(Pocket-lint) - This holiday season will see the start of a new console generation, one that promises more power, more grunt and more heat dispersion than ever before.

The PlayStation 5 is on its way in two separate guises - one with and one without a 4K Blu-ray drive - and from gameplay footage shown so far, it's looking a mighty machine.

The only issue is that it could be rather pricey at launch. Even the Digital Edition could cost a fair penny, so the question on many people's lips is whether it is worth upgrading from a PS4 or PS4 Pro this year, or should they wait?

We hope to help answer that right here.

Design

Both the PS4 (slim) and PS4 Pro have a similar design aesthtic - like a console-flavoured sandwich. The Pro is fatter, but they each sit in a similar footprint in your AV cabinet.

However, the PlayStation 5 represents a major departure for the company, with white elements and a form factor that looks far better standing on its end than laid flat. It has blades either side and, it must be said, looks more like a cooling unit than a console. The irony is that cooling is likely the main reason for both its style and size.

Our PS4 Pro, for example, now sounds like a helicopter taking off, it runs so hot. The PS5 will undoubtedly run even hotter, considering the advanced chip tech inside, so we can forgive extra case size if it means cooling it better employed.

Still, it'll look quite a beast sat next to a living room TV, that's for sure.

Processing and graphics

Naturally, the PS5 represents a next-generational leap in tech, so the processing unit and GPU are more advanced that the ones used in the PS4 models.

All three consoles - base PS4, PS4 Pro and PS5 - use custom AMD CPUs, but the processing potential greatly improves as you move up the family.

Both the PS4 and PS4 Pro sport the same octa-core x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" chipset, while the PlayStation 5 adopts a much more recently crafted processor modelled on AMD's octa-core Zen 2 design. It runs at 3.5GHz per core for starters, which makes it a heck of a lot faster than the current gen alternative.

As for graphics, this is even more diverse. While all featuring Radeon chips, the standard PS4's GPU is capable of 1.84 TFLOPS, the PS4 Pro 4.20 TFLOPS, while the PS5 has 10.28 TFLOPS of power (running across 36 compute units).

Basically, the PS4 maxes at 1080p, the Pro at 4K (mostly checkerboard rather than native) and is most comfortable at 30fps. The PlayStation 5 on the other hand is capable of full 4K 60fps gaming, even 120fps somewhere down the line. There is also potential for 8K resolutions, although that won't be present or useful at launch.

It also has the ability for games to use ray tracing visual technology, which makes for much more accurate lighting effects. The PS4 models are not compatible with that relatively new tech.

Memory and storage

RAM will also make a difference in terms of speed and number of processes each console can handle at once.

The PS4 and Pro models each include 8GB of DDR5 RAM, while the PS5 ups the ante to 16GB of GDDR6.

Storage too will make a considerable difference, considering its use in the PS5.

The base model of the PS4 incorporates 500GB of HDD storage, while an enhanced version ups that to 1TB, much like the one found inside the PS4 Pro. And although the PlayStation 5 will come with similar storage capacity - 1TB - it will be SSD technology instead, which has considerably fasters read and write times, making games load in seconds, both when you start them up and during play.

All of the PlayStation consoles can be upgraded, either internally using third-party drives, or through USB with an external hard drive to greatly increase capacity.

Controller

After years of DualShock controllers, with the PS4's DualShock 4 being the current iteration, PlayStation has developed a new controller for the PS5.

The DualSense controller looks slightly different, but also has haptic technology on board that replaces the age-old rumble packs.

You can read more about the new PS5 controller here: PS5 DualSense controller: Key features, details and all you need to know.

Games and accessories

Unfortunately, unlike the Xbox One, many PlayStation 4 games will not be compatible with the PS5. There will be a long list of titles that will work, but Sony is currently committed to just 100 or so games to be backward compatible.

Some though, such as Cyberpunk 2077, will enable free upgrades whereby, if you purchase the PS4 version first, you'll be able to get the PS5 version at no extra cost after you upgrade.

One accessory that we are thrilled to see return is the Media Remote. The dedicated remote control for PS5 will help navigate through streaming services and Blu-ray playback.

Strangely, Sony decided against releasing an official one for PS4, even though it proved popular on the PlayStation 3 before.

Home Entertainment

Although Sony was bullish about only including a Blu-ray deck on the PS4 and PS4 Pro, even though the latter is capable of 4K HDR video playback, it has decided to add a full 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player to the PlayStation 5. Better late than never.

Naturally, the PS5 Digital Edition won't have a drive at all.

All of the consoles have or will have access to numerous video and music streaming services, with the Pro and PS5 capable of 4K HDR. The standard PS4 has HDR capabilties, but is locked to 1080p.

Price

Considering we don't yet know the full price of either the main PS5 or its Digital Edition, it's hard to rate price against each other.

However, it's obvious to say that the standard PS4 is the best for those on a budget. We'll update this section when we find out more.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that the PS5 will make for a big shift in gaming graphics and potential but it is worth considering that, traditionally, the first wave of next-generation games have always been available on the previous generation too. And, with such incredible machines already available (just look at The Last of Us Part 2 running on a PS4 or PS4 Pro) you might not feel the itch to upgrade just yet.

Still, the PS5 is shaping up to be a proper powerhouse of a machine, so there is every chance your bank manager is already sweating.

Writing by Rik Henderson.