One of the most important news of the new generation consoles, PS5 and Xbox X Series, is the inclusion of a high-performance SSD that will significantly reduce loading times, but to what extent?
That is the most important question to ask ourselves. Sony has gone so far as to say that it will be possible to eliminate charging times almost completely, reducing them to less than a second. It sounds good, and seeing the explanation of the technical characteristics of PS5 that they offered is credible, but is it really possible to finally end the loading times? The answer is a resounding no, and I am going to tell you why.
The SSD is an important element when we talk about the loading times of a game, but it is not alone, there are more components that play a fundamental role in the workload that a game represents, and for it to load, certain operations must be solved and calculations that depend on the processor and the GPU. In other words, no matter how fast the SSD is and the support system that surrounds it in the end, the load times also depend on other components, such as those we have mentioned.
I give you a recent example, DOOM Eternal. This game is one of the most advanced and best-polished triple A’s to hit the market to date. I have thoroughly tested it on a computer-based on a Ryzen 7 1800X with 8 cores and 16 threads at 4 GHz, and RTX 2080 Super, 32 GB of DDR4 at 3,200 MHz CL16 and a Corsair Force Series MP510 SSD of 960 GB, which reaches speeds of almost 3.5 GB / s and 3 GB / s in sequential read and write.
With this configuration, the loading times are minimal, but they exist, and they exist because although the SSD “flies” the processor, the graphics and RAM have to complete specific tasks that take, at best, a few seconds.
PS5 will not completely eliminate load times, although these will be greatly reduced
The conclusion is clear, we will continue to see loading times. These will not be anywhere near as marked as the ones we have seen on PS4 and Xbox One, whose games can take more than a minute to finish loading, but they will still be present.
Going back to the DOOM Eternal example, the load times it has shown in my team are around, on average, between 3 and 5 seconds. These are very good times that fit with what I think we can expect from the new generation of consoles.
On the other hand, I want to take the opportunity to clarify some questions about the use of the SSD in PS5, since I have seen that there are people who believe that the custom configuration that Sony has used will help to improve the power of its new console, and this does not it’s true. Its gross power will be defined by its unified memory, its bandwidth, its processor and its graphic core.
- The SSD will allow us to drastically reduce access and load times.
- It can be used as virtual memory to speed up certain workloads, but this does not equate to “more power.”
- It will allow for quicker transitions between worlds and wide scenarios.
- It won’t improve the power of the console, but it can help reduce the popping and loading of large textures.
The launch of PS5 is scheduled for the end of this year and will cost between 400 and 600 euros. There is still nothing definitive yet, but the majority stance bets on 499 euros.