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What graphics card will be used in the PS5?

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy Underwater
Horizon Forbidden West Aloy Underwater (Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Best answer: The PS5 packs a custom RDNA 2 GPU capable of 10.28 TFLOPs with 36 computer units clocked at 2.23GHz. It can support 8K resolution and ray tracing.

PS3 vs PS4 graphics

It was notoriously difficult to develop for the PS3 because of its CPU, and though this was apparently the case on purpose so developers would be challenged to push its limits, that didn't make it a good thing. Sony used the RSX "Reality Synthesizer" capable of 400 gigaflops (0.4 teraflops) for the PS3's GPU and a custom eight-core Cell Broadband Engine for the CPU, which also carried some of the graphics-related work that the console performed. This architecture was completely different from the PS2 and required a significantly greater amount of effort to develop for.

Sony opted for a CPU and GPU that was much easier for developers to work with in the PS4 — a custom AMD Jaguar CPU and an AMD-based graphics card used in Radeon processors.

What graphics card does the PS4 Pro use in comparison?

The PS4 Pro currently uses an AMD Radeon GPU with 4.2 terflops of computing power. Games can render at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second (FPS), though not usually at the same time. More commonly you'll see a game support 4K 30FPS or 1080p 60FPS. 4K resolution is also commonly checkerboarded, meaning it's not native 4K but it gives the illusion of it.

PS5 graphics What's a teraflop?

To make a complicated question and answer simple, a teraflop dictates how fast a graphics processor is. The more teraflops a console's GPU has, the quicker it can perform operations and translate that to the graphics you see on your screen.

The PS4 Pro boasts 4.2 teraflops of computing power while the Xbox One X has 6 teraflops. These are both the most powerful consoles on the market for their respective companies. A standard PS4 has 1.8 teraflops and a standard Xbox One has 1.3 teraflops. The PS5 has 10.28 teraflops.

PS5 graphics What is 8K resolution and ray tracing?

PlayStation's Mark Cerny, the architect of the PS4 and upcoming PS5, said that the PS5 would support 8K resolution and ray tracing in an interview that gave us our first details on the mysterious machine, but that may not mean much of anything if you don't already know what those are.

8K resolution refers to a game's visual details and sharpness of an image. It is four times the resolution of a 4K image, and 16 times that of a 1080p image. 8K images are capable of showing detail that otherwise would not be possible on a lower resolution.

Ray tracing is a rendering technique that improves visual fidelity by modeling how light interacts with and travels through virtual objects in a 3D environment to make it look as realistic as possible. Currently, the technique is almost exclusively used in blockbuster Hollywood movies.

How do PS5 graphics compare to Xbox Series X?

On paper, the PS5's GPU is weaker than the Xbox Series X's in terms of teraflops, but teraflops aren't the only factor that dictate how well graphics render. Because of this, you may see games on Xbox Series X use ray tracing and potentially hit 8K resolution more frequently than on PS5. Still, don't take this to mean that PS5 games will look bad. At that point, a lot of people won't be able to tell the difference between 4K resolution and 8K.

Jennifer Locke
Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke is Android Central's Games Editor and has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.