The PS5 before the promise of ray-tracing, 3D sound, and next-generation SSD drives

A few hours ago we were able to attend the presentation of Sony at CES 2020. Although there were rumors that the firm would reveal more details of the PS5, there was hardly a novelty in that presentation: we already know the official logo of the console, which is a mere evolution that Sony already used with the PS4. Learn more about new devices at

Of course: the event served to confirm some of the main benefits of the future PS5, and here the thing became interesting although it left many unknowns. Sony told us about SSD drives with exceptional speeds, the Blu-ray UHD drive, adaptive triggers, hardware ray-tracing, and 3D sound, but what impact will those options have?

An ‘evolutionary’ console

Most of those sections had already been mentioned by Sony before. The Japanese firm has gradually reworked some of the characteristics of the future PS5, although it has done so in many cases without detailing those options too much.

We knew from October for example that the PS5 would arrive at Christmas 2020 and that it would do so with both a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive and controls with haptic technology. This haptic response is one of the great innovations of the controls together with the also confirmed adaptive triggers, and it may be that part of the console’s charm is not in it but in its controls.

Still, it is evident that there are ingredients of remarkable interest in the PS5. The ** presence of a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive is great news ** not only for movie fans but also for physical format game advocates who here will have guarantees that such discs will continue to be used for the distribution of games.

In that experience of cinema and games, there is another outstanding component that is already confirmed: 3D audio, one of the elements that has traditionally been neglected by manufacturers and developers and that for example could give an even greater boost to virtual reality games who have had remarkable success with the PSVR.

It was remembered by Sony officials themselves during this event, which indicated that more than 5 million PSVR virtual reality glasses had already been sold since this peripheral appeared in October 2016.

The SSD can change everything

Probably the most promising option of all at the technical level is today the one that refers to the ** storage units ** that will be present in these consoles.

Sony has not given details about these units but has confirmed that they will be SSD units “ultra-high speed” These units have long been talked about as protagonists of the user experience, and of course their impact could be very significant compared to the current generation.

Judging by the (little) that has been revealed of the internal hardware of the PS5, the bet is clear: AMD and Zen 2 will be protagonists according to various rumors, and that means that this console will have access to the PCIe 4.0 standard and therefore to units SSDs that take advantage of that protocol.

That means sequential transfer speeds that could exceed 5,000 MB / s, which would make both the initial loading of the games and the console interface much faster.

These units will foreseeably have an impact similar to the one we noticed when we had laptops or desktop PCs with conventional hard drives and we replaced them with SSD drives: suddenly that improvement made everything faster without changing the processor, graphics card or expanding memory, and demonstrates the relevance of progress in these storage systems.

Beware of the promise of ray-tracing

One of the most mentioned options in recent times is the ray-tracing support that the PS5 will have. In the CES 2020 event, this option was confirmed again and it was indicated that this would not be software support, but hardware.

The data is unique and, to some extent, disturbing. The ray tracing technology has been present in NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards for a long time, but these are high-end dedicated graphics that have high prices and are only able to offer this technology in a limited way. When they do, in fact, the frame rate per second drops significantly.

That a console – with a price that in principle should not be too far from 500 euros – promises hardware support for ray tracing is compromising, especially since only one NVIDIA RTX 2070 is now around 500 euros and its power It is remarkable but not exceptional if we talk about ray tracing.

Thus, it is possible that the scope of this ray tracing technology is limited, and it will be necessary to be cautious as to the options that this technology can offer on a platform as contained as that posed by the new generation consoles, however powerful that are.

Of course, there are still months for Sony (and also Microsoft with its Xbox Series X) to detail more details, but a priori there is much more revolution in the SSD than in that striking support of ray tracing. What is certain is that expectations are high.