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How PlayStation 5 outstrips the Xbox Series X in one area

/ 05:29 PM March 20, 2020
PlayStation 5

Screengrab from PlayStation’s YouTube video “The Road to PS5” (Image: Youtube/PlayStation)

While the PlayStation 5’s hardware specifications fell short of the Xbox Series X’s raw power in many respects, its hard drive is, surprisingly, over twice as fast.

After Xbox unveiled the Series X console’s system specs on Monday, March 16, PlayStation manufacturer Sony Interactive Entertainment outlined the hardware platform for its own PS5.

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In a presentation originally intended for the Game Developers Conference, now postponed as a result of COVID-19 measures, lead PlayStation architect Mark Cerny instead helmed a 52-minute video, posted online on March 18.

While it soon became apparent that the PS5’s specifications were largely behind those of the Series X, Cerny’s strategy was to compare the PS5 to the PS4 instead, illustrating how much of a step change the next console generation represents.

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And, in comparison to the Xbox Series X, professed hard drive throughputs of 5.5 gigabyte per second (raw) and 8 to 9 gigabyte per second (compressed) are over twice as fast as the XSX’s 2.4 gigabyte per second raw and 4.8 gigabyte per second compressed.

Its solid state hard drive isn’t as large—825 gigabyte compared with 1 terabyte on the Xbox—but the unconventional size enables it to deliver that 5.5 gigabyte per second speed, Cerny said. Developers may even need to slow it down so that game data doesn’t load too fast.

Both PS5 and XSX are built on AMD architecture: an 8 core Zen 2 CPU and an RDNA 2 GPU, accompanied by 16 gigabyte of GDDR6 memory.

However, the PS5’s CPU runs at 3.5 gigahertz, while the XSX runs at 3.8 gigahertz (single core) or 3.66 gigahertz (multi-core).

Again, the PS5’s GPU produces 10.28 teraflops of processing power from 36 Compute Units running at
2.23 gigahertz, while the XSX can achieve 12 teraflops from its 52 CUs running at 1.825 gigahertz.

On PS5, the 16 gigabyte of memory has a 256mb bus producing 448 gigabyte per second of bandwidth; on XSX, the 16 gigabyte has a 320mb bus and is split into two portions: 10 gigabyte at 560 gigabyte per second and 6 gigabyte at 336 gigabyte per second.

Perhaps this is part of the rationale between Cerny’s comparisons not to the PlayStation 5 competitor but the PS4 hardware it will be replacing.

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Its GPU is five times as powerful as the original PS4; its CPU speed, memory capacity, and memory bandwidth twice as much.

Cerny also described the PS5 CPU and GPU as having a variable frequency, a flexible solution geared toward managing internal temperatures and therefore performance.

In terms of games, both consoles are embracing compatibility with their predecessors; here, Xbox has been making great strides since early in the Xbox One generation, while PlayStation is targeting “almost all” of the top 100 PS4 games at launch.

Launch games, and launch price, are among the most crucial details still to be supplied by PlayStation and Xbox. IB /ra

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TOPICS: Game Developers Conference, Gaming, Gaming Consoles, PlayStation, PlayStation 5, Sony, Video games, Xbox Series X
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