This article compares Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 console hardware.
|PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|Release Date||10 Nov 2020||12 Nov 2020|
$399 (digital only)
Table Of Contents
- Compare PlayStation 5 and Xbox X Chassis and Airflow
- Compare PlayStation 5 and Xbox X Hardware Specs
- Compare PlayStation 5 and Xbox X Connectivity and Ports
Compare PlayStation 5 and Xbox X Chassis and Airflow [tie_index]Compare Design of PlayStation 5 and Xbox X Chassis and Airflow [/tie_index]
|PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|Size||260 x 104 x 390 mm (Blu-ray version)|
10.2 × 4.1 x 15.4 in
260 x 92mm x 390 mm(Digital version)
10.2 × 3.6 x 15.4 in
|151 x 151 x 301 mm|
5.9 x 5.9 x 12 in
|Volume||10,545 cm3 (Blu-ray)||6,863 cm3|
|Smallest Footprint||26.0 x 10.4 = 270.4 cm2||15.1 x 15.1 = 228 cm2|
|Weight||4.5kg (Blu-ray version)||4.4kg|
Sony PlayStation 5 Chassis and Airflow
Ever since Sony PS2, the Sony PlayStation chassis is always slim in design, which allows it to be placed in both portrait or landscape origination. In the portrait orientation, it covers a narrow space of just 92 to 104mm and 260mm deep. We consider the height of 390mm quite tall as it is almost the same as traditional Windows PC Desktop chassis.
The PS5 has two long air intake vents, and a teardown shows that there is only one internal 120 x 45mm system cooling fan that drives the entire airflow. Unlike ordinary 120mm CPU fans which are only 38mm thick, the Sony PS5 internal fans are thicker because it draws in air from both the broadsides (see below) and pushes the air out through 4 narrow sides towards the heat sink.
This is a positive pressure airflow that requires a dust filter or a “catcher” in the design that the user can clean using a mini-vacuum (not included).
Microsoft Xbox Series X Chassis
Microsoft Xbox also uses a similar slim chassis design approach in the past few models leading up to the Xbox S series. The latest Xbox X series changes to a square tower with a 15% smaller footprint than PlayStation 5 and uses a split motherboard design. The Xbox X series is also 23% shorter and 35% smaller in volume, although it has better if not equal specifications in the internal hardware. It has a smaller power supply of 315W compared to Sony PS5’s 350W.
The Xbox series X also uses a single, powerful airflow fan but with a bigger 130mm diameter. Unlike the PlayStation 5, the designers positioned the Xbox X airflow fan at the top exhaust panel, hence creating a negative pressure that is ideal for cooling the chassis. This also makes sense since hot air rises.
Because of lessons learnt from heat issues in previous Xbox consoles, the designers split the motherboard into two boards separated by a heat sink and re-arranged the components to achieve a compact form factor, resulting in the tower-like structure. The Xbox also uses a vapour chamber to cool the CPU core.
Most users do not decide which game console to buy based on the design of the console chassis. However, for users who are first-time buyers and have limited space next to their 60-inch screen, they may need to consider the chassis size and shape, and also the exhaust location.
Winner: Microsoft Xbox X series for the smaller size and slightly better CPU, GPU and SSD specs.
|PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|Release Date||12 Nov 2020||10 Nov 2020CPU|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz||8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6 w/320 bit-wide bus|
|Memory BW||448 GB/s||10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s|
|Internal SSD||825GB Custom||1TB NVMe SSD Storage Drive|
|Disk Drive||Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive (optional)||4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive|
Both the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox series X has comparable hardware specifications, but the Xbox series X edges out with better specifications for the CPU, GPU and also larger NVMe SSD storage drive. However, whether the user could notice the difference between the CPU and GPU performance will depend on specific game design.
Even though Xbox has a slightly larger SSD, both systems can connect to external drives for additional game storage.
The Xbox comes with a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive, whereas for Sony PS5, users have to decide between the Blu-ray ($499) and digital-only version ($399).
Winner: Xbox Series X by a slight margin
|Xbox Series X||PlayStation 5|
|USB Ports||3 x USB Type-A, USB3.1 Gen1 Superspeed (5Gbps)|
|Expansion Ports||1 x External Storage Expansion support for 1TB Seagate Expansion Card||1 x Internal M.2 SSD Expansion Port|
|LAN||1 x Gigabit LAN port||1 x Gigabit LAN port|
|Wireless Network||802.11ac dual-band (Wi-Fi 5)||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Wi-Fi 6)|
|Device Connection||Xbox Wireless (proprietary) or USB dongle (not included)||USB dongle (not included)|
Sony PS5 has better connectivity hardware than the Microsoft Xbox X series, however, they do not affect game download or Blu-ray discs. The game controllers connect to the console via respective proprietary wireless protocols, so there is no apple-to-apple comparison.
However, there is an enormous difference in the external hard drive support because of the difference in USB port speed. Users can save and move games into an unlimited number of external storage while saving the built-in SSD for the most current games. Using external storage to reinstall will be faster than re-downloading or reinstalling from the discs, especially for games that take up a lot of space.
PS5 has three USB Type C ports that support up to 10Gbps Superspeed+. There is also a USB Type-A in front supporting the legacy Highspeed at 480MB/s, which is not “high” by today’s standard.
PS5 consoles can store compatible PS4 and PS5 games to USB drives that support at least USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps, which will help save space on the internal SSD. Players can also reinstall PS5 games from the external USB drive instead of re-downloading them or installing from a disc. PS5 can also access PS4 games on external drives.
Even though there are three USB Type C Superspeed+ ports that support external drive up to 8TB, there are some limitations.
- First, you cannot play the games on the drive directly, as they are too slow. The external drives can only store games.
- Second, the console can connect to three external drives, but it can only use one at a time. What this means is you cannot transfer files between two external drives.
- Third, the external drive support also requires a direct connection between the port and the drive, and will not work through a USB hub.
Sony PS5 has a built-in expansion port for M.2 SSD drives which users can install themselves. The internal expansion port support SSD drives up to 4TB and requires an SSD with a built-in heat sink. We can find more information at PlayStation.com:
The installation of M.2 SSD is a “permanent” upgrade, as they are not as convenient to “swap” the SSD as the external expansion storage. This SSD behaves like the built-in SSD and hence it can play games directly.
Microsoft Xbox X series External Storage[tie_index]Microsoft Xbox X series External Storage[/tie_index]
Xbox series X also has three USB Type C ports but supports up to 5Gbps Superspeed only, but has an additional expansion port for the Seagate Storage Expansion Card.
This card connects to the optional external SSD of up to 2TB, which performs like the console’s internal SSD. The difference between this external SSD connected via the expansion port is that it can play games directly. Whereas, the external drives connected to the slower 5Gbps USB-Type C ports can only store games, and the console cannot the games on these drives directly.
The advantage of the Xbox X series external expansion port is very obvious. For hardcore gamers who have a lot of games, they can swap between expansion SSD storage without removing the casing like the Sony PS5.
- Sony PS5 has faster 10Gbps USB Type-C ports for transferring saved games to external drives, but the games cannot play directly. It has an internal SSD expansion port for playing games directly.
- Microsoft Xbox X series has an external SSD expansion for playing games directly.
Read for more information on USB port speeds and power supply.
Help for No Bluetooth Support[tie_index]Help for No Bluetooth Support[/tie_index]
The reason there is no Bluetooth support is that the data transmitted via the normal Bluetooth protocol is too slow to keep up with the games, where an instant response may mean winning or losing a game. Both game system utilises their own proprietary wireless protocol for faster connection with low latency.
For users who prefer to connect to other devices via Bluetooth, you can still buy third party Bluetooth dongles to plug into the USB ports available on the console. Every Bluetooth dongle may have a different installation and pairing process, but we recommend those who do not require reading any long instructions. If you find a blogger explaining how to use a Bluetooth dongle, we recommend not buying that model. The design is too complex for such a simple device.
Final Thoughts[tie_index]Final Thoughts[/tie_index]
Based on the design review of the console hardware design, we are leaning towards the Microsoft Xbox Series X because of the compact size and external expansion option. However, we also like the slim chassis and faster, 10Gbps USB Type-C ports of the Sony PS5.
There is no clear winner in terms of console hardware, so if you need to decide on one, then you will need to look at the available game titles. If not, then buy both consoles.
|Buy Sony PlayStation 5||Buy Microsoft Xbox Series X|