PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X: Who’s winning the specs battle?

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With Sony officially unveiling all the internals of the PlayStation 5, it’s finally time to run some comparisons. While Microsoft seems adamant that the Xbox Series X is undoubtedly the more powerful machine, now that we know exactly what’s inside the PlayStation 5 we can finally figure out who’s winning the very literal power struggle, Even if we still don’t actually know what the PS5 even looks like. They have to show it off soon…right?

CPU

In terms of the central processing unit, both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X have some seriously chunky hardware. The Series X is sporting 8 Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (with a variable speed of roughly 3.6GHZ) while the PS5 is also running 8 Zen 2 Cores, it’s just at 3.5GHz with an unknown variable frequency. Neither CPU is anything to scoff at and both are extremely powerful but if we’re talking numbers alone, then it’s fairly plain to see that the Series X just pips the PS5 in terms of raw processing power.

GPU

Arguably the most obvious power difference lies within the graphics processing units of the two consoles. While the PS5 is capable of generating 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (almost ten times the power of the PS4), the Series X has a whopping 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs of processing power at 1.825 GHz. That’s a lot of data to play around with, making the Series X the more graphically powerful machine. Even if you have no idea what a TFLOP is, just know that 12 of them is a lot.

RAM

In terms of memory, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have vaguely the same amount of RAM. Both consoles will be using 16GB GDDR6 which is, again, nothing to scoff at. No real winner on that front, but still encouraging to see both Microsoft and Xbox including some powerful memory tech in their consoles.

Internal Storage

This is the big one. While plenty of the above specs are definitely impressive in their own right, the addition of solid-state drives to consoles is the thing that truly elevates the PS5 and the Series X into the next generation. Ensuring faster load times, SSDs are going to change the way games are built and played. The PS5 is sporting an 825GB SSD and the Series X will be running a 1TB SSD. So that’s a clear winner on size, but there’s more to this than sheer volume.

The other important factor when comparing SSDs is the IO throughput, or how fast the data transfer rate is. Essentially, how quickly the SSD is capable of loading data. So while the Series X has a larger SSD, it’s IO throughput is 2.4GB/s of raw data and 4.8GB/s of compressed data. On the other hand, while the PS5 has a smaller SSD it’s capable of transferring raw data at a whopping 5.5GB/s and compressed data at 8-9GB/s. That’s…monumentally fast. We’re prepared to say that while a little extra storage space is nice, the speed packed into the PS5 SSD is tremendous. If we’re handing out trophies for this category, Sony definitely wins.

Bells and whistles

With the important stuff out of the way, let’s quickly run through some of the smaller differences. Both the Series X and the PS5 will have built-in 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drives for that crisp viewing experience, both have expandable storage, the Xbox using a 1TB Expansion Card and the PS5 an NVMe SSD Slot and both have options for external storage: The PlayStation features support for USB HDD while the Xbox supports USB 3.2 HHDs

So what does this all mean?

Basically, it seems like the Xbox Series X has a lot more meat underneath its hood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the better console. While the Xbox One is more powerful than the PS4, the lack of quality first-party software unfortunately doomed Microsoft’s current-generation console. Yet with Xbox pushing Game Pass as a big service for the future, it’s possible they may be able to win back users by offering a huge selection of older, current and future exclusives. How Sony plans on implementing backwards compatibility is still currently unknown.

At this point, we’d say the console war will be decided based on software. While it’s certainly interesting to discuss the internal components of both boxes, most users don’t give two hoots about how many Terraflops a machine is capable of computing. Most players just want to know if it’ll play the next big exclusive and how complicated the process of playing online will be. That front of the war has yet to be staged but one thing’s for sure: It’s only going to become more competitive in the lead up to launch.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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