Sony has unveiled the specifications of its next-generation PlayStation 5 console, which will launch later this year.
The new console will be based on a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 processor, running at a variable frequency up to 3.5GHz, and AMD's Navi-based RDNA 2 graphics supporting real-time ray tracing, running at a variable frequency up to 2.23GHz. The console will have 16GB of GDDR6 memory and will have a built-in Ultra-HD Blu-ray player.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the console will use an NVMe SSD instead of hard-disk drive for storage, offering 825GB for game storage and fast throughput of 5.5GBps. It will also offer an expansion slot enabling users to plug-in a secondary SSD for more storage.
In case you missed the #PlayStation5— GAME Didcot ❄ (@GAMEDidcot) March 19, 2020
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In its presentation yesterday, Sony was particularly keen to emphasise its Tempest 3D AudioTech which, it claims, will offer precise sound detail. For example, if it is raining in a game, players will be able to hear individual rain drops - not just a standard rain sound track.
The PlayStation 5 hardware is similar in spec to Microsoft's next-generation Xbox Series X, also known as Project Scarlett, which was revealed last year. Both consoles will formally launch later this year.
Like the PS5, the Xbox also uses AMD Zen 2 CPUs and AMD RDNA 2 graphics, but there are some architectural differences. Microsoft's implementation will run at 3.8GHz, or 3.6GHz when using simultaneous multi-threading (SMT). One CPU core will be dedicated solely to the operating system.
The CPUs and GPUs of both companies' consoles will be manufactured on TSMC's 7nm process node.
Similarly, the 16GB GDDR5 memory of the Xbox Series X will dedicate 10GB for graphics, running at 560GBps, while the 6GB, running at 336GBps, will be used for other compute functions. About 13.5GB, in total, will be available for gaming. Storage will be provided by a 1TB NVMe SSD and, like the PS5, the Xbox will also bear an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
While the PS5 RDNA 2 graphics offer 10.28 Teraflops of compute power from 36 compute units, the Xbox claims 12.16Tflops from 52 compute units, but with its graphics running at a fixed 1.825GHz compared to the PS5's 2.23GHz. Like the PS5, Microsoft also claims that the new Xbox will offer ray-tracing capabilities.
However, Sony claims that it has adopted a variable frequency approach to managing power between CPU and GPU, but developers will need to code accordingly to take advantage of this.
In terms of games, while none have yet been announced for either console, the Xbox offers greater backwards compatibility, with Microsoft claiming that its Xbox Series X will be completely backwards compatible, while Sony was clear about the extent of backwards compatibility that the PS5 would offer for PS4 games.
Both consoles should support 8K video and Microsoft claims that its console will be able to support 120 frames-per-second refresh, although at 4K the refresh rate will max out at 60fps.
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