16GB of GDDR6 VRAM coupled with 512MB DDR4 (regular) RAM for background tasks might sound very weird as a PC configuration. but as a gaming-dedicated machine, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, almost nobody is really interested in this spec’s implications, as the discussion of RAM is often lumped with benchmarks and estimations of its GPU performance.
What RAM Does the PS5 Have
The PlayStation 5 uses GDDR6 VRAM with a capacity of 16GB as its primary memory hardware for graphics processing. VRAM is simply a term for Video RAM, the dedicated random access memory storage for graphics processors. The capacity was chosen as an upgrade to the VRAM requirements of games post-2017 (especially in native 4K), with plenty of room to use more for future titles during the console’s projected product lifespan.
Then, for basic operational tasks, there is an extra 512MB or regular DDR4 RAM allocated.
PS5 RAM Specs
|1st RAM Type||GDDR6|
|Transfer Rate||448 GB/s|
|2nd RAM Type||DDR4|
PS5 RAM Size
The PS5 allocates 16GB for its GDDR6 VRAM, and 512MB for its standard DDR4 RAM. For comparison, its equivalent Nvidia GPU, the RTX 2070 Super, has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, while most DDR4 memory modules today come in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB consumer-grade variants.
PS5 RAM Speed
448 GB/s is the optimal transfer speed of the PS5’s memory bus. This is pretty standard for most 256-bit configurations today, and is expected for many GPUs using capacities divisible by eight. Take note that the actual speed would still depend on how the hardware responds to the game’s processing demands.
PS5 RAM Performance
GDDR6 is a massive boost from GDDR5. To compare, the PS4’s 8GB GDDR5 VRAM can only max out theoretically at 8,000 Mhz. The PS5’s GDDR6 VRAM can easily reach double, at 16,000 Mhz, which is a massive leap forward in latency reduction. Another good example of GDDR6 performance is the GTX 1660 Super. Simply by switching memory configurations alone to the more recent GDDR6 one, it was able to “unleash” the GTX 1660’s true potential, effectively becoming a cheaper and much more efficient version of the GTX 1660 Ti.
PS5 RAM vs Xbox Series X RAM
While the PS5 uses 16GB GDDR6 VRAM plus 512MB DDR4 RAM, the Xbox Series X uses 10GB GDDR6 VRAM plus 6GB of another GDDR6 VRAM. The configuration is a weird shared memory setup, where the entire OS is allocated 2.5 GB of the slower 192-bit 6GB capacity, while games manage both visual assets and CPU loads with the remaining 3.5GB 192-bit and 10GB 320-bit capacity.
It may sound like a bottlenecking nightmare, but performance-wise, though, the difference is actually pretty indistinguishable from the two.
Sony did an excellent job in figuring out the correct memory to use with its PS4 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM as early as 2013), and continues to do so with the PS5. 16GB of GDDR6 memory is set to last for a very long time, since many graphical assets today already provide very fine visual quality even just at 6GB or 8GB VRAM. Though some (unnecessarily) demanding games can easily extend beyond 10GB VRAM at 1440p and 4K, it is expected that such memory configurations will remain relevant for a good majority of the PS5’s product lifespan.