Xbox One has a non-replaceable internal hard drive
Xbox One has a non-replaceable internal hard drive (credit: iFixIt)

Is PS4 or Xbox more powerful?

PS4 and Xbox One multiply the power of Xbox 360 and PS3. More importantly, they were built with smarter internal designs, drawing from mistakes of last-generation consoles.

Chip manufacturer AMD benefitted the most from these upgrades. Xbox One has a custom 1.75GHz AMD 8-core CPU, a last-minute upgrade over its original 1.6GHz processor.

The PS4 CPU remained clocked at 1.6GHz and contains a similar custom AMD 8-core CPU with x86 based architecture.

This represents a roughly 10% increase in processing power for Xbox One, but the opposite is true when it comes to the all-important graphics processor.

PS4 teardown specs
PS4 has a user-replaceable hard drive

PS4 boasts a 1.84 teraflop GPU that's based on AMD's Radeon technology. The Xbox One graphics chip, also with an AMD Radeon GPU, has a pipeline for 1.31 teraflops.

Microsoft claims that as of June's Xbox One update, Kinect-free games canreclaim 10% of the GPU that was reserved for system level processing like Kinect-related skeletal tracking data. But developers still have to take advantage of this cache in new games or patch titles.

Right now, the PS4 specs make room for faster graphics rendering than Xbox One, especially when combined with Sony's choice in superior system memory.

Best PS4 vs Xbox One specs for RAM

Even more controversial is the memory under the consoles' matte black hoods. It's not the amount of RAM at issue - both are future-proofed with 8GB of RAM - it's the type used.

PS4 has a distinct advantage with faster 8GB GDDR5 memory, while Xbox One went with the slower bandwidth of the 8GB DDR3 variety. But, wait, there's more to it.

Neither system allocates all of that RAM to game developers - some is reserved to run their operating systems.

PS4 reserves up to 3.5GB for its operating system, leaving developers with 4.5GB, according to documentation. They can sometimes access an extra 1GB of "flexible" memory when it's available, but that's not guaranteed.

Xbox One's "guaranteed memory" amounts to a slightly higher 5GB for developers, as Microsoft's multi-layered operating system takes up a steady 3GB. It eeks out a 0.5GB win with more developer-accessible memory than PS4, unless you factor in Sony's 1GB of "flexible" memory at times. Then it's 0.5GB less.

The PS4 and Xbox One specs have similar AMD architecture at their core, but contrast like apples and oranges when it comes to memory. Only developers can determine how this battle is won.