Here’s how the Xbox Series S stacks up against Series X, Xbox One consoles
One of the biggest surprises over the holiday weekend was the unintended reveal of the Xbox Series S, Microsoft’s more affordable next-gen console. Now that both consoles’ release dates and prices have been revealed, Microsoft has given us a better idea of how the Xbox Series S will stack up against Xboxes past, present, and future.
In a recent blog post, Xbox head of platform engineering and hardware Liz Hamren detailed the Xbox Series S’ specs. For starters, let’s look at the CPU. Where the Xbox Series X boasts an 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz, the Series S is not far behind with an 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz.
Practically speaking, this difference is negligible, as Hamren states that the Series S “has the identical I/O performance as the Xbox Series X,” meaning it can make computations just as fast as its bulkier counterpart. More importantly, the Series S “supports experiences up to 120fps” and “DirectX Raytracing and Variable Rate Shading,” meaning it still boasts a pretty sizable graphical and performance advantage over the Xbox One X.
In terms of storage, the Series S comes equipped with a 512GB custom SSD that’s “powered by the Xbox Velocity Architecture, delivering more than 40x the I/O bandwidth of an Xbox One.” This means faster loading times, steadier frame rates, and the ability to Quick Resume multiple titles at any given time.
Where the Series S passes its savings onto you is when it comes to the GPU and resolution. Where the Series X’s GPU performance rates in at 12 teraflops, the Series S only has a 4-teraflop GPU, which is less than the One X. Its actual graphics card is an AMD RDNA 2 GPU, similar to the Series X, but it only has 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz, compared to the Series X’s 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz. This means that the Series S is targeting 1440p @ 60 FPS, not 4K @ 60 FPS, but both consoles can push their titles to 120 FPS, which is something the One X can emphatically not do.
Oh, and… there’s no disc drive. The Xbox Series S is a digital-only platform. But it’s also the smallest Xbox ever, so that kind of makes up for it. And it’s got a cool-looking fan.
So what does that mean for you, the prospective consumer? Well, considering the Series S is launching with a price tag of $299, it’s a darn good deal, all things considered. That’s also $100 less than the One X launched for, and the Series S is promising load times and frame rates that are just not possible on current-gen tech. In other words, if performance means more to you than resolution, the Series S offers a compelling argument, especially if you don’t have a 4K TV yet. Plus, the lack of a disc drive shouldn’t matter too much if you plan on taking advantage of Game Pass Ultimate, which will be combining forces with EA Play this holiday season.
Michael Goroff has written and edited for EGM since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter @gogogoroff.