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After 7 years since the last Xbox the 4th generation has finally arrived; the Xbox Series S and X.
Xbox Series X & S - Everything you need to know
Whether you’ve been waiting for the new Xbox Series S and X since it was still being referred to as ‘Project Scarlet’, or if you’ve only started paying attention since those weird fridge related ads starring Snoop Dogg, that wait is now over! We’ve compiled all the handy info in one place so you can make an educated decision as to whether it’s fitting of a place on your Christmas list.
Release date & where to buy
The Xbox Series X was released on November 10th launch, coming in at $499 / £449. There’s also the option of the Xbox Series S, a more affordable console at just $299 / £249, although lacking some of the gameplay power of the Series X.
Whichever you decide on you’re able to pay monthly through a program called Xbox All Access which offer the next gen consoles for monthly payments with the Xbox Series S will set you back $24.99/£20.99 and the Xbox Series X costing $34.99/£28.99.
“Xbox Series X is our fastest, most powerful console ever, designed for a console generation that has you at its center“
The Series X specifically is the most powerful console when it comes to sheer graphical output – yes even more powerful than either version of the PS5.
Both Microsoft and Sony have both decided to go down the route of releasing one version of their next gen console with a disc drive, and one without, the latter for a lower cost. For Sony that’s pretty much where the differences end but for Microsoft they’ve gone a few steps further to cut down the cost of the disc-less Xbox Series S.
The Series S however has just 4 teraflops of GPU performance, compared to the 12.15 teraflops on the Xbox Series X, as well as only 10GB of RAM in comparison to the Series X’s 16GB. Overall it’s clear they’ve made cutbacks to make sure they have a real bargain console available, however the RAM decrease in particular is really going to affect game load times. If you’re a serious gamer we’d recommend going with the Series X or PS5, but the Series S still gives you a cheaper option, especially if you pair it up with their pay monthly option.
You can take a look at the full specs below:
|Xbox Series X||Xbox One X||Xbox One S|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8Ghz (3.6Ghz with SMT)||8x Custom Jaguar Cores at 2.13Ghz||8x Custom Jaguar Cores at 1.75Ghz|
|GPU||12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825Ghz, Custom RDNA 2||6 TFLOPs, 40 CUs at 1.172Ghz, Custom GCN + Polaris Features||1.4 TFLOPs, 12 CUs at 914MHz, Custom GCN GPU|
|Process||TSMC 7nm Enhanced||TSMC 16nmFF+||TSMC 16nmFF|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR5||8GB DDR3, 32MB ESRAM|
|Memory Bandwidth||10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s||326 GB/s||68GB/s, ESRAM at 219GB/s|
|Internal Storage||1TB Custom NVMe SSD||1TB HDD||1TB HDD|
|IO Throughput||2.4GB/s (RAW), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)||120MB/s||120MB/s|
|Expandable Storage||1TB Expansion Card||–||–|
|External Storage||USB 3.2 HDD Support||USB 3.2 HDD Support||USB 3.2 HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
|Performance Target||4K at 60fps – up to 120fps||4K at 30fps – up to 60fps||1080p at 30fps – up to 60fps|
How do they look?
Whether I’m just forgetting them or not (hey it was 7 years ago since the last) but this generation of consoles seems to have seen more debate around aesthetics than any other.
At the heart of that debate is the cubic design of the Xbox Series X. Microsoft have joined in with the jokes around the console resembling a fridge with joke ads hitting social media in October.
The consoles exact dimensions are:
- Dimensions – 15.1 cm × 15.1 cm × 30.1 cm (5.9 in × 5.9 in × 11.9 in)
- Total Mass – 9.8 pounds (4.4 kg)
Meanwhile the Xbox Series S is a much more compact design. It’s absolutely tiny for this generation, again honing in on the idea of it being a cost effective, less serious entry into gaming.
- Dimensions: 15.1 cm × 6.5 cm × 27.5 cm (5.9 in × 2.6 in × 11 in)
- Total Mass: 4.25 pounds (1.93 kg)
The New Xbox Series Controller
So although the Xbox One controllers will still work on the new generation of Xbox consoles, Microsoft have still unveiled a new slightly updated version.
On the surface there’s very little change, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with the Xbox controller in most of the communities opinion, outperforming the Sony controllers since the 360 V PS3 days.
This latest iteration features a handful of updates including an updated D-pad inspired by the Elite Controllers from the previous generation, a new share button (following Sonys move into that territory).
Honestly we’d love to go into more detail on upgrades they’ve made to the new Xbox controller but that’s pretty much it and we can’t say we mind too much. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it right? You can check out a very lengthy tour through the above in this Xbox guide video.
One of the biggest draws of the Xbox Series S and X is it’s backwards compatibility. Where Sony flip flopped on exactly what titles from which generations would be available on their new consoles, Microsoft were quick to confirm that both would be capable of running content from “all previous consoles” – although remember that the Series S doesn’t include a disc drive so make sure you can still purchase a specific title through the store if you have something a little more niche in mind to play on the next gen hardware.
It’s also worth noting you’ll be able to take advantage of Xbox Game Pass to get access to a huge number of titles for a monthly fee of $9.99/£7.99 a month. It’s an absolute must if you end up going with Microsoft this console generation, dramatically outperforming Sony’s PS Plus.