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The next generation of PlayStation is finally here with the arrival of the PS5. This generation, it seems like Sony is sticking with the approach that made the PS4 so successful: sell consoles that can play first-party games from Sony’s storied franchises, and supplement that lineup with great third-party titles, too. You should expect to see better graphics in your games, and the PS5 will also support high refresh rates, which should make games feel smoother (if you have a display that supports those refresh rates). Plus, the PS5’s custom SSD promises to offer such a leap forward in loading speeds that it could change the way games are designed.

We’ve already reviewed the PS5, and it turns out that the console is pretty good. Its new controller is amazing, games load quickly, and the console has a more streamlined user interface than the PS4. We felt that it left a great first impression — even if there aren’t a lot of actual next-generation games to play just yet.

Experience lightning-fast loading with an ultra-high speed SSD, deeper immersion with support for haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and 3D Audio, and an all-new generation of incredible PlayStation® games.

THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO PS5 CONSOLES, BUT THEY’RE LARGELY THE SAME

Like Microsoft, Sony is actually selling two versions of its upcoming next-generation console. For $499.99, you can buy a PS5 with a 4K Blu-ray drive. But for $100 less, at $399.99, you can buy the Digital Edition PS5 (which also looks noticeably thinner than its more expensive sibling). Unlike Microsoft, the only thing that differentiates those two versions is which console has a disc drive and how much each one costs.

The PS5 is powered by a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and a custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based GPU that will provide 10.28 teraflops of raw graphical power. The console also uses variable frequencies on both the PS5’s CPU and GPU, which could theoretically push the graphics to run slightly faster than normal when the CPU isn’t running at peak. Though it sounds like the difference is minimal based on this technical presentation (skip to 35:30):

Integrated I/O

And the game-changing SSD I mentioned earlier? It has 825GB of storage and 5.5GB/s of throughput — which could be fast enough to let game developers build levels without things like elevator rides or winding corridors that actually mask levels loading in the background. Just look at how much faster PS5 games loaded than their PS4 versions in our testing:

Stunning games

 Marvel At Incredible graphics and experience new PS5 features

 

Ray tracing

Immerse yourself in worlds with a new level of realism as rays of light are individually simulated, creating true-to-life shadows and reflections in supported PS5™ games.

 

4K-TV gaming

Play your favorite PS5™ games on your stunning 4K TV.

 

p to 120fps with 120Hz output

Enjoy smooth and fluid high frame rate gameplay at up to 120fps for compatible  games, with support for 120Hz output on 4K displays.

PS5 LOAD TIMES

GAME PS5 PS4
Spider-Man: Miles Morales 17 seconds 1 minute, 27 seconds
No Man’s Sky 1 minute, 34 seconds 2 minutes, 52 seconds
Final Fantasy VII Remake 35 seconds 1 minute, 29 seconds
Genshin Impact 59 seconds 2 minutes, 57 seconds
Ghost of Tsushima 1 minute, 4 seconds 1 minute, 10 seconds
Days Gone 1 minute, 18 seconds 2 minutes, 54 seconds
Death Stranding 54 seconds 1 minute, 50 seconds

You should know, though, that some of that 825GB of storage space is used up by system data, though, meaning that you actually have 667.2GB of usage space. And the ever-growing size of games means that you might fill up that usable space quickly. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes up 133GB, for example, which is nearly 20 percent of the console’s available storage.

If you want to expand the PS5’s storage, you won’t be able to at launch, but at some point in the future, you’ll be able to slot in a Sony-certified M.2 SSD. We’re not exactly sure when that those SSDs might become available. Back in March, PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny said the SSD certifications will likely happen “a bit past” the console’s launch.

PS5 VS XBOX SERIES X VS XBOX SERIES S

CATEGORIES PS5 PS5 (DIGITAL-ONLY) XBOX SERIES X XBOX SERIES S
CPU Eight Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency) Eight Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency) Eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT enabled) Eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT enabled)
GPU AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency) AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency) AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
GPU Power 10.28 TFLOPs 10.28 TFLOPs 12.15 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS
RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 10GB GDDR6 RAM
Performance Target Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps Target 4K @ 60fps. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps Target 1440p @ 60fps. Up to 120fps
Storage 825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/s uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 667.2GB 825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/s uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 667.2GB 1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 802GB 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 364GB
Expandable Storage NVMe SSD slot NVMe SSD slot 1TB expansion card 1TB expansion card
Backward Compatibility The “overwhelming majority” of the more than 4,000 PS4 games. Some PS3 and PS2 titles playable via PlayStation Now. The “overwhelming majority” of the more than 4,000 PS4 games. Some PS3 and PS2 titles playable via PlayStation Now. “Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories. “Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories.
Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray None 4K UHD Blu-ray None
Display Out HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1
MSRP $499 / £449 / €499 $399 / £359 / €399 $499 / £449 / €499 $299 / £249 / €299

The PS5 supports up to 8K output and promises 4K graphics at up to a 120Hz refresh rate. The console’s improved horsepower also means that you can expect to see ray tracing, which can lead to more realistic effects in game environments like reflections in windows. Check out ray tracing Spider-Man: Remastered in this video from Tom Warren:

XBOX SERIES X AND S: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEXT GEN OF XBOX

The next-generation of Xbox gaming is a little more complicated than what we’re used to. For starters, Microsoft has released not one but two new consoles this week: the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. Many of the initial crop of first-party games is also designed to be playable on its last generation Xbox, the Xbox One, as well as Windows PCs. And that’s before we get into Microsoft’s game streaming service, xCloud, which could mean you won’t need any Xbox hardware at all to play many of the latest games.

Each new generation tends to deliver big changes for console gaming, and Microsoft’s successors to the Xbox One are no different. Games look better, thanks to more powerful graphics hardware and built-in support for more realistic lighting technology, and in some cases feel more responsive, thanks to support for frame rates of up to 120fps. They also load quicker because both consoles now include fast solid-state storage, a big improvement over the mechanical hard drive included in the Xbox One.

But Microsoft’s approach to this new generation is a big departure from how console launches have worked previously. Typically, we’ve seen Sony and Microsoft release just one new piece of hardware at launch, and each one tends to come with an exclusive library of games that you have to buy the new console in order to play. While Sony, too, has operated a game streaming service for years, it’s only typically used PlayStation Now to offer access to older titles, rather than brand-new releases like xCloud is promising.

Microsoft’s new consoles give you a lot more freedom with how you play its new games, but depending on where you choose to play them, you won’t get exactly the same experience. The Xbox Series X is a much more powerful machine than the Series S or the current Xbox One, for example, which has a big impact on performance.