What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?

What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?


What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?

Sony has finally moved tab with its new generation console. We already know all its keys, but what components should a PC have to be at the PS5 level? It is an interesting question, and I am convinced that it has been around the head of many of our readers in recent days.

We already have on the table all the features of PS5, although Sony has not confirmed what resources will be free for developers and what part of them will be reserved for the system . It is an important nuance, since it implies a reduction of the real hardware that is available for games. In the case of Xbox Series X we know that a processor core and 2.5 GB of GDDR6 in its variant at 336 GB / s for the system, which means that developers will have access to seven cores (14 threads) and 13, 5 GB of unified GDDR6 memory.

I do not think that PS5 will differ much from what we have seen in Xbox Series X, that is, most likely, Sony ends up also reserving between 2.5 GB and 3 GB of memory to the system, in addition to a CPU core . On Xbox One and PS4, developers initially only had  access to six of the eight processor cores , and had 5GB of unified memory out of a total of 8GB.

I wanted to start by making that clarification because when considering the hardware that a PC must have to be at the PS5 level, we do not have to start, strictly speaking, with its basic hardware, but rather with the hardware that remains free after discounting that part of it that is reserved to the system. This reality helps us understand why some new generation titles with 6 GB of RAM can be played so well, especially in the first stage of Xbox One and PS4, and why quad-core processors were a standard for so long. .

It's also important to note that we don't know the exact cache settings that the PS5's Zen 2 processor uses, and that the IPC improvement that the RDNA 2 architecture will bring is still a mystery, as is its plotting performance. lightning. This means that we are still going a bit blind when evaluating the necessary components of a PC to be at the PS5 level.

What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?


However, the first technical demonstrations that we have seen in both real games and technical demonstrations ( Minecraft RTX running on an Xbox Series X and the demo of Unreal Engine 5 ) leave us with a fairly reliable basis that serves as a starting point:

  • Minecraft RTX runs at 1080p and 60 FPS seamlessly on a RTX 2060 , but it had issues at that resolution on Xbox Series X , whose GPU is more powerful than that of PS5.
  • The Unreal Engine 5 technical demo worked on dynamic 1440p on PS5, and with obvious drops below 30 FPS. The chief engineer at Epic Games confirmed that an RTX 2070 Super could easily move it , suggesting that such a graphics card is on a higher level.
We already have the base, now we are going to see the components that we would need to shape a PC that is at the PS5 level.


What components does a PC need to be at PS5 level?

We start with the processor. We know that PS5 will use a CPU based on the Zen 2 architecture with 8 cores capable of reaching frequencies up to 3.5 GHz, but it is a semi-personalized design, which means that it will be able to move up to 16 threads reducing the working frequency, and which could have very limited cache settings.

We have already seen that Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X CPU will work at 3.8 GHz with 8 cores and 8 threads, and that it will drop to 3.6 GHz with 16 active threads . Since PS5 uses the same type of chip we can expect a similar problem.

The issue of cache memory is undefined, but if it is confirmed that your processor will have only 4 MB of L3 cache the drop in terms of performance would be so great that even with a Ryzen 1000 series (first generation) we would have everything we need in our PC to be at the PS5 level when it comes to CPU. A lot of information has pointed in this direction, and I must say that due to costs I find it complicated that AMD has been able to integrate a Zen 2 CPU with 8 cores and 16 threads with 32 MB of L3 cache and an RDNA 2 GPU with 2,304 shaders in an APU. maintaining a reasonable cost.

We have all the information we need to make a decision, and I think it is very simple. Given that PS5 will have a processor with a minimum of 7 free cores at a relatively low frequency (up to 3.5 GHz) and a lower IPC than Zen 2, I think that from a Ryzen 5 1600 AF we would have everything a PC needs to be at the PS5 level. This processor has 6 cores and 12 threads at a frequency of 3.2 GHz-3.6 GHz, normal and turbo mode, has 16 MB of L3 cache and can be overclocked up to 3.8 GHz-4 GHz, according to how lucky we are with the silicon lottery.

What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?

We now jump to talk about the graphic unit. We know that it will have 2,304 shaders, 144 texturing units, 64 raster units and that it will communicate with the GDDR6 memory through a 256-bit bus. Its working frequency will reach maximum peaks of up to 2.23 GHz. We are not clear about the improvement in terms of IPC that the RDNA 2 architecture used in said graphics unit will bring, but we have substantial information that serves as a basis for making a decision:

  • AMD has focused on talking about a major increase in terms of efficiency . This suggests that the improvement in terms of gross power may be less marked than expected.
  • PS5 could not move the demo of the Unreal Engine 5 to the level of an RTX 2070 Super , it is what is deduced interpreting the words of the chief engineer of Epic Games without twisting or exaggerating them.
  • Xbox Series X was unable to move, despite having a more powerful GPU than the PS5, Minecraft RTX smoothly in 1080p with ray tracing, an RTX 2060 can.
If we put together these three keys, and the specifications that we have given you in the previous paragraphs, I think the conclusion is clear, if we want to mount a PC to be at the level of a PS5, an RTX 2060 Super should suffice , and in the best case scenario , since basically something tells me that even with an RTX 2060 we could already be at its level, or even a little above it.

As for the ray tracing I reiterate what I have said on other occasions, I have seen rumors that ensure that the RDNA 2 architecture is not really above the RTX 20 series working with such technology, something understandable since it is the first adventure of AMD with ray tracing, and that both PS5 and Xbox Series will use such technology in a very limited way, and with "tricks" to reduce its performance impact, such as temporary build-ups and rescaling.

I must say that the demo that AMD published at the time clearly reinforces those rumors, since it is quite poor, has blurred reflections and little care and has, in addition, a very limited frame rate per second (note the jerks, they are more than evident).


We have a cheap but powerful processor, and a mid-range graphics card with ray tracing acceleration and 8 GB of GDDR6 , now it's time to take a look at the RAM. It is clear that with 8 GB we would not have what a PC needs to be at the PS5 level, we must look for a configuration with 16 GB of RAM . Starting with a frequency of 3,200 MHz and CL16 latencies , configured in dual channel , we would already have enough, and the Ryzen 5 1600 AF could develop its full potential without problems.

We now enter a tricky topic, the SSD. It is without a doubt the most complicated component to match, as the PS5-mounted unit reaches 5.5 GB / s in  uncompressed sequential operations , and has a capacity of 825 GB . That speed is unattainable with a drive under the PCIE Gen3 x4 standard, which means we have to purchase a motherboard that supports the PCIE Gen4 x4 standard , something that greatly increases the cost of the equipment, and look for a fairly large drive. capacity. The 1TB Corsair MP600 Force Series would be the closest option as it brushes at 5GB / s.

All in all, I am clear that any current PCIE Gen3 x4 SSD will be able to offer an excellent next generation gaming experience , since Xbox Series X mounts a unit that works at 2.4 GB / s, and in the end the developers will always prioritize the lowest common value, as has happened so far with the extremely slow hard drives of PS4 and Xbox One.

We already have the processor, the graphics card and the RAM, and we have talked about the topic of the motherboard and the storage unit, but we still have a couple of pending things that this PC would need to be at the PS5 level, the unit 4K Blu-ray optics and sound solution. There is no direct equivalent on the market to the Tempest PS5 chip , since it is a customized solution, but a sound card like the Sound Blaster Z will allow us to enjoy first-class sound at a reasonable investment.

We must also take into account that we need a chassis and a power supply. We would already have all the components that this PC needs to be at the PS5 level, at least on paper, since in the end the experience of using on consoles is, as we know, much more polished and optimized , which means that it is very likely that the same games end up working better on PS5 than on a PC with the configuration that we have mentioned.

What should a PC have to be at the PS5 level?

Endnotes: the value of next-gen consoles

Assembling a PC with the components that we have indicated would be quite expensive. If we strictly follow all the components that we have indicated, we would easily exceed the 1,000 UNITED STATES Dollar (USD) band:

  • Ryzen 5 1600 AF: 159 $.
  • Corsair MP600 Force Series 1TB: 280 $.
  • Motherboard with X570 chipset: 150 $.
  • 16 GB of RAM at 3,200 MHz CL16: 89 $.
  • Sound Blaster Z sound card: 78 $.
  • RTX 2060 Super graphics card: from 400 $.
  • Power supply: from 50 $.
  • Chassis with fans: from 40 $.
If we add a Blu-ray drive the cost would be even higher, that is evident. With this in mind it is clear that the idea that PS5 and Xbox Series X reach the market with a price of between 500 and 600 USD is not at all crazy, since the components that a PC needs to be at the PS5 level double those figures ( 1,246 USD the configuration we have given, without Blu-ray drive).

I know what you are thinking, how is it possible to launch consoles with such hardware at such a low price (compared to its PC equivalent)? It is very simple, both Sony and Microsoft have agreements with the big ones in the sector to get components at very low prices, in fact the PS4 APU cost 100 $, and that only its GPU was equivalent to a graphics card that was around 250 $ in the general consumer market.

I think that example perfectly illustrates the reality of console hardware. The PC world has many advantages , we have already talked about it on other occasions, but from a perspective limited to the cost of the hardware, the consoles offer a more interesting value , especially in the first half of their life cycle.

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