Console gamingNews

The PlayStation 5 hardware rundown shows new tools and tricks

The next generation of gaming is almost here, and Sony is gearing up for it

The PlayStation 5 hardware rundown took place on March 18 and with it we have a slew of information on what makes the new PlayStation tick. We’d previously received a bit of a lesser reveal at CES 2020, with a highlight of the new specs – which was… let’s say very subtle.

A photo released summarizing some of the new features for the PS5
These are some of the known new features of the PS5

Now we have more information in regards to what the PS5 is running, and how it hopes to further evolve the gaming experience going forward.

It’s important to note, that the PS5 is confirmed to have backwards compatibility. Initially it was stated to be compatible with 100 of the most popular PS4 titles. The blog post was later updated to say that Sony hopes to have the majority of PS4 titles available to play on PS5.

Faster drives for smoother gaming

A big point for the PS5 is “removing barriers to play”. They’ve highlighted the PS5’s new “ultra-high-speed SSD” and “custom I/O system” in order to eliminate background and foreground loading. The removal of this limitation serves to remove long load times, and those awkward drawn out segments. You know the ones – elevators or narrow passageways where the game is secretly loading right under your nose. The hope is that developers can create larger, more dynamic worlds with no load times, and features like instant fast travel. An added benefit would be less waiting time for new patch installation for updates.

The new SSD helps support their targeted 5gb/s streaming budget – as opposed to the PS4’s 100mb/s HDD. In short: faster loading all around, especially when it comes to large open world games.

Lead system architect Mark Cerny has explained, that they hope to implement a system similar to “frustum culling” in video games. Frustum culling is when a game stops rendering objects when they leave the player’s view to lighten the load, instead storing them away for later use. The PS5 by comparison, hopes to instead be actively loading chunks of the map in the seconds it takes the player to turn around. Sure, sounds kinda crazy when you put it like that.

Frustum Culling in Horizon Zero Dawn
An example of Frustum Culling in Horizon: Zero Dawn

Cerny also addressed the need for storage expansion on the console. Players lacking space for games will be able to install an M.2 SSD to allow more room. The only caveat is that the M.2 SSD will have to match the speeds of the drive the console comes with.

Pretty lights, dazzling sights

Ray-Tracing is another feature to come to the PS5. Ray-Tracing was introduced on the RTX line of Nvidia GPU’s in late 2018. The PS5 will have Ray-Tracing to increase immersion and provide more accurate and detailed lighting effects in games. Ray-tracing is actually a pretty subtle effect, so here’s an example if you don’t already have an idea of how it looks.

Battlefield V - Ray Tracing On vs Off RTX 2080 Ti Max Settings Graphics Comparison

Pinpoint audio and consistent performance

3D audio is usually something you can experience with expensive sound systems or gaming headphones. With the new PlayStation 5’s 3D audio, you’ll – hopefully – be able to receive that same kind of pinpoint accurate sound without breaking the bank… more than you already did after buying a PS5, that is.

One of the final, more notable features is the active boost of the GPU and CPU during gaming sessions. Usually when overclocking, you have to find the precise settings that get you the most power. This involves setting your GPU/CPU clocks and setting the power-draw yourself, which can get a little messy. The PS5 will instead run at high power-draw all the time, varying the frequency to match the workload from the game – without overheating the system.

Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not. For the player this sounds like a really good thing, always running the system in boost mode to achieve the best performance. The problem is that when it comes to PCs, overclocking runs the risk of seriously damaging your components and the PC itself. Manufacturers usually don’t cover overclocking damages, actually voiding the warranty if you choose to OC. Knowing this, one can only wonder how the PS5 will handle it, and what kind of effects it may have on the system. Moderation is the key when it comes to overclocking. As long as the console strikes a good balance, this boosted system should only ever be a positive thing.

And that’s it

That’s pretty much the stuff that matters for most consumers and console gamers. The actual full rundown goes a lot more in-depth into how the console functions and what it runs. Admittedly you may not understand or care about a lot of it, but it’s nice to have the info.

There are a a few things that were seemingly left out, one of them being the cooling system that the console will have. Cerny says we’ll have to “wait for the tear down”.  I can only hope the console implements some sort of water-cooling system. I’m really tired of hearing a Cessna take off every time I turn on my PS4, but we’ll have to wait to find out.

Wait, I lied

Here’s a full spec-list for the PS5, figured you’d want this.

PS5 Specs

I’ve linked the whole 52-minute rundown here, but for your convenience – and my short attention span – here is a 12-minute summary of the new tech.

The Road to PS5 highlights | PS5 specs break down in 12 minutes

And that was the hardware rundown for Sony’s PlayStation 5 releasing later this year. We’ll have you covered as more info drops for the PS5, so be sure to keep an eye on SQUAD and I’ll catch ya later.

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Kevin Dewan

Writer for SQUAD, runs after things a lot. Won't BM you to your face. Okay with losing as long as it's funny.
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