PS5 hardware is worse than Xbox Series X, but that might not matter

The PS5 hardware specs have finally been revealed. When it’s compared to the Xbox Series X, it’s already not looking good — Microsoft’s upcoming console beats Sony’s by many measurable metrics. The question is this: will it really matter to game developers?

PS5 Hardware Specs vs. Xbox Series X Hardware Specs

 PS5 HardwareXBox Series X Hardware
CPU8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)
GPU10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2
Memory16GB GDDR6/256-bit16GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth448GB/s10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s
Internal StorageCustom 825GB SSD1TB Custom NVMe SSD
IO Throughput5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable StorageNVMe SSD Slot1TB Expansion Card
External StorageUSB HDD SupportUSB 3.2 HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive

Eurogamer recorded the Xbox Series X specs and PS5 specs. Comparing the numbers side by side paints a picture of a weaker PlayStation 5 in many respects, although that’s not the whole picture.

ALSO: GR Reacts to Sony’s PlayStation 5 reveal event

While the console wars will surely be waged once again, there is not necessarily a clear victor here. The Xbox Series X is better in some ways, the PS5 is better in other ways, and both consoles are doing the same thing in some respects. Let’s break it down!

How is the Xbox Series X better than the PS5?

The Xbox Series X handily wins out on raw CPU processing power — both consoles have 8 Zen 2 Cores, but the Xbox Series X is clocked at 3.6 GHz while the PS5 only managed 3.5 GHz. When it comes to teraflops, the XSX’s 12 teraflops beats out the PS5’s 10.28 teraflops. Finally, Microsoft’s console has a solid 1 TB SSD while the PS5 has strangely decided to go with a custom 825 GB drive.

How is the PS5 better than the Xbox Series X?

While the PS5 hardware is weaker in some areas, it’s no slouch. It does manage to have higher IO throughput at 5.5 HB/s Raw and 8–9 GB/s compressed against the Xbox Series X’s 2.4 GB/s Raw and 4.8 GB/s compressed.

To keep things simple, this measures how fast a computer can move information between all of its internal components — from the CPU to the GPU to the hard drive and in all other directions. Higher IO throughput is obviously better as it would make a gaming console more responsive, so the PS5 handily wins here.

Where are the two consoles similar?

Both consoles have USB HDD support and a 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive, so there’s not really much difference there. There are also a couple of areas where things are a little harder to determine.

As an example, both consoles have 16GB of RAM. However, the PS5 hardware has its ram clocked at 448 GB/s across the board. The Xbox Series X, meanwhile, has 10GB of its RAM clocked at 560 GB/s and 6GB clocked at 336 GB/s.

Finally, there is the matter of expandable storage — the Xbox Series X is going to be using proprietary memory cards. While Sony has previously pushed their own proprietary stuff — anyone remember Memory Sticks? — the company has since transitioned to letting consumers use off-the-shelf components.

PS5 has set the standard — and not in a good way

PS5 hardware Mark Cerny

YouTube/PlayStation

One can make arguments that either console is better. However, the core components at the heart of the system are the CPU and the GPU, and that’s where Xbox Series X is winning. When it comes to exclusives, that means that the XSX is going to have more resources available to developers. Multiplatform releases, however, will have another challenge.

If you’re going to release a game for both the Xbox Series X and the PS5, you could change up the PS5 version to work with slightly slower RAM or slightly lower GPU power. Developers already have to do that for Nintendo Switch ports. However, that takes time and money, and it will simply just be easier for them to consider the weaker PS5 hardware as the “standard” and just not worry about a few extra GHz or teraflops here or there.

As time goes on, game developers will surely figure out some tricks and techniques to easily make games work well on both consoles. The Xbox Series X genuinely has more power in some areas, but somehow I don’t think multiplatform releases will really be taking advantage of it.