Xbox Series S vs. Xbox Series X – Making the Right Choice

There’s More Than Just Storage Space and 4K Capability That Separate The Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X

Following a leak, Microsoft finally confirmed the existence of the Xbox Series S and its price point of just $299. Just days after that happened, we learned that the smaller SSD (1TB in the Series X vs. 512GB in the Series S) is what makes a $299 next-gen console possible. With that in mind, however, there’s a lot more that sets the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S apart, so let’s take a deep look into the specifications and why you should go with one console over the other.

Xbox Series S – Dulled Down For the Sake of Affordability

The Xbox Series S is still more powerful than even the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 5 as we know it now. However, its hardware is no match for the Xbox Series X.

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As you already know, the 512 GB SSD is said to be the biggest factor behind the $200 price difference between the two consoles, but the Series S also has a slower CPU a different GPU, less RAM, and it can’t deliver 4K resolution either.

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
CPU8-core AMD Zen 2 @ 3.8 GHz \ 2.6GHz w/ SMT8-core AMD Zen 2 @ 3.6GHz \ 3.4GHz w/ SMT
GPUAMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHzAMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
GPU Power12.15 TFLOPS4 TFLOPS
System on a Chip (SoC)Custom 7nm Enhanced SoCCustom 7nm Enhanced SoC
Ram16GB – 10 @ 560 GB/s, 6 @ 336 GB/s10GB – 8GB @ 224 GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s
Performance4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS1440p @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS
Storage1TB NVME SSD512GB NVME SSD
Expandable Storage1TB Seagate Expansion Card, USB 3.1 Support1TB Seagate Expansion Card, USB 3.1 Support
Backward CompatibilityXbox One and 360, Xbox One AccessoriesXbox One and 360, Xbox One Accessories
Disc Drive4K UHD Blu-rayDigital Only
Display OutputHDMI 2.1HDMI 2.1
MSRP$499 USD$299 USD

Series S vs. Series X CPU – Just a Slight Difference

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
CPU8-core AMD Zen 2 @ 3.8 GHz \ 2.6GHz w/ SMT8-core AMD Zen 2 @ 3.6GHz \ 3.4GHz w/ SMT

The Xbox Series S has an 8-core AMD Zen 2 that runs at 3.6 GHz or 3.4GHz with SMT enabled. When compared to the Xbox Series X, which delivers 3.8 GHz or 3.6 GHz with SMT enabled, the difference is negligible at best. As far as CPU performance goes, the Series X is technically better, but you’d never notice the difference.

Series S vs. Series X GPU – A Massive Gap

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
GPUAMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHzAMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz
GPU Power12.15 TFLOPS4 TFLOPS

While the difference in CPU speed between the Series X and Series S is negligible, the different in graphics processing, however, is not. In fact, the Series S is far behind the X in this regard. Both systems run an AMD RDNA 2 GPU but the Series X runs with 52 CUs at 1.825 GHz while the Series S runs just 20 CUs at 1.565 GHz. This difference makes for a massive gap in GPU power with the Series X capable of 12.15 TFLOPS and the Series S capable of just 4 TFLOPS.

Series S vs. Series X Memory (RAM) – Too Little, Too Late

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Ram16GB – 10 @ 560 GB/s, 6 @ 336 GB/s10GB – 8GB @ 224 GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s

The Xbox Series X comes with 16 GB of RAM on board with 10 GB running at 560 GB per second and the remaining 6 GB running at 336 GB per second. The Series S, on the other hand, has just 10 GB of Ram, 8 GB of which run at 224 GB per second and 2 GB that run at 56 GB per second. What does this difference mean? Well, think about the first time you moved from a computer with 4GB of RAM to one with 8GB – the system loads faster, responds quicker, and can open programs with ease. With that in mind, the Series S could be slower to perform certain tasks. It won’t be noticeable to most people but the Series S does have less random access memory in comparison to the X.

Series S vs. Series X Visual Performance – You’ll Miss 4K

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Performance4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS1440p @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS

The Xbox Series S is built for gamers on a budget or, perhaps, those who play games casually while the Series X is more of a hardcore machine. As such, going with the Series S (and that slower GPU) means that you’ll lose 4K capability. The Series S runs at 1440P and 60 FPS but is still capable of delivering up to 120 FPS. The Series X is, of course, capable of 4K with 60 and 120 FPS easily possible if the game permits.

Series S vs. Series X Storage and Expandable Storage

Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Storage1TB NVME SSD512GB NVME SSD
Expandable Storage1TB Seagate Expansion Card, USB 3.1 Support1TB Seagate Expansion Card, USB 3.1 Support

Where the Series X comes with a 1 TB PCIe fourth-gen NVME SSD, the Series X has have the storage capacity at 512 GB. The SSD in the Series S does offer the same high-speed capability, with both systems capable of streaming 2.4 GB per second uncompressed or 4.8 GB per second when compressed. So, the only trade-off here is storage space, which could be a problem.

The Series X and Series S are designed to accommodate the 1TB Seagate Expansion card, which will alleviate some of the pain with the sheer size of games. However, that expansion card is rumored to have a price point of around $220, which would, effectively make the Series S more expensive than the Series X, but there’s a little bit of logic behind this and it’s because Microsoft is hoping to push its game streaming service and the Series S is the perfect way to take advantage of that while still having a next-gen console in your front room and not breaking the bank.

Backward Compatibility

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The Xbox Series S and Series X are both backward compatible with “thousands of xbox One and backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox Games at launched.” Microsoft also promises that Xbox One accessories – like controllers, for example – will also work with both new consoles.

Final Take – Should You Get an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S?

Choosing which console to get really boils down to what you’re looking for in a next-gen console. If you want the best graphics possible on a console or care about the amount of built-in storage, then you need to buy the Xbox Series X. If you’re a casual gamer that’s enjoys the occasional hour of fun, have a tight budget, or don’t mind transferring games from external storage, the Series S is a good alternative. On that note, if you’re looking to take advantage of game streaming then you don’t need all the hardware available in the Series X – Microsoft’s servers will handle all of the hard work, so a series S will be a good fit. Just remember that you’ll need an awesome internet connection to really enjoy game streaming and for the next few years, streamable games will be somewhat limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Xbox Series S 4K?

The Xbox Series S doesn’t support 4K, with resoution limited to 1440p at 60 FPS, but it is capable of supporting up to 120 FPS just like the Series X

How Much Does the Xbox Series X and Series S Cost?

The Xbox Series X has a price of $499 while the Series S has an MSRP of $299. The Series X is avialable via Microsoft’s subscription service that will include a console, 24 months of Games Pass Ultimate (and Xbox Live) for $34.99 per month, which basically accounts for a $20 savings if you puchased the console and Games Pass subsctiption separately.

How Big is the Hard Drive in the Xbox Series S?

The Xbox Series S comes with a 512 GB SSD built in and does offer support for Microsoft’s 1TB expandable storage card. The Xbox Series X has a 1TB SSD. The streaming capability of the SSD in both systems is identical at 2.4 GB per second uncompressed or 4.8 GB per second when compressed.

Does the Xbox Series S Really Have a Worse GPU Than the Series X

The GPU in the Xbox Series S is the biggest difference between it and the Series X. Both systems run an AMD RDNA 2 GPU but the Series X runs with 52 CUs at 1.825 GHz while the Series S runs just 20 CUs at 1.565 GHz.

Do Xbox One Controllers Work on the Xbox Series X and Series S?

Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox One accessories, including controllers are backward compatible with the new Xbox Series S and Series X.

Is The New Xbox Capable of Running Old Xbox Games?

At launched, both the Series S and Series X are capable of playing “thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox Games. You should expect to play your entire Xbox One library as well as any 360 and original Xbox games that you could play on your current-gen system.

Why is the Xbox Series X So Big

The Xbox Series X is so big because the advanced GPU requires a lot of cooling, and that’s why the Series X has such a large case. The Series S is so small because the GPU doesn’t do nearly as much work and, therefor, doesn’t get nearly as hot.

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SourceMicrosoft

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Robert Moore
Robert Moorehttps://www.addictedtoplay.net
Robert is an automotive expert and gaming fanatic that somehow manages to split his time between doing both and blending in some family time as well. His gaming history goes all the way back to Atari, the Commodore 64, and the original Nintendo, and he can proudly say that he’s owned every single mainstream console since, including duds like the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Wii. He currently owns a Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, and a custom-built gaming PC. His all-time favorite games include Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (zombies, specifically), League of Legends, Diablo 3, and even a little World of Warcraft. Robert has been working as a journalist for nearly 15 years, primarily in the automotive segment and now in the gaming segment.

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