As avid PC gamers, we have never paid attention to consoles, but the reality is that some of our readers, relatives and friends are increasingly buying game consoles instead of the next upgrade of their computer. Someone takes the console for the sake of exclusives or simply as an additional device for a large-screen TV. Even we periodically get acquainted with new games on the console, as this allows us not to be limited by the capabilities of the existing computer and completely immerse ourselves in the gameplay. In fact, the set-top box is a ready-made small PC, sharpened only for games and entertainment that allow you to have a good time with your family. And the latest developments in the computer market only spur interest in consoles. So let’s get started!
PlayStation has been a buzzword for over 20 years, but Sony hasn’t always had a significant place in the gaming industry. Until the early 90s, the Japanese company was condescending to the video entertainment market, preferring consumer electronics. After an unsuccessful attempt to collaborate with Nintendo on the development of a CD-capable device for the SNES, the corporation decided to release its own console, and in 1994 the well-known PlayStation was introduced. 3D games on large, inexpensive CDs with audio CD playback were impressive for the era, allowing Sony to squeeze out its competitors with expensive, smaller cartridges. By the way, until the early 2000s, Nintendo was unable to release a set-top box with CD support.
After a triumphant start, the corporation decided not to stop there and in 2000 released the next-generation version of the PlayStation, which also allowed watching videos on DVD, which at that time was a rarity even for a PC. The emergence at this time of a powerful and formidable rival in the person of Microsoft’s Xbox predetermined the further development of the Japanese giant’s gaming ecosystem and resulted in an era of rivalry between the two companies. Weak filling in the era of conventional TVs did not cause much discomfort, but the growing popularity of LCD devices with high resolution already required a more powerful solution, and PCs were rapidly developing, giving no respite to upgrade lovers.
The Cell BE processor, co-developed with IBM and Toshiba, was already capable of taking console performance to the next level, and the PlayStation 3 was released in 2006. Interestingly, all competing consoles at that time were based on IBM PowerPC processors. And again, the new console offered expanded functionality in the form of watching videos, but already on Blu-ray discs, and the ability to run Linux on it – to build a small supercomputer from several consoles! However, later this “option” was fixed in one of the firmwares.
But the Cell processors, despite all their power, had a serious drawback, which was the complexity of developing game software for it, which clearly had a negative impact on the speed of projects release and their cost. In addition, by the beginning of the last decade, IBM had stopped all work on these processors and Sony had to find replacements for them. And then AMD comes on the scene with its Jaguar APU – an eight-core processor with a redesigned graphics core perfectly suited the basis of the PlayStation 4. The competitor does the same, and the x86-64 architecture becomes common for consoles and PCs. Unfortunately, even this does not always contribute to the smooth porting of games to computers or vice versa, but given that the main market for studios has become the console game, usually gamers with ordinary computers suffer from poor optimization.
Despite the constant release of updated versions (Slim, Pro) of one or another generation of PlayStation consoles, providing a more compact size of the device or its higher performance, they are still morally and technologically obsolete over time. Six to seven years of the life cycle of game consoles and there is a need for their complete renewal, since new exclusive projects promise higher quality graphics and 120 fps in even higher resolution with unseen cinematography only on next-generation solutions. And the latter finally arrived last year with the release of the PlayStation 5, which has become as rare on store shelves as the new GeForce and Radeon series of graphics cards.
As you can see, we have such a powerful “nettop” in a decent case, which has become even larger than that of the PlayStation 4. The mass has also grown, and this is understandable, since the old cooling system is clearly not suitable for a new and powerful APU, and the installed one now takes decent amount of interior space. The competitor is doing the same. Communication capabilities are quite up-to-date and freely allow you to connect all the necessary peripheral equipment, if any, and transfer data, both via wired and wireless protocols, at a decent speed. Now let’s take a closer look at the console and the package.
Opening the box
The set-top box comes in a large box, made in blue and white tones, which is equipped with a plastic handle for easy portability. Also, after the purchase, it will be convenient to walk around the mall with it, given its current total deficit – the image of the PlayStation 5 will clearly attract the attention of interested parties.
Inside the box, the console is well fixed with forms and covered with a cardboard box with accessories on top, which will protect it from damage during transportation. Good foresight of the manufacturer, given that the courier service clearly disliked my set-top box while delivering it.
Opening the package, the new user will find in it the console itself, a stand for it, a new generation gamepad, a USB Type-C / Type-A cable (2 m), an HDMI cable (2 m), a power cord, a quick reference guide and a safety guide.
Inside the impressive box size, you can find, in addition to the console itself, one DualSense gamepad, a stand, a user manual and several cables (power, HDMI and USB Type-C for charging the gamepad) – in general, everything you need to turn on for the first time.
PlayStation 5 design
Externally, the PS5 looks, without a doubt, the most unusual of the entire PlayStation line. Curved surfaces, a deliberate lack of straight lines and sharp corners – the PS5’s shapes are vividly reminiscent of objects created in organic design. In the vertical position, the side white plates of the digital version, as if “wrapping” the black “box” inside, somewhat resemble the opening leaves of some plant (in the case of the disc version of the console, this impression is blurred by a sag at the location of the drive).
In our opinion, the digital version of PS5 looks more advantageous vertically, while the disc version is better placed horizontally – this will mask the “bubble” with the Blu-ray drive. Unfortunately, it takes up quite a lot of space, so if you don’t have a TV cabinet with open shelves, where the PS5 has enough space for free ventilation, it will most likely have to be placed vertically: in the “lying” position, it “eats” about the same space as a typical AV receiver.
Few dry specifications. So, the PlayStation 5 has a new custom 7nm APU developed jointly by AMD and Sony. This is a 3rd generation AMD Ryzen APU with a maximum frequency of 3.5 GHz (8 cores / 16 threads) with an integrated GPU with RDNA 2 architecture with a maximum frequency of 2.23 GHz, containing 36 compute modules. The GPU supports ray tracing and has a theoretical peak performance of 10.3 TFLOPS (for comparison, the PS4 graphics had a performance of 1.8 TFLOPS, PS4 Pro – 4.2 TFLOPS). The PS5 has 16 GB of RAM (GDDR6 SDRAM with a peak bandwidth of 448 Gbps).