PS5 hardware features but no design

On March 18, Sony revealed the PS5 hardware features on their PlayStation.Blog. The show was so special and natural; there was a feeling that you were in the center of the action. The details from Sony representatives were not long in coming and here it is: whilst the design is still secret, here are the full hardware features of the PS5:

  • CPU: AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz with variable frequency
  • GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz with variable frequency
  • GPU architecture: Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory interface: 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
  • Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
  • Internal storage: Custom 825GB SSD
  • IO throughput: 5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
  • Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
  • External storage: USB HDD support (PS4 games only)
  • Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray drive
Creativity and intuition. Image credit: ixbt.com

Okay, where shall we start? It’s almost as if all of the rumors came true. Yet, we couldn’t have expected something as innovative if a UFO spaceship with alien technology controlled by Iron Man’s Jarvis had landed. Sony, along with Microsoft, have reached the very pinnacle of progress. PlayStation 5 is an innovative gaming platform that supports ultra-high-speed SSD, indeed around 20 minutes of the presentation was about just that, and custom AMD GPU with ray tracing and highly immersive 3D audio. I am very glad to hear about the audio system, to my mind, 6 out of the 5 human senses should be involved in the gaming process, but that all comes with time.

PS5 versus Xbox Series X: the winner is right here

On the one hand, we are spectators of the most useless race in the world. PS5 and Xbox Series X both exist within a single timeline and are surrounded by the same technical restrictions so they couldn’t hop over each other’s heads. Both companies are aiming to launch their console by the end of 2020. Since rumors are an integral part of marketing and offer a priceless ad campaign, we know that Xbox Series X will be launched on Thanksgiving, November 24. 

Their mutual aim is to close freeform experimentation and creates a straight path without any turns left or right. In such circumstances, we can observe how the designers and engineers of both companies will come to an endpoint. Sony is focused on concentrating all gaming processes around the SSD. You couldn’t fail to notice it during Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny’s speech about how wonderful the SSD is. 

That sounds tedious and no good reward for waiting, and we still haven’t seen any evidence or examples of the PS5 working process, unlike the Xbox Series X. We can see the difference in processors but the difference is negligible. Both consoles use custom AMD-based Zen 2 cores but for Sony it is 3.5GHz each and for Xbox it is 3.8GHz each. And here is a question for game developers, since Microsoft provides them with red and blue lollipops to utilize the CPU in single-threaded mode, does it come with 8-cores and 8-threads or in multi-threaded mode with 16-threads? The speed correlates between 3.8GHz and 3.6GHz. 

The PS5 will work like it’s on auto quality mode on YouTube. The clock speed will be boosted as long as the technical and thermal capabilities will allow it. The console’s overall productivity will depend on the game pressure placed on it.

The GPU is the first thing to show us a visual difference between the two competing consoles. Sony has equipped the PS5 with custom AMD RDNA 2-based GPU which provides 10.28 teraflops of power with 36 compute units, but are aiming to achieve a maximum 2.23GHz each. Again, everything is up to the PS5’s thermal capabilities, while Xbox Series X hits the point in 12 teraflops with 52 compute units and will work at stable 1.825GHz each, no higher or lower. 

Storage speed is a feature that determines the direction of evolution for Sony and Microsoft. Both consoles can easily compete with laptops and desktops with the help of their advanced custom controller hardware and the usage of NVMe solid-state drives. However, it is a place where Sony definitely picks up an ice-cream from Microsoft.  PS5’s SSD is capable of 825GB of storage and 5.5GB/s data transfer, which can rise up to 9GB/s with the help of compression while Xbox Series X includes a custom 1TB NVME SSD but with a lower indicator of speed — 2.4GB/s or 6GB/s with compression. It is another task for developers to find the golden spot for their future projects.

Wrapping up

I didn’t take into consideration the information about 8K support for both consoles, as it doesn’t influence your choice at all. What I can definitely say is that Xbox Series X, on paper at least, looks more amiable and attractive for gamers right now, but we all know that Sony has gained the trust of the audience not by their technical superiority but their networking and connections with developers. Nonetheless, Xbox Series X makers have proven their statements towards their next-gen console with their test videos, while we haven’t seen any from PlayStation 5 and all specs are only on paper.

CategoriesPlayStation 5Xbox Series XXbox One XXbox One SPlayStation 4 ProPlayStation 4 SlimNintendo Switch
ProcessorAMD Zen 2 (3.5GHz, eight-core)AMD Zen 2 (3.8GHz, eight-core)AMD Jaguar (2.3GHz, eight-core)AMD Jaguar (1.75GHz, eight-core)AMD Jaguar (2.1GHz, eight-core)AMD Jaguar (1.6GHz, eight-core)ARM Cortex A57 (1.02GHz, quad-core)
GPUAMD RDNA 2 (10.28 teraflops, 36CU)AMD RDNA 2 (12 teraflops, 52CU)Integrated AMD (6 teraflops, 40CU)Integrated AMD Radeon (1.4 teraflops, 12CU)Integrated AMD Radeon Polaris (4.2 teraflops, 36CU)Integrated AMD Radeon (1.84 teraflops, 18CU)Nvidia Maxwell (0.5 teraflops, unofficially)
Storage825GB (NVMe SSD)1TB (NVMe SSD)1TB500GB, 1TB, 2TB1TB500GB, 1TB32GB
Optical drive4K Ultra HD Blu-ray4K Ultra HD Blu-ray4K Ultra HD Blu-ray4K Ultra HD Blu-rayBlu-rayBlu-rayN/A
4K supportYesYesYesYes (video only)YesNoNo
8K supportYesYesNoNoNoNoNo
HDR supportYesYesHDR10HDR10HDR10HDR10No
PortsTBAThree USB-A 3.0 ports, HDMI (out), optical audio, proprietary memory slotThree USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audioThree USB 3.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), IR, optical audioThree USB 3.1, one Aux, HDMI (out), optical audioTwo USB 3.1, one Aux, HDMI (out)USB-C, microSD, 3.5mm headphone
WeightTBATBA8.4 pounds6.4 pounds7.2 pounds4.6 pounds0.88 pounds
Dimensions (in.)TBA5.94 x 5.94 x 11.8511.8 x 9.4 x 2.411.6 x 9.1 x 2.512.8 x 11.6 x 2.111.3 x 10.4 x 1.549.4 x 4 x 0.55

Thank you The Verge for the table.