Sony and Microsoft have been at it for years. It first started when PlayStation broke spec boundaries with the PS2 and Microsoft dared to challenge their reign with the Xbox 360 (PS3 didn’t stand a chance). Both the PS4 and the Xbox One came out in November 2013. The former won with at least double the sales. But of course, the opposition isn’t backing down. What about the PCB design of the PS5 and Xbox Series X?


At this new turn of the decade, both gaming powerhouses are going at it again during the holidays. That’s right—the dawn of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X is upon us, and their hardware is already looking pretty impressive. We’ve already discussed some key differences in a previous article, including SSD and RAM. But today, we’ll be taking a look at one overlooked component of gaming tech—their printed circuit board (PCB) designs.

PS5 Vs Xbox Series X PCB

The Similarities

Both of the console’s PCB substrate (or the base material the board is made out of) contains fiberglass impregnated with epoxy resin. This is the standard for most PCBs in commercial products, as they’re sturdy yet cheap to manufacture.

Both designs, being double-sided, also allow for the optimal board thickness for modern PCBs as well. This means that they can be stacked on top of one another, so they don’t consume a lot of space. Incidentally, this is a good design for any gaming hardware. After all, with no gaps between boards, signals can transfer much faster.

The Differences

But let’s talk about differences. While both PCBs will use the same processor, the AMD Ryzen with a Zen 2 eight-core processor, the Xbox Series X has it running at 3.8GHz per core. Meanwhile, the PS5 will do so at 3.5GHz.

Both PCBs are also installed with a custom RDNA 2 GPU architecture, but the Xbox Series X, once again, has a higher computing power than the PS5. Does this mean that the Xbox Series X will have better graphics? Perhaps not. Sony’s PCBs will feature AMD’s latest SmartShift technology. Essentially, it lets the CPU re-route any unused power to the GPU for the extra boost in performance. The result is a console that can run 8K graphics—a feat once thought impossible, much less on a console.

With such heavy performance from both consoles, there’s one more thing to address: heat sinks. The Xbox Series X first revealed their heat sink design: a vapor chamber that’s directly connected to the PCB’s components for direct cooling.

Meanwhile, Sony recently released the patent for their heat sink, which is also a device that features direct cooling. It will be located at the bottom of the PCB, which will have multiple holes drilled into it for the heat conduction path. This will allow the distribution of cooling without disrupting the PCB’s layout.

Literal Game Changers

It’s too early to say which console will turn out better in terms of hardware, at least, until we get a hands-on console demo by both companies. Still, one look at their PCB designs and consumers already have a good idea of what the next generation of gaming will look like. And so far, it’s very promising.

Let us know what you think about the PS5 and the Xbox Series X and which one you are interested in buying later this year.