PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?

Has the console war already been decided?

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?

Both Sony and Microsoft have revealed the specifications of their next-generation consoles, allowing us to get an early look at the performance characteristics of both systems. 

The obvious question now is which console is faster, and that's what this article plans to address. Both Sony and Microsoft have created capable systems, both of which will no doubt deliver a generational performance leap over today's Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems, that said, both consoles have a clear lead over the other, depending on what you're comparing.


Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will use customised Zen 2 series processors from AMD. Better still, both system makers have opted to deliver eight cores on their next-generation systems and clock speeds that exceed 3GHz.

These changes ensure that both systems will deliver insane increases to processing power ver today's systems, thanks to improvements in both raw clock speeds and the amount of calculating power that can be pushed per clock cycle. This is an area where both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will deliver real generational leaps in system performance. 

Now, which system is more powerful, Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5? In this case, the answer is simple, Microsoft's Xbox Series X is the victor. Microsoft offers higher clock speeds than Sony's theoretical maximum clock speed of 3.5GHz, making this a clear win for team Xbox. 


Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 use customised AMD RDNA 2 graphics processors, with Sony offering higher theoretical clock speeds while Microsoft offers more compute units and lower, fixed clock speeds. 

When looking at the pure computational performance of these systems, Microsoft is the clear victor. 12 TFLOPS guaranteed when compacted to a theoretical maximum of 10.28 TFLOPS. While working with more compute units is more complex than using fewer compute units with higher clock speeds, this is an issue that developers will be able to work around with ease.  

With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X using the same AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture, TFLOPS becomes a useful comparison point, and Xbox has more. The numbers don't lie. 


Memory-wise, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X use 16GB of GDDR6 memory at 14Gbps speeds. That said, this doesn't mean that both consoles will offer equal memory performance. 

Microsoft has decided to utilise a wide memory bus than Sony, giving them a theoretical maximum memory bandwidth of 560 GB/s when compared to Sony's theoretical maximum bandwidth of 448GB/s

While this looks like a clear win for Microsoft, the Xbox Series X's memory configuration is uneven. This means that the Xbox Series X's memory configuration is a lot more complicated than what Sony is offering. That said, this issue is unlikely to be a major concern from game developers. 


 Microsoft Xbox Series XSony PlayStation 5
CPUEight Custom Zen 2 CPU cores
at 3.8GHz (no SMT) or 3.66GHz (SMT On)
Eight Custom Zen 2 CPU Cores
at up to 3.5GHz
(Variable Clocks)
GPUCustom Radeon RDNA 2 Graphics
52 CUs at 1825MHz clock speeds
Custom Radeon RDNA 2 Graphics
Up to 10.28 TFLOPS
36 CUs at up to 2.23GHz 
Die Size360.45mm squared-
Process7nm Enhanced-
Memory16GB of GDDR6 memory
320-bit memory bus
16GB of GDDR6 Memory
256-bit memory bus 
10GB @ 560 GB/s + 6GB at 336GB/s448GB/s
1 TB Custom NVMe SSDCustom 825GB SSD
2.4GB/s (RAW)
4.8GB/s (Compressed)
5.5GB/s (Raw)
8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage1 TB Expansion Card
(Identical to Internal Storage)
(Restrictions Apply)
USB 3.2 External HDD SupportUSB HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive


Both Sony and Microsoft have opted to utilise NVMe SSD storage in their next-generation consoles, but in this regard, Sony is the clear winner in terms of performance. While Microsoft is using SSDs with 2.4GB/s raw data rates, Sony is steaming ahead with data rates of 5.5GB/s. That said, this approach is likely to make Sony's system a lot more expensive. No consumer PC SSDs currently offer this level of performance, making this cutting-edge storage technology from the technical minds of Sony. 

Sony has also pledged to support off-the-shelf PC-grade M.2 SSDs, though they will need to meet Sony's performance targets to deliver the same performance levels as Sony's onboard storage. Microsoft's expanded storage options require proprietary SSDs, but this approach guarantees that their expanded storage will offer gamers a great gameplay experience. 

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X Specifications Showdown - Which console is fastest?  

It's still all to play for

While Sony's PlayStation 5 is weaker than Microsoft's Xbox Series X in most aspects, the success of both console manufacturers will come down to factors outside of pure performance numbers. Both systems need strong exclusives and worthwhile gaming content. Both consoles will also need to be easy to use and offer strong libraries of new and backwards-compatible content. 

Right now, Sony is the winner when it comes to exclusive titles, with The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn and many others securing Sony a clear advantage over Microsoft. That said, services like Xbox Game Pass promise gamers affordable access to a large number of old and new games, and Microsoft has been working for several years to deliver a strong library of Xbox Exclusives. 

This is only the start of if the next console generation, but when it comes to hardware specifications, Microsoft has won on most counts. That said, Sony's stronger storage performance could deliver some exciting benefits in PlayStation 5's exclusive titles.  

You can join the discussion on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X on the OC3D Forums.   

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Most Recent Comments

18-03-2020, 14:34:26

With the PS5 lagging behind in the graphics department by quite a bit I'm guessing this will be the PS5 Base model with a PS5 Pro coming out later with all 52 compute units and higher CPU clocks to match the XBSX.Quote

18-03-2020, 14:46:46

Originally Posted by Dicehunter View Post
With the PS5 lagging behind in the graphics department by quite a bit I'm guessing this will be the PS5 Base model with a PS5 Pro coming out later with all 52 compute units and higher CPU clocks to match the XBSX.
They should have done both at the same time or make the PS4 at least 44 CUs. I get it for price but knowing MS and their way deeper pockets and their clear strategy for outright performance, Sony should have upped the ante a little bit.

RT hardware kinda kills everything. They spent so much on that they forget the GPU still needs to be fast enough. Nobody cares about 4k30 anymore and that is the target for RT games. Sony will struggle to do 4k120 like MS. They will probably be a 4k60 platform and that is a big selling point for MS. All MS has to do is market it to kiddies.
Fortnite @ true 4k 120fps
COD @ true 4k 120fps
Those 2 games alone will sell a console. In this case Xbox.Quote

18-03-2020, 14:50:06

2.2ghz in the GPU? Damn!Quote

18-03-2020, 14:55:24

I think it's just ms paranoia about skimping again and looking stupid at launch again.

They'll probably both release a gen 2 of some sort.

The one was embarrassing tbh. I clearly remember laughing at it back then.Quote

18-03-2020, 15:26:48

Originally Posted by Giggyolly View Post
2.2ghz in the GPU? Damn!
It seems the clock speed is variable. That's odd for a console. I wonder will those in hotter climates see worse performance. Or maybe the variable clock rate is set on a game-by-game basis like the SMT on the Xbox.Quote

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