Microsoft and Sony have finally removed the veil from the new generation consoles, Xbox Series X and Playstation 5. In reality, there are not a few details that are still missing from the appeal, especially regarding PS5, whose design is still shrouded in mystery. Despite everything, we can make a first comparison between the specifications of the two models, both characterized by the 7 nm production process for the SoC.
The Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 CPUs in comparison
Xbox Series X uses a Zen 2 CPU with 8 cores and 16 threads, which is, therefore, able to run two threads with a single computing unit thanks to Simultaneous Multithreading. The clock is 3.6 GHz when this technology is active but developers can decide to turn it off to push it up to 3.8 GHz.
PS5 uses a very similar CPU but a lower maximum clock, set at 3.5 GHz, also with variable frequency. In this comparison, the Sony console hardware appears to be less performing than about 300 Mhz when both CPUs will be in boost mode to push hard.
Comparing the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 GPUs
Before analyzing the two GPUs we remind you that when we talk about TFLOPS we refer to a unit of measurement used to calculate the performance of particular hardware. Specifically, it is the number of floating-point operations that a calculation unit is able to perform in one second.
The GPUs installed on Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 are both based on the new AMD RDNA 2 architecture, enriched by a portion of hardware dedicated to the management of Ray Tracing. However, there are no details of the architecture of these computing units. We will probably know more with the presentation of the new AMD GPUs for PC, which could use design very similar to that of the new consoles in this field.
The Xbox Series X GPU is, overall, more powerful, thanks to the 52 Compute Units (for a total of 3328 Stream Processors), which work at a frequency of 1825 MHz, and a very large 320-bit memory bus. The total power of this GPU is 12 Tflops.
PlayStation 5 instead mounts a GPU with 36 Compute Units that run at a clock set at higher frequencies: 2,230 MHz with a 256-bit bus. Sony has not disclosed the number of Stream Processors, but these should be 2304, at least if the Compute Unit-Stream Processor ratio matches that of the Xbox Series X. The total GPU power is 10.28 Tflops.
Just looking at the value of total CUs and TFLOPS, Xbox Series X is clearly higher, with a difference of about 1.7 Tflops.
Total RAM, bus width of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 compared
Overall both consoles will have 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM.
Microsoft has better specified the operation of the Xbox Series X RAM: out of the 16 GB available, 10 GB work at a speed of 560 GB / s and is called GPU Optimal Memory, with direct access to data by the GPU.
Another 6 GB work at 336 GB / s and is called Standard Memory, addressed to the CPU.
The games can access 13.5 GB of memory, of which 10 GB from the Optimal Memory GPU and 3.5 GB from the Standard Memory, while 2.5 GB are dedicated to the operating system.
Sony has not yet clarified the operation of the GDDR6 installed on PS5
The SSD revolution on PS5 and Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X has one 1 TB, with a transfer rate of 2.4 GB / s but which can go up to 6 GB / s thanks to compression, managed by a dedicated chip that frees computational power for the CPU.
PS5 instead has an 825 GB SSD, with a transfer rate of 5.5 GB / s and up to 8-9 GB / s with data compression. The higher speed of PS5 in data transfer is also possible thanks to the adoption of a more advanced compression standard, the RAD Game Tool Kraken, 10% more efficient than the ZLIB one, used by Xbox Series X.
Microsoft has created proprietary 1 TB external memory drives to expand available space, Sony will instead rely on third-party manufacturers to createM.2 SSD certified and suitable for use on Playstation 5.
In this case, the system chosen by Sony seems to be more performing. It will be interesting to see the effects of this renewed data loading speed on three-dimensional engines: it is a new scenario of which we still know little.
Consumption and efficiency compared between PS5 and Xbox Series X
The different approach of the two companies to energy management and the efficiency of the individual chips is interesting. The goal expressly stated by Sony is to standardize the performance of PS5, regardless of the temperature of the game environment, while giving a common reference for developers, who can thus always make the most of the new hardware without fear of overloading it, leading to the onset of thermal throttling, or the lowering of performance due to the increase in temperatures.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has taken a more traditional approach, derived directly from the PC world, which pushes more on performance and awaits temperature peaks for lower operating frequencies.
PS5 VS Xbox Series X: the final judgment
From the point of view of ” brute power ” Microsoft has chosen for the Xbox Series X a GPU and a CPU overall superior to those of Sony PlayStation 5, which instead preferred hardware more attentive to optimization.
Not knowing the final cost of the two consoles, nor the size and form factor of PS5, it is difficult to give a definitive judgment on which of the two approaches will be the best. Without considering the most important factor of all: the games.
And what do you think of it? Which of the two consoles do you prefer?