The release of the Xbox Series X has felt a little bit like a soft launch because of how difficult it’s been to find stock of it worldwide. It’s one of the many effects of the pandemic, and it has made the release of both next-generation consoles feel like Sony and Microsoft wanted them to be exclusive, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’re a very casual gamer who’s been inspired in the last few months to finally pick up a console and you want to know if it’s worth waiting to get the new one for your needs, it’s still worth making a note of how the new console stacks up with its older sibling, the Xbox One X. Even if you take gaming a little more seriously, you’re probably still trying to get your hands on an Xbox Series X or Series S so perhaps you want to know what the true differences are between the two consoles to figure out if it’s worth waiting to get one.
Either way, we’ve got you covered.
The new Xbox Series X will set you back $499, but as we mentioned at the start, that’s not really the main issue for most right now. Even those who are willing to spend the money will have a hard time getting their hands on one right now.
The $499 price point is fair, considering this will likely be the generation of gaming we’re in for the best part of a decade. Of course, as new games come out, they’ll set you back anywhere from $60 to $80, which adds up over the years. But as far as the console goes, $499 is generally considered acceptable.
Nearly four years after its release, the Xbox One X is a little harder to pinpoint one price point for. That’s because you won’t find it on Xbox’s site after they discontinued it last summer. However, the Xbox One S is still available and will currently set you back $299. With that in mind, going to a second-hand seller or a Walmart or Best Buy, you don’t want to spend more than $349 on the Xbox One X at this point.
This is where the next-generation consoles really set themselves apart and what people get excited for when they come out, even if they don’t know all the language behind it.
The new Xbox Series X supports resolution up to 8k and frame rates of up to 120 fps. Both of these are double what the Xbox One X supports: up to 4k resolution and 60 fps. If you’re not familiar with what this means, 4k resolution means that there are 4,000 pixels on the screen. 60 fps means that every second, you’ll see 60 frames. Think of frames like still images that, when they’re put together, show the video you’re seeing. So, while 4k and 60 fps is incredible and currently means that the Xbox One X can support all games to their full extent, as the years go by, it will slowly become the norm, and the Xbox Series X’s abilities will still be special.
Resolution and frame rate aren’t the only areas where the Xbox Series X doubles what the Xbox One X can do. The Xbox Series X’s GPU is 12 teraflops. A GPU is a graphics processing unit, and FLOP stands for floating operation point. How many teraflops any computer has is how many trillion calculations it can do per second. The Xbox Series X can do 12 trillion of these, which is the most we’ve seen on any console thus far. The Xbox One X’s GPU is 6 teraflops, and even the PlayStation 5 only does 10.8 teraflops.
In terms of CPU, the Xbox Series X proves to be a massive upgrade from the Xbox One X’s eight-core 2.3GHz custom AMD. For $499, you’ll get an eight-core 3.8GHz. A CPU is a central processing unit, and GHz (which stands for gigahertz) measures a CPU’s clock speed, the clock speed being how quickly the CPU can retrieve and interpret instructions. Of course, the higher the number, the better. There’s enough of a difference in the two consoles’ CPUs that you’ll be able to feel a difference in speed.
When it comes to storage, the Xbox Series X introduces the 1TB NVMe SSD. It’s another giant improvement on the Xbox One X’s 1TB HDD. Anyone that knows even the basics about storage knows that an SSD (a solid-state drive) reads and writes much faster than an HDD. The Xbox One X’s HDD is good enough for general use, but the utilization of the new NVMe SSD means that peak performance will be a priority and the speed of doing anything, whether that be loading a game up or opening various applications on the console, will be unbelievably fast.
Where the Xbox One X had 12GB of RAM, the Xbox Series X boasts 16GB. Think of RAM like short-term memory and the more you have, the more your device can handle at any given time without slowing down. 12GB is already respectable, but as with most things when it comes to hardware, the more the better.
One thing that remains the same in both consoles is the fact that they both contain an HD Blu-Ray disk drive.
In terms of video, most things were covered above in relation to specs. The new console supports 8k resolution at 120 fps, and these specs will be high enough to keep you covered for ten years of gaming and general visuals. However, what also deserves to be touched on is ray tracing support.
Ray tracing is a rendering technique and algorithm which emulates the path of light, how it reflects on objects and casts shadows. If you think the lighting in games is well done even without ray tracing, you’ve seen nothing yet. It’s worth checking out a version of Grand Theft Auto: V with a ray-tracing mod being used on YouTube. The difference is night and day. Once ray-tracing comes into play on a larger scale and becomes the standard many years down the line, we’ll look back on games from the Xbox One X era like ‘how did we ever think they looked realistic?’
In terms of audio, Microsoft went out of its way to enhance things with the Xbox Series X. In the console is custom hardware that handles audio itself, giving the CPU one less job to do and improving its performance. Spatial sound is embraced. Of course, a big factor when it comes to sound is the headset that comes with the console.
The new Xbox Wireless Headset delivers the best audio to date, boasting low latency and lossless audio. Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone: X are some of the technologies used to give you the best audio experience from an Xbox headset yet. Microsoft is set on the fact that even a modest, affordable pair of headphones will be able to reflect the improvements in sound.
As well as its sound, the Xbox Wireless Headset’s microphone capabilities set a new bar. Dual beamforming microphone elements, as well as voice isolation, differentiate speech from other sounds, and in addition to a standard mute button is a new auto-mute feature.
In terms of other accessories, the controller is probably the main piece of hardware that people are interested in. From the Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One X controller to now, not too much has changed, but there have been a few worthwhile differences to note. Cosmetically, the Xbox button is all black giving the controller a sleek look. Also helping with this is the new matte bumpers and triggers. Other than that, both consoles’ controllers are virtually identical. The new one is a measly 8 grams heavier and 6 x 4 x 2.47 inches as opposed to the Xbox One X’s 6 x 4 2.56 inches.
There is a new share button in the center of the console, which allows you to take screenshots and screen record more effectively when it comes to functionality. The d-pad is also a little more responsive, clicking loudly when you press it. It’s also far clearer when you’re going diagonally on the pad. Lastly, the new Xbox controller features textured grips on its side handles and triggers. When it comes to games, Microsoft promises that there won’t be any Xbox Series X exclusives for a few years, as not to alienate gamers who don’t want to upgrade just yet.
If you’re debating the jump yourself, hopefully, this has helped. In conclusion, if some of the above details matter to you and you feel as though you’ll notice differences with a lot of use and the $499 price point isn’t too much for you, it’s probably worth the upgrade.
However, if you don’t already feel like your Xbox One X is slugging behind and needs an improvement, it’s probably worth waiting a while to go to next-gen gaming. It’s worth noting that if you’re waiting until later this year with the hopes of getting a discount, it’s unlikely there’ll be a price cut of any real value for a while. At best, you’ll get a decent bundle when offers come around later in 2021.