Sony is slowly announcing details about the PlayStation 5, or PS5, it's anticipated next-gen console. And after a briefing about the technical specs, we know more than ever. But a lot, like the price and the final design, are still shrouded in mystery and rumor. Here's what we know so far.
|CPU||AMD Zen 2-based CPU, 8 Cores / 16 Threads, up to 3.5 GHz|
|GPU||RDNA2-based GPU, 36 CUs up to 2.23 GHz, 10.3 teraflops.|
|RAM||16GB GDDR6, 448GBps|
|SSD||825GB Custom PCIe SSD|
|Expandable Storage||PCIe SSD Slot, External HDD|
|Disc Drive||Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/disc|
|Audio||Tempest 3D AudioTech|
Late last year, we learned through an interview Sony had with Wired that the PS5 will use a CPU based on AMD’s third-generation, eight-core Ryzen processor, along with a custom GPU based on the Radeon Navi line, and a new 4K Blu-ray player with support for optical disks up to 100GB. The console is also set to use a custom 825GB SSD,
PS5 lead architect Mark Cerny said in March that the Zen 2-based CPU will have 8 cores, 16 threads, up cap at 3.5 GHz. The RDNA 2-based GPU will boast 36 compute units and cap at 2.23GHz, or 10.3 teraflops.
The main drive in the system will be a 825GB with 5.5GB/s read bandwidth. Cerny suggested that loading screens will be all but eliminated, and that games may just fade out and back in to show loading. He said that it can load 2GB in 0.27 seconds.
The PS5 will lack the proprietary SSD expansion slot built into the Xbox Series X, but will support some M.2 SSDs after launch. It will also support external hard drives for game storage.
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLqMay 21, 2019
The PS5 uses the new PCIe 4.0 standard, it would likely have to do so to beat out top-of-the-line PC SSDs like the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro, which has a 3,500 MBps/3000 MBps sequential read/write speed and uses PCIe 3.0 x 4.
Cerny also detailed a unit for 3D audio, the Tempest Engine, which runs Tempest Engine. He largely referred to it as a research project, suggesting it would work best, at first, with headphones. But it should, in theory, allow immersive audio from TV speakers, sound bars and surround sound setups in the future.
Sony said the PS5 will offer "support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR (specified by HDMI ver.2.1)," but it's unclear if it will do 4K and 120Hz at the same time.
Early last year, tech analyst Pelham Smithers, who focuses on Japan’s stock market, guessed that the PS5's processor will fall between $180 and $220, putting the console as a whole around $399. Which leads us to our next section.
When the PS4 launched in November of 2013, it did so at a price point of $399, which undercut the Xbox One by $100. If Smithers is right, Sony will be able to pull the same trick again with the PS5, but not all analysts agree. As reported by Twinfinite in May of last year, Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda predicted then in his quarterly forecast that the PS5 will launch for $499, which would bump it up $100 over what the PS4 and PS4 Pro sold for at launch.
A recent report from Bloomberg, meanwhile, seemed to find a middle ground between Smithers and Yasuda’s predictions. The report said that Sony was having difficulty securing DRAM and NAND for the console at reasonable prices, despite the memory market having oversupply issues for all of 2019. This is probably because next-gen consoles themselves increased demand enough for prices to jump, and NAND prices in general were expected to rise in 2020 for a litany of reasons. The report also suggested that Sony will be spending more than usual, "at a few dollars per unit," on cooling, leading to a total estimated price of "around $450."
Sony itself has yet to confirm a price, telling investors in its most recent earnings call that it has yet to be decided. The Xbox Series X also has yet to reveal a price, despite dumping its full specs list.
In August of 2019, Dutch publication LetsGoDigital stumbled across a patent that Sony filed with the Brazillian National Institute of Industrial Property and the World Intellectual Property Office for an unnamed “electronic device.” Notably, the patent was filed by Sony’s technical director Yusuhiro Ootori, who also filed the patent for the PS4.
The patent showed what looked to be a V-shaped game console, with a number of USB ports, a disc drive, and vents along a raised V that might be for cooling. It’s not like anything we’ve seen for a game console in recent memory, but with the Xbox Series X ditching traditional console designs itself, it’s a feasible possibility.
Fridge for scale. #PowerYourDreams pic.twitter.com/2n4OEUKXUzFridge for scale. #PowerYourDreams pic.twitter.com/2n4OEUKXUzMarch 16, 2020March 16, 2020
However, when Gizmodo was sent images of the PS5 dev kit a few months later, they matched the patent exactly, and also seemed to newly include integrated cameras, perhaps for livestreaming. A month later, a Twitter user posted a photo of what looked to be these dev kits out in the wild.
PS5 anyone? pic.twitter.com/cBggZTIty4November 30, 2019
It’s likely, then, that this leaked design might just be for PS5 dev kits, as developer kits in general tend to look different from and even include features that aren’t on the final product
In the same Wired interview, Sony also gave the publication an early look at the Dualshock 5 controller, which will ship with the PS5. According to Wired, it looks almost identical to the Dualshock 4, but appears to have a microphone and more detailed haptic feedback than its predecessor.
While Microphones are nothing new for controllers, with a history stretching back to Nintendo’s Famicom, a patent from late last year did point to a potential voice assistant for the PS5, which might be its purpose here. As for haptic feedback, Sony showed off demonstrations on how it could add to realism for Wired.
These included feeling the difference between track and dirt in a racing game, or in terrain such as sand or ice in a platformer. Sony also promised “adaptive triggers” in a blog post last October, a new feature for adding resistance to trigger pulls to better emulate precise movements such as firing a bow and arrow.
Moving into the realm of speculation, a recent patent also suggests Sony might be working on a PS5 controller that can support wireless charging, while an older one from 2018 hints at a controller that can track sweat and heart rate. Whether these features will be bundled with the base Dualshock 5 or be peripherals of their own, we will have to wait and see.
PS5 Backwards Compatibility
Finally, while we have yet to know if the PS5 will bump up the power of at least some older games played on it, a Series X feature Xbox revealed yesterday, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will be fully backwards compatible, with the PS4 logic built into the PS5's graphics solution. It will also support the PlayStation VR headset. No word yet on if the console will be able to play Playstation games from older generations