In the landscape of gaming, innovation is a constant driving force, propelling gaming consoles to new heights of performance, visual fidelity, and immersive experiences. With the introduction of the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, Microsoft has once again raised the bar, offering gamers a glimpse into the future of gaming technology. These two consoles, released as part of the Xbox Series X|S generation, mark a significant leap forward in both hardware capabilities and gaming experiences.
Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X is a gaming console developed by Microsoft and released as part of the Xbox Series X|S generation. It was officially announced on December 12, 2019, and released on November 10, 2020. The Xbox Series X is positioned as a high-performance gaming console, designed to deliver next-generation gaming experiences with significant advancements over its predecessor, the Xbox One.
key features about the Xbox Series X:
- Performance: The Xbox Series X is designed to offer impressive gaming performance, boasting a custom AMD Zen 2 processor and RDNA 2 graphics architecture. This hardware enables faster load times, higher frame rates, and improved graphical fidelity compared to previous console generations.
- Resolution and Graphics: The Series X is targeted towards 4K gaming and can support up to 8K resolutions for video playback. It is capable of delivering ray tracing, high dynamic range (HDR), and variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies to enhance visual quality.
- Storage: The Series X comes with a custom 1TB NVMe SSD, which significantly reduces load times and offers a more seamless gaming experience compared to traditional hard drives. The storage architecture also allows for quick game switching and faster installations.
- Size and Design: The Series X features a distinctive tower-like design with a black exterior and green accents. It’s larger than previous Xbox consoles to accommodate its powerful hardware and cooling solutions.
- Backward Compatibility: The Series X supports backward compatibility with a wide range of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. Many of these games can benefit from improved load times and higher resolutions.
- Game Pass: Like other Xbox consoles, the Series X supports Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that offers access to a diverse library of games, including first-party titles from Microsoft Studios.
- Ray Tracing and Next-Gen Features: The Series X is capable of hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing, which allows for more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows in supported games. It also includes other advanced features like faster rendering, improved AI capabilities, and reduced input latency.
- Price: The Xbox Series X is positioned as a premium gaming console and is priced accordingly. It offers top-of-the-line gaming experiences and cutting-edge technology.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S is a gaming console developed by Microsoft and released as part of the Xbox Series X|S generation. It was officially announced on September 8, 2020, and released on November 10, 2020. The Xbox Series S is designed to be a more affordable and compact version of the more powerful Xbox Series X console.
Key features of Xbox Series S
- Performance: The Xbox Series S is capable of delivering next-generation gaming experiences with reduced graphical power compared to the Xbox Series X. It is not as powerful as the Series X but still offers substantial improvements over its predecessor, the Xbox One.
- Resolution and Graphics: The Series S is targeted towards 1080p and 1440p displays, rather than 4K like the Series X. It is capable of upscaling games to 4K resolution, but it doesn’t provide the same level of visual fidelity as the more powerful console.
- Storage: The Xbox Series S comes with a 512GB NVMe SSD, which is the same type of storage technology used in the Series X. However, the smaller storage capacity might mean you’ll need to manage your game library more closely.
- Size and Design: The Series S features a smaller and more compact design compared to the Series X. This makes it easier to fit into different entertainment setups.
- Backward Compatibility: Like the Series X, the Series S is backward compatible with a wide range of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. These games can benefit from faster load times and some graphical improvements.
- Game Pass: The Xbox Series S, like other Xbox consoles, supports Xbox Game Pass, which is a subscription service that provides access to a large library of games, including first-party titles from Microsoft Studios.
- Ray Tracing and Next-Gen Features: The Series S supports hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing and other next-generation gaming technologies, though to a slightly lesser degree than the Series X.
- Price: The main selling points of the Xbox Series S is its affordability compared to the more powerful Series X. By sacrificing some performance and features, Microsoft aimed to make next-gen gaming more accessible to a broader audience.
- Performance and Power: The Xbox Series X is more powerful than the Xbox Series S. It features higher processing power, better graphics, and faster load times.
- Resolution: The Xbox Series X supports native 4K resolution gaming, while the Xbox Series S targets a resolution of 1440p, which is slightly lower.
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The Series X has a more advanced GPU, allowing for better graphical fidelity and performance compared to the Series S.
- Storage Capacity: The Series X comes with 1TB of internal storage, while the Series S has a smaller 512GB of internal storage.
- Physical Size: The Series X is larger and heavier than the Series S due to its more powerful hardware components.
- Optical Drive: The Series X includes a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive for physical game discs and media playback, while the Series S lacks an optical drive entirely.
- Backward Compatibility: Both consoles offer backward compatibility with a range of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even original Xbox games. However, the Series X might offer slightly improved performance on backward-compatible titles due to its hardware.
- Ray Tracing: Both consoles support ray tracing, a rendering technique that enhances lighting and reflections for more realistic graphics, but the Series X can handle it at a higher level of detail and performance.
- Price: The Series S is typically priced lower than the Series X, making it a more budget-friendly option for gamers.
- RAM: The Series X has more RAM (16GB) compared to the Series S (10GB), allowing for better multitasking and game performance.
- Design: While both consoles share a similar design language, the Series X is a monolithic tower, while the Series S is smaller and more compact.
- Digital vs. Physical Focus: The Series S is designed to be a digital-first console, while the Series X can accommodate both digital and physical game formats.
- Target Audience: The Series X is aimed at hardcore gamers who want the best possible performance and graphics, while the Series S targets more casual gamers or those on a budget.
- Storage Expansion: Both consoles support proprietary expansion cards for additional storage, but the Series X might benefit more from this due to its larger game file sizes.
Which Xbox is the Best?
We’ll have to see both systems ourselves and put them through their paces to really know which is the better value. Based on the specs and features, the Xbox Series X seems superior across the board, with much more processing power and the ability to render at 4K, along with double the storage and an optical drive for physical media. It’s much bigger and more expensive, however, so if budget and space are concerns for you, the Xbox Series S looks to be a respectable system with plenty of power in its own right, though the lack of a disc drive is a distinct weakness.
Both consoles use HDMI 2.1 which means you’ll have no issues setting these up with modern TVs and sound systems, taking advantage of modern speaker setups, high-definition TVs and so forth.