- Both Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 consoles tout 8K gameplay, “ray tracing,” and even an ultra-smooth 120 frames per second while play games at 4K resolution.
- That’s because both consoles appear to be running on nearly identical specs.
- Both new console specs are closer to gaming PCs than consoles before them, which helps explain why both companies are confident in making such bold claims about the performance in their upcoming gaming machines.
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So, how about that new Xbox Series X?
Microsoft just revealed on Thursday evening a bunch of new details, including what it’ll look like. And now we know what both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will be capable of, too, thanks to getting a fuller picture of what kind of specs both gaming machines will be running.
When you realize how similar the specs are for both consoles, it’s easy to see why both companies are making identical claims about their performance.
Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 make big, nearly identical promises: to play games up to 120 frames per second at 4K resolution, and even play games up to 8K resolution. The consoles also include “ray tracing” because they both run on powerful, modern specs.
Both the Microsoft Xbox Series X and the Sony PlayStation 5 will run on chips that will support “ray tracing,” as well as games up to 8K resolution, according to both companies.
In a nutshell, ray tracing is a technology that makes in-game lighting more realistic, which makes a bigger impact than you might think, and improves the overall look of a game.
Microsoft and Sony also both said their consoles will offer 120 frames per second (fps) at 4K resolution.
Confirmed Xbox Series X chip specs, so far:
- A custom AMD processor based on AMD’s Ryzen Zen 2 generation.
- A custom graphics chip based on AMD’s latest “RDNA” generation, also known as “Navi,” with GDDR6 graphics memory.
Confirmed PlayStation 5 chip specs, so far:
- A custom eight-core AMD processor based on AMD’s Ryzen Zen 2 generation.
- A custom graphics chip based on AMD’s latest “RDNA” generation, also known as “Navi.”
Interestingly, these specs are recognizable, even comparable, to specs that today’s PC gamers would put in their powerful gaming PCs. Previous consoles typically used chips that are designed for low-power computers. (It’s actually amazing how good games look on previous consoles considering their typically underpowered chips.)
Apart from better graphics and smoother gameplay, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will finally feel faster, because they’re using modern storage drives instead of the old-fashioned ones in the current consoles.
Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will have SSD storage drives. That means faster performance while you’re navigating around menus and online game stores and opening apps. Most importantly, it means games will load significantly faster.
Specifically, Microsoft confirmed to GameSpot that it’s using a certain type of SSD called “NVMe” that’s magnitudes faster than the standard, old-fashioned hard drives in the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. In fact, NVMe SSDs are faster than regular SSDs, too.
For now, we don’t know exactly what type of SSD Sony will be using in the PlayStation 5, other than it’s a custom design.
Previous consoles ran on surprisingly underpowered chips, but the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are running chips that PC gamers use in their modern, powerful gaming PCs.
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Chips from companies like AMD are nothing new for consoles, except console chips were rarely, if ever, used in actual computers. And if they were in actual computers, they’d usually be found in low-powered, budget models. It’s amazing how Microsoft, Sony, and game developers could squeeze so much performance out of traditionally low-powered console chips.
Conversely, AMD’s Ryzen Zen 2 processor and the Navi graphics chips in the Series X and PlayStation 5 are actually recognizable, even comparable, chips that people put in their gaming PCs today.
To be perfectly accurate, Microsoft and Sony are still using custom versions of these chips. Still, they’re based on the same technologies, generations, and architectures that today’s powerful gaming PCs are running on.
With that in mind, game developers may have a lot more to work with, which helps explain how Microsoft and Sony are confident enough to make their claims.