronounced difference. I had both ChatGPTs generate instructions for building a Discord bot to post my latest YouTube videos. The free ChatGPT was faster at around one minute versus over two for ChatGPT Plus.

However, its instructions had multiple mistakes that took 45 minutes to correct. In contrast, ChatGPT Plus produced flawless instructions that took under 10 minutes to implement. So despite being slower initially, it was far more efficient overall by eliminating costly errors.

This proves GPT-4 has substantially better reasoning skills to handle complex, multi-step procedures like coding. The tradeoff for speed is worthwhile if it saves hours of debugging bad logic.

Mistakes and Efficiency

An interesting observation during troubleshooting was that ChatGPT Plus always tried to explain its reasoning, while the free version did not. So despite more mistakes initially, the openness actually made ChatGPT Plus quicker to get right. Rather than having to infer what may have gone wrong in the free ChatGPT's logic, ChatGPT Plus explicitly walked through it. This level of transparency makes it not only more accurate, but more instructor-like for learning.

Solving LeetCode Interview Questions

As a final test of capabilities, I had both ChatGPTs attempt algorithmic coding interview questions on LeetCode. These assess skills needed for technical roles in software engineering.

I used recent 2022 problems to prevent issues with them having seen the questions before in training data. Accuracy was scored based on passing test cases.

ChatGPT Plus significantly outperformed the free version, solving 60% correctly versus just 20% for ChatGPT. However, there were still gaps in diligently checking work and fully comprehending complex problems. So while better, it remains imperfect at mimicking human reasoning needed to pass interviews.

Scoring and Explanations

ChatGPT Plus answered 2/3 easy, 3/4 medium, and 1/3 hard questions correctly. ChatGPT only passed 1/3 easy and 1/4 medium questions. This shows a substantial accuracy jump with the upgraded model, but not mastery. ChatGPT Plus always attempted explanations to demonstrate its work. This increases transparency and aids learning. However, despite claiming examples passed, they sometimes failed test cases.

Checking Work Diligently

An interesting observation was that while ChatGPT Plus tried to correct failed test cases when prompted, it struggled to fix logical gaps. This indicates difficulty fully understanding complex problems no matter how many times it re-attempts them. So there are still clear limitations versus human reasoning for the cutting edge of technical interviews and software engineering.

Final Verdict: Is ChatGPT Plus Worth It?

For most casual users who code infrequently, the free ChatGPT is likely sufficient. However, for regular coders, the increased accuracy and efficiency of ChatGPT Plus can translate to major time savings that justify the $20 monthly subscription cost.

Once multimedia inputs are enabled, unique use cases like generating code and content from images could provide even more value from the upgraded GPT-4 model.

So in summary: for programmers, the boost in productivity is likely worth the price. But non-coders gain marginal benefit relative to the free alternative.

Conclusion and Call to Action

I hope this comprehensive comparison has provided a clear understanding of the current tradeoffs between ChatGPT and ChatGPT Plus. Please subscribe and share if you found it valuable!

As both products continue rapid improvement towards general intelligence with each iteration, I will follow up with future head-to-head benchmarks on my channel. Thanks for watching, and let me know any other creative ways you would like me to test these AI assistants!


Q: How was the performance of ChatGPT and ChatGPT Plus compared?
A: They were given tasks like writing descriptions, building a Discord bot, and solving LeetCode questions to compare speed, accuracy, reasoning ability, and efficiency.

Q: What are the key differences between the two versions?
A: ChatGPT Plus with GPT-4 is slower but more accurate and advanced in reasoning ability, while the free GPT-3.5 version is faster but makes more mistakes.

Q: What was the final verdict on if ChatGPT Plus is worth it?
A: It likely is worth it if you code frequently as it can save significant time, but otherwise the free version is good enough for more basic tasks.

Q: What additional capabilities are coming to ChatGPT Plus?
A: Future plugins and ability to process images and visual inputs, which will make it more advanced and useful.

Q: Will either version of ChatGPT replace humans at jobs?
A: At their current capability, no - they still struggle with some complex logical reasoning and checking their work properly.