Xbox Series XSource: Windows Central

Back in December, I leaked the target specs of the next-gen Xbox, codenamed "Anaconda." The information I received pointed to a 12TF system with eight 3.6 GHz Zen-2 CPU cores, with NVMe storage featuring read speeds up to 2GB/s.

Today, a leak from 4chan has been making the rounds (via Tom's Guide), and it claims to offer a glimpse at both Xbox Series X and PS5 specs, which are outlined below.

Playstation 5 Xbox Series X SpecsSource: Tom's Guide / Future The "leaked" specs via 4chan, via Tom's Guide.

Since anyone can post anything anonymously on 4chan at any time, giving credence to these types of leaks is hard to justify. There has not really been any credibly sourced information on the PlayStation 5 from commentators who have something to lose from posting incorrect information. All we have is anonymous sourcing on forums, often from people who have an agenda to make their preferred console look good.

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Generally, I only fully trust my own information, which is based on multiple sources familiar with Microsoft's plans, physical evidence like documents, and some good ol' fashioned Gut Instinct. This is effectively how Microsoft was reporting the Xbox Series X specs back in December, and they don't fully line-up with this 4chan leak. I've heard the SSD is significantly slower, for example, which doesn't seem like something Microsoft would misrepresent intentionally.

Xbox Series X expected specs, from Windows Central

Category Our Xbox Series X info
Processor Custom AMD Zen 2-based CPU (8x @ 3.6 GHz)
Graphics Custom AMD Navi-based GPU (12 TF RDNA)
Memory 16GB GDDR6 RAM (13GB guaranteed for game developers)
Storage NVMe SSD (we've heard read speeds of anywhere up to 2GB/s)
Video output 8K, 4K @ 120Hz
Optical drive 4K Blu-ray
Ports 3x USB-A, possible CFExpress expansion storage, SPDIF, HDMI-out
Color Matte Black
Price Unknown
Size 30cm x 16cm x 16cm (estimate)
Release date Holiday 2020

As with any leaked information, it's worth taking it with a grain of salt (yes, even ours). Regardless of whether the info is accurate or not, it begs and interesting question: Could Xbox Series X lose the power game to the PlayStation 5?

Will Xbox Series X be more powerful than PS5?

Xbox Series X 3D renderSource: Windows Central

Microsoft's first Xbox One from 2013 was noticeably less powerful than its closest competitor, a fact that hurt Xbox in the early console cycle, giving Sony a runaway headstart. Many games for Xbox One struggled to climb higher than 720p in the early days, while Sony boasted far more 900p or full 1080p HD titles, owing in part to the Xbox One's architecture and OS overheads, with large parts of the system reserved for the now-dead Kinect.

Microsoft eventually responded to that narrative, releasing the beastly Xbox One X later in the gen and very soundly beating the PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) at every level. Based on comments to Gamespot, it seems Xbox head Phil Spencer would like to continue that tradition:

Our goal has always been to build the most powerful console possible, and I think we were successful. We like to be the leader in terms of power and performance, and I believe that with Xbox Series X we will continue to be.

The CPU cores on the 4chan leak seem to suggest the Xbox Series X is only incrementally more powerful, at 3.7GHz to PS5's "rumored" 3.6GHz, but our information already pegs the Xbox Series X at 3.6GHz. CPU measurements can fluctuate, and we've even seen typos in internal documents, but the leak also hands the PS5 the GPU crown with slightly more TF potency.

There are all sorts of factors which you could use to determine which console is definitively more "powerful," with things like cooling coming into play, and even more subjective things like features you like. Microsoft also has some unique tricks up its sleeve, like the Hovis Method and DirectX. If this spec sheet is to believed, it would be hard to pin down exactly which console is more powerful in practice until we see the proof: games and performance.

Does it matter whether Xbox Series X or PS5 is more powerful?

Xbox Series X RevealSource: Microsoft

Arguing over the decimalization of the CPU clock speeds might make for a great forum thread or YouTube video, but the vast majority of console buyers care most about value for money, features, and games. You can bet without a shadow of a doubt that both systems are going to be incredibly powerful, and both systems are going to offer customers an incredible experience, regardless of debates over the tiniest tech advantages ... or the veracity of anonymous leaks from the internet.

The truth is, we simply don't know which system will be more powerful, and we have to wonder if it will even matter next-gen if streaming takes off. You can own a PlayStation 5 and play Xbox exclusives on your tablet via Project xCloud or buy them locally on a powerful gaming PC. If you're already in the Xbox ecosystem, the Xbox Series X will run your games better than ever, powering next-gen experiences like Hellblade II complete with hardware raytracing for truly vivid visuals.

Either way, there are fun times ahead. But don't put too much faith in random "leaks" on 4chan.

Related: Why Microsoft's partnership with Samsung could be a big deal for Xbox

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