Key Differences Between the Xbox Series X and Series S Consoles – which one to choose?

Thinking of getting a new Microsoft console but not sure which one to choose? Would the Xbox Series X be better? Or is the Xbox Series S worth considering? What’s the difference between the two? What are the pros and cons of both variants?

Today is the day to settle this topic finally. We ask for calm from both camps. In this article, you will only find objective information to help you decide. Let’s get started!

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S – the basics

Here are some highlights of both Microsoft’s latest generation of consoles.

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X is the premium gaming console from Microsoft. It is the company’s most hyped-up baby and boasts the company’s best technological prowess, being the most advanced gaming console available of the brand. The Xbox X Series is the fastest, has the most space and has the best performance. It’s also almost twice as expensive and slightly bigger than the S model.

Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S is the smallest Xbox ever made. This console is just 27.5 cm high, 15.1 cm deep and 6.5 cm wide when upright. Its filigree form factor means that it can be comfortably placed next to your TV, even if you don’t have much space. What’s more, it can be positioned both vertically and horizontally. So you can place it next to the screen or slide it underneath, just like a soundbar audio system. The Xbox Series S looks good and is not inferior to the Xbox Series X in terms of performance. However, it does not come with a CD drive.

Xbox Series S vs Xbox Series X: key information

Let’s start with what the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X consoles have in common. What common features do you get when you buy new hardware from Microsoft?

Common features

Both the Xbox Series X and the S version offer access to the following features:

  • Xbox Velocity Architecture technology,
  • Quick Resume function,
  • DirectX Raytracing,
  • Variable Rate Shading,
  • Surround Sound (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby TrueHD with Atmos Technology, Windows Sonic),
  • Gaming at up to 120 fps,
  • Intelligent downloading,
  • Compatible with previous-generation games,
  • Compatibility with Xbox One gaming accessories,
  • Access to over 100 games via Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Xbox Series S vs Xbox Series X: specification

Below you will find the most relevant information from the specifications of both consoles. Such a comparison will help you best grasp the differences between the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.

SPECIFICATION XBOX SERIES X XBOX SERIES S
Processor 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8 GHz or 3.6 GHz with SMT enabled 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6 GHz or 3.4 GHz with SMT enabled
Graphics card AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz
Graphics card performance 12,15 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS
System on Chip (SoC) Custom, enhanced 7 nm SoC Custom, enhanced 7 nm SoC
RAM 16 GB DDR6 RAM, 10 GB @ 560 GB/s i 6 GB @ 336 GB/s 10 GB DDR6 RAM, 8 GB @ 224 GB/S i 2 GB @ 56 GB/S
Target performance 4K @ 60 FPS, support for 120 fps 1440p @ 60 FPS, support for 120 fps
Hard drive 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD, 2.4 GB/s uncompressed data, 4.8 GB/s compressed data 512 GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD, 2.4 GB/s uncompressed data, 4.8 GB/s compressed data
Additional data storage space 1 TB card to be purchased separately 1 TB card to be purchased separately
Backward compatibility Thousands of Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games supported on the console’s launch day. Xbox One accessories supported by the console Thousands of Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games supported on the console’s launch day. Xbox One accessories supported by the console
Optical drive 4K UHD Blu-ray No
Video output HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1
Size 15,1 cm × 15,1 cm

× 30,1 cm

4,4 kg

6,5 cm × 15,1 cm

× 27,5 cm

1,9 kg

Price £420-500 £200-300

What do you get in the box?

Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S only have the console, Xbox Wireless Controller and Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable in the box. Therefore, this should not determine your choice. However, it’s worth knowing that if you want to play with someone else, it’s worth getting an extra Xbox Series X controller. And while we’re at it, it’s best to choose the one that best meets your needs, so bet on the Xbox Series X controller custom design.

Storage

The two versions differ in terms of storage solutions. The Xbox Series X uses SSD storage, which is much faster in reading and write transfers than traditional hard drive technology and features a 1 TB SSD. This means that not only do games load faster, but you can pause a game, start another and quickly return to the previous title. In comparison, the Model S has 1 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. However, it consumes much more power than the Model S. Both consoles can be upgraded with external USB 3.0 drives, and the X series also has a dedicated proprietary drive port on the back where users can connect an optional additional 1 TB SSD to accommodate additional Xbox X games.

Games

First, let’s get one thing straight – both consoles from Microsoft are based on the same architecture, and any game released for the more powerful version will also run on the slightly weaker equivalent. So there’s no way that in two or three years’ time gamers who save up for a console won’t be able to run new titles.

Both the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X use the same processor, although in the former case with only a slightly different frequency. Instead, savings have been made on RAM, optical drive, disk capacity and, most importantly for gaming performance, graphics chip performance. As a result, the Xbox Series S will not allow play at 4K resolution, but at a maximum of 1440p.

Key differences between the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles

As you can see, the consoles differ mainly in four areas. The differences lie mainly in the speed of the graphics chip Xbox Series S is slightly slower and also has less RAM, which also has a lower speed. The cheaper console also has a smaller hard drive and no disc drive, so it only supports games bought digitally. There are also small differences in the processor, but these are so small that overall they do not matter much. In general, both consoles represent more or less the same level in terms of specification, so the choice should depend on other factors.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S – which one to choose?

Here’s our not-so-final verdict. Surprise, surprise – there is no clear answer to this question. It all depends on your preferences, the equipment you already have, space and budget.

If you don’t have the latest TV that allows 4k playback then it probably won’t make a difference whether you buy the Xbox Series X or the S. Similarly, if you have a large games’ room then you certainly won’t gain much by saving up and choosing the Xbox Series S. The same goes for the CD. Today, only avid collectors remember it.

Therefore, if you are on a tight budget and want to play straight away, then buy an Xbox Series S and spend the excess on a customised Xbox Series X controller. And if your budget allows you to get an Xbox Series X then go ahead and buy it. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

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