PS5's SSD Speeds Can't Be Matched Even By High-End PCs, Epic Says

Epic Games' Tim Sweeney is convinced the PS5 will be the blueprint for SSD solutions in the future.

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With Epic Games revealing its next-generation-ready Unreal Engine 5, more of the capabilities of both the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X have come into focus. Specifically, their custom storage solutions, with Epic's Tim Sweeney saying PCs aren't able to replicate them today. This could give the PS5 an unexpected advantage against the PC, a platform that has consistently been able to outperform consoles for generations.

In an interview with The Verge, Sweeney explained that the PS5 and its custom SSD solution will inform the future of PCs, and that no commercially available products can replicate the speed Sony has achieved yet.

"The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now," said Sweeney. "It's going to help drive future PCs. [The PC market is] going to see this thing ship and say, 'Oh wow, SSDs are going to need to catch up with this.'"

That's not to say commercial storage options won't catch up. Sony itself is expecting them to, with the company electing to list compatible SSDs for PS5 expansion over creating custom peripherals. Microsoft, on the other hand, have already revealed a partnership with Seagate to create custom Xbox Series X SSDs that will be used to expand on internal storage.

Sweeney had a lot to say about the PS5 during today's Unreal Engine 5 reveal, including how Epic Games is working closer with Sony on its hardware than Microsoft. Despite that, Sweeney says Unreal Engine 5 will deliver great performance on a range of hardware.

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s1taz4a3l

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Edited By s1taz4a3l

It will only help to reduce their CPU throttled loading times. The GPU architecture is already out and it barely approaches a 2070. So it doesnt matter that can load everything faster, it will just reach current PC loading times.

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Kalade

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@s1taz4a3l: RDNA2 isn't out yet. And even if it was under 2070 level, which I expect it will be for console tech. Games designed for them can be heavily optimised. Look at Uncharted 4 or Horizon: Zero Dawn. A PC using an old HD7850 same as what's in a PS4, and a modern cpu, not those crappy jaguar chips, still wouldn't be able to run either one of them more than 15-20fps.

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ALLIAMOS

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I will buy ps5 just for the 1Tb fast SSD , then I am going remove it from my ps5 and but it to my pc , its cheaper than buying a new fast ssd for pc , I have ps5 too but without ssd : )

nvidia why your gpu still expensive ?

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jumalan75

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@ALLIAMOS: except that Sony’s SSD isn’t even a tb in case you didn’t know

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ALLIAMOS

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@jumalan75: what ? less than 1 tera ! its mean I can install only 3 to 4 games in this SSD ! ,,,,, lol

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jumalan75

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@ALLIAMOS: yes 825gb :(. Not sure if that means 825gb after OS etc but pretty sure it means total.

Why I’m wondering if they are going to have some sort of cloud feature.

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Kalade

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@ALLIAMOS: Good luck with that lol

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BarcaAzul

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Lol, this could be fun.

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naryanrobinson

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Yes, it's undeniable that PS5 SSD's will be faster than PC's SSDs for a while. However consider this:

Think about how quickly you can render graphics on a PS4 Pro. The potential of that system.

Now consider that the PS5's SSD is 55x faster. That's fifty-five-fold.

There is simply nowhere to utilise that. Load times perhaps,

but it's more like moving an olympic swimmer from a standard 25m pool to the Pacific Ocean.

Yeah it's a lot bigger, but like, a 50m, maybe 100m pool would've done fine.

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jumalan75

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@naryanrobinson: battlefield 6 will release with ten times as many bird flocks to scare as before and ray tracing

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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@naryanrobinson: SSDs are not really a bottleneck to gaming these days. So long as you have any kind of SSD & not a hard drive, you won't notice much difference, if any.

Maybe when you start loading 8K textures, there could be use for the higher speeds, but the PS5's GPU isn't powerful enough to handle the kind of game that would really utilise them anyway.

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jumalan75

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: I don’t understand where this expectation of 8k games ever came from. I always assumed it meant for movies, but the masses seem to take it as it’s going to be for gaming and they are actually shooting for that. Just blows my mind.

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Kalade

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: I mean, in the tech demo he literally said they're using 8k textures. And that's running on a PS5 dev console. SSD isn't a bottleneck on current gen games, but SATA SSD's will be with next gen game engines moving a hell of a lot more data.

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Dezuria

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Edited By Dezuria

I'm glad the consoles are coming out strong, unlike the current gen. Let's be realistic though, PC tech is always advancing and will surpass anything these consoles launch with quickly.

I've been using SSD in my PC for many years, and the advantage is huge. I'm glad consoles are finally moving past ridiculously slow HDDs.

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Kalade

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@Dezuria: I mean GPU and CPU, yeah, already surpassed. But not that SSD.

Most PC users with an SSD are using a SATA drive, so like 500/550MBps? This thing is 5GBps. nVME drives are generally like 1.5GBps to 3.8GBps for the high end stuff. Like Cerny and others have said, PC nVME isn't at those speeds yet, but will be soon enough, and that's how you'll expand the PS5 storage.

On a side note I've been using an SSD in my PS4 since about 2015. Loading speed is about halved for most games, which is nice.

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FallenOneX

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@kalade:Been using a hybrid drive since a few months after launch. Not half speed loading like you, but a noticeable difference.

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Tidus1012

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Pc MaStEr RaCe

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Daidochus

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@Tidus1012: The opinion of a weeb is irrelevant :D

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pound-u

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Edited By pound-u

@Tidus1012: SSDs have been around for years, and only now are consoles finally moving over to them. It's about time consoles got with the times.

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Kalade

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@pound-u: About time? You expected PS4 and XB1 to launch with 500GB SSD's in 2013? The cost would have been through the roof.

Besides nothing stopping people from slapping an SSD in their PS4, or USB caddy for XB1 now. I've put a 1TB SSD in my PS4, helped massively.

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theduckofdeath

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@kalade: It's more that the blatant pumping up of consoles (specifically the PS5 and more specifically it's SSD) and UE5 by Sweeney who is suffering from selective amnesia, apparently that is the issue. He disingenuous. A few months ago, he made comments about the PS5 SSD (and no mention of Series X) and now it is known that Epic and Sony had a partnership for this reveal.

PCs have had affordable SSDs pre-dating XB1 and PS4. In the almost 7 years of their existence, SSDs have only gotten faster and cheaper. More affordable PCIe 4.0 boards will be available next month. The newest NVMe stick in my machine runs over 3200 MB/s read on the last scan. It's an ADATA stick and not high-end.

Sweeney's words suggest he couldn't do anything impressive all these years, and now, magically, the PS5 SSDs makes UE5 possible. I'm incredulous. He's even suggested that PC tech needs to catch up. LOL. Consoles spent decades reading at 100-200 MB/s and discs speeds before that. PS5 doesn't release until October and UE5 won't even be in preview until early 2021.

PCIe 4.0 has been available, cheaper boards arrive in June, and drives get faster every few months. Sweeney doesn't have access to pre-release PC hardware? Anritsu release the PCIe 5.0 spec, which will likely arrive in the next 2 years.

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Kalade

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Edited By Kalade

@theduckofdeath: Oh yeah I mean Sony is definitely offering him something to get such blind allegiance. Although it has to be said with a console, the spec is a constant minimum for devs to work on. All PS5 exclusives can rely on that 5GBps SSD. If developing a PC game they need it to work on an HDD still. I mean at this point like with CPU and GPU requirements I'm perfectly happy with them saying SSD required, or 500MBps storage required for this game. I'm sick of stuff like Destiny 2 having long corridors we have to travel down for it to load the next area. Or having an open world but with less assets than they think we can handle. On the speed thing I've not yet bothered with NVMe as current games don't really seem to benefit from it yet over a SATA drive. I've got a 1TB, 512GB, and 500GB SATA SSDs in my PC. But if newer games really did start to take advantage of the extra bandwidth then I do have a PCI-E 3.0 4x M.2 socket so I could stick one of the upcoming faster NVMe drives in there, though it's gonna top out at about 3.9GBps.

I wouldn't trust what they say about PCI-E new versions releasing. I mean we started getting commercial PCI-E 4.0 boards like last year, and it was announced by PCI-SIG in 2011. So PCI-E 5.0 probably won't come till like 2024. And PCI-SIG already announced 6.0, bet that doesn't come till 2028 at the earliest.

Even then the increased speeds would only help SSD's really and GPU's don't need that high of a link speed. I saw benchmarks last year showing that an RTX 2080 was only just starting to bottleneck in a PCI-E 3.0 8x socket, so it will be ages before even PCI-E 3.0 16x will be a limiting factor for GPUs . The real limit is M.2 only using 4 lanes. As in PCI-E 4.0, 4 lanes is only 7.88GBps. I suppose they could replace M.2 with a new socket that uses more lanes. an 8x socket would be 7.88GBps on a 3.0 slot and 15.75GBps on a 4.0 board. Or I guess actual PCI-E socket SSDs could make more of a come back. I think my PC has a spare 8x socket 2 ports over from the GPU.

But yeah multiplats should at least make a big jump next gen. This gen PC multiplat games had to be scalable down to an Xbox One running from a slow laptop drive, so many games probably did suffer a bit in what they could do. But if both consoles have fast SSDs (Xbox SX drive is 2.5GBps) then PC games can start requiring SSDs and get rid of the limiting factors in design that's held them back for so long.

People seem to forget new consoles means progress for us all. Newer prettier games. And hopefully by Autumn those new RDNA2 cards and Nvidias 3000 series will be out, and I can get a nice big jump in performance on my PC.

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theduckofdeath

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Edited By theduckofdeath

@kalade: It's definitely a good thing that consoles have stepped it up and closed the gap a bit with PC this generation, at least for the first year. That will give developers a standard to hover around -- not a magic bullet, but it will help to lift requirements out of the doldrums. I still feel it will be years before SSDs on any platform do much more than alleviate annoying load times and pop in/up.

My contention was with Sweeney's comments and 1 or 2 questionable comments by the devs. He acts as if he's never seen an SSD before -- there's a ton of throughput and IOPs difference between a rotary disk and today's SSDs. Yes, the consoles have the advantage of using APUs to reduce some latency and PS5 is using 12 lanes.

Still, there are consumer-level PCIe 4.0 sticks around 5 GB/s available today. There are PCIe SSDs (though expensive) and ES.1 coming. At the consumer level, the console SSDs will be eclipsed before the end of the year, maybe before launch. Sweeney said something along the lines of "the PS5 SSD made the demo possible" or maybe even "the demo could only be done on the PS5 SSD". I don't but it. Somehow, when it comes to PC, specs are peak, ideal or theoretical values, yet on consoles clocks and data rates are rock solid and conditions are always ideal.

Tech demos always sow doubt in my mind -- toss in the hyperbolic comments, a new engine to promote, and the Sony advertising partnership, and I'm highly suspicious. This is a rodeo I've been too many times. The Emotion Engine, The Graphics Synthesizer, Cell, the Tekken Tag Tournament reveal, the Killzone 2 reveal, the Watchdogs demo, Aliens Colonial Marines...

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deth420

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@Tidus1012 said:

Pc MaStEr RaCe

PMSERC, catrae....though maybe there was a subliminal message in there

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Wahsobe

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It's great that the PS5 has something so cutting edge. I really hope that it does more than speed up my load times for the increase in price it is forcing on me. I currently upped my load times (not sure of gameplay improvements) by upgrading to SSD on console but there becomes a point where the dollars don't match the return.

I'm looking forward to seeing it in action this fall.

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Furwings

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@wahsobe: Don't think in terms of only load times with Sony's SSD. Think about real-time rendering of assets and how quickly the system can render the images, the infinite draw distances, how fast your character can move through the levels as a result of the unprecedented SSD drive speeds etc.

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Wahsobe

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@Furwings: That's why I said hopefully, because until we have it in game it's just theoretical. A lot of the amazing things coming to gaming end up on the cutting floor as they don't run quite as perfectly in real life. I'm sure some aspects of that will be true but I refuse to call it a feature until it is battle prooven.

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Barighm

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Barighm  Online

Meh. If you know anything about SSDs, you'll know it's way more cost effective to buy the cheapest one you can get and use the money left over to upgrade your graphics card.

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Kalade

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@Barighm: When building a PC, yeah. But a console using custom parts to fit together just right is a totally different story. And when next gen games are pulling 8k assets like this tech demo is, they're gonna need the bandwidth where current nVME drives are too slow, and SATA SSD's are waaaaay too slow.

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theduckofdeath

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Edited By theduckofdeath

@kalade: That part of the demo was kind of vague. The narrator says they dump in movie quality assets (generated through photogrammetry, sculpting or another process that generates meshes with 30+million polygons), and Nanite chops it down to something manageable (and allegedly lossless) and that model is stored on disk. Nanite also calculates LOD on the fly, and presumably, we won't see jumps in geometric detail as we approach irregularly shaped or complicated objects. OK.

The narrator then states that they are using 8K textures, 8K normal maps, etc., for each object. He doesn't clarify if this is 8K source tossed into Nanite in development, chopped down and compressed "losslessly", stored on disk for in-game use. He just repeatedly touts "8K textures". How large will a game be if that is the case? Good luck with 825-1000 GB SSDs.

Also, Series X and PS5 have 16 GB RAM in total, I believe. How much RAM are those textures going to eat up in a game?

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RxVitaminR

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Edited By RxVitaminR

This is exciting to me. I love hearing that companies have had breakthroughs that are pushing the technological envelope. This will only benefit the consumer down the road. It may seem irrelevant in load times, but give it time. New things will happen across the board, not just storage.

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Kalade

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@rxvitaminr: Finally a positive comment. Every other one seems to be whining babies.

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Gamerforlife96

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@kalade: BC it hurt PC elites feelings

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Devil_wings00

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That's neat and all but console peeps need to not fall for this pre-console launch hype. SSD speeds beyond literally any SSD is irrelevant for consumer/game use. Unless you're in the server space, there's a bagillion videos showing that in blind tests between ultra fast nvme SSD's and regular sata SSD's that it's an imperceptible difference despite on paper sata drives being up to 10x slower. It doesn't provide any benefit to game load times to get a faster SSD and it's been that way since we shifted to sata 3 with decent controllers in the early 2010's. Also, you can buy PCIE 4.0 ssd cards that let you pack in 8 drives, raid 0 them and saturate the PCIE 4.0 lane right now which is around 30 GB/s. So while this drive may be the fastest single drive around (for like two minutes until wave 2 of the pcie 4.0 NVME drives arrive) saying it's faster then you can get on a PC is absurd.

It's all marketing fluff. It's awesome that consoles will finally have SSD's in them but how fast they are is literally irrelevant and nothing more then bigger numbers on a sheet. In the real world it's meaningless.

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JusticeSword

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Up until this coming generation, games had to be programmed, and designed, so that they would not be hampered to the point of not working if you ran them on a hdd, games have yet to truly take advantage of the benefits of an SSD.

Though i think that time is over, as we segway into this gen, there will no doubt be in the upcoming generation, PC ports of games that, if you use an HDD, may not even work, and tbh its about time, hdds for gaming needs to go the way of the dodo.

Obviously the power of PCS will increase far past that of the consoles themselves, but i get the feeling that if you play any of the newer (ssd optimised) games on a HDD next gen, there will be problems.

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gagula94

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@JusticeSword: Not really. HDD and SSD don't do much beyond storing the game and never did for running games and therefore programming them. The only thing they really affect is loading times but not how much you can load or how fast the game will run. Your RAM, CPU and GPU are what's important. Besides considering how large the games have gotten and how expensive SSDs are if you want them to have a lot of memory I don't think we will be getting rid of HDDs any time soon.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Edited By bbq_R0ADK1LL

@gagula94@JusticeSword@Devil_wings00: OP is right. The difference between an SSD you bought several years ago & a high end one you buy today is not going to make much difference in gaming.

Going from HDD to SSD is a much bigger difference though. It's not just load times, it's also how fast the system call call on textures & load them into RAM. They really should have done it last gen. It's a long time overdue.

Having the fastest SSD on the block doesn't really mean much though, it's not where the bottleneck is anymore. It's possible that loading highly detailed 8K textures could utilise an incredibly fast SSD, but the PS5's GPU isn't powerful enough to handle them anyway. Imagine a game like Shadow of the Tomb Raider running in native 8K - not upscaled, but with all 8K textures. Sure, a fast SSD would help get all those textures into RAM quicker, but the CPU & GPU requirements are far more than even a high end PC can handle.

Having a super fast SSD is fine, but if it costs significantly more, then it's a poor investment. Spending more on the GPU would be the best bang for your buck.

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gagula94

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: You do understand that SSD/HDD loads textures during loading times. And besides again it doesn't matter really how fast you can load textures if your RAM or VRAM can not handle the amount of textures. But sure I can see that as textures become more and more complex and larger and larger that HDD will simply be too slow to load them in a reasonable amount of time, but I don't think it will happen soon, nor during this next-gen. Maybe after. My comment was to the point how HDD were holding programmers back and how games were designed around HDD limitations which isn't really true.

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RxVitaminR

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@Devil_wings00: it’s more of the revelation that newer technology exists.

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ALLIAMOS

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@rxvitaminr: in the upcoming GTA 6 , the main character can play video games inside GTA 6 , and the loading time in the game inside GTA6 is faster in ps5 , a lot faster than any console because ps5 ssd is very fast,

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