Between the Xbox Series X or the PS5, your heart swings? Still not sure which console to choose? If it is too early to pass judgment between the two consoles, even if many details have been presented by Sony and Microsoft, it is already possible, two months before their arrival, to compare them, whether on design, performance, games and services. Let everyone put on their box gloves, the match begins… Here we go!
Last March, Sony unveiled all the technical specifications of its PlayStation 5. Microsoft, for its part, had done it a little earlier for its Xbox Series X. During the summer, the two firms continued to spread information with the design, the controllers, the exclusive games and the associated services. While there are still some gray areas, we now know almost everything about the two consoles that will arrive in November (November 10 for the Xbox Series X to be precise). We therefore have all the cards in hand to organize a face to face meeting between the two models. So make your games, nothing goes any more: between Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, which of the two consoles wins this preliminary match?
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: our video review
⚙️ PS5 and Xbox Series X technical specifications
|Playstation 5||Xbox Series X|
|CPU||Zen 2 custom processor – 8 cores – 3.5 GHz (variable frequency)||Zen 2 custom processor – 8 cores – 3.8 GHz (or 3.66 GHz multithreaded)|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, – 36 CUs – 2.23 GHz (variable frequency)||12 TFLOPs – 52 CUs – 1.825 GHz|
|GPU architecture||AMD RDNA 2 (custom model)||AMD RDNA 2 (custom model)|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6 / 256mb bus||16 GB GDDR6 / 320mb bus|
|Memory throughput||448 GB / s||336 Gb / s (6 Gb) and 560 Gb / s (10 Gb)|
|Internal storage||815 GB SSD||1 TB SSD|
|Transfer speed||5.5 Gb / s (Raw)
8 to 9 GB / s (compressed)
|2.4 Gb / s (Raw)
4.8 GB / s (compressed)
|Possibility of storage expansion||NVMe SSD internal slot||Seagate external memory card (proprietary format)|
|External storage||Usb disk||USB disk (for storage only)|
|Optical drive||4K UHD Blu-Ray Player||4K UHD Blu-Ray Player|
📅 When will the PS5 and Xbox Series X be available?
The Xbox Series X release date has been revealed by Microsoft. It’s about November 10, 2020, a date that had been leaked hours before being confirmed. On the same date, the Xbox Series S will also be offered. Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X will start on September 22, 2020.
The release date for the PlayStation 5 has yet to be finalized. There is no doubt, however, that the console will be in stores before Thanksgiving (November 26, 2020) and before the holiday season, to take advantage of this busy commercial period. The latest leaks claim that the console could be released on November 19. That is to say ten days after the Xbox Series X.
💶 How much do the PS5 and Xbox Series X cost?
As of this writing, we do not yet know the price of all consoles coming in November. Microsoft has already unveiled the price of the Xbox Series X. The company’s new console will cost 499 euros. That is the price of the Xbox One and the Xbox One X at their launch. No inflation therefore at Microsoft which, according to rumors, prefers to reduce its margins on hardware to sell more services, such as Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold. This is even more true for the Xbox Series S which does not have an optical drive and which is sold 200 euros cheapers.
As for Sony, the Japanese company has yet to release the amount the company will charge for the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition. According to rumors, the PlayStation 5 could be offered at a price of 599 euros. Is 100 euros more expensive than the Xbox Series X. And 200 euros more expensive than the PlayStation 4 when it was launched (Sony then dealt Microsoft a big blow since the Xbox One was at 499 euros). On par with the 60GB PS3, the PS5 would be the most expensive console in Sony history. According to the same rumors, the PS5 Digital Edition, without an optical drive, would be announced at 499 euros.
💻 Design: What do the PS5 and Xbox Series X look like?
Let’s start this comparison from the outside of the two consoles. While the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 are relatively close to each other, or the frames are very angular, flat, and black, the successors are not at all. The PS5 in particular abandons the rectilinear and geometric design of the PS4 for more rounded lines and a so-called parametric design. The console is built on two parts: a central black part and a white part which takes the first sandwich. Blue LEDs (which you can also find in the controllers) highlight certain parts of the design. Note that other colourways are expected to appear depending on the special editions.
The Xbox Series X is a single piece all in height, a kind of monolith that we would have thought inspired by the film 2001: a space odyssey. As wide as it is deep, it is very tall and leans on a plastic support to hold it upright without the risk of tipping over. It has two large vents at the bottom and top of the cubicle for air circulation, to cool the CPU and GPU during extended gaming sessions. The back of the console looks a lot like the back of a PC tower.
Common point between the two consoles: they are very impressive. Designed to sit upright, the PS5 and Xbox Series X certainly wouldn’t fit in a TV cabinet where other audiovisual equipment is already installed.
💪 CPU: Xbox Series X is more powerful than PS5, but there is a catch
Both Sony and Microsoft consoles use a processor AMD Zen 2 custom 8 cores. This is the same architecture currently found on 3rd Generation Ryzen PC processors. On the other hand, that of the Xbox series is clocked at 3.8 GHz, when that of the PS5 is at 3.5 GHz.
Also, CPU resource usage differs from console to console. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Series processor frequency is set at 3.8 GHz for single-core games. This same frequency decreases slightly to 3.66 GHz when an application uses multiple cores in multithreading mode.
The PS5’s processor, on the other hand, runs at varying frequency, depending on whether a game requires more CPU or GPU resources. The two chipsets continuously adjust and support each other. That way, they should allow better heat dissipation and provide constant power, and that’s a pretty good point. But the fact remains that, on paper, the PS5’s CPU runs at a lower frequency than that of the Xbox Series X.
🖥 GPU: advantage over Xbox Series X
Here again, the two machines are based on the same architecture. In the case of the PlayStation 5, this is an AMD RDNA 2 variable frequency, which can reach 2.23 GHz. The GPU takes advantage of 36 CUs (Compute Unit) and benefits from a computing power of 10.28 TFLOPs.
If we look at the Xbox Series X datasheet, we find this: a AMD RDNA 2 GPU clocked at 1.825 GHz. The chipset frequency is therefore lower than that of the PS5. Does this mean that the Xbox Series X will be poorer in terms of graphics power than its competitor? Not really. Because the Microsoft console has 52 CUs (16 more than on the PS5) and a computing power of 12 TFLOPs.
Clearly, the Xbox Series X largely compensates for the lower frequency of its GPU by a larger number of CUs and a slightly higher computing power. As the Kotaku site points out, the PS5’s GPU is equivalent to a Radeon RX 5700, while the Series X’s is close to a Radeon RX Vega 56. And under most conditions and with almost all games, the RX Vega 56 is more efficient than the RX 5700. Advantage is therefore given to the Xbox Series X.
🤖 Memory: no big differences
Between the two consoles, there is ultimately very little difference in the RAM used. On the one hand, at Sony, we are entitled to 16 GB of GDDR6, a 256mb bus and a bandwidth of 448 GB / s.
In Microsoft, they are also 16 GB RAM which equip the console and a 320mb memory bus. 16 GB RAM is broken down as follows: 10 GB supporting a speed of 560 GB / s on one side (mainly dedicated to the GPU, which needs a huge processing capacity), and 6 GB to 336 GB / s on the other (for audio and small ancillary operations).
💾 Storage: SSD for everyone
While storage and access to data may have seemed like secondary data until now, it could play a fundamental role on Next Gen consoles. Sony and Microsoft have both succumbed to SSD, which provides significantly faster speed than a conventional hard drive.
In the case of Xbox Series X, we take advantage of a 1TB NVME custom SSD. It offers a 2.4 Gb / s transfer speed in RAW mode (uncompressed data) and 4.8 GB / s in compressed mode.
For the PS5, we are dealing with a 825 GB SSD. Granted, its capacity is less than that of the X Series, but the PS5’s SSD offers much higher speed. Sony announces a data rate of 5.5 Gb / s in RAW mode and of 8 or 9 Gb / s compressed.
So the PS5’s SSD will be twice as fast as the Series X’s, that’s a fact. How will this materialize in video games? Even if Sony has not yet revealed everything about its console (we are still waiting for a real demo), we can imagine that the games will load faster and that the latency times between each level will be extremely reduced, or even that there aren’t any at all. On the other hand, this is not the opinion of everyone: a developer from Moon Studios explains in fact that the higher speed of the SSD of the PS5 will not make a big difference, except for the games which are exclusive to the console. .
What about additional storage? There, it’s a bit more complex to give an opinion. On the one hand, we have a proprietary system at Microsoft : small 1TB keys to plug into the back of the Series X. Adding a storage medium is therefore very simple, but you will need to acquire a storage key certified by Microsoft. In Sony, it will also be possible to expand the storage capacity of the PS5. The good news is that the operation is carried out using a traditional M.2 solid-state drive. The bad news (for the less geek, of course) is that you will have to open the console to install it. Difficult to decide between the two consoles on this point, each having advantages and disadvantages.
🎮 What are the differences between the PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers?
Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will come with new controllers. These are two controllers that have been officially presented by their respective manufacturers. And they both match the colors of the consoles. They are both available in black and white.
The most interesting controller is undoubtedly the DualSense of the PS5. First of all, its general design echoes that of the DualShock 4, but Sony opts for more futuristic and rounded lines. We find the tactile surface that appeared in the DualShock 4, as well as the usual analog buttons, directional buttons, triggers and sticks. We also find a blue LED decoration, which appeared in the second generation of DualShock 4.
A few changes to note that make the difference. First, the motor that generates the vibrations of the DualShock 4 is replaced by a haptic motor (as in smartphones) to create more precise and realistic feedback. This haptic engine is able to synchronize with the soundtrack (especially special effects) to provide a stronger immersion.
L2 and R2 triggers are adaptive. Game creators can choose to increase or decrease the resistance of these keys in order to adapt to the content of the game. The most telling example is an FPS like Battlefield or Call of Duty: the resistance of the triggers evolves according to the of the weapon. Biometric sensors would also be provided in the controller to detect heart rate and stress.
The Share button has been replaced by a Create button, which aims to be more general in the way of approaching the creation of content to be shared on social networks. A secondary microphone has been added to improve audio exchanges with other players. A USB Type-C port replaces the micro-USB port to make the controller compatible with fast charging. And the new battery offers 4 hours longer autonomy than that of the Dualshock 4. Note that DualSense can also be used with the PS4.
Xbox Series X comes with the new Xbox Wireless Controler. It is a controller that combines the achievements of the Xbox One joypad with the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. However, Microsoft has revised its size so that it can adapt to more hand shapes. It is therefore physically larger, but it remains perfectly manageable for those with small hands.
You therefore find the usual triggers, analog sticks, directional crosses and buttons. The directional cross has been modernized and strengthened. A new button inspired by the “Share” button of the Dualshock 4 is also emerging to make it easier to share screenshots and game footage. It is natively compatible with Xbox One and Windows.
🧩 Exclusive games: rather Gears or rather Ratchet?
Historically, the Xbox game library is very much marked by the PC, while that of the PlayStation is much more motley, mixing genres and flavors from both sides of the Pacific, with even some European forays. Sony Interactive Entertainment has developed studios in Tokyo (Japan Studio and Polyphony Digital), London, San Diego, Santa Monica and even San Mateo. She has also integrated Guerrilla Games, Insomniac, Media Molecule, Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch. And all will obviously participate in enriching the catalog of the PS5. Without forgetting the third-party studios which will have negotiated some exclusives, such as From Software, author of the Demon’s Souls series, or Square-Enix, editor of Final Fantasy.
We currently know 10 games exclusive to PlayStation 5:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Demon’s Souls
- AllStars Destruction
- Gran Turismo 7
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Project Athia
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
At Microsoft, internal “Xbox Game Studios” teams are less influenced by Asia. They are overwhelmingly located in the United States (343 Industries, InXile, Obsidian, Initiative, World’s Edge, Turn 10, etc.), then in Canada (Compulsion, Coalition) and in the United Kingdom (Ninja Theory, Playground, Rare) . There is only one exception to this rule: Mojang. The creator of Minecraft is based in Sweden. Note that Microsoft has also signed exclusives with third-party publishers, like Sega, FatShark or DontNod.
Here is the list of games presented by Microsoft on July 23:
- Forza Motorsport
- State of Decay 3
- Halo Infinite
- Tell me why
- The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon
- As Dusk Falls
- Psychonauts 2
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- Stalker 2
- Tetris Effect Connected
- Warhammer Darktide
- The Medium
- The Gunk
- Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
While the list of exclusive games for the Xbox Series X seems more extensive than that of the PlayStation 5, many of these games will not be available at launch. This will give Sony time to strengthen its exclusive offering and attract gamers who, at the moment, may not feel won over.
What services are available on PS5 and Xbox Series X?
Choosing a console doesn’t just mean choosing hardware. This obviously includes the exclusive games, as we have just seen, but also additional services. Paid services, sold by subscription (monthly or annual) that allow players to access additional content.
At Sony, there are two subscription services. The first is PlayStation Plus. This is an almost essential subscription, and the price is very aggressive: 60 euros per year (we strongly recommend this formula) or 9 euros per month. PlayStation Plus is particularly well known for the games and in-app purchases that are offered to subscribers every month. But that’s not the only advantage. It allows access to multiplayer servers, it includes discounts for certain games and DLC and includes 100 GB of space for storing game saves online.
Sony also offers PlayStation Now, a streaming game service. By buying Gaikai, Sony pioneered streaming gaming. The game catalog includes more than 700 games To date, from the game libraries of PlayStation 2, 3 and 4. Accessible from a PC or a PS4, PlayStation Now is also accessible offline: you can download a game from the library and play it without needing a connection . PlayStation Now costs 60 euros per year or 10 euros per month. By combining PS Now and PS Plus, you pay 120 euros per year.
Opposite, Microsoft also offers two subscriptions: the Xbox Live Gold and the Xbox Game Pass. Previously a little stingy, Xbox Live Gold has grown considerably. It now includes access to multiplayer modes, free games and discounts, like the PlayStation Plus. It is offered at 7 euros per month (with a quarterly offer). Xbox Game Pass competes with PlayStation Now: a subscription to access a growing library of ’a hundred games. The “classic” version, with console access only, is offered at 10 euros per month (the same offer also exists on PC).
Note that there is also the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which combines Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold and xCloud, the all new streaming game service from Microsoft. Available on September 15, it allows you to play Xbox Game Pass games remotely, on an Android smartphone or tablet. It seems obvious that the service will also be compatible with the Xbox Series X. This little box of happiness is offered at 13 euros per month. Or 156 euros per year. Surprisingly, Microsoft has no plans for a quarterly or yearly offer for the Xbox Game Pass.
Conclusion: which one should you buy?
|Playstation 5||Xbox Series X|
|Release date||november 2020||November 10, 2020|
|Pre-order date||September 22, 2020|
If we refer to the pure and hard technical specifics, it is undeniable that the more powerful of the two consoles will be the Xbox Series X, no offense to Sony fans. But choosing a console is obviously not just about the power of the platform. Games are just as important, not to mention the controller. On this last point, Sony shows rare inventiveness in improving the existing system and developing new services.
This is also the case on the controller: the DualSense reinvents the wheel. This new controller, intended for the PlayStation, incorporates new technologies, such as a haptic engine capable of synchronizing with the soundtrack of a game to further enhance immersion. As for the Xbox Series X controller, it is a more classic evolution of the Xbox One joypad.
On the service side, we didn’t give Microsoft the advantage for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, even though this gaming bliss box combines the best Microsoft can offer. The reason is simple: the price is 13 euros per month, i.e. 156 euros per year. At Sony, PS Plus and PS Now each cost 60 euros per year. Or 120 euros per year for both. And they offer the same as Game Pass Ultimate. For those who choose the monthly plan, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is cheaper.
As for the issue of exclusive games and design, it is difficult for us to take sides. The first point depends on the type of game you prefer. And the second point depends on your tastes and your decoration. Perhaps you would be tempted to choose the smaller console. Unfortunately, it looks like the two models are just as big as the other.