The ability to tweak settings can be seen as a downside, too. In that you will have to (or want to) do this for every image. There is something to be said for the black box approach. Let’s for a moment leave cost out of the picture…
Using PL4 Elite, launch PL4 (11 seconds), navigate to the folder in the sidebar (which I’ve never liked the scale of), select your photos, apply a preset that contains your default noise and sharpness etc, potentially change any of the several sliders in those per image, select all the photos again if you did anything to any individual, Export to Disk and pick the preset to export DNGs, then click Go.
Or… launch PureRAW (5 seconds), drag the images from anywhere (Finder/Explorer or your DAM), 2 clicks, and you’re done. Meanwhile you haven’t built a pointless database if the intention was never to load up the images for more work in PhotoLab.
I’ve run a test folder of images through PureRAW and opened them alongside the originals in ON1. Bringing up the compare mode between the two versions it is perhaps hard to tell on “natural” shots, but my usual fare of aircraft shows a night and day difference. So I’m going to take another look at ON1, which I liked a lot about, but did not have RAW conversion anywhere near as good as PhotoLab.
So no there is not a need for PhotoLab 4 Elite users to purchase PureRAW, and I have zero concern with people using PhotoLab to achieve the same things, but there is definitely value in using PureRAW from a workflow point of view.
If I switch to ON1, which is odds on likely at this point, then I will of course retain PL4 and maybe it will have a role for those borderline shots that do need some tweaking of DeepPRIME or lens module parameters (and indeed I have not tested PureRAW on noise yet), but I will think very carefully before paying for any upgrade to PL5.