We know that the PlayStation 5 is a powerful console. But how powerful is it? Many console gamers want to know exactly what a PlayStation 5 could do for them.
There are different metrics that you can rate a GPU on. Frame rates are a big one, but that’s not the only aspect of performance — there’s also onboard processing for things like raytracing. The closest analogy we can find to the PlayStation 5 GPU is the RTX 2070.
Today, we’re going to take a deeper look at the PlayStation 5 GPU, what it can do, and what it’s equivalent to. If you want to know whether you have the performance of a PlayStation 5 (or how you can get the performance of a PlayStation 5), read on.
What is the PlayStation 5 GPU?
The PS5 shipped with a GPU named Oberon. It has 16GB memory, a GPU clock of 2233 MHz, and a memory clock of 1750 MHz. Because consoles don’t use established video cards, it can be difficult to determine what video cards are quite analogous to the technology within a PlayStation 5.
But what we do know is that the PlayStation 5 can run a number of games at 120 FPS: Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Destiny 2, and Devil May Cry 5. 120 FPS is very good performance — and it’s something that the average computer, with an average GPU, wouldn’t be able to do.
In fact, a lot of people argue that there’s not really a lot of difference between 120 FPS and 60 FPS. For a lot of games, that’s true. But for high-speed twitch shooters, a lot of players feel that they can take every advantage they have.
The Equivalent of the PlayStation 5 GPU
There are a lot of metrics relative to a GPU. A GPU has memory, a GPU has its own speed, its bus speed, and so forth.
The easiest way to figure out how powerful something is, such as a GPU, is to look at its teraflops. A teraflop is the most basic unit of measure of power in computing. It measures how many operations a second the computer can perform.
In the old days, a computer might be able to run a few flops. Now we’re well into teraflops. That’s thousands upon thousands of calculations being run every second. This is a great way to detect raw processing power.
When looking at a whole system, it’s a little more complicated than that, because an entire system can have a specific and given bottleneck. For instance, it might have a great GPU and CPU, but be limited by its onboard memory and not be able to perform calculations as fast.
But when looking at an individual component, making a comparison is much easier. The PlayStation 5 GPU is the equivalent of 9.2 to 10.28 teraflops.
Why does this number vary? Teraflops are calculated by performing the same numerical calculations over and over very quickly. In the real world, performance is more complicated. So, the PlayStation 5 GPU has a rating for real-world performance (9.2) and theoretical performance (10.28).
These are pretty impressive numbers for a graphics card and fairly impressive numbers for a console.
The PlayStation 5 Compared to Other Consoles
But although the PlayStation 5 is pretty impressive compared to older consoles, it’s actually not the fastest console out there. That honor goes to the Xbox Series X, which boasts 12 teraflops.
But it’s a really significant leap. The PlayStation 4 Pro had 4.2 teraflops and the original PlayStation 4 had only 1.8. The PlayStation 5 is about as powerful as the Xbox Series X as it effectively matters and far more powerful than the previous iteration of the PlayStation 5. The Nintendo Switch has just 0.3 teraflops but it’s still the most powerful console right now — so power really isn’t everything when it comes to games.
A significant increase in console power is to be expected — each console is a radical improvement over prior consoles because they’re expected to have such a long life.
It’s fairly easy to see that the Xbox One Series X is the more robust machine when compared to the PlayStation 5. But both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox One Series X are still very comparable when it comes to next-generation graphics. More important will likely be the games that each console has for exclusives. Either console will likely display games in much the same way.
The PS5 GPU Compared to Computer GPUs
The GTX 1070 performs at just 4.4 teraflops. But many people have been stuck on the GTX 1070 because of the worldwide GPU shortage. So, most people are currently stuck on technology that’s very similar to the PlayStation 4 console.
The 2080 Ti, on the other hand, can process at 14 teraflops, which is higher than both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox One Series X. So, you would expect anyone with a 2080 Ti to be able to play games better.
Yet there are some advantages to being in a console. Though the PS5 may not have the most powerful GPU, it has a closed and contained system. Most developers find it much easier to optimize their code for a console rather than a computer, because they know exactly what the software is.
In other words, a developer knows that they’re refining their PlayStation 5 imagery for the Oberon image processor. They don’t need to try to support dozens upon dozens of GPUs; they just have to support that single one. This is why consoles that are quite old can still display games just as well or even better than a computer that’s much more powerful.
So, raw power is one metric for how good a GPU is, but it’s not the entire story. The environment, the development, and the other processing units are all going to be part of how good the game looks and how smoothly the game runs.
Teraflops and GPUs
At this point, it should also be noted that teraflops aren’t always the best method of comparing GPUs, but they are the most straightforward.
As GPU technology becomes more complex and more advanced, what a “teraflop” means changes. This is because GPUs get much better at doing one thing well and leave everything else behind.
An example: on board physics engines. GPUs can get very good at computing physics or particle effects, but their number of teraflops can stay static, because they aren’t processing more per second — they’re processing more intelligently.
It’s likely that GPUs are going to start becoming smarter and smarter because most engineers are butting up against issues of physical architecture. Once the physical architecture of a device can’t support any greater complexity levels, it’s impossible to just continue delivering large volumes of raw speed.
Instead, multi-threaded systems are going to become even denser, while on-board processing is going to make it easier to process some of the most resource-intensive processes (such as raytracing). On-board processing can make commonly completed tasks such as reflections and water much easier, which means they actually use up fewer teraflops than they used to.
Teraflops is still an effective way to compare the PS5 GPU to current standalone GPUs — but it might not always be in the future. In the future, players may just need to look at the resolution of the game, the speed at which it plays, and whether it looks suitably “good” to them.
And speaking about resolution…
Resolution and Graphics Cards
In addition to the fact that the meaning of the teraflops is changing, video card speed and performance is also being influenced and hindered by increases in resolution. Frames-per-second, for instance, can’t be used to determine graphics card performance alone, because many systems are now supporting higher resolutions.
So, some video games may actually appear to run slower on newer consoles because the newer consoles are also increasing the resolution. Although, at some point, the speed and the quality of the video will likely exceed what the human eye can actually see.
When resolution goes up, speed and latency usually go down. Those who are struggling to play games at 4K resolution can likely just downscale it to 1080p and get better performance. For games that don’t truly support 4K resolution (games that are just up-shifting their graphics), this may not actually be a significant difference.
Why Compare GPUs?
Many people need to decide whether they want to get a console or a PC. The deciding factor is usually whether they can play the games that they want on either.
Realistically, even though the PlayStation 5 is a little “weaker” in comparison to the Xbox Series One X (and many graphics cards), it will still be able to play most AAA titles for some time to come.
Moreover, the PlayStation 5 remains one of the more accessible ways to gain the graphical performance that most people desire.
If someone wants to design a machine that will play games exactly like the PlayStation 5, they’ll find it a challenge, because of the issues mentioned above. The PlayStation 5 is a closed system, so it will always be easier for developers to optimize and refine their graphics to suit it.
Software’s Impact on GPU Speed
In addition to the actual, raw processing power of a console or its GPU is how the game has been programmed and optimized for that GPU. A poorly programmed game is going to run poorly on any GPU. A well optimized game is going to perform well even on a smaller console. This is why AAA games like The Witcher 3 can be ported successfully (with some downscaling) to consoles like the Nintendo Switch.
Overall, the programming and optimization of a game may actually have more to do with the appearance and performance of a game than the raw power of the machine. This is another reason why GPUs aren’t the most important function of a computer or a console — and why a “good enough” GPU may, in fact, be good enough for most titles.
The RTX 2070
Let’s talk about the PS5’s equivalent GPU: the RTX 2070.
The RTX 2070 has relatively average performance as of late 2021. In terms of raw specifications, the RTX 2070 has: 2304 GPU cores, 448 GB/s memory bandwidth, and 45T RTX-OPS. That’s the number of raytracing operations that the card can complete within a second and it’s part of what makes the card so impressive.
The PlayStation 5 may be equivalent to the RTX 2070 but it’s not going to be more powerful in most circumstances because of the way that a console is constructed. Consoles are designed to be closed, consistent environments that don’t change, which means that while a console is more stable, it also can’t be modified for improved efficiency.
At the same time, the PS5 GPU may actually be just as available as many GPUs. There has been a widespread shortage in the circuits needed to both manufacture PS5s and manufacture GPUs in general, which led to a substantial increase in value for graphics cards. This value in graphics cards means that it’s prohibitively expensive for many people to build their own PC.
There is an advantage to knowing that this GPU is the equivalent to the PS5’s GPU: By knowing this, you can usually rest assured that anything that runs on a RTX 2070 machine will be able to run on a PS5, too. For 2021, that’s most of the games out.
How Does the PlayStation 5 Play?
PlayStation 5’s GPU is strong enough to support 120 GPS on the wide array of games previously listed. Recently, some of the most demanding games included: Forza Horizon 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, Control, The Witcher 3, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
These games can be run on the PlayStation 5 with the following specifications:
- Forza Horizon 4 – presently an Xbox exclusive.
- Grand Theft Auto 5 – 4K 60 FPS.
- Control – 60 FPS.
- The Witcher 3 – 60 FPS.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 60 FPS
Control is particularly well-known for many raytracing operations, whereas Witcher 3 is known for having an exceptionally large draw distance. And games like Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are known for their generally high-quality and high-resolution graphics.
For games that have been made available for the PlayStation 5, performance is very high. But these are all prior generation games that have been ported over to the PlayStation 5. It’s not until the next generation of games releases for the PlayStation 5 that the GPU will be tested.
Upcoming Games for the PlayStation 5
Many of the games on the PlayStation 5 are specifically designed to be spectacularly visual. Some of the upcoming games for the PlayStation 5 include:
- God of War Ragnarok.
- GhostWire: Tokyo.
- Turbo Overkill.
These games will likely test out the PlayStation 5’s GPU system and show whether it can truly compete with other video cards. But the fact remains: most people aren’t going to be held back by the video card in the PlayStation 5 because there simply aren’t many comparable video cards still on the market today. With the market as busy and active as it is, the PlayStation 5 may be the best way to get this level of performance.
More About the PlayStation 5 GPU
In 2021, the PlayStation 5 was still around $500 — without being scalped. Meanwhile, an RTX 2070 was closer to $800. Not only are video cards expensive, but the video card that is most comparable with the PS5 is significantly more expensive than the PS5 itself.
This isn’t uncommon. Often, consoles are less expensive than their base components would be. Rather than this being an economy of scale, it’s because of the long-term goals of the market. A company will actually lose money on its consoles so they can make the money back on games later.
If you wanted to create a PlayStation 5 computer, you would need more than just the RTX 2070. You would also need 16 GB of RAM and an AMD Zen 2 3.5 GHz processor or similar. So, it would be pretty expensive to create a PC that shared its stats with a PlayStation 5. At the same time, a PlayStation 5-grade computer would probably still perform better, because you would be in complete control of its components.
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