As part of Sony’s big PlayStation 5 information blowout during a GDC livestream, the company officially announced the specs for the next-generation console. In short, it’s a very powerful machine that supports backwards compatibility, although just how it stacks up with Xbox Series X remains to be seen.
PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny is discussing the PS5 hardware as we speak, but during the stream, Digital Foundry published a feature revealing the system’s specs. Its CPU features 8 Zen 2 cores, and its GPU–using custom RDNA 2 architecture–offers 10.28 TFLOPs of power. It comes with 16 GB of memory and an 825 GB SSD, and it allows for storage to be expanded with an NVMe SSD slot. In other words, you don’t need a proprietary drive from Sony to increase your storage, but there are specific requirements that a drive will need to meet. As a result, you shouldn’t go buying an SSD for your PS5 just yet. Additionally, Cerny revealed you’ll be able to use an external drive to play PS4 games and to store PS5 games, but like with Series X, you’ll need to move those PS5 games to an appropriate SSD before they can be played.
Cerny noted during his chat that TFLOPs alone aren’t the ultimate measure of performance; you can’t simply compare compute units or FLOPs from PS4 to those of PS5, for instance. While that TFLOPs figure is lower than that of the Xbox Series X, Digital Foundry states, “Sony’s pitch is essentially this: a smaller GPU can be a more nimble, more agile GPU, the inference being that PS5’s graphics core should be able to deliver performance higher than you may expect from a TFLOPs number that doesn’t accurately encompass the capabilities of all parts of the GPU.”
PlayStation 5 Specs
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)|
|GPU Architecture||Custom RDNA 2|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
For comparison, the Xbox Series X will feature 12 teraflops of performance, built off AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture. The GPU will feature 16GB of GDDR6 memory across a variable memory bus–10GB will run at 560GB/s, while the remaining 6GB will run at a slower 330GB/s. The Series X will support two types of external memory, allowing you to expand SSD storage with a proprietary drive from Seagate or store games on an external HDD (in the same way as the Xbox One).
Cerny shared many new details on the PS5’s system architecture, and he spoke about how Sony plans to push the future of games with this new hardware. One part of this is the PS5’s new SSD, which speeds up loading times and offers a number of other benefits to developers.
The PS5’s new system architecture will allow for faster rendering, which means more environmental objects and textures will populate at a faster rate. Like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 will also have ray tracing support to help developers make better-looking games.
The PS5 also has a new controller that features haptic feedback instead of the standard rumble technology used by many companies for years. As an example, crashing a car in a racing game will feel different than making a tackle in a football game. The new PS5 controller also has “adaptive triggers” that can be programmed by developers.
We also know the PS5 will have a disc drive for physical games and 4K Blu-rays, and that disc capacity will be 100 GB. The PS5 will also require players to install their games, but with the option to choose what part of a game to install.
The PlayStation 5 is due to launch this holiday, though a price point and official games launch lineup have not been announced yet. For its part, Microsoft is also releasing a next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, this holiday season with Halo Infinite as a launch title.