PS5 and Xbox Series X teraflops explained: what is a teraflop? And which console has more?

Just what is a teraflop and does the Xbox Series X or the PS5 have more of them?

by Jason Coles

After waiting for ages for information, we’ve now had our first look at the almighty power of both the Xbox Series X and the PS5.

Alongside a slew of details about things like SSDs and 3D audio, we’ve heard a lot of chat about teraflops.

The thing is, what is a teraflop, what does it mean in real terms, and which console in the next generation has more?

Let’s start with the basics, what on Earth is a teraflop? Well, a teraflop is a measurement of a computer’s performance.

Tera is the numerical part of the word and means one trillion, while FLOP is actually an acronym that stands for Floating-Point Operations per second. So, a teraflop is the ability to compute one billion floating-point operations per second.

That’s a big old number, and you now know the technical meaning of the word teraflop.

PS5 and Xbox Series X teraflops: What this key spec means for you ...

What does that mean for gaming, though? Sure, the numbers are big, but it’s meaningless without context.

So, here is your context; a teraflop basically equates to more processing power.

It means the ability to draw more polygons and control them. This means more power basically, with the upcoming generations being able to process far more complex things than the current-gen consoles.

This makes for complicated games, better-looking games, and even more complicated AI as well.

You now know what a teraflop is, or at least what the term means. So, how many teraflops does the Xbox Series X have?

It has 12 teraflops, which is just a lot of power. Though, despite this huge boost in power (the Xbox One X has six teraflops), it doesn’t necessarily mean the console is twice as powerful as its predecessor.

From a numerical standpoint, it is twice as powerful, sure, but in actual terms, it’s closer to meaning it has twice the potential in this one aspect.

Sony reveals PS5 logo and promises to deliver 'the best content' | VGC

So now, how many teraflops does the PS5 have? Well, because Sony likes to keep things interesting and make us all write using decimal places, the PS5 has 10.28 teraflops.

Meaning it has a bit less than the Xbox Series X. For reference, the PS4 has 1.84 teraflops. This is a far larger jump, but it also illustrates another point; teraflops mean more potential, but not much else.

Just look at the PS4 games like God Of War or Bloodborne versus the Xbox One options of Gears 5 or Sea Of Thieves.

It’s not like you could see a huge difference visually in the previous generation, despite the difference between the Xbox One and the PS4’s teraflop count.

In a similar way, the graphical fidelity could easily go either way for the new consoles – or they could end up looking similar again.

It’s really down to the developers to figure out how to use this new potential, and that’s got more to do with human creativity than it does with the actual teraflops.

The battle between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X could ultimately come down to the developers, and which platform ends up attracting the best talent and therefore hosting the best games.

Jason Coles