The PlayStation 5 (abbreviated as PS5) is an upcoming successor to the PS4 and the PS4 Pro developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Rumors regarding Sony’s fifth-gen console began to float around in early 2019 when Mark Cerny, the lead system architect, announced the company is working on the successor to the PS4 Pro and the PS4 Slim. He also announced in an interview with Wired in April 2019 that their upcoming console would include features including an SSD, Ray Tracing and PS4 Games backward compatibility.
We expected that at CES 2020, Sony would offer a brief look at the PS5 but instead they just unveiled the console’s official logo. Sony remained quiet on the new console until 18 March 2020 when Sony finally unveiled the PS5’s detailed specifications in an online presentation. You can watch the full presentation here.
|CPU||AMD Zen-2 based 8-core CPU clocked at 3.5 GHz with variable frequency|
|GPU||AMD’s RDNA 2 based custom GPU (10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz with variable frequency)|
|Display Resolutions||720p, 1080p, 4K UHD, 8K UHD|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6 RAM|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD slot (PCIe 4.0 compatible)|
|External Storage||External USB-based HDD|
|Audio||Custom Tempest Engine Audio|
|Backward Compatibility||Compatible with a large number of PS4 games|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD BluRay Drive|
|Controller||Newly re-designed controller with adaptive triggers and haptic feedback engine|
The PS5 will use a custom CPU and GPU optimized to deliver maximum performance with AMD’s SmartShift technology that adjusts both the CPU and GPU frequencies to optimize power consumption and performance. For example, if you’re doing a task with less CPU use and a higher GPU use, the SmartShift technology would lower the CPU frequency and increase the GPU frequency for higher GPU performance. This will also help maintain the console temperature while it is in operation.
The GPU also supports features such as Real-time Ray Tracing which would enhance your gaming experience.
The PS5 supports the latest GDDR6 SDRAM with a 16 GB memory capacity. It is a significant improvement from the 8 GB GDDR5 RAM that came with the PS4. Therefore, combined with a quick SSD, the performance in games would be considerably improved.
Speaking of SSD, Sony’s fifth-gen console will also have an extra M.2 NVMe SSD slot which will require an SSD with support for PCIe 4.0 interface and at least a 5.5 GB/s throughput. There are, however, not many SSDs currently available that support this configuration. But given that a console’s lifespan is quite long, this feature will be of great benefit in the future.
The PS5 will be using the Tempest Engine to deliver sound in games. As Cerny said in the presentation where he unveiled the PS5, “The primary purpose of the Tempest engine is to have 3D audio”. He also said that if the PSVR can support 50 different sounds, then the Tempest Engine in PS5 can support 100 of them. This way, game developers won’t have to choose which sound will have a 3D effect and which won’t.
The other aspect that the new audio engine will accomplish to some degree is the player’s sense of being inside the game. He explained this by way of an example:
Let us say that within a game it is raining. So instead of using the rain sound directly in the game, developers can now use a lot of different 3D rain sounds that can make you hear the sound of individual raindrops depending on your position inside the game.
He also teased the ongoing project in the 3D sound department of the PS5 i.e. sense of directionality in games. This will help the player wearing headphones during gameplay to assess the enemy’s precise position based on the sounds. To accomplish this, Sony is designing the HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) algorithm. You can learn about HRTF in detail here.
The PS5 will support the top 100 PS4 games out of the box. This is due to the custom CPU and GPU combination used which will save hours of coding time and offer PlayStation 5 native support for PS4 games.
The PS5 will have a fully re-designed Dual Shock 5 controller. Jim Ryan (President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment) wrote in a post on the Playstation Blog, that Sony has replaced the “rumble” technology found in older controllers with the new “Haptic Feedback System.” He further said:
“With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.”
The updated controller features adaptive triggers as well. The developers will program the resistance of these triggers according to the game. Using these triggers will make you feel more immersive in the game, which in combination with haptics will help to mimic various actions such as drawing an arrow, pulling a knife, accelerating a car, etc.
According to leaked images from the patent office, the Dual Shock 5 controller also appears to support wireless charging.
Pricing & Availability
The PlayStation 5 will be available during the Q4 of 2020 which is between the month of October & November. So, we can expect the deliveries of the new console before the Christmas holidays. The production is expected to start in April 2020. However, considering the current Corona pandemic, the production may be delayed.
Update: Sony officials cleared that the production will go as planned and will not be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pricing of PlayStation 5 has not been decided officially until now. But rumors have said it’s going to be expensive compared to the initial PS4 Pro launch price of $399 (roughly Rs. 30,000 INR). Considering the current price increase in NAND flash memory and DRAM, we are speculating that the PS5 will sell around $500 (roughly Rs. 38,000 INR). However, Sony can also slightly lower the price of the PS5 to compete with the Xbox Series X from Microsoft, which will also be launched during the same period.