Now that the technical specification of both Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are officially public, how do the console compare? You may be surprised to know that the consoles are pretty similar to each other, using the same CPU and GPU architectures, SSD hard drives and disc drives.
The Technical Specs
Have a look at the comparison table below to see just how similar the two consoles are. Further below, we’ll compare the specs in more details.
|PS5||Xbox Series X|
|CPU||AMD Zen 2|
8 Cores @ 3.5Ghz w/ SMT (variable)
|AMD Zen 2|
8 Cores @ 3.8Ghz / 3.6Ghz w/ SMT
|GPU||AMD RDNA 2|
36 CUs @ 2.26Ghz (variable)
|AMD RDNA 2|
52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
|Hardware ray tracing||Yes||Yes|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6||16 GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||16GB @ 448 GB/s||10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s|
|Internal Storage||825 GB NVMe SSD|
|1 TB NVMe SSD (Custom)|
|I/O Throughput||5.5 GB/s (Raw)|
8-9 GB/s (Compressed)
|2.4 GB/s (Raw)|
4.8 GB/s (Compressed)
|Expandable Storage||Pre-approved M.2 NVME SSDs||Custom 1 TB NVME Expansion Card|
|External Storage||USB External HDD||USB 3.2 External HDD|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive|
|3x USB-A 3.0|
Custom Memory Slot
|Audio||Tempest Engine 3D audio||Dolby Atmos|
Windows Sonic 3D audio
|BackwardCompatibility||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Availability||Holiday 2020||Holiday 2020|
Both the consoles are almost evenly matched, opting to use the same AMD Zen 2 architecture with 8 cores. However, the Xbox Series X has better maximum clock speeds compared to the PS5, which becomes more comparable with Synchronous Multi-threading (SMT) enabled.
Responsible for the graphical output, the GPUs is where things get interesting. Again, both consoles have opted for the same RDNA 2 architecture, but the GPU on the Xbox Series X packs more Compute Units (CUs) than the PS5, giving it more computer power.
In terms of Teraflops, the Xbox Series X beats the PS5 with 12 TFLOPS versus 10.28 TFLOPS. The PS5’s GPU clock speed is higher than the Xbox Series X, but the Xbox has more CUs, giving it more TFLOPS overall.
Again, both consoles have gone with the same type of RAM chips and size. Both consoles are using 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM, but the speed of the chips differ between the consoles.
The PS5’s RAM can deliver speeds of 448 GB/s, with all chips running at the same speed. On the Xbox Series X however, there are two different sets of chips. 10 GB of RAM operates at speeds of 560 MB/s, while the remaining 6 GB operates at a slower 366 GB/s.
The Xbox Series X has a lower overall average speed, but the higher speed of the 10 GB may give games a useful advantage.
Both consoles have opted for high-speed SSD, or Solid State Drives, helping to boost loading times. The PS5 has less storage than the Xbox Series X, but is much faster in comparison. The PS5’s high-end SSD will be able to deliver speeds of 5.5 GB/s of uncompressed data, compared to the Xbox’s 2.4 GB/s throughput – that’s more than double the speed. The PS5’s drive is also faster than anything else currently in the market.
The reduced storage in the PS5’s internal drive was likely to balance the cost of the console with the faster speeds.
Unfortunately, neither console allows the internal SSD to be replaced, which is a major departure from previous consoles. Sony, in particular, made it very easy to replace the hard drives in the PS3 and PS4. To deal with this limitation, both consoles offer expansion ports and support for external storage.
On the PS5, a M.2 port will allow certain of-the-shelf SSD drives to be connected. However, the speeds of these third-party drives won’t match the internal drive’s speed (at least not at launch). On the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has partnered with Seagate to provide a custom 1 TB expansion card that plugs into a custom slot at the rear of the console.
It’s very likely that expansion storage will be expensive on both consoles. Sony will be testing existing M.2 SSDs over the coming months and will provide a list of compatible drives that will work with the PS5.
Both consoles also support external storage options via USB, however, these won’t support PS5 or Xbox Series X games. However, support backward compatible games will be playable from these external drives, if you don’t mind sacrificing speed.
Both consoles are focusing on 3D audio, but have chosen different paths. The Xbox Series X will support Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic for spatial audio, while the PS5 has a custom 3D audio chip called the Tempest Engine.
The PS5 goes further with 3D audio by offering five Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF) profiles at launch to customise the audio to your ears. Eventually, the aim is to create custom HRTF profiles for individual players.
The cost for both consoles remains elusive. Based on the above specs, it won’t be a surprise of the Xbox Series X will cost more than the PS5 at launch, given the beefier specs on the Xbox.
Obviously, nothing has been confirmed but it shouldn’t be long before we know more. Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t cause any issues for either console, or both may be delayed into 2021.