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PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: Which console is better for you?

For most, the decision should be an easy one.
By

Published onApril 25, 2024

ps5 hero
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The PlayStation 5 is now consistently in stock after selling out for years. If you’re considering picking one up, there’s still a choice: do you get the standard disc-capable version or the digital-only release? In this post, we’ll consider the PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition battle on a feature-by-feature basis.

Notably, the differences outlined below apply to the launch of PS5 Digital and Disc editions and the new, refreshed PS5 Slim Digital and Disc editions.

PS5 vs PS5 Digital: What are the major differences?

While the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have significant performance differences, PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition specs are identical. No matter which PS5 console you choose, you’ll get the same speedy SSD, the same quality graphics, the same amount of internal storage, and more. There are really only three major differences between the consoles.

Disc drive

The obvious leading difference between is that the standard PS5 comes with a Blu-ray disc drive while the Digital Edition doesn’t. If you’re into collecting Blu-ray and DVD movies or have a huge physical PS4 game collection, the choice is clear.

Being without a disc drive, anything you buy for the Digital Edition has to come from the PlayStation Store. Many people prefer downloads regardless, but be aware that internal storage can fill up faster, and installation will last anywhere from minutes to hours depending on the size of a game and your bandwidth.

Design

playstation 5 pricing and pre order bundles 1
sony

There is a slight design difference because of the presence or absence of a disc drive. The standard disc version of the PS5 has a bulge at the bottom, whereas the Digital Edition is slimmer and more symmetrical. Notably, the original “fat” PS5 with a disc drive weighs around 500 grams more than the Digital Edition. Everything else is identical, such as USB ports and height.

Price

The standard launch PS5 model price in the US is $499.99, while the Digital Edition is just $399.99. The latter is cheaper for Sony to make regarding components and licensing, so the savings are passed along.

It’s worth noting that the mid-cycle refresh of the PlayStation 5 is now available and will usurp the first-edition PS5 run once they’re all sold. The PS5 Slim models start at $449 for the Digital model and $499.99 for the Disc-toting alternative. Digital edition owners can also purchase a disc drive add-on for $79.99.

PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: Specs

PlayStation 5 (Launch model)PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
CPU
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
GPU
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture)
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture)
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture)
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture)
RAM
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
16GB GDDR6/256-bit
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
16GB GDDR6/256-bit
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
16GB GDDR6/256-bit
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
16GB GDDR6/256-bit
Internal Storage
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
Custom 825GB SSD
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
Custom 825GB SSD
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
Custom 1TB SSD
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
Custom 1TB SSD
Expandable Storage
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
NVMe SSD slot
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
NVMe SSD slot
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
NVMe SSD slot
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
NVMe SSD slot
External Storage
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
USB HDD support
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
USB HDD support

PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
USB HDD support

PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
USB HDD support

IO Throughput
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Memory Bandwidth
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
448GB/s
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
448GB/s
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
448GB/s
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
448GB/s
Optical Drive
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
No optical drive
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Detachable
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
No optical drive
Optional disc drive addition for $79.99
Price
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
$499.99
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
$399.99
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
$499.99
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
$449.99
Dimensions and weight
PlayStation 5 (Launch model)
390 x 104 x 260mm
3.9kg
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Launch model)
390 x 92 x 260mm
3.4kg
PlayStation 5 Slim with Disc Drive (2023 Refresh)
358 x 96 x 216mm
3.2kg
PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition (2023 Refresh)
358 x 80 x 216mm
2.6kg

PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: Which should I buy?

No matter how much you look at the debate between the standard PS5 vs the Digital Edition, both options are fantastic if you can afford them. One or the other may suit you best, however.

Should I buy the standard PS5?

If you want to collect disc copies of your favorite games, you’ll need the standard PS5. That’s particularly true if you already have a PS4 library on disc and you’re not planning to keep the older console. Naturally, anything on disc becomes a coaster if you only have the PS5 Digital Edition.

ps5 disc drive front
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The standard PS5’s disc drive also opens up access to movies on DVD and Blu-ray, so you can use it to play (or start) a physical collection. While that can be costly compared to a Netflix or Max subscription, the advantage is that your favorite titles won’t suddenly disappear because of rights issues or tax write-offs. Some movies have never made the transition to streaming.

Discs can also be a way around the problem of slow or flaky internet connections. Art-heavy 3D games can easily take hours to download, even on fast connections, whereas installing from a disc should only take minutes, not including shopping time. Remember that disc-based games still need to fetch updates online, even if only single-player.

The standard PS5 costs an extra $100, but the ability to shop around for the best deals and access physical media libraries is a strong selling point.

Should I buy the PS5 Digital Edition?

If you only ever buy digital copies of games, then you should probably default to the Digital Edition. It’s the cheaper of the two consoles, after all, and the PlayStation Store does have regular sales and discounts.

You’re limited to Sony’s prices, though, whatever they happen to be on a given day. Stores like Amazon, GameStop, and BestBuy may offer better deals on disc titles. That could be offset by your initial $100 savings, not to mention avoiding the cost of new shelves or bins to hold everything. Physical games aren’t immune to price hikes since they can dwindle in availability.

If you own a PS4 and bought digital copies of games on that console, you can transfer those titles to the Digital Edition. We have a guide on transferring PS4 saved data to the PS5 if you need help.

ps5 logo review
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

As mentioned, relying purely on downloads can fill up the PS5’s 667GB of SSD storage quickly. You’ll need to add another SSD certified by Sony to expand internal space. Follow the instructions on Sony’s website. For PS4 games, you can use an external HDD or SSD.

If you have great internet speeds and are content with only purchasing games from the PlayStation Store, the PS5 Digital Edition is a great option. Plus, you’ll have something with a more svelte design to show off.

Sony Playstation 5Sony Playstation 5
AA Editor's Choice
Sony Playstation 5
Super fast loading times • The DualSense controller is incredible • Tons of games available with PS Plus and PS Now
MSRP: $499.99
Enjoy the hottest games with this powerful console
Sony brought a lot to the table with its next-gen console. Unless you're dying to play one of the PS5 exclusives or you can't wait to experience the enhanced graphics and smoother gameplay, existing PS4 owners may want to wait for discounts. However, if you've never owned a PlayStation console, now is a fantastic time to press start.

What about the PS5 Slim?

Sony PS5 Slim
Sony Entertainment
Sony PS5 Slim with detachable disc

As mentioned, Sony launched the PS5 Slim series in October 2023, giving buyers a refreshed and more compact PlayStation 5 duo. Like the original PS5 lineup, the Slim options also feature disc and disc-less Digital editions. The Digital Edition price starts at $449, with the disc-capable version starting at $499.

More intriguingly, the Digital Edition can be upgraded by purchasing and attaching an official disc drive for a further $79.99. You can buy the Digital Edition and upgrade it to a disc-accepting version later.

Ultimately, if you want a cheap PS5 console, we recommend opting for the older models if you can find them. Now that the Slim duo is available, you’ll likely find the “fat” versions for much less.


FAQs

The standard PS5 is the better option if you have a collection of physical PS4 games, want to shop around for the best deals on PS5 games, and/or have a physical collection DVD and Blu-ray movies and don’t want to use a separate player. On the other hand, if you’re happy to buy games exclusively through the PlayStation Store, the Digital Edition is the better option.

Fundamentally, there are two versions of the PS5 (the launch model and the Slim refresh), and each of these have Disc and Digital editions.

The main difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition is the absence of a Blu-ray disc drive in the latter. If you don’t need to play physical discs, the Digital Edition may be a better choice for you, as it’s $100 cheaper.

Yes, the PS5 Digital Edition was launched on November 12, 2020, and is available from various retailers and the official PlayStation website.

Whether or not it’s worth getting the Digital Edition depends on your personal preferences. If you only care about getting games from the PlayStation Store, and don’t have a collection of physical movies or PS4 games, it’s probably the ideal choice.

In theory, yes. If you don’t want to load your PS5’s storage to the brim with games, purchasing a disc model will help. Disc games don’t need to offload all their files to the PS5’s drive, saving some storage space for other media.

You can download games from the PlayStation Store on any PS5, regardless of whether it has a disc drive.

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