Xbox Series X vs PS5: Specs, games, features, price, release date, controller, backwards compatibility and more next-gen console comparisons

With the PS5 and the Xbox Series X launching soon, we spec the new consoles up.

by Daryl Baxter
PS5 vs Xbox Series X

A recent PS5 event was very enlightening, with players now knowing more about what Sony’s new console will have on the hardware side.

Microsoft has also announced the full specs for the Xbox Series X, which, depending on current circumstances, is due to be released towards the end of this year.

BUY NOW: The best TV for next-gen consoles

But in the meantime, we thought it may be useful to lay out a guide of what we’ve learnt so far, and how past conferences that announced previous consoles could influence these next-gen ones.

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PS5 vs Xbox Series X specs

Now that the specifications of both consoles are official, one can’t help but think that these new consoles are just as powerful as a futuristic PC from 2021.

PlayStation 5Xbox Series X
CPU8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz
(variable frequency, with SMT)
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz
(3.6GHz with SMT)
GPU10.28 TFLOPs,
36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
12.16 TFLOPs,
52 CUs at 1.825GHz
GPU ArchitectureCustom RDNA 2
w/ hardware RT support
Custom RDNA 2
w/ hardware RT support
Memory16GB GDDR616GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth448GB/s10GB at 560GB/s,
6GB at 336GB/s
Internal StorageCustom 825GB NVMe SSD1TB Custom NVMe SSD
IO Throughput5.5GB/s (Raw),
8-9GB/s (Compressed)
2.4GB/s (Raw),
4.8GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable StorageNVMe SSD Slot1TB Expansion Card
External StorageUSB HDD SupportUSB HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
HDMI2.1 (4K/120Hz, 8K, VRR)2.1 (4K/120Hz, 8K, VRR)
Backwards compatibilityPlayStation 4(*)Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One

With both consoles offering SSD storage, which has each been specifically designed by Sony and Microsoft, the difference between the two overall is minimal.

But the Xbox Series X does slightly come ahead, with a 20% increase in power. The only similarities are in the GPU and Memory Architecture, so if a game was to be made available on both systems, there would be a challenge in seeing just which console the game is running on..

But let’s not forget; it’s not about the specifications that will make one of these consoles the winner in due time; it’s what they can offer.

PS5 vs Xbox
CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTER: The Xbox Series X looks like a fridge but the PS5 is more of a router.

PS5 vs Xbox Series X console design

After the PS5 reveal event on the 11th June, we finally got a glimpse at what the PS5 console looks like.

Sony has kept its fans in the dark for much longer than Microsoft did, who revealed the Xbox Series X console design in December at The Game Awards.

The consoles are aesthetically very different, with the PS5 going for a curved two-tone console that looks very futuristic. Microsoft, on the other hand, opted for a simplistic black cuboid design for the Series X.

READ MORE: PS5 black version: Will the PlayStation 5 console come in black?

Both consoles were mocked equally by memes online after their reveal.

Picking a winning design between these two consoles is ultimately a subjective choice. The Xbox Series X’s design was a safe choice, offering very little in flair compared to the PlayStation 5. The black and white colours on the PS5 have divided fans, however, with many clamouring for a fully black PS5 instead.

READ MORE: Will the PS5 come in other colours?

PS5 vs Xbox Series X backwards compatibility

The PS5 will, apparently, be able to play the majority of the top 100 PS4 games when it launches, and it offers a considerable improvement to how the games run. This list is meant to grow, and it seems as though it will eventually include the majority of PS4 titles. And that’s not all!

A Sony patent which is doing the rounds online seems to suggest that PS1, PS2 and PS3 games could come to PS5 via a cloud-based service of some sort. It’s unclear if this is part of PS Now, or something new, but either way – it’s an exciting thing to think about!

The Xbox Series X also takes old games very seriously, which is unsurprising as the Xbox One already has backwards compatibility too.

The Xbox Series X will be able to (technically) run the entirety of the Xbox One catalogue of games with no emulation.

You see, it’s all baked into the new console at a hardware level, but then each game gets boosted with the almighty new power of the upcoming console as well.

That’s an impressive feat on its own, but it actually gets even better: the Xbox Series X backwards compatibility was shown to work with Fusion Frenzy, a game which released on the very first Xbox nearly twenty years ago.

PS5 vs Xbox Series X games – which have been confirmed?

Gears 5 Enhanced and Halo Infinite were the two big first-party games which Microsoft touted for the the Xbox Series X‘s launch, but 343i has since delayed their Halo game until 2021.

Meanwhile, Sony has lots of exciting exclusives in the works: Spider-Man Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West are among the PS5 games that you won’t find anywhere else.

Third-party games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion will launch on both PS5 and Xbox Series X.

READ MORE: Why will games still run in 30 FPS on next-gen?

PS5 vs Xbox Series X price

Sony and Microsoft have not confirmed the next-gen console pricing yet, but we have done some digging into history to try and make an educated guess. Click here to jump away to that article!

PS5 vs Xbox Series X features – are there any differences?

One key feature that Microsoft has announced is Xbox Series X Smart Delivery, which will allow you to take your old games with you into the next generation without having to pay for them again. Sony is yet to confirm if PS5 Smart Delivery is a thing.

Another ‘feature’ we’ve seen discussed so far is SSD. Sony has spoken of how it will cut down loading times, whereas Microsoft has been boasting about a ‘quick resume‘ feature that can load up to three games at once and allow you to switch easily between them.

But there has been a lot of chat on both sides about SSD; a standard that’s been in many PC’s, laptops and tablets for years.

With these custom SSD drives in both consoles, they have spoken of the two points above, but it could also benefit movies, streaming, and multiplayer.

Downloading and installing a new Season of Fortnite while you’re in the middle of a match could be really appealing, and the impatience of loading times has really been superseded by the impatience of ‘installation times’.

Many people remember the wait of having to install Metal Gear Solid 4 on the PlayStation 3, but with these bigger, faster storage devices, there may finally be a path to not have this in any game, no matter how big.

Further reading: PS5 3D audio explained

PS5 vs Xbox Series X controller

Both companies have revealed their new controllers, so we compared them in a big article! Click here to read that one. We’ve also got specific info about the PS5 DualSense controller and the Xbox Series X controller at those links right there.

PS5 vs Xbox Series X release date

Microsoft blinked first in the console release date battle, revealing that the Series X would launch in November 2020. This is the first time either company have committed to a release date more specific than the ‘Holiday 2020’ time frame.

As for Sony and the PS5, there has yet to be any official news outside of Holiday 2020, although we expect it to launch around the same time as the Series X.

PS5 vs Xbox Series X – which new console to choose?

Ever since the two consoles became official last year, there has been speculation and hopes as to what they could improve upon on the Xbox One and the PS4.

We may know everything about the hardware, but all eyes are now on the software; from the operating system to the games that players will be buying.

Read more: PS5 vs Xbox Series X Comparison

There may still be hopes for a better effort from Sony on the backwards-compatibility front, but their relationships with indie-developers could stand them in good stead to have a wider lineup of launch games, both in stores and online once they come out.

Time will tell, but for now, we’ve got two of the most powerful consoles ever about to launch, and with the games so far being offered, we’re all in for a good time towards the end of the year.

READ MORE: How to watch the Xbox live-stream with the latest news

Daryl Baxter