With the Xbox Series S out in the open, set to be an affordable alternative to the more powerful, more beastly Xbox Series X, many have been wondering if this pint-sized console is actually more powerful than 2017’s Xbox One X. The answer is a bit complicated, and in 2020, it’s not a definitive “yes or no” answer. Here’s what you need to know.
Xbox Series S vs. Xbox One X
The Xbox One X was all about delivering 4K games with GPU-bound enhancements. The Outer Worlds, Gears 5’s campaign, Wasteland 3, and various other games run at a crisp 4K resolution on Xbox One X, with enhancements and other improvements. They are, however, 30 frames per second, which is a limitation commonly associated with the weaker CPU in the Xbox One X.
The Xbox Series S (and X) conversely has a far more powerful, modern CPU, built on AMD’s contemporary processor architecture. Games that favor the CPU for performance, such as Destiny 2, could see their frame rates boosted from 30 to 60 frames per second on the Xbox Series S, despite it being a more streamlined system on paper than the One X. The Xbox Series S is ultimately designed to be an affordable option for a specific market of gamers who perhaps don’t have a 4K TV, but want to get next-gen frame rates and other features.
Source: Windows Central
Another piece of this jigsaw is the 512GB NVME SSD storage. With Xbox Velocity Architecture and it’s vastly improved speed over the mechanical HDDs used in the One X, and its advanced decompression block, it can reduce the load on other components in the system to enhance overall efficiency. The SSD in the Xbox Series S is anywhere up to 40 times faster than the Xbox One X, and new APIs explicitly designed to take advantage of the NVME can provide some calculative assistance to the GPU and CPU, offloading operations that would bog down the Xbox One X.
Xbox Series S backward compatibility
The Xbox Series S is a far more balanced system overall.
The Xbox Series S is a far more balanced system overall, designed for a specific segment of the market that may not yet have 4K televisions or favor performance over resolution, and don’t want to pay extra for it. Microsoft said in leaked press materials that “dozens” of games will launch with Xbox Series X enhancements when both consoles launch on November 10. They then went on to say that any game optimized for Series X will also be optimized for Series S.
It’s not a stretch to think that many of the most popular titles, such as Destiny 2, Fortnite, and so on, won’t get some form of Xbox Series S-enhanced version, given that the Series S is likely going to be the more popular option with consumers this holiday season owing to its $299 price point.
We’re still gathering a list of games that are confirmed to be Xbox Series S and X optimized, but it’s already looking quite vast. Destiny 2 will be 60 frames per second on the Series X, and given that it is a CPU-intensive game, it’s fair to assume that it will also hit 60 FPS on the Xbox Series S, albeit at a lower resolution.
Xbox Series S upgrades the One S; Series X upgrades the One X
Many past, present, and future games will enjoy frame rate enhancements and other improvements.
Many past, present, and future games will enjoy frame rate enhancements and other improvements to make games feel better — even if they won’t get the crispness of 4K gaming on a 4K TV.
The $499 Xbox Series X is the definitive upgrade for those who have a $499 Xbox One X, with enough GPU power to get the most out of their 4K TVs, alongside other visual enhancements that require more serious GPU performance.
Both systems will benefit from the large bump in CPU performance, and the near-instantaneous loading speeds on the SSD and other improvements as developers get to grips with new APIs like DirectStorage and the broader Xbox Velocity Architecture. Many older games will get enhancements to take them beyond their Xbox One S versions on the Xbox Series S, improving frame rates and general smoothness. Meanwhile, future games built for the new GameCore OS development environment will take advantage of all these new features out of the box.
The shorthand rule of thumb is, if you’re on an Xbox One S and have a 1080p TV, you may be happy upgrading to the Xbox Series S. If you have an Xbox One X and a 4K TV, you should upgrade to the Xbox Series X. Your best Xbox One headset and all of your other accessories will also just work on the new consoles. And thanks to Xbox All Access, it’s easier than ever to jump into next-gen as well, spreading the cost of the console out across two years as well.
Whichever console you decide to jump into next-gen with, there are exciting times ahead for gamers everywhere.