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If you’re buying a PS4 or Xbox One for an exclusive launch title, such as Killzone: Shadow Fall or Forza 5. then you’ve probably already decided which console you’re going to buy. What if none of the launch-day exclusives appeal to you, though? What if you’re more interested in Assassin’s Creed 4. Battlefield 4. Madden 25. NBA 2K14. or one of the other big-name games that are available for both the PS4 and Xbox One? How do you decide which console to get? You could go on graphics quality, or which gamepad you prefer — or, or favorite option, you could choose the console that’s faster .
To test the comparative speed of the two consoles, we put the Xbox One and PS4 through a few speed tests here in the ExtremeTech bunker — not frame rate benchmarks, but tests that actually discern which of the next-gen consoles actually feels faster in everyday use.
To discern which console feels faster, we did some side-by-side comparisons of the following actions:
- How long it takes the console to go from powered off to the dashboard (cold boot, not hibernate/standby)
- How long it takes the console to come out of standby/hibernate
- How long it takes games to install, and how long it takes for a game to be playable (some games can be played while they install)
- How long it takes to load a game from the dashboard — and then how long it takes to go from the game’s main menu to a playable game
- How long it takes to go from a playable game, to the console dashboard, and then back to the game
In the video above, you can see all of these side-by-side tests, with the exception of game installation, which takes a long, long time. The results from the tests are listed below.
PS4 vs. Xbox One speed test results
- Cold boot to main dashboard —
Xbox One: 6 minutes
Negligible difference between the PS4 and Xbox One. Both are almost instantaneous.
We repeated most of these tests multiple times, and the results were generally in the same ball park. The one result we’re not sure about is the time required to fully install a game. For NBA 2K14, both consoles had to download an update from the internet. We believe that the Xbox One was only “100%” installed after it had installed the Blu-ray content and the online patch. The PS4, however, reported 100% installation before the update had finished downloading. We suspect that, if we removed the downloaded update from the equation, that both consoles would have reported a similar installation time.
So you have some idea of scale, Sebastian (pictured) is 6’5 (196cm). These are big, 60-inch Panasonic plasma TVs.
PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which console is faster?
So, you’ve watched the video and seen the figures. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer on which console is faster. It is clear that the PS4 boots up considerably faster than the Xbox One, both from standby and from complete power-down. Beyond that, there isn’t a huge difference either way. The PS4 appears to install games more quickly than the Xbox One (a finding borne out by by figures published by other publications), and the Xbox appears to load games more quickly, but it’s hard to give a definitive answer without further comparative testing.
It’s cliched, but the the consoles are so close overall that your best bet is probably to buy whichever console has the games or features that you most want. If you turn your console off a lot (for some reason), the PS4 will save you a lot of time in the long run. If it turns out that the Xbox One is about 20% faster at loading games across the board, then that’s obviously a huge time saving over a few years of use. But in general, go for the console with the most desirable games and features.