This fall both Microsoft and SONY will launch their ninth generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and the PS5 respectively. The launch of these consoles will bring several new technologies under our arms, and we cannot help but wonder how this will affect PC gaming hardware in general. In this article we ask ourselves these and other questions that surely have crossed your mind.
While it could be said that these two consoles have already accelerated the adoption of Ray Tracing in GPU and have encouraged processors with more and more cores to play, the impact of these consoles on gaming hardware has obviously not yet been felt in the market, and we will have to wait for them to go on sale to start seeing some kind of symptom, if there is one.
Will next-gen consoles affect PC gaming hardware?
Seeing what one company and another has taught so far, it is inevitable to think that even a top-of-the-range gaming PC is, in many ways, weaker than upcoming consoles (especially in the areas of audio acceleration , decompression storage and potentially ray tracing performance). So with these facts in mind, how will the arrival of next-gen consoles affect PC gaming hardware?
The specifications of the consoles, will they be the standard for triple A games?
While it is true that consoles carry optimized hardware for games, and that games are developed for them, we cannot ignore the fact that, although personalized, at the end of the day both PS5 and Xbox Series X assemble hardware for PC, with x64 architecture. So, once its specifications are known, we ask ourselves the following question: will console hardware be the new standard for upcoming triple-A games?
When developing a game, consoles have a relative advantage, and since their hardware is always the same, software can be developed specifically to have the best performance on said hardware. On the PC, for its part, things change there are countless possible hardware and software configurations, so it is much more complicated to develop something specific and they are forced to develop the game with more general optimizations.
Answering the topic of the question, we believe that it is quite complicated for the hardware of the consoles to set the standard for the requirements of triple A games, for the simple fact of that freedom that developers have when it comes to launching the specifications for PC . Also, keep in mind that a generation of consoles will remain “stagnant” for some time (4-5 years normally) always with the same hardware, while PC hardware always continues to evolve and improve generation after generation.
Will Ray Tracing become a requirement and not something optional?
Now that both PS5 and Xbox Series X will have dedicated hardware for Ray Tracing , something that on PC for now only NVIDIA provides with its RTX graphics, we also wonder if there will come a time when it is a requirement and not something optional to have this technology.
In this regard, it should be borne in mind that, since the next-gen consoles are fully powered by AMD, it is understood that it will not take long to launch a generation of graphics for PC gaming that has ray tracing hardware , so There will come a point when both NVIDIA and AMD have the same on the market.
This means that in the medium term the hardware of a gaming PC considered as modern will have hardware for Ray Tracing, so in one way or another, we will have it in our PCs. This does not mean that ray tracing ends up becoming a requirement for games, and although it may happen we believe that it will always be optional , whether you have dedicated hardware or not. The hardware is, and the developer will depend on taking advantage of it or not.
Will the decompression of storage work the same on PC?
The loading screens are one of the biggest enemies of any gamer. It is a waiting time that, on many occasions, takes us “off” or “disengages” from the game if it is too long, and that is why in the next generation of consoles both Microsoft and SONY (especially the latter) have placed special emphasis on the speed of your storage system, which in theory virtually eliminates loading screens.
For example, the PS5 will equip an 825 GB capacity PCI-Express 4.0 x4 SSD with a specifically designed controller, integrating 12 flash channels and capable of handling transfer rates of up to 5.5 GB / s.
SSD PlayStation 5 consoles
As for Xbox Series X, the topic is quite similar, since Microsoft already specified in the technical specifications of the console that its performance is 2,400 MB / s when it works in crude and up to 4.8 GB / s when it works with compressed files. , since the console is equipped with a custom hardware for decompression.
Of course, here we can only intuit that this is the future of gaming hardware also on PC, since technology continues to advance in favor of greater bandwidths and speeds, and this is what serves to eliminate the screens of load.
And what about hardware accelerated audio?
Another novelty in terms of hardware that the new generation of consoles presents is the integration of a dedicated chip to process the audio of the games. As a general rule, audio is processed by the CPU, and while it doesn’t have much of an impact on performance for other things, it does force you to work on it. In addition, having a dedicated audio processor not only frees the CPU from that task, but also makes it more complicated to integrate the audio integrated into games with more channels, positional audio and technologies such as Dolby Atmos or DTS: X.
In this respect, we could say that having a dedicated audio processor is practically the natural evolution in hardware, precisely because it frees the CPU from that work and at the same time allows adding complexity to the sound system of games – or whatever. Obviously we can be wrong, but at this point the consoles would be marking the way forward, just like in storage.