Xbox Series S vs Series X spec-by-spec comparison

JD Wheeler

Posts: 9   +3
Staff
Recap: Microsoft has fully unveiled both the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S. Coming in at the aggressive price points of $499 and $299 respectively, the consoles will launch globally November 10th, with pre-orders starting September 22nd. A hardware subscription option is also available, $24.99 for 24 months will get you the Xbox Series S, with the Series X subscription at $34.99.

The wait is finally over. Microsoft has fully unveiled the pricing, specs, and release dates for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Both consoles are looking to be attractive offers for different audiences, but it might not be obvious which one is best for your needs. Let's make a quick comparison to get the big picture of what Microsoft is offering come November 10th.

  Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
CPU 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz 3.6GHz w/ SMT Enabled 8-Core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz 3.4GHz w/ SMT Enabled
GPU AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
GPU Power 12.15 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS
System on a Chip Custom 7nm Enhanced SoC Custom 7nm Enhanced SoC
RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 10GB @ 560 GB/s 6GB @ 336 GB/s 10GB GDDR6 RAM 8GB @ 224GB/s 2GB @ 56GB/s
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS 1440p @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
Storage 1TB PCle Gen 4 NVMe SSD 2.4GB/sec uncompressed 4.8GB/sec compressed 512GB PCle Gen 4 NVMe SSD 2.4GB/sec uncompressed 4.8GB/sec compressed
Expandable Storage 1TB Expansion Card 1TB Expansion Card
Backward Compatibility Thousands of Xbox One and backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games at launch. Xbox One accessories are backward-compatible as well. Thousands of Xbox One and backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games at launch. Xbox One accessories are backward-compatible as well.
Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Digital Only
Display Out HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1
MSRP $499 $299

CPU & GPU:

The Xbox Series X comes with an impressive combination of an 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU, mated with a custom-made RDNA 2 GPU with 52CUs pumping 12.15 TFLOPS of compute power. The Series S comes with a very similar, but cut-down design.

The CPU is nearly identical, with the core count and architecture features the same between the two systems. The only difference is a 200MHz downclock across the board on the cheaper Xbox Series S, a change likely due to the thermal limitations of the smaller system. The GPU is where the biggest difference lie. Using the same AMD RDNA 2 architecture, the Series S GPU contains 20CUs clocked at 1.565GHz bringing just 4 TFLOPS to the table.

RAM:

Both consoles will have GDDR6 solutions closely integrated with their SoCs. The Series X contains 16GB of total RAM with 10GB reaching 560 GB/s and 6GB reaching 336 GB/s. The Series S is cut down to 10GB RAM, with 8GB of it reaching 224GB/s and 2GB a comparatively low 56GB/s.

Storage & Optical Media:

Straight to the point, both consoles are designed with high-performance NVMe SSDs with the Series X at 1TB of built in storage and the Series S at 512GB. Both capacities seem quite limited in today's world of games pushing 100+ GB. Microsoft is allowing users to connect 3rd party storage, but due to the speed limitations of external drives, only Xbox One and earlier titles will be playable from the drives. Series X/S games can be stored on an external drive, but are required to be transferred over to the internal drive or a 1TB expansion card offered by Seagate.

Another cost-saving measure for the Series S is the console going all digital. No disc drive is included in the cheaper system, while the Series X will include a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive. Although backwards compatibility will be the same between the two, users with disc collections of previous generation Xbox games would be forced to buy the games digitally to play on the Series S instead of just popping in the physical copy they already own.

Pricing:

Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox Series X price at $499 / £449 / AU$749. The flagship console will compete directly with Sony’s PS5, which has yet to officially reveal its price.

The Xbox Series S will retail at a competitive $299.99 / £249.99 / AU$499.

At a savings of $200, the Series S will definitely capture the market of more price-conscious gamers who may have been on the edge of upgrading in the first place. The extra cash could go towards purchasing a more games, extra storage, or a year's subscription of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Speaking of subscriptions, Microsoft is bringing their all-inclusive hardware subscription offerings to the new consoles as well. $24.99 per month for 24 months will get you the Xbox Series S and a Game Pass Ultimate subscription with no upfront costs. The Series X subscription is $34.99 per month for 24 months.

Who these consoles are for:

By releasing two different consoles to kick off the new generation, Microsoft is hoping to have an Xbox offering for everyone. The Series X is targeted to gamers who want the best of best, enthusiasts who care about 4K resolution gaming at 60-120 FPS.

A potentially overlooked audience that the Series X retains by keeping the disc drive are those with multiple generations worth of disc-based Xbox games. It's a smart move on Microsoft's part, as this group is likely to be older and have more disposable income. It may also make a compelling argument for those who mainly game on PC, even though future first-party titles will be coming to PC. As someone with an Xbox game collection going back to the original system, I find myself tempted to pick up an Xbox Series X to have a system in the living room that supports most of those games at their highest possible quality.

The Xbox Series S seems like a great buy for the more casual gamer who may only play a few titles a year. It's a significantly more powerful console than the Xbox One and PS4 and gives those without 4K displays little reason to spend the extra $200 for the Series X.

At just $299, it's almost guaranteed to be the go-to system parents buy for their kids, or for cash strapped students looking for their next system. That is unless Sony comes back swinging with their own budget offering.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,332   +3,159
I’m not sure what I hate more:

The way the Xbox SX looks, Microsoft’s insistence on multiple versions of the system, or the lack of a user replaceable SSD drive.

I think this is the year they lost me as an XBL subscriber.
 
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Adi6293

Posts: 567   +667
I’m not sure what I hate more:

The way the Xbox SX looks, Microsoft’s insistence on multiple versions of the system, or the lack of a user replaceable SSD drive.

I think this is the year they lost me as an XBL subscriber.
I think the look of the SX is quite alright, the SS is terrible looking and priced in my opinion, $299 for a digital only console? The fact it exists its not a problem, not everyone can afford a $499 console but $299 for this ugly looking thing without blue ray drive.... definitely not
 
I think the look of the SX is quite alright, the SS is terrible looking and priced in my opinion, $299 for a digital only console? The fact it exists its not a problem, not everyone can afford a $499 console but $299 for this ugly looking thing without blue ray drive.... definitely not
And with the Series S only coming with a 512 GB SSD, that is going to fill up very fast. The expandable storage is more than likely going to be pricey as it is proprietary.

I like Sony's approach much better even though you will only be able to use Sony approved SSDs, that will allow for a cheaper expansion of storage. I will more than likely get both a Series X and a PS5. I just can't see myself getting a console without a disk drive.
 

Morris Minor

Posts: 223   +144
I think the look of the SX is quite alright, the SS is terrible looking and priced in my opinion, $299 for a digital only console? The fact it exists its not a problem, not everyone can afford a $499 console but $299 for this ugly looking thing without blue ray drive.... definitely not
how much is the switch
 

dnous

Posts: 14   +10
I wonder if MS will (eventually) add support for external NVME 4.0 drives. Would be nice to see an alternative to the proprietary expansion cards.
 
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DZillaXx

Posts: 75   +95
And with the Series S only coming with a 512 GB SSD, that is going to fill up very fast. The expandable storage is more than likely going to be pricey as it is proprietary.

I like Sony's approach much better even though you will only be able to use Sony approved SSDs, that will allow for a cheaper expansion of storage. I will more than likely get both a Series X and a PS5. I just can't see myself getting a console without a disk drive.
I'm a fan of the removable fast storage idea. It was awesome back on the 360, made moving around your data super easy. Plus being able to move a game between two machines will be super quick, as well as being really easy to replace and upgrade.

I think MS made the right move. I know a lot of people that refuse to mess around with electronics, and little kids and parents will have a easier time with easy upgradable storage. Sony's method while clean and hidden, is by far a more invasive process.

IMO the Series S is a huge win in my book. I don't game much and when I do it tends to be mostly light gaming, the series s would be perfect. Sadly I have a bunch of old XB1 games I'd like to be able to still use without having to pull the old xbox out of storage.


512GB isn't a lot, a 2TB USB HDD for archiving games onto might be the way to go.
 

rxs2222

Posts: 13   +42
512gb in 2021 is a joke, we already have 200gb games. This expansion card ****, reminds me of Huawei and their Nano Memory bullshit.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 14   +1
I like the strategy of the Amazon at their game engine Lumberyard (it’s a fork of Cryengine). They tell the developers, if you want make a game completely offline use the game engine for free, if you want to put and multiplayer mode only then you have to use Amazon online services so there will be an income to the Amazon.
So I think it would be better the consoles to be open and unlocked to everyone (the indie developers they could sell their games on usb sticks or dvds or online and tell the users to write it in a physical medium) for offline games and go through ms only for online games. Why I think that it would be better? Because of the network effects its the answer.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,206   +1,984
The hardware is really not impressive but Game Pass Ultimate is a no brainer.

Microsoft finally taking PC gamers seriously and Game Pass on Windows is the smartest games related decision they have made in decades.

No need to buy their console hardware any more with it, just make sure you have a modern PC and you have the best of everything covered off.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 89   +43
I'm a fan of the removable fast storage idea. It was awesome back on the 360, made moving around your data super easy. Plus being able to move a game between two machines will be super quick, as well as being really easy to replace and upgrade.

I think MS made the right move. I know a lot of people that refuse to mess around with electronics, and little kids and parents will have a easier time with easy upgradable storage. Sony's method while clean and hidden, is by far a more invasive process.

IMO the Series S is a huge win in my book. I don't game much and when I do it tends to be mostly light gaming, the series s would be perfect. Sadly I have a bunch of old XB1 games I'd like to be able to still use without having to pull the old xbox out of storage.


512GB isn't a lot, a 2TB USB HDD for archiving games onto might be the way to go.
At the moment I think M/S is a sensible compromise to price and high speed controllers to connect to external drives . Yeah serious games with need that internal seagate 1TB - But the big kicker is you do not need your old XBoxes - the games as stated will run from external drive - It's simple old games to external drives - new games to internal - there are a lot of good old games in the Xbox series. $499 is a good price - someone with money can buy both with avantage of local play and 2 controllers
 

MaitieS

Posts: 64   +52
Haha this whole comment section is such a big joke. LOL. This console costs 299$ and you are not happy enough? You would be salty even if it would be for 149$. I guess you can't please greedy people. Also seeing people being salty for expensive SSD. JESUS. You can totally see that you guys probably never worked in this field like, ever. /r/pcmasterrace prime material.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,948   +1,730
TechSpot Elite
And with the Series S only coming with a 512 GB SSD, that is going to fill up very fast. The expandable storage is more than likely going to be pricey as it is proprietary.

I like Sony's approach much better even though you will only be able to use Sony approved SSDs, that will allow for a cheaper expansion of storage. I will more than likely get both a Series X and a PS5. I just can't see myself getting a console without a disk drive.
The thing is, there hasn't been anything to confirm or deny that the Xbox expandable storage design won't be available to 3rd party later on. And at least they've announced one SSD available at launch (presumably).

Last I've heard, Sony has yet to announce any SSD's that are approved to work with the PS5's storage architecture...
 

ManuelV

Posts: 144   +68
I thought microsoft xbox strategy was genius until I see they are likely going the ps vita way with the storage.
 

Lounds

Posts: 540   +390
It'll be interesting to see if the monthly subscription model works for them. Personally£450 for the XSX is bargain. You can't build that as PC even if you tried buying all used parts.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 79   +88
25% of the computational power for ~60% of the price, well that hardly represents value for money.
 

eforce

Posts: 42   +37
It'll be interesting to see if the monthly subscription model works for them. Personally£450 for the XSX is bargain. You can't build that as PC even if you tried buying all used parts.
Over time PC gamers save money with cheaper/free games.
 
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Lounds

Posts: 540   +390
12tf vs 4, really?! lol
Ones designed to output a maximum resolution of 1440p the other 4k. 1080p to 4k is 4x more pixels, so the chances are visually the S and the X will look very similar with the X maybe having better Ray tracing due to the extra CU's.
 

Irata

Posts: 810   +1,140
TechSpot Elite
Haha this whole comment section is such a big joke. LOL. This console costs 299$ and you are not happy enough? You would be salty even if it would be for 149$. I guess you can't please greedy people. Also seeing people being salty for expensive SSD. JESUS. You can totally see that you guys probably never worked in this field like, ever. /r/pcmasterrace prime material.
It‘s quite amazing. For that price, you are lucky if you get a PC with an i3 (more likely a Celeron), and 4GB of RAM.

Found this PC on special offer @Dell for $329, down from $399.

https://deals.dell.com/en-us/productdetail/5b0f


No one has to like the concept or design (or even consoles), but the amount of unrealistic entitled whining is amazing.
 

Thanthan

Posts: 47   +97
The pricing honestly seems off to me. Theyre cutting A LOT of features. If it was 200usd I could see it but 300usd? Meh.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,826   +1,690
Great, a "next gen" console that has less GPU power and less RAM than what's available today.

That seems like it'll age well and convince developers to increase graphics fidelity and make bigger more expansive world's, oh wait...

Honestly don't care for the price, the point of a "next gen" console is to up the game again, move technology on and get developers to build something that was not possible before.

This box is just an Xbox One X with an SSD and better CPU basically.
 
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Kirby1

Posts: 20   +38
Great, a "next gen" console that has less GPU power and less RAM than what's available today.

That seems like it'll age well and convince developers to increase graphics fidelity and make bigger more expansive world's, oh wait...

Honestly don't care for the price, the point of a "next gen" console to to up the game again, move technology on and get developers to build something that was not possible before.

This box is just an Xbox One X with an SSD and better CPU basically.
I don't think it will be much of a problem. It's not an even comparison to compare the tflops of one gpu architecture to another. Likely the series s will be more powerful than the one x due to a more modern architecture, but even if it's l as powerful on the GPU side, that really shouldn't matter for game development as long as the CPU is essentially the same. Running the same games at a lower resolution is a no brainier, it won't make anything harder for developers I promise.
 
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