PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X: not better or worse, just different

Unique approaches to design this time around mean that the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 cannot be directly compared. Microsoft opened the floodgates last month for XSX Hardware Info with drops revealing VRS, VRR, Ray Tracing, and more. Mark Cerny presented in-depth details at yesterday’s Road to PS5 Event about how PS5’s custom chips, special SSD, Audio Ray Tracing, and AMD hardware all work together.

We have learned from industry experts that TFlops are no longer useful in determining what the final experience will be like for these consoles. PS5 has variable clock speeds for CPU and GPU, whereas XSX does not. One has more compute units, balancing them to a lower clock frequency, one has less compute units but with a higher clock. XSX has two different types of memory while PS5 is using all of its memory at a fixed speed. Microsoft is providing its own standard for expanding high-speed storage while Sony is allowing aftermarket drives when PCIe 4.0 reaches maturity and becomes faster / more affordable.


Official XSX Console Image

Xbox Series X (XSX), Price: $TBA, Release: Holiday 2020

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2
  • Die Size: 360.45mm2
  • Process: TSMC 7nm Enhanced
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth: 10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s
  • Internal Storage: 1TB Custom NVMe SSD
  • I/O Throughput: 2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)
  • Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card
  • External Storage: USB 3.2 HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
  • Performance Target: 4K at 60fps – up to 120fps

“Digital Foundry’s testing includes some impressive reading. The Series X processor, for instance, is powerful enough to run four Xbox One S game sessions simultaneously. Ray Tracing – a major point of pride for both Xbox Series X and PS5 – is also delivering apparently incredible results. Dedicated hardware inside the Series X seemingly means that the console can handle more intensive Ray Tracing than expected, harnessing the equivalent of 25 teraflops of power, despite the console’s GPU having 12 Teraflops.”

Leaked Image, PS5 Console Image Not Revealed Yet

PlayStation 5 (PS5), Price: $TBA, Release: Holiday 2020

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28 teraflops with 36 compute units at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
  • RAM: 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
  • Internal Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
  • Expandable Storage: M.2 PCIe 4.0 5GB/s+ SSD Slot
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive


The result of all of this is that we don’t actually know how these systems will perform in real world settings. Throw in that this generation’s cooling systems are taking radical redesigns, we will have to wait and see and it is also likely that different games will operate better on different consoles depending how they were utilized by the developer, on a case by case basis. This may end up being a very good thing in the long run as well, giving identity to each console makes developers more excited and helps produce more truly one of a kind experiences for gamers.

One example of this is how Sony is including on-board hardware, an additional processor for Audio Raytracing, which can be reprogrammed and used for any sort of processing by developers if they aren’t putting Audio RT in the game. The existence of many custom chips like this on both the XSX and the PS5 are precisely why games will vary greatly on each console, and they’ll have their own flavor and style more so than last generation’s Jaguar APU setups on XO and PS4. We look forward to seeing what developers on both sides of the industry are ready to do with XSX and PS5.

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[Some Info Sourced: DigitalFoundry, Microsoft PR]