PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X before release: So close it's ridiculous

Is the PlayStation 5 more powerful than the Xbox Series X? Will the Xbox Series X out-perform the PlayStation 5? Based on the specs revealed by Sony today and Microsoft last week, the two gaming consoles are more comparable to one-another than the Xbox One and PS4. This shouldn't be a massive shock – we've reached a point of diminishing returns when it comes to graphics performance. Now it's more a matter of data speed.

Specs War

The Sony PlayStation 5 rolls with 8x Zen 2 Cores clocked at 3.5Ghz (at variable frequency). The Microsoft Xbox Series X has 8x Zen 2 Cores clocked at 3.8Ghz (or 3.6GHz with SMT). So what's the difference between the two? Take a peek at the TFLOPS they're capable of processing and you'll see part of your answer.

PlayStation 5 Specs:

- CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)

- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency), Custom RDNA 2

- Memory: 16GB GDDR6

- Internal Storage: 825GB custom SSD

- Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot

- External Storage Support: USB HDD Support

- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blue-ray

- IO Throughput: 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)

Xbox Series X Specs:

- CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)

- GPU: 12.155 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2

- Memory: 16GB GDDR6

- Internal Storage: 1TB custom NVMe SSD

- Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card

- External Storage Support: USB 3.2 HDD Support

- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray

- IO Throughput: 2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)

The IO Throughput

Notice the big difference in IO throughput between these two systems. A difference of around 2x. The PlayStation 5 is clearly preparing for a more stream-heavy universe in the near future than the Xbox Series X. This doesn't necessarily mean that Sony will ever move away from games that load entirely on-system, offline, but it DOES mean that Sony's not going to be caught loading cloud-based data slower than the Xbox.

The two aren't all that different

How many floating point operations can these consoles' video cards perform per second – and how does that matter in the least? Compared to previous generation consoles, it matters a lot. Compared to one-another, the performance of one is very minimally different from the other. The Xbox Series X is capable of performing at just under 2 TFLOPs better than the PS5.

It's funny, saying that 1.875 TFLOPs difference could be called insignificant. PlayStation 4, for example, performed at 1.84 TFLOPs total. But until we get some proof that any developer is able to make a significantly more fantastic game on the Xbox Series X vs the PS5, with that extra 1.875 TFLOPs in the mix, GPU power on one console or the other shouldn't be considered the selling point between these two consoles.

VS last generation

The PlayStation 5 has around 5x the graphics processing power of the PlayStation 4, and twice the memory. Memory bandwidth on the PS4 is 176GB/s – on PS5 it's 448GB/s. PS4 had approximately 50-100MB/s IO throughput – PS5 has 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed). It's a WHOLE different ballgame.

And it should be. The PlayStation 4 (and Xbox One) were released in late 2013. We're looking at a release for the PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year – the year 2020. Of course we're not sure what effect COVID-19 will have on all this, but this year still seems like a lock. Holidays 2020 is still probably a reasonable expectation for release.