Xbox Series X vs PlayStation 5 – Which Is the More Powerful Console?

The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 represent the next generation of home video game consoles. Microsoft and Sony have been battling it out in the console wars for over 20 years, and their latest flagship consoles promise to be the most advanced yet.

But when it comes to sheer power and performance, which new console reigns supreme – Xbox Series X or PS5? This comprehensive comparison reviews all the key specs and features of both systems to determine which offers the most powerful hardware and best overall value.

Xbox Series X vs PS5: Technical Specifications


The Xbox Series X contains an 8-core 3.8GHz AMD Zen 2 CPU, whereas the PS5 boasts an 8-core 3.5GHz AMD Zen 2 CPU.

Winner: Xbox – With a slightly faster clock speed, the Xbox has a small edge in terms of raw processing power.


Both consoles contain custom AMD RDNA 2 GPUs, but the Xbox Series X GPU runs at 1.825 GHz with 52 compute units, delivering 12 TFLOPS of power. The PS5 GPU runs at a variable frequency capped at 2.23 GHz with 36 compute units, delivering 10.3 TFLOPS.

Winner: Xbox – The Xbox GPU is faster with more compute units, giving it around 15-20% higher theoretical peak graphical performance.


The Xbox Series X and PS5 both contain 16GB of GDDR6 memory. But the Xbox has a wider 320-bit memory interface with 10GB allocated to graphics and 6GB for system, while the PS5 uses a narrower 256-bit interface with a split of 9GB and 5GB.

Winner: Draw – They have the same capacity, but Xbox has a bandwidth advantage. However, the real-world impact may be minimal.

Hardware Comparison Table

| Spec | Xbox Series X | PlayStation 5 |
| CPU | 8-core @ 3.8GHz AMD Zen 2 | 8-core @ 3.5GHz AMD Zen 2 |
| Memory | 16GB GDDR6 | 16GB GDDR6 |
| Resolution | Up to 8K | Up to 8K |
| Frame Rate | Up to 120fps | Up to 120fps |
| Optical Drive | 4K UHD Blu-ray | 4K UHD Blu-ray |
| Storage | 1TB Custom NVMe SSD | 825GB Custom NVMe SSD |


The Xbox Series X includes a 1TB custom NVMe SSD, while the PS5 contains an 825GB custom SSD. Both feature advanced decompression hardware for faster loading.

Winner: Xbox – Slightly higher capacity SSD in the Xbox gives it the edge for storage.

Optical Drive

Both consoles support physical 4K UHD Blu-ray discs. This is even despite the PS5 Digital Edition lacking a disc drive.

Winner: Draw – Identical optical drive performance.

Backwards Compatibility

The Xbox Series X supports thousands of games spanning the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PS5 is backwards compatible with most PS4 games, but does not support any older PlayStation consoles.

Winner: Xbox – Far more backwards compatibility and legacy game support.

Performance and Graphics Comparison


Both consoles can support video output up to 8K resolution. The PS5 can even render some simpler game titles at 8K/60fps. However, most graphically intensive games will top out at 4K.

Winner: Draw – On paper they offer identical maximum resolution capabilities. Real-world performance between 4K vs 8K gaming remains to be seen.

Frame Rate

The Xbox Series X and PS5 both target up to 120fps frame rates for smoother, more responsive gameplay. Support for 120Hz output allows games to run at up to 120fps if optimized by developers.

Winner: Draw – Target performance of up to 120fps is identical. Achievable rates will depend on game optimization.

Ray Tracing

Ray tracing renders realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows by simulating the physical behavior of light. Both consoles support accelerated ray tracing via their RDNA 2 GPU architectures.

Winner: Draw – Ray tracing is supported equally on both for enhanced visuals.

Quick Resume

The Xbox Series X allows you to instantly resume up to 6 suspended games from where you left off. The PS5 does not have an equivalent quick resume feature.

Winner: Xbox – Quick resume is a handy exclusive feature on Xbox.

Performance Comparison Table

| Spec | Xbox Series X | PlayStation 5 |
| Native Resolution | Up to 8K | Up to 8K |
| Frame Rate | Up to 120fps | Up to 120fps |
| Ray Tracing | Yes | Yes |
| Quick Resume | Yes | No |

Storage and Speed Comparison

Load Times

Thanks to their cutting-edge SSDs, both consoles can significantly reduce game load times compared to previous generations. In side-by-side comparisons, the PS5 demonstrates faster loading in certain games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, while Xbox is quicker in others like Dirt 5.

Winner: Draw – The super-fast SSDs offer comparable real-world loading times.

Storage Expandability

Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 allow you to expand internal storage via add-on NVMe SSD cards. On Xbox this is via proprietary Seagate 1TB expansion cards, while PS5 supports off-the-shelf M.2 NVMe SSDs.

Winner: PS5 – PS5 offers more flexible and potentially cheaper storage expandability.

Quick Resume vs Activity Cards

As mentioned above, Quick Resume on Xbox lets you instantly swap between 6 suspended games. On PS5, the Activity Cards feature gives you quick access to specific gameplay moments, but without full game suspension.

Winner: Xbox – Quick Resume is more convenient than Activity Cards.

Storage and Speed Comparison Table

| Spec | Xbox Series X | PlayStation 5 |
| Load Times | Very fast with SSD | Very fast with SSD |
| Storage Expandability | Proprietary 1TB cards | Off-the-shelf M.2 NVMe SSDs |
| Quick Resume | Yes | No, uses Activity Cards |

Backward Compatibility Comparison

The Xbox Series X offers unmatched legacy game support spanning three generations via its backward compatibility feature. Here’s an overview:

  • Original Xbox – Over 500 titles are supported
  • Xbox 360 – Over 600 titles are currently compatible, with more added periodically
  • Xbox One – All titles are supported

The PS5 is backward compatible with an estimated 99% of PlayStation 4 games. It does not natively support any PS3, PS2, or PS1 titles.

Sony provides PS4 backward compatibility via Boost Mode, which enables higher frame rates and resolutions. There is also Game Boost which optimizes game data processing speeds.

Some key facts about backward compatibility:

  • Xbox supports four generations while PS5 only supports one
  • Hundreds of Xbox/Xbox 360 games enhanced via FPS Boost, Auto HDR, and more
  • Sony offers Boost Mode and Game Boost for PS4 titles
  • PlayStation Now subscription required for select PS3 game streaming

Winner: Xbox – More expansive backward compatibility, with native enhancements for legacy games.

User Experience Comparison

Both console UIs have been significantly overhauled for this generation. Let’s see how they compare.

Home Screen and UI

The Xbox Series X home screen features a customizable dashboard with buttons for quick access to games and apps. Similarly, the PS5 user interface has customizable game and app icons plus a media content feed. Both are very sleek, minimal, and easy to navigate overall.

Winner: Draw – The UI designs achieve parity with customizable quick access and content feeds.


The new Xbox Wireless Controller is very similar to its predecessor, with subtly textured triggers and bumpers and a hybrid d-pad. DualSense for PS5 represents a more radical redesign, with adaptive triggers, extensive haptic feedback, and built-in microphone.

Winner: PS5 – The innovative DualSense controller gives PS5 the advantage.


On Xbox Series X, you can simultaneously view your game, an achievement guide, and group party chat with the new Snap windows feature. The PS5 does not offer anything comparable in terms of multi-tasking capabilities.

Winner: Xbox – Better built-in multitasking support.

User Experience Comparison Table

| Spec | Xbox Series X | PlayStation 5 |
| Home Screen | Customizable dashboard | Customizable game/app icons |
| Controller | Refined Xbox Wireless Controller | Revolutionary haptic DualSense |
| Multi-tasking | Snap windows for game/chat | None |

Games Comparison

The Xbox Series X and PS5 both launch with a stellar lineup of cross-platform and exclusive launch titles. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the biggest:


  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Watch Dogs Legion

Xbox Exclusives

  • Halo Infinite
  • Forza Horizon 5
  • State of Decay 3
  • Avowed
  • Fable

PS5 Exclusives

  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Both consoles will receive the bulk of third party AAA titles. Sony generally has more first-party exclusives, but Xbox first-party output is rapidly expanding under Microsoft’s stewardship.

Winner: Draw – Excellent launch lineups and upcoming exclusives for both consoles.

Online Services Comparison

Subscription Services

Xbox Game Pass grants unlimited access to over 100 games for $9.99 monthly. PlayStation Now offers a library of over 800 PS2/PS3/PS4 games starting at $9.99 monthly.

Winner: Xbox – Game Pass offers vastly better value with both first-party games and major third-party titles.

Cloud Gaming

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Cloud Gaming to stream games to phones/tablets/browsers. PlayStation Now features 720p game streaming to PS4/PS5 and PC.

Winner: Draw – Both provide game streaming, but Xbox may have an edge in performance and accessibility.

Social Features

The Xbox (iOS/Android) app allows messaging friends, LFG, remote game streaming, and account management on the go. The PS App (iOS/Android) enables messaging and store access, but has fewer features overall.

Winner: Xbox – Significantly more robust and useful complementary mobile app experience.

Online Services Comparison Table

| Feature | Xbox Live | PlayStation Network |
| Subscription | Game Pass ($9.99/month) | PlayStation Now ($9.99/month)
| Cloud Gaming | Xbox Cloud Gaming | PS4/PS5/PC Game Streaming
| Social Features | Party chat, Clubs, LFG, Activity Feed | Messaging, Trophy Tracking

Virtual Reality Comparison

Sony PlayStation VR is available now for PS4 and will be supported on PS5. The next-gen PS VR2 is coming later down the road. Xbox Series X does not support any virtual reality headsets natively.

Winner: PS5 – PlayStation is the only option currently offering VR gaming capabilities.

Value Comparison

The Xbox Series X costs $499, while the PS5 costs $499 for the standard edition and $399 for the Digital Edition without a disc drive.

Both require a monthly/annual subscription for online multiplayer – either Xbox Live Gold ($9.99/month) or PlayStation Plus ($9.99/month).

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Optional subscription services include Xbox Game Pass ($9.99/month) and PlayStation Now ($9.99/month).

Winner: Draw – They are competitively priced across the board. Xbox Game Pass provides exceptional value if you take advantage of it.

Verdict: Which Console Is More Powerful?

When it comes strictly to power, the Xbox Series X edges out the PlayStation 5 based on its superior processing power, graphics capability, and memory bandwidth advantage.

But in practical terms, the differences are not hugely significant. Both deliver extremely similar performance with smooth 4K graphics, fast loading, and immersive gameplay thanks to their state-of-the-art Zen 2/RDNA 2 internals.

The PS5 makes up ground via its radically innovative DualSense controller and virtual reality support. It also offers more flexible storage expansion compared to Xbox’s proprietary cards.

Ultimately, while Xbox may have a slight power advantage on paper, the PS5 counterpunches with VR capability and better exclusives for some gamers. Both are excellent choices that represent the pinnacle of console gaming technology today.

The superior option comes down to your budget, preferred genres, and desire for features like quick resume or VR support. Overall, Xbox Series X delivers more performance for the price, while the PS5 ecosystem may be more compelling for brand loyalists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which console has better exclusives?

The PlayStation 5 edges out Xbox when it comes to quality first-party exclusive games. Sony studios like Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio, Insomniac, and more have produced AAA hits over the past decade. Xbox is working furiously to catch up with acquisitions like Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout).

Can you use VR headsets with Xbox Series X?

No, the Xbox Series X does not officially support virtual reality headsets. Sony PlayStation is currently the only home console platform with VR capabilities via PlayStation VR.

Is Xbox Series X or PS5 better for third party games?

Both consoles run big third party games like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and Elden Ring equally well. Some games may perform slightly better on Xbox Series X due to the graphics power advantage, but you can’t go wrong with either console for cross-platform titles.

Which console has the better controller?

This comes down to preference, but the innovative DualSense controller gives PS5 an edge. Features like adaptive triggers and advanced haptic feedback make for super immersive gameplay. The Xbox Wireless Controller is also great, but more of an iterative improvement.

What subscription services are available?

Xbox Game Pass ($9.99/month) offers the best value with hundreds of games. PlayStation Now ($9.99/month) provides access to PS2/PS3/PS4 titles, but lacks new releases. Both offer online multiplayer via Gold and Plus at the same $9.99 monthly price.

Can you play digital games without the disc drive?

Yes! The Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition are all-digital consoles without a disc drive. You can purchase and download games directly from the Microsoft/Sony stores on these models. Physical discs aren’t required for modern gaming.


While the Xbox Series X boasts a performance advantage on paper, the excellent PlayStation 5 delivers a very comparable experience. Both represent huge leaps over past generations with jaw-dropping graphics, incredibly fast load times, and immersive new features like ray tracing.

For true power seekers, the Xbox Series X gets the slight nod. But PS5 offers irresistible exclusives and VR support for many gamers. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either next-gen console. The future is extremely bright for Xbox and PlayStation gamers alike!

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