The Xbox will be available for the Series X, but not surprisingly $ 499, now a reasonable standard price for next-gen consoles for launch. The Xbox Series S will exceed half that, with a price of $ 299 which pits it more against the Nintendo Switch and last-gen systems.
Instead of a large, black pass-cube like the Xbox Series X, the Series S is a slab that is thinner in comparison (you can fit about two into one Xbox Series X). It is only smaller when compared with the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, however, as the Series S is about the same size if not slightly larger than the Xbox One X.
The Xbox Series X is a processing beast, with AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures powering up to 12 teraflops. It supports ray tracing, it can render 4K (3,840-by-2,160) resolution up to 120 frames per second, and is “8K Ready”, which suggests that it can upscale that resolution.
The Xbox Series S still uses AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures, but has only 4 TFLOPS of raw processing power, a third of the Series X. It also has 10GB of RAM up to 16GB of X. This means that the Series S has a much lower rendering resolution ceiling of 1440p, two-thirds of the 4K vertical pixels. It can still handle ray tracing, and supports 1440p at up to 120 frames per second, but the game won’t render at 4K. The system is still up to 4K, so it will look fine on your 4K TV, but doesn’t expect too much sharpness, smoothness, or overall details. Normal frame rates of the game can also be hit by the game.
The Xbox Series X incorporates all the grounds for both physical media and digital distribution, with Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and optical drives supporting up to 1 TB SSD. This is a lot of storage, as well as the ability to play physical versions of the game.
The Xbox Series S is an all-digital console with no optical drive. This means that it cannot play Blu-ray discs or physical versions of the game. It also has half the storage with 512GB SSD. This is a huge hit for a system that relies entirely on built-in storage, but is also responsible for a significantly lower price.
What is the same
While the two systems differ wildly in strength and capacity, they have many similarities. To begin with, they use similar controllers and have the same support for last-gen controllers. They both support DirectX ray tracing, variable rate shading, and variable refresh rates, although how much those things differ will likely depend on the power of each console.
They can stream 4K media and output both games and videos at 4K resolution. They also benefit from increasing speed by relying on a solid state drive instead of a hard drive for storage. Finally, they both share the same compatibility with each game released for the Xbox platform.
Which Xbox should you buy?
We have to look at both systems ourselves and really know through their paces what better value is. Based on the specs and features, the Xbox Series X feels better across the board, with more processing power and the ability to render at 4K, as well as double storage and an optical drive for physical media. It is much larger and more expensive, however, so if budget and space are a concern for you, the Xbox Series S itself seems to be a respectable system with a lot of power, although the lack of disk drives is a distinct weakness.
We will update this story as we learn more about the new systems, so be sure to check back. And if you already know which one you want, tell our story about how to pre-order the new Xbox.