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Next-Gen Explainers - Breaking down the jargon of PS5 and Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)

 As we sit on the dawn of the next-generation of consoles, you'll begin to see a lot of jargon and technicalities thrown around. So ahead of the twin 'Holiday 2020' release dates for Xbox Series X and PS5, we've put together some explainers that should help break down the tech lingo, the flops and the SSDs, the ray-tracing chat and haptic feedback rumblings. After all, the tech exists behind the scenes more than anything, we want to know how it's going to affect the way we play and experience games going forward. 

Our week of content will run from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20, with a handful of new articles every day. We'll collate all of them here for your reading convenience. Don't forget to get involved by following GamesRadar on Twitter and Facebook too.

Monday, March 16

8K resolution explained - What is it, and do you need an 8K TV?  With all the talk of 8K resolutions for Xbox Series X and PS5 games, do you actually need to worry about buying an 8K TV right now? We explore exactly what 8K resolution means, how it compares to 4K and full 1080p HD, and whether you should start saving for a new TV.

What is Variable Rate Shading? - The Xbox Series X feature explained  
One of the new buzz words around the Xbox Series X, Variable Rate Shading feels like an incredibly difficult thing to get your head around unless you're familiar with the intricacies of how games are made. We break down the jargon and explain why it's exciting for next-gen gaming 

What is ray-tracing? Is it really the future of gaming graphics?
Already featured in high-end gaming PCs, ray-tracing is about to jump over to our new consoles soon. Here we explore why you should care, what it does for our games, and where you can see it in action already.

Tuesday, March 17

What is haptic feedback? Will it change the way we play and experience games?
Rumble HD is so 2000 and late, so what's coming to make our games literally feel better to play. Meet haptic feedback, the new vibration tech that's already found in more gaming gadgets than you'd expect. Here we explain why it's interesting, where it's already found, and what it's about to do for the PS5. 

What does frame rate mean?
We talk a lot about frame rate in games - remember the chants of 1080P 60FPS back in the day? - but do we really know what it means, or what the next-gen consoles are promising in terms of frame rate? Read more about it all in this explainer.

What are teraFLOPS and why does everyone keep talking about them?
The big buzzword around the Xbox Series X is currently about how the console is packing 12 teraflops. But, what exactly are teraflops? And what will having more mean for the way we game?

Wednesday, March 18

SSD vs HDD - What's the benefit of the new hard drive tech?
With next-gen consoles making the move to internal SSD drives instead of traditional HDD drives, what will this mean for our gaming habits? We explore all the benefits of such a move, and the potential drawbacks. 

Should I buy an SSD now? Will it work with next-gen consoles?
External SSD drives are an expensive purchase, but is there a benefit of investing now to futureproof yourself for the eventual expanding library that will arrive with PS5 and Xbox Series X later this year? Here's why you should think about buying an SSD now.

Thursday, March 19

What is HDMI 2.1? What does it mean for next-gen tech and TVs?
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will boast a HDMI 2.1 port, but don't confuse this for just a slicker, faster upgrade to the HDMI hook-ups that we're used to with the current generation of consoles. HMDI 2.1 could be a real game-changer for next-gen, and we explain exactly why that is right here. 

What is GDDR6 RAM? What does it mean for us gamers?
Most of us will have either never heard of GDDR6, or simply overlooked it as another piece of gaming jargon that means little for the day-to-day console player. Don't be fooled; Sony and Microsoft are making a big deal about this latest development in RAM power for a reason, as our latest breakdown handily explains. 

Friday, March 20

AMD Navi - What's special about the new GPU tech that'll power the PS5 and Xbox Series X?
AMD's new graphics card tech has been circulating amongst next-gen discourse ever since it was announced, but what does it really mean for the future of gaming? We dissect the AMD Navi's spec, price, and release schedule, and explore how it'll affect the way you play and consume your video games, whether on PC or console. 

All the next-gen tech you can already experience in PC gaming
Sony and Microsoft may want you to believe that the future is a little over half a year away, but the truth is that most of the promised next-gen tech behind PS5 and Xbox Series X has been a part of PC gaming for years. We breakdown everything, from ray-tracing to 3D audio, that is coming to the next-gen consoles but already available on high-end gaming PCs. 

USB 3.2 explained
Everything you need to know about the latest USB upgrade, especially now it's in the Xbox Series X. A simple cable could shape next-gen.

Sam Loveridge
Sam Loveridge

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for over seven years, and for GamesRadar, she is in charge of reviews, best lists, and the overall running of the site and its staff. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles!