What can we expect from PS5: a measured analysis of everything we know

PS5 has been confirmed by Sony, thanks to this we know its basic specifications, we know that it will include an SSD unit and that it will have a balanced price. This does not mean that it will be economic, but simply that it will have a price commensurate with its level of benefits.

The words of Mark Cerny clarified many questions, but at the same time planted certain doubts that led to an exaggerated “hype”. Some started talking about it as an 8K console, and others even said it will mark a huge technical leap. The reality will be very different, we talked about it a few weeks ago to deny five myths about PS5, and today we want to carry out a deeper analysis based on the specifications we know.

Our goal is simple, give you an approximate vision of what we can expect from PS5, without falling into exaggerations and with a totally unbiased perspective. Before we start, we remind you that everything you are going to read in the next lines starts from a simple but very important reality, the best optimization that console games have.

It is a theme that plays a decisive role, to such an extent that a game that works optimally on Xbox One, like Gears of War 4, does not get the same result on a PC that has hardware equivalent to that console. The same goes for all other systems, and it goes without saying that PS5 will not be an exception.

A bit of context: PS5 arrives in 2020, not in 2019

PS5 has been confirmed by Sony, thanks to this we know its basic specifications, we know that it will include an SSD unit and that it will have a balanced price. This does not mean that it will be economic, but simply that it will have a price commensurate with its level of benefits.

The words of Mark Cerny clarified many questions, but at the same time planted certain doubts that led to an exaggerated “hype”. Some started talking about it as an 8K console, and others even said it will mark a huge technical leap. The reality will be very different, we talked about it a few weeks ago to deny five myths about PS5, and today we want to carry out a deeper analysis based on the specifications we know.

Our goal is simple, give you an approximate vision of what we can expect from PS5, without falling into exaggerations and with a totally unbiased perspective. Before we start, we remind you that everything you are going to read in the next lines starts from a simple but very important reality, the best optimization that console games have.

It is a theme that plays a decisive role, to such an extent that a game that works optimally on Xbox One, like Gears of War 4, does not get the same result on a PC that has hardware equivalent to that console. The same goes for all other systems, and it goes without saying that PS5 will not be an exception.

A bit of context: PS5 arrives in 2020, not in 2019

It is a key datum when comparing both performance and price. The specifications that according to Sony will have PS5 today would be equivalent to what we could consider almost like a high-end PC, but we should not look at 2019, but at 2020.

By the time PS5 is available, AMD will have already launched its Radeon Navi graphics cards, and it is likely that NVIDIA will also have the successors of the 20 series RTX. This means that we will have experienced a generational transition and that the hardware of this console will be positioned more at the level of a mid-range PC by 2020.

If we do a little memory we will realize that with PS4 almost the same thing happened, since when it came to the market its specifications placed it at the level of a mid-range PC (2013). With everything, in this case, we have a very important difference, and that is that PS5 will present a much more balanced construction thanks to the use of a CPU based on the Zen 2 architecture.

As many of our regular readers will remember the consoles of the current generation made a big mistake when mounting an AMD Jaguar CPU, since it is a chip of low power consumption and low performance whose IPC is equivalent, more or less, to an Intel Atom 8000 series. Yes, that chip that has received so much criticism for offering poor performance even with basic tasks under Windows 10.

This explains what we have said on many occasions, that Xbox One X and PS4 Pro have a huge bottleneck in the CPU, and that this has been largely responsible for the fact that the current generation has been canceled by 30 FPS…

Unlike these consoles PS5 will not be born with an obsolete processor, it will have a high-performance chip that will be able to offer a remarkable improvement both at the level of frames per second as regards AI, animations and loading times.

PS5: resolution, load times, quality and fluidity

We said at the beginning that some have taken for granted that PS5 will be able to move games in 8K resolution, but it is a huge mistake. This resolution is the theoretical maximum of this console, and causes the release of multimedia content to such resolution in Japan, without further ado.

Several sources have said that the GPU of the PS5 development kits has a power of between 13 and 14 TFLOPs. We already know that this data does not define the real power of a GPU in games, but it serves as a reference to make an approximate estimate of what we can expect.

A Radeon RX Vega 64 with the GPU at 1677 MHz reaches 11.5 TFLOPs, so the conclusion is clear, the GPU of PS5 will have a slightly higher performance than the graphics card. Since the Radeon RX Vega 64 is able to offer good performance in 4K resolutions with high or very high qualities, depending on the requirements of each game, the conclusion is clear, the next-generation console from Sony will be a system that will work mainly with resolutions of 3.840 x 2.160 pixels, high qualities, and 30 or 60 FPS.

Now it’s time to talk about a tricky issue, that of load times. Mark Cerny said that thanks to the SSD were going to be able to reduce the load times to tenths of a second, and Sony has confirmed that PS5 will use an ultra-fast SSD. All this is fine, but the load times are not defined only by the speed of the SSD, other components such as the processor and RAM influence, and many optimizations that we have frankly do not think they are able to reach that level.

Right now a top-of-the-line PC takes several seconds to load current games even though it has an SSD of type PCI-E x4, so no, the load times will not disappear, although it is true that thanks to the abandonment of the HDD and the use of a Zen 2 processor will improve significantly compared to the current generation.

And what about ray tracing?

It’s a good question, and to answer it I think it’s interesting to bring up what we saw a few days ago when talking about the Crytek Neon Noir technical demo. When we work with ray tracing it is possible to apply the technology to different aspects:

  • Effects of lights and shadows.
  • Reflections and refraction.
  • Ambient occlusion and shadows.

These effects can be generated at the native resolution to which the game works or at lower resolutions. For example, if we are rendering a game in 4K we could apply ray tracing and scale it to 50% of that resolution to reduce its impact on performance, a technique that could “dominate” in the development of the next generation of consoles.

There is no doubt that rendering at half of the native resolution significantly affects the quality of the image, but the same has happened with the different rescaling techniques that are used today and in the end acceptable results have been achieved by resorting to Post-processing techniques and temporary smoothing, so I am convinced that developers can find an effective solution to this problem.

In summary, do not expect PS5 to be able to show effects of ray tracing at the level of a graphics card RTX series 20 of NVIDIA, it will not be possible since it will not have hardware dedicated to working with this method of rendering and will have to pull shaders and software.

Final notes

PS5 will be a next-generation console that will surpass PS4 in every way, but the most important improvements will be propitiated, above all, by:

  • The CPU, which will allow the development of more complex titles, with AI and higher animations.
  • The SSD, which will significantly reduce loading times.
  • The largest amount of unified memory, which will allow you to create larger worlds and use higher quality textures.

In terms of resolution and graphics quality, we have already said that PS5 should be able to offer a good experience in games of new generation with 4K resolutions, high quality and keep without problems 60 FPS, although it may be that thanks to optimization we end up giving some What another surprise.

Do not expect PS5 to perform at the level of a high-end PC by 2020, but as a mid-range PC in that year. The price of the console has not been specified, but it is likely to end up around $ 499.

We expect Microsoft to carry out a very similar approach with Xbox Scarlett, although some information has indicated that the Redmond company could introduce some quantitative improvements (more storage capacity and more memory) to differentiate itself from the Sony console.

There has also been talking of a superior internal design to offer certain modularity that allows components to be updated in a simple way, an interesting idea that, nevertheless, we must contextualize appropriately. We should not think of Xbox Scarlett as a fully upgradeable console, but in a system that could have a modular design that allows updating the storage unit in seconds.

If that rumored parity at the hardware level is fulfilled it is clear that the victory in the war of the next generation consoles will be decided through the exclusive games and services. A priori it seems that Sony has an advantage, but we must not fall into the error of underestimating Microsoft, just remember what he did with Xbox 360 to realize it.