The PS5 Is Really Big and Xbox’s Phil Spencer Explains Why

The PS5 Is So Big Because Heat Is a Major Issue

There are a lot of fundamental differences between the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, but one of the most noticeable is the difference in size. The Series X isn’t exactly small, but it’s nowhere near as large as the PS5. During his guest appearance on Animal Talking, Phill Spencer weighed in on why the PS5 is so large and why the Xbox Series X is able to be a bit smaller. Believe it or not, for the man behind Xbox, he’s given us the most logical reasoning so far.

During his time on Animal Talking, Spencer was asked about the aesthetics of both next-gen consoles, and he explained that engineers from both sides of the pond faced a lot of the same issues, one of the most prominent being the challenge that is keeping the consoles cool. The difference in size between the two actually boils down to how both engineering teams tackled the same problem.

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Spencer’s speculation about the PS5 is that since its GPU has 36 Compute Units clocked at 2.23 GHz, it’s going to produce a lot of heat. Microsoft tackled this part of the equation by running more 52 GPU Compute Units at just 1.825GHz, which doesn’t eliminate the heat but does help keep it in check. With Sony’s higher clock rate, the PS5 required more cooling and a larger machine overall

“Knowing that the PlayStation 5 is running at higher clocks, it just creates more [heat].”

For the Xbox Series X, the engineering team wanted something different, something that was quiet. And, to do that, meant reducing the amount of heat produced and, ultimately, reducing the amount of air that needs to circulate through the system.

“We wanted a very quiet console, so noise was something that we focused on. So we built a form-follow-function design so that we could draw a lot of air with a big fan spinning a little bit slower so we didn’t get those high-pitched whining sounds that sometimes consoles can make.”

Of course, it should  be noted that he wasn’t knocking the design of the PS5 at all. In fact, Spencer even admitted that he liked the design and was planning to get one. He’s already replaced his Xbox One X with a new Series X and will place his new PS5 right next to it when the time comes. For what it’s worth, he did say that the Series X produced “no more noise” than the One X. Now, let’s just hope that Sony’s sdesign comes with the same benefit – after all, the PS4 Pro sounds like it’s ready to launch to the moon half the time.

Xbox Series X PlayStation 5
CPU 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
Die Size 360.45mm2 N/A
Process TSMC 7nm Enhanced N/A
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s 448GB/s
Internal Storage 1TB Custom NVMe SSD Custom 825GB SSD
IO Throughput 2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed) 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage 1TB Expansion Card NVMe SSD Slot
External Storage USB 3.2 HDD Support USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive

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Simon Carpenter
Simon Carpenter works as an indie game programmer by day and pro gamer by night. He joined the Addicted to Play Team in October of 2019 and has found his home away from home. His favorite games include The Legend of Zelda, Metroid Prime, and Call of Duty.

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