Xbox Series X/S Vs PlayStation 5: Which Console Should You Buy This Holiday Season?

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The holiday season is fast approaching, and the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony will be arriving soon. When it comes to deciding on what you want, it can be a challenging proposition. Between exclusive games, varying specs, or more features, choosing a new console to last a few years until the next iteration can be daunting, to say the least. Thus, let us go ahead and lay everything out to make your decision-making process easier this holiday season.

Xbox Series X/S Vs PlayStation 5: From Styling To Fitting These Beasts In Your Entertainment Center

Either the Xbox or PlayStation will be sitting on a shelf, TV stand, or desk for the foreseeable future, so you probably need to like how it looks. Even if you do not necessarily like the looks, it also must fit where you want it. With this, let us look at both Xbox models and PlayStation 5 and compare the styles and sizes of both.
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According to the Xbox design team, the Xbox Series X was based on “intelligent geometry” and the ability to fit wherever in gamers’ homes. With considerations for the fan and components, the design team was able to “achieve an almost exact 2:1 ratio of two cubes stacked, which became the basis for the geometric identity of both consoles.” This geometry gave way to the design reminiscent of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The PS5 design, on the other hand, was based on sleek and modern concepts. The CEO of Sony, Jim Ryan, said in an interview to BBC that “we kind of felt it would be nice to provide a design that would really grace most living areas.” No matter what console you choose, both end up complementing contemporary styles.
ps5 hero
Besides the style, however, the size must also be a consideration. Earlier in September, some renders of the PS5 and Xbox made the rounds showing off size. In the vertical configurations, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are not small by any means, however, the Xbox Series S is small enough to fit in a backpack with ease. The Xbox Series X has a footprint of approximately 5.9 inches by 5.9 inches and stands at 11.8 inches (15.1cm x 15.1cm x 30.1cm) tall. The Xbox Series S comes in with a footprint of 2.5 inches deep by 5.9 inches wide and stands 10.8 inches tall (6.5cm x 15.1cm x 27.5cm). However, the PlayStation 5 comes in at 10.2 inches deep by 4.09 inches wide and stands a whopping 15.3 inches tall (26cm x 10.4cm x 39cm). If you get the digital edition of the PlayStation 5, it will be 3.6 inches wide (9.2cm).

When looking at these devices' styles and sizes, one must think about where they want to take their console and what they want to do with it. Is it going to be a feature at LAN parties (when we get to have them again), or will it sit on a TV stand or desk for at-home use only? Both the Xbox and PlayStation look good, so it is up to you on what works best.

AMD Zen 2, Radeon RDNA 2, And High-Speed SSDs Are Standard Across All Next-Gen Consoles

While the games on both consoles should look great due to developers working with what they have; if you are considering specifications into your purchase, both devices are pretty evenly matched with a free exceptions. With trade offs at every turn, there are bound to be caveats throughout the specifications.

 Part Xbox Series X
 PlayStation 5/PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
 Xbox Series S
 CPU AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU
8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT)
AMD Ryzen Zen 2
8X Cores @ 3.5 GHz w/SMT
AMD Ryzen Zen 2
8X Cores @ 3.6 GHz (3.4 GHz w/SMT)
 GPU AMD Radeon RDNA-2 @1.825 GHz, 12TFLOPS
AMD Radeon RDNA-2 @2.23GHz, 10.3TFLOPS
AMD Radeon RDNA-2 @1.565GHz, 4 TFLOPS
 Memory Bandwidth
10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s. 448GB/s Bandwidth 8GB @ 224 GB/s, 2GB @ 56 GB/s
 Storage 1TB Custom NVME SSD 825GB NVME SSD
 Optical Drive
4K UHD Blu-Ray Ultra HD Blu-ray, N/A on Digital Edition
 Video Output
True 4K Up to 120FPS, HDMI 2.1
4K Up to 120FPS, HDMI 2.1
1440p Up to 120FPS, HDMI 2.1
 Audio Output
Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Dolby TrueHD with Atmos, Up to 7.1 L-PCM
“Tempest” 3D AudioTech Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Dolby TrueHD with Atmos, Up to 7.1 L-PCM
 USB 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (5Gbps)
1x USB Type-A (Hi Speed)
2x USB Type-A 10Gbps
1x USB Type-C 10Gbps
3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (5Gbps)
 Network Controller
802.3 10/100/1000 (Up to 1Gbps)
802.3 10/100/1000 (Up to 1Gbps)
802.3 10/100/1000 (Up to 1Gbps)
 WiFi Support
802.11ac dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth® 5.1 802.11ac dual band

Both consoles leverage an 8-core Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 processor from AMD, so we have a relatively level playing field for this. Looking at self-reported specs from Microsoft, the Xbox Series X and SerieS S clocks in at 3.66GHz and 3.4GHz respectively with SMT-enabled compared to the PS5’s 3.5GHz. With this small amount of variation, it is safe to say that the Xbox and PlayStation will be within striking distance of each other on the CPU front.

Both consoles will also be on the same GPU platform, the new AMD Radeon RDNA 2, so this will also be similar. Looking at the specs reported by Sony and Microsoft, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X GPU comes in at a lower clock speed but higher TFLOPs (trillion floating-point operations per second). This would mean the Xbox Series X GPU can crunch more numbers compared to the PS5. However, the Xbox Series S GPU comes in below everyone at 4TFLOPs to the Xbox Series X’s 12 TFLOPS and the PS5’s 10.3 TFLOPS. While on paper, the Xbox Series X wins the GPU metric, developers will still be working to extract the most performance and best visuals from each platform, so we double that there will be much practical difference between it and the PS5.
xbox chip
Diving into storage and memory is where things get a little more interesting. All three devices have similar RAM configurations (16GB GDDR6), with the Xbox Series X and PS5 having the same memory bandwidth on average while the Xbox Series S trails behind. The two companies, however, went slightly different directions when it came to mass storage. The PlayStation 5 will have an 825GB NVMe SSD, whereas the Xbox Series X will have a 1TB NVMe SSD, and the Xbox Series S will have a 512GB NVMe SSD. If you need additional storage, the PS5 will allow customers to add any standard NVMe drive that matches the internal storage speeds. However, the Xbox Series X|S will use a custom Seagate Game Drive, which will cost $219.99. Since there will most likely be a larger pool of SSDs to choose from on the PS5 side, we can assume storage expansion will be cheaper.

As far as the other specs go, you can look for yourself, but by and large, the PS5 and Xbox Series X go back and forth on wins while the Xbox Series S pulls up the rear once more. If you are big on specifications, though, the Xbox Series X will likely be the way to go if you want the best of the best but do not plan to need storage expansion. If you do happen to fill up your drives, as more games go digital, the PS5 may be the better option. Again, this choice is up to you and your use-case, surprise!

Both Gaming Ecosystems Thrive With Healthy Subscription Service Options + Pricing

Of course, the Xbox and PlayStation have their ecosystems with pros and cons on both sides of the table. In this category, you can base a purchase on what content you want to access, how you want to access it, and other benefits. Let us see what each company offers for their customers:
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  • GamePass Console ($9.99/mo)
    • Discounts and Deals
    • 100+ Games
  • Xbox Live Gold:
    • Exclusive Deals
    • Monthly Free Games
    • Online Multiplayer
  • GamePass Ultimate ($14.99/mo):
    • Discounts and Deals
    • 100+ Games
    • EA Play
    • Xbox Live Gold and Perks Therein
  • Console Streaming to Mobile
  • Free Game Upgrades From Previous Generation
  • PlayStation Plus ($9.99/mo):
    • Backwards Compatibility With Some PS4 Games
    • Exclusive Deals
    • Monthly Free Games
    • Online Multiplayer
  • Possible PlayStation Now ($9.99/mo)
    • 800+ PS2, PS3, and PS4 Games
  • PS5 Exclusives:
    • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
    • Horizon Forbidden West
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • Gran Turismo 7
    • Demon’s Souls
All things considered, it really is difficult to decide what system to go with. The whole console brand versus console brand debate is a bit silly, as both the Xbox and PlayStation platforms each have their own things to offer. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 both come in at $499 whereas the Xbox Series S comes in at $299. There's also a middle ground if you go with the $399 PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which lacks a Blu-ray drive. However, all of its other major specs mirror the standard PlayStation 5 which is more than we can say for the Xbox Series S. If you can afford to get both a PlayStation and Xbox, it will probably be worth it. If you cannot, however, pick what suits you and what makes you happiest. Is the Xbox or PlayStation where all your friends are? Do you enjoy the PS5 exclusives more? We cannot answer any of these questions for you, but hopefully, we have given you the tools to make an informed choice so you can be happy come the new consoles releasing this holiday season.