Xbox One vs. Xbox Series X
You may have heard about Microsoft releasing the Xbox Series X in late 2020. For gamers, this officially signals the 9th generation console wars. We’re here to see how it stacks up against its immediate predecessor: the Xbox One – and whether it’s time to make that jump to the next gen.
Strap yourself in trooper, it’s time to find out which box we’ll be wrapping up for Christmas.
One Box to Rule Them All
Released by Microsoft in May 2013, the Xbox One is an eighth-generation video game console and succeeded the Xbox 360.
Dubbed an “all-in-one entertainment system”, the Xbox One sported a Blu-ray drive, cloud computing capabilities and social media integration, allowing players to document/share video clips or screenshots and directly live stream via Mixer and Twitch.
It also included general improvements such as better motion tracking and voice recognition, inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity in the wireless controller, and support for overlays when used with external video sources like set-top boxes, digital tuners and other consoles.
A slimmer version, the Xbox One S, was released August 2016. Upgrades included high-dynamic range video support, upscaled 4K video and an integrated power supply. A further “high end hardware” revision, teased as “Project Scorpio”, was also released November 2017 as the Xbox One X – featuring a higher clocked CPU and GPU, larger and faster RAM, as well as native 4K support.
The Xbox Series X, was announced in 2019 as “Project Scarlett” and promises to do more and be more, with Microsoft estimating it to be at least four times as powerful as the Xbox One X.
What’s Under the Hood
o 8 Core AMD Jaguar Accelerated Processing Unit at 1.75 GHz
o 8 Core AMD “Jaguar” APU at 2.3 GHz (Xbox One X)
o AMD GCN at 853Mhz w/ 12 compute units (Xbox One)
o AMD GCN at 914Mhz w/ 12 CU’s (Xbox One S)
o AMD GCN 2.0 at 1,172MHz w/ 40 CU’s (Xbox One X)
o 8GB DDR3, 32MB ESRAM
o 12GB GDDR5 (Xbox One X)
o 1TB/500GB 2.5-inch HDD, 2TB version available for the Xbox One X
Connectivity and I/O
o USB 3.0 X 3
o IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi
o Blu-ray, (UHD Blu-ray for the Xbox One S and Xbox One X)
o HDMI 1.4 in/out
o 1080p, Blu-ray (Xbox One)
o 4K, and 1080p; 4K UHD Blu-ray; Optical output; 4K video upscaling; HDR support (Xbox One S)
o 4K, and 1080p; 4K UHD Blu-ray; Optical output; native 4K playback; HDR support (Xbox One X)
Xbox Series X (reported specs as of March 2020)
o 8 Core, 16 Thread AMD Zen 2 APU at 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz on simultaneous threads)
o AMD RDNA 2 at 1.825 Ghz w/ 52 CU’s with support for real-time ray-tracing
o 16GB GDDR6
o 1 TB NVMe internal SSD
o Expansion Card of 1TB (needs to match internal SSD)
o External HDD support via USB ports
Connectivity and I/O
o USB 3.2 X 3
o IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi
o 4K UHD Blu-ray
o HDMI 2.1 in/out
o 1080p (120 fps), 4K (60 fps) and 8K support via HDMI 2.1
Spec-wise, the Xbox One’s Jaguar APU and its GCN GPU (which is the same as the PS4’s) was based on architecture that was already outdated in the PC space at announcement. The DDR4 memory spec for RAM launched less than a year after the Xbox One and lightning-fast solid-state drives were making their way into the mainstream market.
In stark contrast, the Xbox Series X raw specs are enough to make even the most hardcore PC gamer drool, namely:
o The CPU is based on high-end bleeding edge Zen 2 architecture allowing for more complex computes.
o The GPU component is based off unreleased RDNA 2 technology allegedly capable of real-time ray-tracing for more realistic lighting effects (which even high end PC GPU’s struggle to provide) and supports frame rates above 60 fps with variable refresh rates (allowing for buttery smooth graphics – a staple of PC gaming).
o GDDR6 RAM – looks like Microsoft learned their lesson well by going TWO generations ahead of the PC industry standard DDR4.
o an NVMe Solid State Drive – which should cut load and save times dramatically
o 8K Video Support
Xbox Series X
The Series X will have new features like:
- Quick Resume - allows players to switch between games without dealing with loading screens or start-up menus.
- Smart Delivery - ensures that newer versions of Xbox One games in your library are automatically made available for the Series X.
The Xbox Series One is home to great titles like Gears of War 4, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry V, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XV and even the recently released Doom: Eternal. RPG’s, shooters, platformers, you name it and the Xbox One has it. All that PLUS backwards compatibility with supported Xbox and Xbox 360 games!
Oh, and a couple of Microsoft first party titles like little-known games called Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Wars 2.
The Series X features full backwards compatibility with the Xbox One, meaning the ENTIRE Xbox One game catalogue - INCLUDING any Xbox or Xbox 360 games that worked with the Xbox One – will work with the Series X. Like the Xbox One, Microsoft has a line of first-party titles for it like Halo Infinite.
While the Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamepads look and feel similar to each other, there are slight differences: the Xbox One’s gamepad has a trimmed-down design, firmer analog sticks, as well as Bluetooth support as opposed to the 360’s proprietary frequency connectivity.
Xbox Series X
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – so we can expect a similar controller design for the Xbox Series X. What we DO know is that the Series X controller will have:
- A share button - allowing you to share your gaming action with friends.
- Dynamic latency input (DLI) - ensuring input will sync more effectively with on-screen character movements.
Design and Shape
Much like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X is, of course, a box. But while the Xbox One is shaped like a large DVD player (no doubt to accentuate its purpose as an “all-in-one entertainment system), the Series X comes as a rectangular prism that looks eerily like a PC tower. It can be positioned vertically or horizontally to fit your gaming setup.
While the Xbox One was regarded as a “gimped” PC because of its move to x86-64 architecture and use of outdated PC hardware, the Xbox Series X paper specs demolish all but the highest end gaming PC’s. It’s clear that Microsoft sought to develop the most powerful console – no, most powerful gaming device - in the industry and it looks like they’ve succeeded.
And while a console is generally only as good as the games it plays (as we’ve seen time and time again with Nintendo’s offerings), the Series X’s full backwards compatibility with the Xbox One nullifies that advantage.
But the questions you should really be asking yourself are: Do you need them? Does hitting above 60fps really matter to you? Do you even have a 4K or 8k resolution variable refresh rate screen? Does a 10-20 second more load time really bother you that much? Will you be playing any games that are exclusive to the Series X?
If your answer to many of those questions is “No”, then you don’t stand to gain much from jumping to the next gen yet. The Xbox One S is currently priced at $299 while the Xbox Series X is widely anticipated to launch at $499. At a possible $200 difference, you bet the Xbox One is still good enough!
The Xbox Series X is set to unveil in the window of Holiday 2020, along with Sony's PlayStation 5.