Breaking Down the Hardware
The time has come and the cards have been dealt, we now know what the specs of both the machines have now, which is exciting because now we can compare and start throwing around numbers on the screen- exciting!
After watching the Mark Cerny speech, set in a green screen room filled with an abundance of audience members who shuffled around like stock footage from time to time, we managed to get some long awaited information of the upcoming PlayStation 5. Although, no dates or system pictures like Xbox has provided, PlayStation seems to be keeping most of their tech locked away in a treasure trove like all the other IP they are creating.
|PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz
(variable frequency, with SMT)
|8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz
(3.6GHz with SMT)
36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
52 CUs at 1.825GHz
|GPU Architecture||Custom RDNA 2
w/ hardware RT support
|Custom RDNA 2
w/ hardware RT support
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||16GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||448GB/s||10GB at 560GB/s,
6GB at 336GB/s
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB NVMe SSD||1TB Custom NVMe SSD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw),
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot||1TB Expansion Card|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support||USB HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
|HDMI||2.1 (4K/120Hz, 8K, VRR)||2.1 (4K/120Hz, 8K, VRR)|
|Backwards compatibility||PlayStation 4(*)||Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
As you can see from the table above, the PlayStation 5 is actually, on paper, behind the Xbox Series X, in terms of GPU power, SSD Space, Memory Bandwidth, CPU and backwards compatibility. However Mark Cerny was quick to point out, that the PS5 GPU has a set power budget that is linked to the thermal limits of the system, which in turn will result in different performance based on the games that are driving the hardware - like in the past generations of PlayStation, towards the end of the life-cycle you're seeing a tremendous improvement of memory handling and getting the most out of the systems.
The Series X on the other hand wants raw power and maximises the GPU pushing an incredible 12.16 TFLOPs which is accompanied with 52 compute units based on RDNA 2 graphics, this is actually the same architecture that we should see in upcoming desktop computers this year - AMD usually offers a short window of exclusivity for developing chips for Xbox, but they usually find their way onto Deskstop shortly after.
We have a lot more concrete usage and practical examples from Xbox with the Series X, you can see they have outlined, loading times which are almost none now (thanks to the super fast NVMe SSD's - although it's proprietary.)
Microsoft have also shown off features like Quick Resume which lets you quickly swap between games as the last game state is stored in memory so it's ready to go in a flash.
Microsoft has also shown differences in details using Gears 5 as an example, you can see the graphical difference in this gif below.
The Xbox Controller has also had some love put into it, the shoulder buttons are now rounder, allowing for an easier grip with small hands. The triggers have a raised nip on each of them, creating a bit more grip for your fingers to reside on.
The D-Pad is now deeper and re-worked for what they say is more fluid control akin to the Elite Controllers. The joysticks are also a tiny bit more weighted with a deeper groove for better traction. There's also a share button for what we would say is Sharing content faster.