Come Christmas there will be a big choice to make when it comes to choosing a games console, especially if you’re after an Xbox.
The Xbox Series X will be released in time for the holiday season and will bring 4K 60fps gaming and next-gen power to the party. However, there is also still the Xbox One X to consider, as it also provides 4K gaming and will invariably be a cheaper option.
So which to choose? And, if you already own an Xbox One X, is it worth upgrading? We compare the specs and features of them both to help you make up your mind.
As you can see, the design of the Xbox Series X is quite a departure from the norm. It is designed as a standing unit, although can be laid down on its side too. However, it is considerably larger than the Xbox One X so you will need a bigger space in your TV stand, for instance.
One of the reasons for its larger size and aesthetic is heat dissipation. The grille at the top allows for internal heat to dissipate, which is important as the processing chips inside will get extremely hot and if there are not sufficient cooling measures employed, you’ll find the internal fan will have to work harder – resulting in a very noisy machine and, worse still, one that is prone to crashing.
The same is true of the Xbox One X, which can run noisy at times for the exact same reason, but its internal hardware is easier to keep cool as it is lesser specced, so has a slimmer, more conventional profile.
Graphics hardware is, naturally, different in the two machines. With the Xbox Series X representing a significant upgrade.
It sports a custom GPU with 12 teraflops of power and 52 compute units running at 1.825GHz. That’s basically the most powerful graphics processing chip in any console to date – even more powerful than the one adopted by the forthcoming PS5.
In comparison, the Xbox One X has a similar custom GPU but with 6 teraflops of power, 40 compute units and running at 1.172GHz.
Xbox claims, therefore, that the Series X is twice as powerful as the One X in terms of graphical prowess.
In simple terms, it will run nigh-on every game natively in 4K 60fps, where the One X can only run a handful of titles in full 4K natively. And often, you have to choose between 60fps or 4K, not both.
Indeed, Xbox also claims that, one day, we might even see 8K and/or 120fps games appear on the Xbox Series X – it has that much potential.
It is also worth noting that games for the Xbox Series X can utilise real-time ray-tracing technology, to make in-game lighting more realistic. The Xbox One X does not support that feature.
CPU and memory
Like the GPU, the main processor sees a major jump between the two consoles.
The Xbox Series X comes with a custom eight-core AMD processor based on the Zen 2 architecture, running at up to 3.8GHz per core.
The Xbox One X, on the other hand, also has a custom eight-core AMD processor, but it runs at a maximum of 2.3GHz per core.
This, says Xbox, means the Series X is four-times faster, more efficient and powerful.
On top of that, the next-gen machine will come with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, while the One X has 12GB of GDDR5 RAM.
Another big leap comes in the storage solutions used in both consoles.
The Xbox Series X will use SSD (solid state drive) storage, which is much faster for read/write transfers than traditional hard drive tech. It will contain a 1TB SSD which will provide a couple of major benefits. Not only will games load faster – including in-game loading times – you will be able to pause a game, start up another, and go back to the original paused title instantly.
The Xbox One X comes with a 1TB HDD, which is still capable and reasonably speedy for normal use. There is basically nothing wrong with it whatsoever.
Both consoles are able to be expanded through USB 3.0 (3.1 on the Series X) external drives. In addition, the Series X also comes with a dedicated, proprietary drive port on the rear for users to plug in an optional extra 1TB SSD unit.
There will be a new version of the Xbox Wireless Controller released with the Xbox Series X.
It looks similar but has a new “share” button and the D-Pad design that looks more like the one on the Elite 2 pro controller.
We have no problems whatsoever with the current Xbox controller though – it’s one of the best ever released – and the best news is that you can use it on the Series X too.
Games and accessories
All Xbox One games and accessories will be compatible with the Xbox Series X, although that won’t always work the other way around.
- Best upcoming Xbox Series X games: The top next-gen games for 2020 and beyond
- Top Xbox One games 2020: Best Xbox One S and X games every gamer must own
Xbox is committed to releasing games for all Xbox consoles (from One up) for at least a couple of years going forward. And, as a bonus, some of the games will instantly be upgraded when installed on a Series X.
That might mean enhanced graphics and better loading times. Think of it much like the Xbox One X in comparison to the One S – many current games have enhanced graphics when played on the One X.
In terms of accessories, we’re not yet sure whether there will be Xbox Series X dedicated headphones, etc, that do not work on One X too. We’ll update when we know more.
Great news is that Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service will work on the Series X as it does on the Xbox One.
All other streaming apps and entertainment services will be similar across both, we believe.
One thing that might make a difference though is that the Xbox One X has a HDMI 2.0 output, while the Xbox Series X will come with a HDMI 2.1 equivalent.
This means the One X cannot go above 4K HDR 60fps in video output terms, while the Series X is capable of 8K 120fps. That could be important if you plan to purchase an 8K TV anytime soon.
Without an official price on the Xbox Series X it is hard to make a comparison.
Needless to say, it will be more expensive than the Xbox One X – maybe considerably so at launch.
Currently, you can snag an Xbox One X for around £350 – its original RRP was £450.
The word on the street is that the Series X could weigh-in at around £500, so that could make a difference to you if your budget is tight.
The simplest comparison in our round-up: the Xbox Series X will not be available until the “holiday” season later this year, whereas the Xbox One X is available right now.
It might also be worth considering that stock levels of the Series X at launch could be tight, especially with the supply chain being so badly hit by the global crisis we find ourselves in. You might have to wait until 2021 to get one anyway.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X: Which is best for you?
Ultimately, the main decision to make is whether you want to invest (heavily) in the future of gaming or happy to settle for the very best this generation has to offer.
The Xbox Series X does sound like it will be an extremely powerful, exciting new games console – on paper at least. But we also have a massive sweet spot for the Xbox One X.
The latter is an amazing machine for the current price and you can buy one now with free games thrown in. Plus, with Game Pass offering hundreds of additional games for just £7.99 per month, you could get in a heck of a lot of enjoyment before the Series X even arrives.