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8x Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz, 10.28 TFLOP RDNA 2 GPU


While Microsoft has been treating us to a healthy flow of Xbox Series X information since revealing the console late last year, Sony has been keeping players on tenterhooks about the PlayStation 5 for months. At CES 2020 Sony only gave us a logo and we later learned they wouldn’t be at E3 2020. Sony was set to appear at GDC 2020, but, of course, that was postponed due to coronavirus concerns. In the absence of any real info rumors, speculation, and worries have run rampant.

Thankfully, as of today we finally have some concrete details courtesy of Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny. If you haven’t already been following along, you can check out the PS5 video reveal, below. Alternatively, you can scroll on down for all the pertinent details.

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The Core Specs

The PlayStation 5 will be a powerful machine, but as previously rumored, it won’t be as beefy as the Xbox Series X. The core of the system will be an 8x Zen 2 CPU running 3.4GHz. As AMD recently let slip, the PS5 GPU will be built using custom RDNA 2 architecture and feature 36 compute units running at 2.23GHz. Overall, PS5 will be delivering 10.28 TFLOPs of graphical grunt when boosted, below Xbox Series X’s 12 TFLOPs. Other key features include 16GB of GDDR6 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 448GB/s, and a custom 825GB SSD.

GPU Gets a Boost

Does the PS5’s clock speed seem a little high to you? Well, that’s because the GPU will have a variable frequency GPU, which will change clock speed depending on the demand of games and temperature of the console. So, the GPU won’t always be 2.33GHz, but Cerny “[expects] the GPU to spend most of its time at or near max boost.”

Speedy Solid State Drive

The move to solid state drives is a key part of next-generation consoles, and Sony’s SSD will be particularly speedy, with transfer speeds of 5.5GB/s. This will result in load times that are up to 100x faster than on the PS4. Much like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 can also essentially use the SSD as RAM, freeing up the system’s actual RAM for game processes.

Expanding the PS5’s SSD

Of course, the move to SSDs for next-gen consoles complicates expanding your storage. Microsoft is going with a proprietary memory card for the Xbox Series X, but Sony is opting for a more open approach. Older PS4 titles can be run off a basic portable hard drive, but you will eventually be able to expand your SSD with a standard NVMe PC drive. Just one problem — PCIe 4.0-based drives with as much bandwidth as the PS5’s SSD aren’t even on the market yet. So yeah, for at least a while after launch, you’re not going to be able to expand your SSD.

Backwards Compatibility

A big focus of Cerny’s presentation was backwards compatibility, which will be supported natively without the need for emulation software. Not every game will be supported initially, as developers have to specifically ensure their games work with the new GPU, but most of the PS4’s “top 100” games will be playable at launch.

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3D Audio

The Playstation 5 will feature a custom hardware they’ve built with AMD they’re calling Tempest 3D AudioTech. The system will not feature Dolby Atmos support, as Sony had their own goals for 3D audio. Sony is working on delivering 3D audio via all sound systems, not just Dolby Atmos compatible ones.

And that’s all she wrote, folks! Sadly, no actual look at the system and its games, or a release date. Mark Cerny promises there will be “lots of chances later this year” to share those specifics, so stay tuned. That said, there’s still a lot to digest — for better or worse, it seems the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are going to be very different systems. Will Sony’s focus on a cutting edge SSD tech over raw GPU power pay off? I think we really need to see the games to decide.

I know I don’t need to prompt anybody to comment on this story, but still, what do you think? Are you sold on the PlayStation 5? How do you think it measures up Xbox Series X?



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