Everything You Need to Know About the PlayStation 5 : An Ultimate Awesome Guide

As much as 2020 was a nightmare for most of us, you can’t deny that it was also a pretty big year for the gaming industry. It wasn’t enough that we’d get our hands on some of the most anticipated games of the last decade… we would also bear witness to the release of the ninth-generation consoles! The chances are that you already saw the new PlayStation in all of its glory.

So, what do we really know about the console — officially called the PlayStation 5 — apart from its release date? Well, that’s what I’m here for! I’ll get into the details of:

  • What sort of variations the PS5 is available in
  • how much they cost
  • how powerful the console is
  • whether it supports backwards compatibility
  • what the new controller is like
  • and where you could buy the console from

Well, here's everything you need to know about the PlayStation 5!

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The PlayStation 5 Has Two Variations

Sony pulled the “NANI!?” card in the legendary announcement trailer, which revealed that the console would be released in two different models: The “Standard Edition” we’re familiar with, and the new, rich kid in town; the “Digital Edition”.

PS5 Standard vs Digital

I talked about the differences between them in detail. But rest assured, your assumption of them at first glance is correct; you can play disk-based games on the former, but not on the latter.

It’s nothing short of genius from Sony’s side. It’s clear they see that “going digital” is the future, but it’s also respectable that they didn’t want to compromise on the wants of game collectors and enthusiasts. After all, what’d the gaming world be like if you could no longer crack open your newly bought games and get a whiff of that “new game smell”?

Both the console versions were released on November 19, 2020.

The PlayStation 5 Costs Quite a Bit

The biggest expectations most people had about the PS5 was that it was going to cost a lot. Some of the guesses shot up to $600 and $800! Don’t fret, though, because that’s simply not the case.

Both the versions come with different price tags. While the Standard Edition costs about $499, the Digital Edition costs a total of $399. Clearly, dishing out the extra $100 would only be reasonable if you see yourself using the Blu-Ray disk drive a lot. Whether it’s to play something from your disk collection or keep it for future plans, it still has its appropriate uses.

Apart from that, the systems themselves don’t show any differences in performances. Pretty reasonable prices, if you ask me!

So should you buy a PlayStation 5?

The PlayStation 5 is a Powerful System

You might be wondering, “How powerful is the PS5?” 

Well, how does “very” sound? For a system that sells at the price of a PlayStation 4 during its first launch event, you’re getting a bang for your buck! 

Apart from the lack of a Blu-Ray disk drive, these behemoths share the same specifications. Here’s the spec list:

  • CPU: 8-Core Zen 2 at 3.5 GHz variable frequencies
  • GPU: Custom AMD RDNA 2 at 10.2 TFLOPS, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz variable frequencies
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6 256-Bit @ 448 GB/s
  • Storage: 825GB SSD, 5.5 Raw GB/s, Typical 8 Compressed GB/s
  • Expandable Storage: Yes, for PS4 games only; USB HDD & External SSD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray
  • A/V: Tempest 3D Audio / 4K 120 Hz (Native), 8K

I broke the significant components down to what exactly they’re packing if you want to take a closer look, but if you’re good with the specs, then you can go straight to the bit about backwards compatibility.

The CPU

The PS5 packs an Octa-Core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU chip, integrated into a System on a Chip (SoC) customized in partnership with Sony. Its cores run at a 3.5 GHz variable frequency, and is monitored by AMD’s SmartShift technology that automatically adjusts these frequencies based on what the console is doing at the time.

It sort of works in tandem with the GPU, which, speaking of, is just as powerful! 

The GPU

An integrated custom unit that is based on the RDNA 2 graphics architecture developed by AMD, the GPU can potentially touch 10.3 teraflops at its peak performance. How is this possible? You have the GPU’s compute units to thank for. It packs about 36 of them, all of which are capped to 2.23 GHz!

What does that mean? Simply put, it’s what makes real-time ray-tracing and 4K resolutions possible! And don’t be fooled by what most people say; ray-tracing matters a lot!

With so much juice to give, the PS5 would barely choke even if you’re playing a graphically demanding game. It definitely sounds like a challenge worth taking. So, if you plan to push the PS5’s limits, then you should probably look into games that are difficult to run.

But of course, you can’t rely on the GPU to have a completely smooth experience. You still need…

The RAM

All of that ray-tracing, texture loading and whatnot would make things run a lot slower, right? It’s a lot of power to put up.

Here comes RAM to the rescue! With a whopping 16 GB of GDDR6 SDRAM, the gameplay experience is guaranteed to be smooth. The RAM’s bandwidth can reach a peak of up to 448 GBs per second. This means that the PS5 can juggle between many, many applications and games without any kind of lag.

Now, that brings us to the question of how much time it would take the games themselves to load. Well, that would bring us to its storage features; something Sony has been capitalizing on since it was announced.

The Storage

The biggest deal to be made about the Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart gameplay demo was that it wasn’t just the presentation of an ol’ school game that’s making a fantastic return. It was a tech demo that showed off the PS5’s new solid-state drive (SSD) technology.

It’s a custom unit SSD built with a total of 875 GBs, and gives a raw throughput of 5.5 GBs per second. That throughput makes loading times range from nil to slim.

Of course, the PS5’s operating system would be installed on it, so technically, you’d have about 667 GBs of free space to use. If the amount of free space feels small for you, then don’t worry too much; there is (some) modularity for it.

Storage expansion makes a return, in that you could use the NVM Express M.2 port to connect either USB hard drives or external SSDs. But there are some caveats.

For one, NVMe is unsupported at launch; this has been confirmed by Sony, and will be addressed in a future update. For two, the SSD itself is soldered onto the console’s motherboard, so you couldn’t swap the SSD itself. And for three, if you wanted to play games on the console, then they’ve got to be loaded onto the SSD itself to launch; it cannot do that on an external drive itself.

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Not many talk about these aspects enough, but I consider them to be the “unsung heroes” of any console. And those are the audio technology, the hardware design, and the connectivity features.

The PS5 also packs the Tempest 3D AudioTech; a booming audio technology that allows hundreds of audio sources to play and offer a realistic 3D experience. In comparison, the PS4 only had 50.

Going further in, the system’s casing was built around the idea of promoting a lot of airflow, wherein the cooling system includes double-sided fans for more air intake, and a sophisticated heat sink, of which its design allows it to reach performances akin to an actual vapor chamber. This means that it’ll take a lot more than ten straight hours of gaming to get the PS5 to heat up!

To power the entire system, a 350-watt power supply unit (PSU) was installed. Sony’s engineers built the console efficiently enough that it would consume less power than its predecessor during power suspensions. Even so, it’s surprising to see that a monolith like the PS5 would require a pretty standard PSU.

As far as the connectivity aspects are concerned, the PS5 comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) — which offers speeds of upto 9.6 Gigabits per second at peak performance — and Bluetooth 5.1 technology.

To put it simply, the PS5 is a near-perfect blend of technological elegance and efficiency, even if you look under the hood.

The PlayStation 5 Supports Backward Compatibility

Sony confirmed that about 99% of more than 4,000 games available on the PS4 can be played on the PS5. (Good reason to buy the Standard Edition? Hint, hint.)

But, not everything is all “sunshine and rainbows”. You can’t use your PS4 peripherals on the PS5, except for the PlayStation Move, the PlayStation VR Aim controllers, and the PlayStation Camera (albeit you will need a USB dongle to use it on the PS5). You also cannot use your PS4 controllers for PS5 games, but you can use them to play PS4 games on the PS5.

Here’s a list of PS4 games that are PS5-incompatible:

  • Assassin’s Creed (Syndicate, India, China, Russia)
  • Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma – Volume One
  • Hitman GO: Definitive Edition
  • Joe’s Diner
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Risk
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • Space Junkies
  • Star Trek Bridge Crew
  • Shadwen
  • TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
  • We Sing
  • Werewolves Within

“So, can the PS5 play PlayStation 3 games?” Unfortunately, no. And the same is said about PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games. But, you’re not completely out of luck!

Sony launched a subscription-based service called “PlayStation Now” that allows you to stream last-gen games on your PS5. You’ll still need an active (and potentially fast) internet connection for it.

DualSense Will Replace DualShock

To paraphrase what a wise man once said, “Friendship ended with DualShock, now DualSense is my best controller”. And quite rightly so.

It does retain much of the DualShock 4 controller’s design and features. But what’s special about the DualSense controller is that it packs all kinds of technological goodies, most notably motion sensors, haptic feedback and — the best of all — adaptive triggers.

PS5 Controller

Almost every experience you gain from playing is enhanced thanks to the responsive feedback fed into your hands by the actuators. Every gunshot fired, or rope pulled, or a landing after jumping will return a specific type of force against your palms and fingers. It enriches the moment you’re in, making you feel as if you’re actually interacting with a virtual object or environment in the game.

The DualSense controller is testament to what we could do with haptic and adaptive technologies, and it’s clear that we’re just getting started!

The PlayStation 5 is (Constantly) Out of Stock

It’s a tough swallow, but ever since its release, the PS5 has been a major target by scalpers and resellers. If you’re having trouble finding places to buy a fresh PS5 from, then here’s a list.

Your best bet would be to frequent Amazon and Best Buy. While you shouldn’t keep your hopes up about getting one soon, you should definitely keep an eye out regardless. So, be sure to keep these pages saved on your browser so that you could (hopefully) nab one on time.

Aaand You’re Up to Speed!

That’s about every fundamental point related to the PS5 covered! It might be the case that I probably missed something out here.

Or maybe you want to give an opinion on something. Perhaps, the price? Did you hold any higher or lower expectations for the hardware specs? Or you can’t find a reason to buy it even though you’re twisting and turning in your bed, thinking about it. (Don’t worry, though, I got you covered there!)

Whatever it is, I’m an open book! Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and we might just spark something.

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