What CPU does The PS5 Have?


A few days ago, a friend of mine, who is an avid but frugal PC gamer, popped over to have a game on my PS5.

After witnessing the ray-traced magnificence of Ratchet and Clank and Spider-Man, he started asking me what CPU (Why he didn’t ask about the GPU, I’ll Never know) is in the PS5. He wanted to upgrade his PC to match the power of Sony’s console.

Not being totally sure what CPU the PS5 had, I decided to do a little research first. This is what I found:

What CPU does the PS5 have? The PS5 has an AMD gen three Zen 2 CPU. It has eight physical course running at 3.5 GHz, each of which of the simultaneous multithreading. One of the cores is reserved by the systems OS.

Okay, now you know roughly what CPU the PS5 has. But there’s so much more to learn. In the following sections I’ll cover:

  • What is the PS5 CPU in more depth.
  • What’s the difference between the PS4 and PS5 CPU.
  • How will the PS5 CPU improve games.
  • What is the equivalent AMD PC CPU.
  • What is the equivalent Intel PC CPU.

Okay, let’s get started.

What is the PS5 CPU?

The PS5 CPU, as discussed above, is a third-generation AMD Zen 2 CPU.

This Zen 2 CPU offers eight cores that run at a maximum speed of 3.5 GHz.

The CPU also offers simultaneous multithreading. This effectively means each physical core in the CPU acts as two cores in software. This means that PS5 games effectively have access to 16 CPU cores, not just 8.

Eight physical course sounds like a lot. But, hang on, didn’t the PS4 also have an 8 core AMD CPU? And wasn’t the PS4 CPU constantly criticised for being, well, a little bit crap?

Well, yeah, the PS4 did have an 8 core AMD CPU. And yes, it was pretty awful. But the difference between the PS4 and the PS5 CPUs is night and day, gold and clay.

Let’s take a look at the difference….

The Difference between the PS4 CPU and the PS5 CPU.

Not all 8 core CPUs are born equally.

The 8 core AMD Jaguar CPU that called the PS4 its home was notoriously underpowered.

For starters, the Jaguar CPU was basically a down-clocked repurposed Laptop CPU. It was a low power, high efficiency CPU that was seen as ideal for a console that needed to manage thermals and electricity carefully.

But, the CPU was limited from the very beginning because of its mobile origins. The Jaguar was missing a number of high end CPU features that were already in desktop CPUs of the time.

For example, it offered no simultaneous multithreading.

Also, the Jaguar PS4 CPU ran at a rather lowly 1.6 GHz. This was extremely slow at the time of the PS4’s release. By todays standards, the Jaguar CUPU is sloth like compared to modern CPUs. In fact, its less than half the CPU speed of the PS5’s Zen 2.

But the CPU’s speed is only half the story when it comes to CPU power.

CPU micro-architects try to improve a metric called Instructions per clock or IPC to try and eek more performance from CPUs.

IPC is a measurement of how much work a cpu can accomplish for a given GHz, or cycle.

For example, imagine you have two CPUs running at 1GHz. But CPU A has IPC of 1 and CPU B has an IPC of 2. CPU B will be twice as powerful as CPU A even though they both run at the same speed. Think of it in terms of cars transporting people. CPU A is a convertible with two people traveling at 60mp/h. CPU B is a Sedan carrying 4 people traveling at 60mp/h. The Sedan is doing twice the work carrying double the people even though both cars are traveling at the same speed.

The Zen PS5 CPU is said to be able to deliver double the number of instruction per clock than the Jaguar CPU inside the PS4.

As Seb Aaltonen from Ubisoft Says:

8x Zen2 cores is roughly 4x faster than 8x Jaguar. Roughly 2x IPC and roughly 2x clocks (conservative 3.2 GHz estimate).

Seb Aaltonen. Ubisoft Software Engineer.

And Seb posted this on Twitter before we knew that the PS5 would have a 3.5GHz CPU, not a .32GHz CPU.

This makes the PS5’s CPU somewhere on the order of 5-6X more powerful than the base PS4 CPU.

Okay, so we know the Zen 2 CPU is vastly more powerful than the Jaguar CPU found in the PS4.

But how will the PS5’s Zen 2 CPU improve games? Let’s take a look…

How will the PS5’s Zen 2 CPU improve Games?

The PS5’s powerful Zen 2 CPU will give the PS5 many advantages over the Jaguar purring away under the PS4’s hood.

Below I’ve listed some of those advantages:

AI

In all games, AI is driven by the CPU. Therefore, a more powerful CPU means more complex AI or more AI.

For example, in a game like Fifa Soccer where the number of NPS is fixed (22 players), you can improve the quality of each of the NPC’s AI to make the player react in a more life like manner.

Conversely, the extra CPU power means instead of having more complex AI, you could just have more AI driven NPCs. Take, for example, an open world game like Bethesda’s Skyrim. Instead of roughly simulating a few hundred NPCs, the Zen 2 could fully simulate thousands of NPCs roaming about the the lands. This brings us closer to those living breathing game worlds we all dream of escaping into.

Physics

Game Physics calculations generally take place on the CPU. So the more powerful the CPU, the more complex the game’s physics. So you can can have realistic debris breaking away from walls. Rock slides cascading down hills. Or realistic fluid dynamics with puddles filling nooks when it’s raining.

Here’s hopping this is the generation where we get full fluid physics simulation. I want a proper Titanic sinking simulation game!

Animation

The CPU is responsible for calculating and performing all animations. So the more powerful the CPU, the more complex Animation characters can have. Or, like AI, the you can have many more animated NPCs/Structures in the world.

World Simulation

The CPU is responsible for all simulation and calculation in the game world.

So, for example, in a football game, the game’s rules, player collisions, ball collisions, they are simulated by the CPU.

In an FPS, everything from determining hit collisions to damage is calculated by the CPU.

The more powerful the CPU, the more elaborate collision systems can be. So, for example, in a game like Gran Tourismo you could have an advanced collision system that determins damage depending on the angle and speed of a collision and then place appropriate damage on the car.

Ok, now you know a handful of ways the PS5’s Zen 2 CPU can improve games.

But what if you’re a PC gamer, like my friend? What PC CPU would you need to match the PS5’s CPU?

Let’s take a look…

What PC CPU is equivalent to the PS5 CPU?

The PS5’s CPU is made by AMD. However, in the PC gaming space there is another CPU developer other than AMD: Intel.

In this section, I’ll look at both AMD’s and Intels’s CPUs to determine their best CPU to match the PS5’s CPU.

AMD

After digging through what seemed like a mountain of research material and asking experts in my local PC shop, I’ve decided the AMD CPU that’s matches the PS5’s CPU is the Ryzen 7 3700.

This whopper of a CPU packs 8 cores and 16 threads just like its PS5 counterpart. However, the Ryzen 3700 bursts past the PS5 CPU’s 3.5GHz to reach a blistering speed of 4.4GHz.

That means the Ryzen 3700 is around 26% more powerful than the PS5 CPU.

Intel

A direct comparison of an Intel CPU to the PS5’s AMD CPU is a little more difficult. This is because Intels CPUs tend to perform better in games when compared to AMD CPU’s. Or at least that was the case for the 3rd-Gen Zen 2 CPUs.

After doing a lot of research and asking the talented lads in the PC shop in Swansea Market, I ended up settling on the Intel i5 10600K as the best match for the PS5 CPU.

The 10600K offers only 6 cores compared to the PS5’s 8.

But don’t let that lower core count put you off. Intel’s 10th-gen i5 matches and often exceeds the Ryzen 3700 performance in games.

So you can easily expect console beating performance from the i5 10600k.

Summary

It wouldn’t be one of my articles if I didn’t include a roundup of all the important points I’ve mentioned in the article.

So here’s what you need to know:

  • the PS5 has an AMD 3rd Gen Zen 2 CPU:
    • It is clocked at 3.5GHz.
    • It has got 8 cores.
    • It offers Simultaneous multithreading which, in effect, gives it 16 cores.
  • The PS5’s Cpu is 5-6X more powerful than the base PS4 CPU.
  • The Cpu will improve games in a number of ways, including:
    • AI.
    • Animation.
    • Physics
    • Simulation
  • The AMD Ryzen 3700 is the best AMD match to the PS5’s CPU.
  • The Intel Core i5-10600k is the best Intel match to the PS5’s CPU.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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