Sony just revealed the specifications for its next-generation PlayStation 5 (PS5) gaming console. At first glance, it does appear impressive, given it is faster and more powerful compared to the current generation PS4 Pro. But when compared to the recently revealed specifications of its rival, the Microsoft Xbox Series X, PS5 gets overshadowed in some aspects.
Starting with the processing power, the PS5 makes use of an eight-core Ryzen processor with hyperthreading, which is very similar to the processor used on the Xbox. However, the processor used in the PS5 is a bit underpowered with speeds of up to 3.5GHz, whereas, the Xbox has a speed of up to 3.8GHz. The Xbox again gets a bit of an edge here on paper.
The PS5 pulls ahead in the GPU performance. Both the Xbox and the PlayStation have the same base RGNA 2.0 core, but the GPU is used by the PS5 is comparatively smaller in size. This would make it easier to cool down. And a cooler GPU will likely perform much faster than its competition.
But Sony has also overclocked the GPU to provide up to 2.3GHz of speed, which might cause extensive heating and affect the performance. We cannot say how the PS5 will perform in front of Xbox Series X until both the companies launch them and we can put them to a test.
One thing that Sony might be doing to keep the processor running cooler, is that these speeds are not constant and are in simple terms variable. This means that the console will not run on these speeds constantly, and will only throttle itself when it feels the need. This is a beneficial technique while used in PCs. However, this might be the downfall of the PS5 because the console starts to throttle then the performance could be lower than that of the Xbox.
Both the PS5 and the Series X sport the same 16GB GDDR6 RAM, so that will mostly not be affecting how the consoles stack against each other.
A potential advantage that the PS5 could have over Series X is its SSD performance. Take note I have not said size, but speed. This time Sony has built the SSD directly inside of the PS5, due to which they had to custom engineer every part of that SSD to deliver performance. This will hurt the consumer, as the repair cost would be astronomical. The whole motherboard would need to change if a storage unit were to malfunction.
A unique thing here is that the SSD has a size of 825GB, which is very odd as there is no SSD in the market that you can buy with this size. This custom SSD is how the PS5 can pull ahead of the Xbox Series X, as Sony has done everything to optimize it, hence allowing developers to make the world’s bigger, textures much more detailed and characters more realistic. This is not an advantage developer can take on the Xbox.
The Xbox with its optimizations was able to cut load times from 30 seconds to 10 seconds, which means that the PS5 will theoretically be able to cut it even further. Hypothetically even bringing it down to no load times at all.
Also, note that the SSD storage on the PS5 is RAW, which means it is not directly usable by the user. So if you want you can add a standard NVMe SSD into a provided slot on the PS5. Even though this might seem easy, I guess it will not be.
Sony will not want to compromise its speeds, due to which they will only allow users to use select super-fast SSDs that do not compromise their performance. Such high-speed SSDs are currently not available in the consumer market and might not come out for some time, even after the PS5 being launched. A workaround could be, that you plug in a USB hard drive to it to act as an extension for storage not for the main drive.
Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X come with ray tracing. But, Sony has decided to go a step further and provide something they call tempest audio engine, which I would like to call, ray tracing for audio. This will allow the console to provide gamers with higher fidelity audio along with 3D sound to make the gaming experience even more immersive.
The CPU of the Xbox is more powerful than the PS5 hands down. On the graphics side, the story is pretty much similar to the CPU as the Xbox has a GPU speed of 12 teraflops, whereas, the PS5 has a speed of 10.2 teraflops. SSD speeds and load times are where Sony will be able to beat Xbox from all angles. However, I still have a bit of reservations on the heat management of the PS5.
As a consumer of the PlayStation, another major issue I have is that PS5 only comes with backward compatibility for up to a limited number of PS4 games. In contrast, the Xbox Series X has backward compatibility for a lot of original Xbox games.