Consoles of the next genTo cater to the needs of next-gen games, Microsoft and Sony are releasing their new line of gaming consoles. Let’s take a closer look at them here.
The next generation of gaming is right around the corner with games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Horizon Forbidden West keeping gamers on their toes for the next big game release. Interest around these games aren’t entirely aesthetical, as the graphical fidelity of these games has been pushing game hardware needs. While PCs, for the most part, have been keeping up with modularity demands, consoles have struggled. And for the latest generation of console gaming, both Sony and Microsoft have offered updates to their Xbox One and PlayStation 4s hardware to keep up with the growing demand for more powerful gaming hardware.
Today, we are on the cusp of a new generation of gaming hardware, be it through the release of the two new consoles or through Nvidia’s release of their powerful new RTX 30 line of GPUs for their PCs. Technologies like texture streaming, ultra-high-resolution gaming and ray-tracing are demanding more from CPUs and GPUs. For PC gamers, ray-tracing capable powerful graphic cards like the RTX series by Nvidia and high-performance CPUs like the AMD Ryzen Threadripper and Core i9 have been catering to these needs. Consoles on the other hand are pre-built machines that aren’t anywhere near modular as PCs which work against them in an ever-growing technological industry. To cater to the needs of next-gen games, both Microsoft and Sony are releasing their new line of gaming consoles to not only support and elevate console gaming but to go head-to-head with PC gamers in performance through specialised custom hardware.
Both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X have a completely reimagined design. The Xbox Series X has a tall, PC-like cube design while the PlayStation 5 flaunts a curved duo-tone black and white design that looks more like a traditional console. Both units, however, have completely redesigned internals with enough horsepower to run games at a native 4K. Updates to both the old generation of consoles used various hacks and tricks to upscale games to 4K with many compromises to performance and quality. For the next generation, running games at 4K comes naturally to the beefed-up internals. The Xbox Series X is designed around an AMD 3.8 GHz octa-core Zen 2 CPU and the 52-core GPU supported by 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. On the Sony side of things, the PlayStation 5 is built around a similar AMD Zen 2 CPU with a custom Radeon GPU supported by 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. Specifications wise, both consoles are equipped with similar hardware which should result in very similar performance from both consoles.
But while these specifications are impressive even for PCs gamers, who have access to even more powerful and expensive hardware, the caveat to these consoles come in the form of ultra-fast storage. Both the Xbox and the PlayStation are equipped with highly impressive custom-made SSD controllers that offer blazing fast speeds. Sony even mentioned that through the implementation of their custom SSD chip, they hope to reduce or rather eliminate the need for loading screens in games. A similarly powerful SSD on the Xbox makes it possible for gamers to suspend multiple games at the same time and resume from idle. Both consoles also offer storage expansion through external SSDs with a minimal to no speed hit.
Both Microsoft and Sony are offering two versions of their consoles this generation, while the two versions will differ in price, the cheaper versions take on dramatically different ideologies to bring down the price. Microsoft offers the Xbox Series S, a stripped-down version of the Series X that is designed more towards people who don’t necessarily need the 4K capabilities if they don’t have a 4K television or monitor. The Xbox Series S can render up to 1440p at 60fps and comes with less RAM and storage. Sony, on the other hand, offers the Digital Edition which is slightly cheaper because of the removal of the Ultra HD Blu-Ray drive but other internals remain the same.
But while console gamers are eagerly anticipating the release of the two new consoles, PC gamers have been treated to some exciting new gaming hardware as well. Nvidia, with the release of their RTX 30 series, blows both of the consoles out of the water with the highest tier RTX 3090 supporting 8K gaming. The beast of a graphics card doesn’t come cheap, however, retailing at a whopping $1500. On the CPU side of things, both Intel and AMD have been releasing very competitive high-performing CPUs for PC gamers. But while PC gamers have access to a whole lot of shiny expensive parts, they don’t benefit from the system-level integration that both Sony and Microsoft perform on their consoles. Beefy cooling and scaled up performance ensure that the consoles still hold up against expensive PCs as well. The PlayStation 5, for example, employs an interesting variable speed architecture for its GPU and CPU, while Microsoft has stuck to the traditional fixed-speed architecture. These powerful ground-level architecture redesigns also mean that these consoles can render games at a much higher frame rate than the locked 30fps of previous models. The much needed 120fps high-refresh-rate work wonders to make a game feel more responsive and fluid.
Both Sony and Microsoft are aiming for a release during the American holidays. The Xbox Series X will retail for $499 with the Series S going for a cheaper $299. The PlayStation 5 will be priced at $499 too to compete with the Xbox Series X but the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will retail for $399. For the PCs, apart from the $1500 monster GPU, the RTX 3070 retails for $499 and the RTX 3080 for $699. Considering how one component for your PC is the same price as an entire console, both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are excellent value for money! The Xbox Series S at $299 is a very sweet proposition as well for gamers on a budget. At this price point, PC gamers are going to have a hard time finding a similarly performing gaming PC which makes both of these consoles’ excellent devices to usher in the next generation of gaming.