PS5 vs Xbox Series X/S: Which Is the Best Console for You?
The next generation of gaming is almost here. With the PC side getting its new graphics cards and two brand new consoles practically here, it is a busy time for the gaming community. But which console is better for you: PS5 or Xbox Series X/S? Let’s compare the PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S to find out.
Let’s Compare the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S
The launch of the next generation of video games is so close we can almost play it at the time of writing this post. The Xbox Series X and S will kick off the new generation on Tuesday, Nov. 10, while the PlayStation 5 will come on Thursday, Nov. 12.
It is highly possible that you could be reading this post and the consoles are already here, but the PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S comparison remains. After all, not everyone was able to get a preorder before the consoles came out. Some won’t be able to get one after they launch either.
It is unfortunate, but the production and general nature of this year meant that companies could probably not make as many systems as they would have liked to. But regardless of whether you are reading this before or after launch, the general rules apply, especially if you are tight on a budget and can only buy one system.
We will go through the major aspects of each console, like power, the games it will have, and so on, to help you determine which console is right for you. Of course, we aren’t going to necessarily say one is better than the other as they each fit different players better, which is the purpose of this post. Without further ado, let’s compare PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S to determine which is the right one for you this generation.
To kick things off, we will go over both systems’ specifications to let you know what you are signing up for. We will list out the CPU, GPU, RAM, and other information officially known at this time about both systems and the Xbox Series S.
For the most part, we will count the PlayStation 5 and the All Digital Edition together as one package as the only difference between the two is that one has a disc drive and the other doesn’t. Other than that, they are the same console.
Here are the specs for both the PS5 and its Digital version from the great people at TechRadar:
- CPU: AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
- GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
- GPU architecture: Custom RDNA 2
- Memory interface: 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
- Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
- Internal storage: Custom 825GB SSD
- IO throughput: 5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
- Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
- External storage: USB HDD support (PS4 games only)
- Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray drive (only for the more expensive PS5 physical version)
As you can see, the specs for the PS5 family are pretty great. It is more power than you need for most PC games these days in terms of recommended power. The PS5 should be good to go for the next few years, to say the least, where it will be more than capable of the 4K games and ray-tracing that it will have.
Xbox Series X and S Specs
Now, let’s see how the Xbox Series X stacks up to the PS5. It is worth noting that while the two PS5 systems are roughly the same minus the disc drive, the Xbox Series X and its little sibling, the S, are different pieces of hardware in terms of power and specs.
Yes, the S also doesn’t have a disc drive and remains all digital, like the PS5’s cheaper variation. It has a lower cost because of the less power that it has. As such, you aren’t going to be getting necessarily the beefier next-gen hardware that you might be expecting.
Here are the Xbox Series X specs that we know of:
- CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
- Die Size: 360.45 mm2
- Process: 7nm Enhanced
- Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
- Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
- Internal Storage: 1TB Custom NVME SSD
- I/O Throughput: 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s
- Expandable Storage: 1TB expansion memory card (matches internal storage exactly)
- External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
- Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
From there, we come to the Xbox Series S, unlike the two PS5 consoles, that has a very different set of specs that must be listed separately. Here they are:
- CPU: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz w/ SMT)
- GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 20 compute units @ 1.565GHz
- GPU power: 4 TFLOPS
- SoC: Custom 7nm Enhanced SoC
- RAM: 10GB GDDR6 (8GB @ 224GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s)
- Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed)
- Expandable storage: 1TB expansion memory card (is generally the same as the internal storage)
- Performance Target: 1440p @ 60fps, up to 120fps
PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S: Power
For our first PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S comparison, it is time to go over all things power. For some players out there, they want the most powerful system in existence. Exclusive games might not matter as much to you since you want the games you play to look the very best that they possibly can.
Perhaps you play third-party games like Black Ops Cold War or Cyberpunk 2077 and you want that to look the best it can. There is one winner when it comes down to pure power’s sake, even by a small margin. That winner is the Xbox Series X.
It has a better CPU, more teraflops when it comes to the GPU, and a slightly bigger hard drive. While Sony hasn’t addressed this, it is even proven in the fact that some games will be able to not only hit the coveted 4K resolution at 60FPS but on Series X, you could even hit up to 120FPS, which is pretty unheard of outside of PC gaming.
But it is worth noting that the differences between the Series X and PS5 could potentially be minimal. It will take a year or two to figure out as we will need to see some side-by-side comparisons of significant games in the future.
But just based on the numbers listed above, the winner when it comes to power is the Xbox Series X. Of course, the S falls far behind both of them in terms of power, but it comes with a cheaper price. We’ll get more into that in a little bit.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S: Launch Lineup
Outside of the consoles themselves and their power, many gamers care the most about the games. After all, you can have a powerful piece of hardware, but if you have nothing to play on it, then it is pretty pointless.
That said, launch lineups are notoriously mediocre or downright bad regarding consoles, except for some Nintendo systems. As such, you shouldn’t expect too much out of the launch lineups for both of these consoles, but they are worth mentioning nonetheless.
Before we dive into the list of games available on these systems, it is worth noting that launches are weird. Some publishers will say that the “launch window” is upwards of six months after the system’s release, which is a little wild to us.
We will focus on the games coming out this year for the PS5 and Xbox Series since many games set for next year don’t even have release dates yet. For this particular part, we will ignore games available on both sides of the equation and hone in on the exclusives that they have at launch for the rest of the year. Of course, we still consider them console exclusives even if they show up on PC, too.
Here are the exclusives that the PS5 will have at launch. Games without a date next to them are available day one. I’m excluding Spider-Man to keep it fair with games on Xbox that I am excluding.
- Astro’s Playroom
- Demon’s Souls
- Jett: The Far Shore (still set for holiday 2020 but no release date)
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Sack boy: A Big Adventure
- Temtem (early access exclusive for now): Dec. 8, 2020
- The Pathless
From here, we go to the Xbox Series X and S’s launch lineup for this year. Here are the exclusives that you won’t be able to play on PlayStation, at least for now. Keep in mind that I’m going to exclude games like Gears 5 that have been on Xbox before this launch.
- 12 Minutes (2020 but no release date; could get delayed)
- Bright Memory (not Infinite; that was pushed back to 2021)
- CrossFireX (2020; no release date yet)
- Exo One (2020; no release date yet)
- Football Manager 2021 (very odd situation with this one)
- Gears Tactics (first appearance on console)
- Orphan of the Machine (2020)
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- The Falconeer
- The Medium (release date: Dec. 10, 2020)
In terms of pure numbers of exclusives this year, Xbox wins by a slim margin. However, it comes down to the nature of the exclusives. Like Football Manager 2021 (sorry to those who like that game), some of them don’t make much of a difference in making the game better than others.
At the same time, PS5 is the clear winner when it comes to first-party AAA exclusives. But on the Xbox side, it is the clear winner for smaller indie title exclusives. In the end, I would personally give this one to PS5 for games like Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, but that is just me personally.
Objectively, I could see this as a tie. When it comes to the games, if you prefer first-party AAA titles, PS5 is likely your go-to. If you want more indie games that are unique and exclusive, then you might want to check out the Xbox Series.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S: Price
Then there is the argument of price. In this particular situation, these systems’ cost is probably going to play one of the biggest determining factors in which one players buy this year or even in 2021. This year has been crazy, and those in the U.S. aren’t guaranteed another stimulus check.
As such, disposable income isn’t going to be as available for many gamers worldwide this year, which sucks when a new generation is starting. When looking at the normal disc PS5 and Xbox Series X, they are the same price ($500), so that part is pretty irrelevant.
But when you look at the other versions that the two console manufacturers have, you can see a difference. Let’s start with the Xbox Series S, which wins this category in terms of the lowest price possible at $300.
That is very cheap when compared to the $500 you would spend on the other two consoles. That is just over half of the price, so players who want the next-gen hardware but save some money in the process might find this one enticing. After all, you spend enough money to be able to buy a couple of games, maybe another controller, and so on.
And then there is the PS5 digital version. The disc drive removal allows it to be $100 cheaper at a $400 price point. If you want a disc drive, you’ll be stuck with the $500 cost no matter what, but if you don’t mind a digital future, it becomes PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S.
The PS5 is more powerful and wins when it comes to the most powerful cheap system. The S wins the lowest possible cost this next generation. These options will appeal to different people and take in other factors, too, like games.
One budget-friendly thing to keep in mind is the free stuff you might get with each system. You get Astro’s Playroom for free no matter which PS5 you get, so you can play that without spending extra money. If you have PlayStation Plus, though, you get 20 games for free that are some of the best PS4 games of all time, plus Bugsnax on PS5 for free.
On the other hand, the Xbox Series consoles have Game Pass, which comes with lots more free games if you have a subscription. In terms of backwards compatibility, only PS4 games will work on PS5 at this time, while even your original Xbox games could work on Xbox Series X/S.
Again, this is a matter of personal preference, but both win in this category differently. In the end, picking the right console for you comes down to figuring out how much you want to spend, what games you are looking forward to, and how much power means to you. Without a doubt, all four of these console models will appeal to players in different ways.