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 –
PS4: 20 seconds — Xbox One: 1 minute 5 seconds
- Standby/hibernate to dashboard –
PS4: 3 seconds — Xbox One: 12 seconds
- Installing NBA 2K14 from disc –
PS4: 36 minutes – Xbox One: 46 minutes (see note below)
- Time for NBA 2K14 to be playable after inserting disc –
PS4: Instant — Xbox One: 6 minutes
- Time to load NBA 2K14 main menu from the dashboard –
PS4: 38.7 seconds — Xbox One: 29.6 seconds
- Time to load a playable Quick Match in NBA 2K14 from main menu –
PS4: 37.6 seconds — Xbox One: 31.4 seconds
- Time to switch between playable game, to the dashboard, and back to the game –
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.
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.