PS5 vs. PC: Which gaming machine is right for you?

PS5 vs PC
(Image credit: Sony / Tom's Guide)

The PS5 is almost here, promising game-changing features such as ray tracing, instant SSD load times and frame rates as high as 120 fps. But if you don’t want to wait for Sony's next-gen console or are looking for a good alternatives, you can enjoy all of those technological perks by investing in a high-end gaming PC right now.

The choice between PS5 vs. PC comes down to a few factors. You’ll need to buy or build a pretty expensive rig to replicate some of the PS5's features, and you’ll have to decide which kinds of games you’ll want to play. 

Torn between saving for a PS5 or investing in a gaming PC? Here are all the major differences you need to know about between the two platforms before you take the plunge.

PS5 vs. PC: Specs 

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 will be powered by a 3.5 GHz 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor, as well as a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU with 10.28 teraflops of compute power. It'll also pack 16GB of RAM, as well as a custom 825GB SSD with a blistering load speed of 5.5 GB per second. 

Other key specs include support for 3D audio, a 4K Blu-ray drive, ray tracing capabilities and the ability to render content at up to 8K resolution, and at 120 frames per second. But realistically, you should expect most games to target a steady 60 fps at 4K. 

Naturally, the specs of any PC you buy or build are limited only by your wallet, but we can break down some of the key components that are comparable to what the PS5 offers. The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X has the same core count as the PS5’s CPU, and Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Super GPU would get you dependable 4K gameplay complete with ray tracing.

PS5 vs. PC: Price and value 

PS5 vs. PC: Dell G5 Gaming Desktop

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The PS5 doesn’t have an official price yet, but recent reports are pegging it in the ballpark of $500. The console will also come in a discless PS5 Digital Edition, which we expect to be $50 to $100 cheaper than the standard model that packs a 4K Blu-ray player.

It’s impossible to perfectly price out a PC that would perform just like the PS5 might. But if you bought a Ryzen 7 3700X ($300), an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super ($700), 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM ($70) and a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO solid state drive ($170), you’re looking at a starting price of at least $1,250. And that’s before you buy a case or 4K Blu-ray drive to truly make your PC a PS5 replacement.

You could technically find a prebuilt gaming PC for close to the PS5’s price, such as the $559 CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC. However, with a Ryzen 3 CPU and Radeon Vega 8 graphics, this machine isn’t going to pump out ray tracing or handle games in 4K.

However, while gaming PCs are a more costly investment, they’re also arguably a better value. PCs can be upgraded with new components over time, whereas PS4 gamers have to buy a PS4 Pro if they want better PlayStation performance. You can also buy or build a PC that fits your personal tastes, whether you want a subtle black box for your living room or a shiny RGB-lit monster for your command center. And for folks that have the money to spend, PCs let you enjoy games like Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and Doom Eternal at much higher settings than consoles can muster. 

Plus, if you invest in a high-end gaming PC, you’ll also have a versatile machine that can power through video editing, graphic design and just about any other productivity task. 

PS5 vs. PC: Games 

doom eternal

(Image credit: Bethesda)

As with any choice of two platforms, the decision between PS5 vs. PC really comes down to which games you want to play. 

PC is the clear winner here in terms of sheer volume, as there are thousands upon thousands of titles available on storefronts such as Steam, Origin, and the Epic Games Store. The best PC games span decades, from classics like World of Warcraft and Quake to modern AAA hits such as Control, Grand Theft Auto V, Doom Eternal and Red Dead Redemption 2. Sony is even dabbling in PC ports with the recent release of Horizon: Zero Dawn and Sony's PlayStation Now service allows you to stream select PlayStation exclusives such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy to your PC.

(Image credit: Sony)

The library of PS5 games is gradually taking shape, headlined by major exclusives such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Gran Turismo 7. The PS5 will also be backwards compatible with PS4 titles, so you’ll be able to play favorites such as The Last of Us Part II and God of War on Sony’s new console. 

It's worth noting that many of the most anticipated third party games for 2020 and beyond are coming to both platforms, including Resident Evil Village, Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077. 

PS5 vs. PC: Outlook 

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 isn’t out yet, and its price is still a mystery. But if you’re not willing to pay more than $500 for a gaming machine, or simply love Sony games like God of War, Spider-Man and Uncharted, the PS5 is probably for you.

But if you want a ton of choice, from the price and power of your machine to a near-endless library of games from all eras, a good gaming PC is the way to go. You can buy or build anything from a humble living room box to a beastly 4K ray tracing powerhouse, and can always upgrade your investment as better components come out. And thanks to PlayStation Now, you can even play select PlayStation titles on PC. 

As with any decision between console and PC, deciding between PS5 and a gaming computer ultimately comes down to convenience and cost vs. flexibility and power. There’s no wrong choice — just the one that fits your gaming habits (and budget) best. 

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.

  • Engineer.AI
    To be fair, the PS5 hasn't come out yet. It'll take about another year or so to say anything with intentional objectivity.

    PC hardware has risen to great heights this past generation. If this was a toss-up based in just hardware, the PC would've won.

    But there are other factors to consider in this debate as a whole.
  • Nabushi
    The price for games make a big difference with all de steam sale, bundle games like humble bundle and free games on epic or big library acces like origin access. Pc games also live forever and a pc can emulate old console. You can also mod your games to look way more handsome than the original.