How Playstation 5 Compares to Xbox Series X

We’ve been waiting years to find out anything at all about Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen consoles. Earlier this month, both companies finally published some official numbers for us to salivate over, and both their offerings are truly impressive. But how does the hardware compare?

First, let’s take a look at both the PlayStation 5’s and Xbox Series X’s published specs. Here we have them side-by-side so they’re easy to compare.

As you can see, the two systems are pretty comparable, but there are a few notable differences.

First, there’s CPU clock speed. The PS5 has a 3.5 GHz 8-core processor, while the Xbox Series X has a 3.8 GHz 8-core processor. As anyone with even some basic computer knowledge knows, a faster clock speed means a faster processor, so the Xbox has a very slight edge on the PS5.

Second is the GPU. The PS5’s AMD-sourced graphics processor is rated for 10.3 teraflops, while the Xbox Series X is rated for 12 teraflops. As with CPU clock speed, bigger is better, so the Xbox Series X once again takes the lead with an extra 1.7 teraflops.

It should be noted that while 1.7 teraflops might not seem like a lot in terms of processing power, the difference is actually huge. The original PlayStation 4 that came out back in 2013 had roughly that 1.7 teraflops of computational power, so that means there’s an entire PS4 separating the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.

Will this mean that Xbox Series X will have faster, more graphically intensive games? Not necessarily. Raw computational power isn’t the full story when it comes to playing games. The original Xbox had far more processing power than the PlayStation 2, but the PlayStation 2 still played beautiful, graphically intensive games more consistently than the Xbox.

Besides, most major game releases want to make games that function equally on both the leading consoles, so even if the Xbox has more power than the PlayStation, game developers might not design their games to take advantage of the Xbox Series X’s superior graphics simply because it would be more work to make two different versions of the same game.

If we see a big graphical difference between the new Xbox and the PlayStation 5, it will come in the form of Xbox-exclusive games that are designed to only work on the Xbox Series X.

The rest of the hardware between these two machines are fairly similar except for the storage drives. Both have solid-state hard drives which will vastly improve installation and loading times, but the PlayStation has just 825 GB while the Xbox Series X has a full terabyte. This will likely translate into one or two extra games being able to be installed on the Xbox’s internal drive over the PS5.

That said, both the PS5 and Xbox will have expansion slots where you’ll be able to install memory cards to provide for greater storage. It’s a delightfully retro solution to the issue of memory space that people might remember from the original PlayStation and PS2 days.

What About Backwards Compatibility?

Everybody wants to know if their old games will still work on new consoles. The good news is that it looks like both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will cater to at least the previous generation, so your Xbox One and PS4 games should work just fine.

Mostly. During Sony’s presentation of the PS5, there was some confusion on just what PS4 games would carry forward. It turns out that the PlayStation 5 will be able to play an “overwhelming majority” of the PS4’s library, although Sony is only going to be extensively testing the top 100 of the PS4’s 4,000 games. More niche PS4 titles should still work, but there’s no telling if they’ll be able to take advantage of the PS5’s superior hardware.

Then there’s Microsoft, which has promised that every single Xbox One game will work just fine on the Xbox Series X. They’ve also gone a step further and introduced Xbox Smart Delivery, a system that will automatically download the Xbox Series X version of a game you already own for the Xbox One as soon as you upgrade your console (provided the game exists on the Xbox Series X). This means if you buy Cyberpunk 2077 for the Xbox One but then get an Xbox Series X a few months later, you should get a fresh version of Cyberpunk 2077 for your brand new Xbox Series X.

Microsoft has also promised that Xbox and Xbox 360 games that were ported to the Xbox One will still work on the Xbox Series X. That’s more than Sony’s promised with the few ports that they’ve made of older PlayStation titles to the PS4.

What About Price?

Rumors about price are wide-ranging, but most of them point to a $500 entry price. That seems to be the most gamers will pay for a console, and although that seems far less than these consoles are worth based on their hardware, Sony and Microsoft are likely to recoup their losses with every game sold.

Expect both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to be priced within $100 of each other, and for both to arrive this holiday season.

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