The PS5 comes with custom silicon which means that you cannot buy the CPU inside it off the shelf. This makes comparisons with off-the-shelf desktop CPUs tricky. With that said, if you are interested in building a PC that performs similar to the PS5 then we are going to go over the recommended CPU that would be equivalent to the PS5.
What Is The PS5 Equivalent Desktop CPU?
The closest off the shelf CPU to the PS5 CPU is the Ryzen 3700x which is also based on the AMD Zen 2 architecture. While this is not the exact CPU that is used in the PS5, it is one of the closest off the shelf CPUs you will find. This will get you similar performance. We go into more detail below.
As mentioned, this is not an Apples to Apples comparison as the hardware inside the PS5 or even the Xbox Series X is custom. You cannot buy an identical CPU or GPU. There are however PC parts that are similar in nature and in performance. The following is what you need to know about them.
On Paper Specifications
On paper, the PS5 has an 8-core, 16-thread CPU based on the AMD Zen 2 architecture. This CPU can boost up to 3.5 GHz. This makes it very similar to the Ryzen 7 3700X which is also based on the AMD Zen 2 architecture and comes with 8 cores and 16 threads. It can, however, boost up to 4.4 GHz which is much higher than the PS5 CPU.
A higher clock speed means better performance. So while the number of cores and threads are the same, and so is the architecture, the performance of the Ryzen 7 3700X desktop CPU is going to be much better.
It is also worth mentioning that the PS5 is going to have thermal limitations while you could easily install a decent cooler in a PC and overclock the Ryzen 7 3700X to an even higher boost clock speed.
On the Intel side of things, we have the i7-10700 which also has 8 cores and 16 threads. This CPU can boost up to 4.80 GHz. While this is a locked processor and cannot be overlocked, it still has a much higher boost clock speed when compared to the CPU inside the PS5.
It should be mentioned that the performance is also going to depend on the developer and how well games are optimized for different hardware specifications. While the PC processor has a higher clock speed, the PC port of the game might not take advantage of that at all. It is possible that a particular game runs better on the PS5 as compared to PC.
That is true for numerous games. Keep in mind that the hardware inside a console is very specific and hence easier to optimize games around. PCs can be configured differently and the combination of CPUs and GPUs that are out there are numerous. So optimizing games for PC is complicated.
While a CPU is very important for a PC build, when it comes to gaming the graphics card does the majority of the heavy lifting. There are a few games that are CPU intensive but the majority of games out there are graphics intensive.
With that in mind, you can get away with a much cheaper CPU with fewer cores and threads. Gamers Nexus tested the performance of the PS5 and compared it to a PC that had an AMD Ryzen 3 3300X CPU. The performance of the PS5 and PC were very similar in games such as Devil May Cry 5, Borderlands 3, and Dirt 5.
This is interesting because unlike the Intel i7-10700 and the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X the Ryzen 3 3300X is not a high-performance CPU. It is a more budget-oriented SKU that comes with 4 cores and 8 threads. The rated max boost frequency is 4.3 GHz. While gaming performance is primarily going to depend on the graphics card, it is still interesting to see that a mid-range processor can keep up with the custom silicon of the PS5 CPU.
The following are the CPUs that we would recommend if you are interested in building a PC that performs similarly to PS5:
AMD Ryzen 5 3500X
While we did mention that the Ryzen 3 3300X can match the CPU performance of the PS5, at the time of writing pricing of CPUs is all over the place. If you can find a Ryzen 3 3300X for around $150-170, then that is a great deal but if not the AMD Ryzen 5 3500X provides great value for money.
You can usually find one for under $200 but you can find discounts on it. This is a 6-core CPU that can boost to 4.1 GHz. So you are getting a good mix of frequency and core count. The processor comes with 32MB L3 Cache and 3MB L2 Cache and supports DDR4 memory up to 3200 MHz.
It has a TDP of 65W and comes with the Wraith Spire cooler out of the box which is very decent. Not only does it perform well but it looks good too and comes with red LED lighting.
AMD Ryzen 5 5500
If you want a more recent CPU then you cannot go wrong with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500. It features 6 cores and 12 threads and can boost to 4.2 GHz. It has a TDP of 65W and comes with the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler.
The new Zen 3 architecture is based on the 7nm process which means better efficiency and lower power consumption. You also get access to features such as PCIe 4.0 support.
Intel Core i5-12400
On the Intel side of things, we can recommend the 12400. This CPU has 6 cores that can boost up to 4.4 GHz. It supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, so you have some future-proofing if you want to upgrade your RAM down the line.
This is a locked CPU so there is no option for overclocking but it does come with a decent cooler out of the box. So you do not have to spend extra money on one. The pricing for this CPU is around $210 but you can get it for under $200 when discounted.
In conclusion, comparing the CPU inside the PS5 to a desktop SKU is not really fair. While the PS5 CPU has 8 cores and 16 threads, if you want similar performance on a PC you can make do with much less. We recommend the AMD Ryzen 5 3500X, AMD Ryzen 5 5500, and Intel Core i5-12400 if you are interested in building a PC that performs similar to the PS5.
All of these processors provide a good mix of core count and clock speeds. They also come with coolers out of the box, so you do not have to spend additional money on a decent CPU cooler.
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