So the truth is out, and Sony has finally revealed the system specs of their console, giving us plebs in the console space a good feel of what to expect. Eurogamer released an article complete with a technical presentation of PlayStation’s plans for the PS5 hardware.
If you’re just here for the spec comparison, here it is.
Terrific Technical Table!
|PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2|
|GPU Architecture||Custom RDNA 2||Custom RDNA 2|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6/256-bit||16GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||448GB/s||10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD||1TB Custom NVMe SSD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)||2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot||1TB Expansion Card|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support||USB 3.2 HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
Source: Eurogamer (PlayStation/Xbox)
So that’s the rub. Thanks for reading folks!
Just kidding. I do have something to say about this, and there are definitely some things to take away from the news. Let’s break down the specs in comparison.
AMD has been the CPU and APU/GPU manufacturer for both Microsoft and Sony last gen, and it looks like they’re going to be the supplier again this time. We knew this ahead of time, and not much has been done the core count front, but then again that probably isn’t even necessary. The real improvements have been in frequency and architecture.
Zen 2 is proven at this point, and the fact that custom versions of the best-selling CPUs on the market is a huge step for consoles, though it’s interesting to see the difference in on-paper performance between the PlayStation and Xbox.
The PS5 is going to sport a lower clock speed processor by the looks of it, though they’re evidently going to support variable frequency. This likely means that the CPU will not run at 3.5GHz constantly, and could possibly lower its clock to aid in heat dissipation, possibly signaling that Sony is aiming for a slimmer form-factor console than their rival (and similar to the thermal design of the PS4).
Edit: Had to fix a weird sentence…
Xbox is reporting a higher clock speed for their Zen 2 CPU at 3.8GHz, and while also supporting Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT), the Xbox Series X (I’m just going to abbreviate it with XSX from now on, because typing that out constantly is a pain in the ass) CPU will reportedly take a performance hit to enable SMT, showing clock speeds of 3.6GHz with it enabled. Regardless, it’s looking like it will still be a higher-end processor.
There isn’t much to say here because details are still rather sparse, but the XSX is looking to have 52 compute units (CU) at a frequency of 1.825GHz, while the PS5 is appears to have 36 CU at a frequency of 2.23GHz. Respectively, this results in the XSX supposedly sporting 12 TFLOPs performance-wise, with the PS5 managing 10.28 TFLOPs.
Again, the PS5 specs state that the GPU will support variable frequencies, which may mean that the GPU will lower the clock speed to either save power or mitigate heat generation. Either way, both of these consoles look like they’re going to be pretty beefy if the specs check out. Only time will tell, but Xbox has been quite tests of theirs running games like Gears 5 at around 60-100 FPS, with ray tracing support and Ultra-quality equivalent settings. I have not seen any word on game performance for the PS5 as of today.
Memory & Storage
Taking the cake here is PlayStation, with the PS5 not only supporting higher memory bandwidth across the board, but also a much more simple and customer-friendly upgrade path for storage, as well as higher throughput when reading and writing to storage. The good news I suppose, is that both the PS5 and XSX will not only use 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and both will also have NVMe storage.
As for where the PS5 leads, you’d need to look at the fact that memory bandwidth will be a flat 448GB/s, while the XSX splits memory bandwidth for 10GB at 560GB/s and 6GB at 336GB/s. I don’t know the reasoning of why the XSX splits the memory like this, but it looks to have something to do with the architecture of the system itself. Perhaps a portion of the RAM is dedicated to the OS, while the rest of the higher bandwidth memory is devoted to games, but I don’t know for sure at the moment.
Likewise, while the XSX seems to have 175GB of additional storage, it may be that the PS5 just has storage set aside for the system itself (just my personal speculation). What’s clear is that PlayStation placed massive emphasis on data transfer rates to and front internal storage, with their storage transfer rates of 5.5GB/s, thanks in large part to their decision to engineer a proprietary NVMe storage solution for their console. Interestingly, they haven’t ruled out giving users the option to use their own NVMe storage for expansion, but PlayStation has stated that there are potential limitations with clearance on drives with heatsinks, and that users are better off waiting until they release more information on compatible sizes.
Xbox has (for some asinine reason) chosen to opt for their customers to purchase proprietary Seagate 1TB “Expansion Cards” to add on storage, and it appears that running XSX enhanced games off of USB storage will not be an option. I’d venture a guess that this will mean they are taking a similar approach to the Xbox One, where they made it needlessly difficult to upgrade the system’s internal storage, at least in contrast to the PS4.
It’s pretty clear that PlayStation is banking heavily on storage speed to enhance their console, though while it appears to be a less powerful option, it won’t be a weak system. If anything, the performance of the two systems seem pretty equal, and PlayStation is making some pretty bold claims about having “no load times”. Still, for the mild performance gap, PlayStation still has a huge edge in providing exclusive games on their platform, so it’s unlikely that people will flock to the XSX unless Xbox really starts bringing quality games to their ecosystem.
All we’re missing right now are the prices of both systems. That and to know what the PS5 will actually look like.
What are your thoughts on the PS5 specs reveal? Is it the power you’re looking for, or are you counting on something else?