We already have clear the specifications of the GPU for PS5 and Xbox Series X. Sony and Microsoft moved tab and confirmed both the number of shaders and the working frequencies, although unfortunately there are still some issues in the air when it comes to the architecture that both consoles use.
Until recently we believed that the PS5 GPU used the RDNA 2 architecture, but a series of messages published by a Sony engineer made it clear that it’s not like that, and that said graphic nucleus is a kind of hybrid halfway between RDNA and RDNA 2. It is not information that comes from anybody, so its value is beyond doubt. It will have to be seen, yes, how this affects the performance of said console and to what extent it ends limiting its useful life.
After the appearance of that information, some rumors emerged that the Xbox Series X GPU could also use a hybrid architecture, that is, that it would not be based on RDNA 2, but on an intermediate solution. Since this information does not come from an official source, we cannot give it the same credibility, and we must also keep in mind that Microsoft recently unified a series of key technologies in DirectX 12 Ultimate with the aim of using them on both Xbox Series X and PC So that information doesn’t make much sense either.
During the last weeks I have been able to see that many of our readers have increasing doubts about the PC equivalent of the PS5 GPU and the Xbox Series X GPU. It is curious, since the fact that Sony and Microsoft revealed the specifications of both graphic cores should have helped to clarify things, but in the end the opposite has happened. It is no coincidence, after all, the fact that both GPUs use a semi-custom architecture can affect, for better or for worse, their performance.
It is difficult to find direct equivalencies without being clear about the possible increase in the CPI that the RDNA 1.5 and RDNA 2 architectures could bring, but I know it’s a topic that interests you a lot, and that’s why I have encouraged myself to write this article, where we will do an in-depth analysis of everything we know to find a rough equivalence on PC to the PS5 GPU and the Xbox Series X.
What graphics card is the PS5 GPU equivalent to?
Let’s review the data we have. We know this is not an RDNA 2 based GPU, which means that could have a good part of the advanced functions more important than that, but it is likely that it does not have a significant advance in terms of IPC and that it is, therefore, at the level of the RDNA architecture in terms of gross performance under the same configuration (same shaders at the same frequency).
We already have that basis clear, so let’s review the PS5 GPU Full Specifications:
- 2,304 shaders.
- 144 texturing units.
- 64 raster units.
- 256-bit bus and 14 GHz GDDR6 memory, which leaves us with a bandwidth of 448 GB / s.
- GPU at 2.23 GHz dynamic frequency (maximum, not stable).
I’m sure these specs ring a bell, and yes, they are the same as a Radeon RX 5700, although in this case with a higher maximum frequency. The memory is unified, which means that although the system mounts 16 GB of GDDR6, it is shared between RAM and VRAM, and a part must be reserved for the system.
Sony has not specified anything, but it is clear that between 2.5 GB and 3 GB will be reserved for the system and the base applications, which would leave us free, at best, 13.5 GB free to distribute between RAM and VRAM. If this is confirmed, it is most likely that 8 GB will be used as RAM and that the other 5.5 GB will be used as graphic memory, which would leave us with a figure less than 8 GB of graphics memory that brings a Radeon RX 5700.
The gross performance of the PS5 GPU will largely depend on of the time that is able to maintain those 2.23 GHz of maximum peak. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but we’re talking about a GPU built into an APU, so I find it hard to believe that it will be possible to sustain those frequencies on a sustained basis, and I think in the end it will almost always stay below 2 GHz.
With all this in mind my conclusion is very clear, the PS5 GPU could be equivalent to a graphics card halfway between the Radeon RX 5600 XT and the Radeon RX 5700 (RTX 2060-RTX 2060 Super)although with superior base architecture and dedicated ray tracing hardware.
What performance can we expect?
A Radeon RX 5700 does its best working with 1440p resolutionsAlthough it can move games in 2160p (4K) if we adjust the graphic quality. This also fits with the performance the PS5 GPU got by moving the demo of the Unreal Engine 5, 30 FPS averages with dynamic 1440p resolution.
At the time it was even said that the PS5 GPU was going to be at the level of an RTX 2080 Ti and other similar folliesAs it was going to make all current mid-range gaming PCs obsolete, but as we see the reality is going to be very different, in fact it gives me the nose that PS5 is going to arrive with too fair specifications at the GPU level.
Yes, I know, power is not everything, I have said it many times, in fact I am clear that the war of the new generation is going to be decided through hardware, games and services, but this does not change the fact that the power of the PS5 GPU is much lower than expected, and has nothing to do with the huge “hype” that some generated.
What graphics card is the Xbox Series X GPU equivalent to?
We already know what graphics card the PS5 GPU could be, so we are ready to go see the Xbox Series X GPU. I must say that I find it much more difficult to analyze this GPU to find a correct equivalence, mainly because its specifications do not fit with any current model, and because it is not clear if it will use the RDNA 2 architecture or a hybrid between it and RDNA.
Given that a priori everything seems to indicate that it will be based on RDNA 2 (if not, it could not support all the technology of DirectX 12 Ultimate), it is possible to think that we are before a new generation GPU and that it will have, therefore, an increase in terms of CPI compared to models based on the RDNA architecture. Let’s see its specifications:
- 3,328 shaders.
- 208 texturing units.
- 80 raster units.
- 320-bit bus and GDDR6 memory, of which 10 GB will have a bandwidth of 560 GB / s and 6 GB will have a bandwidth of 336 GB / s.
- GPU at 1,825 MHz stable.
Well, we also have a unified memory architecture, which means that those 16 GB are shared between RAM and VRAM, and a part is reserved for the system. Microsoft has confirmed that developers will have 13.5 GB available, of which 10 GB will have a bandwidth of 560 GB / s and 3.5 GB will have a bandwidth of 336 GB / s. That difference in bandwidth should not be a problem, as long as the developments are made by compensating for the lower frequency of the second with the higher speed of the first.
In total we should have 8 GB of RAM and 5.5 GB of graphic memory, the same figures that we saw when analyzing the PS5 GPU. The working frequency is lower, but stable, and in theory we would have a GPU with a more advanced architecture.
To reach a correct conclusion, I want to remind you of the recommended requirements of The Medium, an exclusive game of the new generation that will arrive on Xbox Series X and PC. To play it in 4K we need an RTX 2070, while but if we want to activate ray tracing an RTX 2080 is recommended.
The game will run in 4K resolution on Xbox Series X, but will be limited to 30 FPS and will not have ray tracing (This is indicated by the official Microsoft website). If we put all this in context the conclusion is clear, the Xbox Series X GPU should be roughly level with an RTX 2070, a graphics card that, we remember, is just slightly slower than an RX 5700 XT, with the particularity that it will have less graphic memory available (5.5 GB versus 8 GB, as it happens with the GPU of PS5).
What performance can we expect?
In general, both the RTX 2070 and the RX 5700 XT are better prepared to work with 4K resolutionsAlthough they are graphics cards that offer truly optimal performance (without reducing graphic quality) in 1440p, so we cannot rule out that developers have to end up making some sacrifices.
It was also said at the time that the Xbox Series X GPU was going to be at the level of an RTX 2080 Ti, or even above it, something that is obviously not true either. Thinking that AMD was going to be able to embed a GPU with that level of performance into an APU it was crazy, as it was also thinking that we could see a console with that power with a “reasonable” price.
In any case, the important thing is that Xbox Series X GPU is clearly superior to PS5 GPU, and that anyone with an RTX 2070 or Radeon RX 5700 XT should be able to smoothly transition to the next generation, even if playing at resolutions higher than 1080p.