When a new console generation lands, there’s always a lot of discussion about what kind of games we can expect and what sort of infrastructure the console will have. We’ll discuss the software lineup, the multiplayer systems, and the rivalry between the two major players. Often, what gets swept by the wayside is specs; the exact technical specifications of the console and the components that will go into constructing it.
In terms of the upcoming PlayStation 5, we don’t need to speculate. There are some things we definitely know the upcoming console will have. Speaking to Wired, project lead Mark Cerny disclosed some details about the PS5 which give us a small window into its specs. Here are just some of the things we know about the PS5. This article will focus mostly on tech specs, but we’ll slot a few things in towards the end that are relevant, too.
The PlayStation 5’s CPU will be based on the third-generation AMD Ryzen line. It’ll consist of eight cores, each of which is made up with the company’s 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. These chips are the first 7nm CPUs, which won’t mean much to non-tech heads; suffice to say the PS5’s CPU is gonna be seriously fast. Sony’s choice to go with AMD makes a lot of sense, since the PS4 also contained AMD hardware. In fact, Cerny says in the above Wired interview that much of the PS5’s internal spec will be based on the PS4, more on which later.
Once again, the PlayStation 5 will be using an AMD device for its graphics. The GPU inside the PS5 will be a custom iteration on the Radeon Navi family. Tentatively, Sony is hoping the PS5’s GPU will support ray tracing, which would be an industry first if true; there have been rumours that Sony is experimenting with ray tracing technology for a while. Ray tracing is effectively tech that simulates real-life lighting by “tracing a ray” through objects, but it can also be used to map out movement and other important graphical features.
Mark Cerny seems pretty proud of the PS5’s new hard drive, which he’s touting as the most important feature of the console and the thing that will truly accelerate the PS5 into the next gaming generation. The PS5 will feature a solid state drive (SSD) integrated into the console itself. The PS4 has built-in support for SSDs, but it’s a traditional spinning drive inside the console. Cerny says the PS5’s new drive will theoretically allow for load times up to 18x faster than its predecessor. Obviously, the PS5’s storage will be expandable, but we don’t know to what extent yet.
Cerny is relatively tight-lipped on the sound capabilities of the PS5, but in the Wired interview he says he was “disappointed” by the lack of a technological leap between PS3 and PS4 in terms of audio. The goal this time around, he says, is “presence”; that indescribable feeling of actually being within the world of the game. Cerny is aiming for 3D audio and virtual surround using just TV speakers so as to limit the amount of external hardware gamers need to pick up in order to be truly immersed. Whether or not he’s able to accomplish this remains to be seen.
We know one thing for certain here: the PlayStation 5 will support the currently existing PS VR headset. Everything else is open to speculation. Cerny says he “won’t go into the details” of Sony’s VR strategy for the PS5, but it seems like the company is focusing on their current VR headset for now. That makes sense; as of August last year, Sony had sold 3 million VR units and over 21 million “VR games and experiences”. That’s a decent adoption rate, but Sony will likely be looking to do better, and they can do so by ensuring that players won’t have to immediately upgrade when the next console generation hits (likely next year).
Technically this isn’t to do with specification, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Mark Cerny has confirmed that the PS5 will be able to play PlayStation 4 games. Good news for anyone who still hasn’t gotten around to last year’s God of War, eh? There’s still no word on whether, as rumoured, the console will be compatible with all previous PlayStation generations. Seeing as the PS5 will be based largely on PS4 architecture, it’s not massively likely, but we can dream.
It’s confirmed: the PlayStation 5 will be able to support up to 8K resolution. The number of commercially viable 8K displays available right now is still quite small and the pricing is quite prohibitive, so Sony will probably mostly be looking to target those with 4K displays (a much higher number). Still, the idea that Sony’s newest console will be 8K-compatible right out of the box is pretty thrilling seeing as the original PS4 was only capable of Full HD when it was released. Those with crystal-clear massive 8K displays should start salivating.
This is what we currently know about the PlayStation 5’s specs. There are lots of things still to be revealed, including the capacity of that famous SSD (which should be pretty large given the size of modern AAA games) and controller design. Watch this space for more news!