PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown – Which console is fastest?

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown – Which console is fastest?

Both Sony and Microsoft have revealed the specifications of their next-generation consoles, allowing us to get an early look at the performance characteristics of both systems. 

The obvious question now is which console is faster, and that’s what this article plans to address. Both Sony and Microsoft have created capable systems, both of which will no doubt deliver a generational performance leap over today’s Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems, that said, both consoles have a clear lead over the other, depending on what you’re comparing.

CPU

Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will use customised Zen 2 series processors from AMD. Better still, both system makers have opted to deliver eight cores on their next-generation systems and clock speeds that exceed 3GHz.

These changes ensure that both systems will deliver insane increases to processing power ver today’s systems, thanks to improvements in both raw clock speeds and the amount of calculating power that can be pushed per clock cycle. This is an area where both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will deliver real generational leaps in system performance. 

Now, which system is more powerful, Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5? In this case, the answer is simple, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is the victor. Microsoft offers higher clock speeds than Sony’s theoretical maximum clock speed of 3.5GHz, making this a clear win for team Xbox. 

Graphics

Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 use customised AMD RDNA 2 graphics processors, with Sony offering higher theoretical clock speeds while Microsoft offers more compute units and lower, fixed clock speeds. 

When looking at the pure computational performance of these systems, Microsoft is the clear victor. 12 TFLOPS guaranteed when compacted to a theoretical maximum of 10.28 TFLOPS. While working with more compute units is more complex than using fewer compute units with higher clock speeds, this is an issue that developers will be able to work around with ease.  

With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X using the same AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture, TFLOPS becomes a useful comparison point, and Xbox has more. The numbers don’t lie. 

Memory

Memory-wise, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X use 16GB of GDDR6 memory at 14Gbps speeds. That said, this doesn’t mean that both consoles will offer equal memory performance. 

Microsoft has decided to utilise a wide memory bus than Sony, giving them a theoretical maximum memory bandwidth of 560 GB/s when compared to Sony’s theoretical maximum bandwidth of 448GB/s

While this looks like a clear win for Microsoft, the Xbox Series X’s memory configuration is uneven. This means that the Xbox Series X’s memory configuration is a lot more complicated than what Sony is offering. That said, this issue is unlikely to be a major concern from game developers. 

  

  Microsoft Xbox Series X Sony PlayStation 5
CPU Eight Custom Zen 2 CPU cores
at 3.8GHz (no SMT) or 3.66GHz (SMT On)
Eight Custom Zen 2 CPU Cores
at up to 3.5GHz
(Variable Clocks)
GPU Custom Radeon RDNA 2 Graphics
12 TFLOPS
52 CUs at 1825MHz clock speeds
Custom Radeon RDNA 2 Graphics
Up to 10.28 TFLOPS
36 CUs at up to 2.23GHz 
Die Size 360.45mm squared
Process 7nm Enhanced
Memory 16GB of GDDR6 memory
320-bit memory bus
16GB of GDDR6 Memory
256-bit memory bus 
Memory
Bandwidth
10GB @ 560 GB/s 6GB at 336GB/s 448GB/s
Internal
Storage
1 TB Custom NVMe SSD Custom 825GB SSD
I/O
Throughput
2.4GB/s (RAW)
4.8GB/s (Compressed)
5.5GB/s (Raw)
8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card
(Identical to Internal Storage)
M.2 NVMe SSDs
(Restrictions Apply)
External
Storage
USB 3.2 External HDD Support USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive

Storage

Both Sony and Microsoft have opted to utilise NVMe SSD storage in their next-generation consoles, but in this regard, Sony is the clear winner in terms of performance. While Microsoft is using SSDs with 2.4GB/s raw data rates, Sony is steaming ahead with data rates of 5.5GB/s. That said, this approach is likely to make Sony’s system a lot more expensive. No consumer PC SSDs currently offer this level of performance, making this cutting-edge storage technology from the technical minds of Sony. 

Sony has also pledged to support off-the-shelf PC-grade M.2 SSDs, though they will need to meet Sony’s performance targets to deliver the same performance levels as Sony’s onboard storage. Microsoft’s expanded storage options require proprietary SSDs, but this approach guarantees that their expanded storage will offer gamers a great gameplay experience. 

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?  

It’s still all to play for

While Sony’s PlayStation 5 is weaker than Microsoft’s Xbox Series X in most aspects, the success of both console manufacturers will come down to factors outside of pure performance numbers. Both systems need strong exclusives and worthwhile gaming content. Both consoles will also need to be easy to use and offer strong libraries of new and backwards-compatible content. 

Right now, Sony is the winner when it comes to exclusive titles, with The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn and many others securing Sony a clear advantage over Microsoft. That said, services like Xbox Game Pass promise gamers affordable access to a large number of old and new games, and Microsoft has been working for several years to deliver a strong library of Xbox Exclusives. 

This is only the start of if the next console generation, but when it comes to hardware specifications, Microsoft has won on most counts. That said, Sony’s stronger storage performance could deliver some exciting benefits in PlayStation 5’s exclusive titles.  

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