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Xbox Series X: Everything you need to know about specs, games, and more

As we approach one whole year of the Xbox Series X being a thing, we're still not quite close enough to the console being readily available to buy. Arriving last November, the Xbox Series X is Microsoft's high-end gaming console aimed at offering the latest gaming tech advancements including 4K resolutions and buttery 60fps framerates, and minimal (or no) loading screens. It's an absolute beast, and when combined with Xbox Game Pass and all the delicious upcoming Xbox Series X games confirmed so far, it's a formidable proposition. 

However, regardless of the fact that actually getting your hands on Xbox Series X stock continues to be difficult, we know why you're here - you want to know more about Microsoft's latest console. Whether you're the proud new owner of one yourself, or you're trying to decide whether or not to make that purchase, this article has everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X.  

Xbox Series X review

Xbox Series X review: Our final verdict on Microsoft's next-gen console. 

From the basic details like the Xbox Series X price (£449 / $499), what to wishlist from the upcoming Xbox Series X games, or just all the information you need to decide between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, we've got it all right here. We'll even go deeper into what the future of Xbox Series X might look like, comparisons with the Xbox Series S, and all the information on Game Pass, Project xCloud, Microsoft acquisitions, and first-party studios (will Elder Scrolls and Fallout be Xbox exclusives? Starfield already is.). 

What is Xbox Series X?

What is the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X is the star of Microsoft's next-gen show and the bigger, badder sibling to the Xbox Series S. Built around powerful new hardware from AMD, including its new Navi graphics architecture and a Zen 2 CPU, the Series X is designed to minimize (or completely eliminate) load times and get you into games as quickly as possible. In the announcement reel, Microsoft employees threw out some pretty baller numbers: four times more powerful than the current most powerful console on the planet, the Xbox One X, four times better performance than the current generation in terms of load times, and the biggest generational leap in Microsoft's console history.

Xbox Series X In Detail

Xbox Series X In Detail: GamesRadar+ has been exploring the Xbox Series X in detail, so be sure to click the link to find all of our exclusive reporting, hands-on impressions, interviews, and more. 

Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) optimises latency, starting with the Xbox Wireless Controller, which makes sure that input is synchronised immediately with what's displayed, making controls even more precise and responsive. HDMI 2.1 support introduces even more latency-reducing technology too. 

Smart Delivery is super exciting too, and means you're getting the best version of the game possible without having to pay for the Xbox Series X version. Basically, if you buy a game on the Xbox One, you will also be able to play on Xbox Series X - including Halo Infinite.

Xbox Series X specs

Xbox Series X specs

You ready? Let's get technical. The Xbox Series X features eight Zen 2 CPU cores at 3.8GHz. That helps make the 'Quick Resume' feature possible, allowing users to "continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly". When combined with 12 teraflops of GPU power, we're left with a system capable of hardware-accelerated ray tracing. That means more realistic lighting, reflections, and sound. 

What's more, that Unreal Engine 5 demo showed that the Series X will be able to render unbelievably detailed, photo-realistic environments without a hiccup, not to mention exquisite, believable lighting and more immersive audio. It even offered immense draw-distances without stumbling, and without compromise. That would be flat-out impossible on today's consoles.

4K resolution at 60FPS is another welcome addition, with the potential for 120FPS in certain games. What does that mean in a practical sense? That'll result in a smoother, more detailed experience than we've ever had on a console before.

Microsoft also threw a Solid State Drive (or 'SSD') into the mix, allowing for lightning-fast loading. An example of this can be seen in the Xbox Series X loading times comparison video. More specifically, we now know for sure that the Series X is fitted with 1TB of internal storage thanks to an NVMe SSD.

Xbox Series X design impressions

Xbox Series X design impressions: You know the specs, but how does the hardware handle in the wild? Here's our extended impressions on the Xbox Series X console and its industrial design. 

This accompanies 16GB RAM, the option of expandable storage/external hard drives, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive. To translate, that's enough grunt to give the Series X an advantage over its competitors, Google Stadia and Sony's PS5. 

Indeed, if you dig into the numbers, the PS5 lags just slightly behind the Series X. Although Sony's new CPU is only a few points below (it's otherwise identical), the GPU is lagging by a few teraflops. More specifically, the PS5 graphics are comprised of 10.28 teraflops and 36 CUs at 2.23GHz. That's quite a way behind Xbox's 12 teraflops, even if the Series X equivalent's 52 CUs are running at 1.825GHz.

Something both systems have is speed, though. As mentioned above, their SSDs are incredibly quick. That'll totally change the game for Xbox. Well, mostly. It's worth pointing out that you can't load Xbox Series X games from most external HDDs or SSDs. In fact, you can only do so from the console's own SSD or proprietary cards sold by Microsoft.

What is Project xCloud?

What is Project xCloud?

Project xCloud is the streaming platform that originally debuted back in March. Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the service would enable you to transform an Xbox console into an xCloud server (as well as using actual servers), streaming games and media to connected devices. How robust this will be against, say, the Google Stadia initiative remains to be seen, but Microsoft definitely looks committed to leveraging its massive infrastructure and resources towards allowing gamers to play where they want, with who they want. 

Xbox Series X cost

How much does Xbox Series X cost?

You can buy one for $499 / £449, with a monthly pay option available via Xbox All Access. Prices for that start at $34.99 in the US for the Series X, while in the UK prices start at £20.99, but that's for the Series S. 

The Xbox Series S will cost $299 / £249 when it launches on the same day. 

Xbox Series X backwards compatibility

Xbox Series X backwards compatibility

Xbox Series X is going completely backwards compatible. According to the Microsoft blog post, a section on Xbox Series X backwards compatibility reads:

"Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before. Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you."

Xbox Series X backwards compatibility impressions

Xbox Series X backwards compatibility impressions: In our testing of the Xbox Series X, we've found that its backwards compatibility is the best way to experience games from the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox generations. 

Plus, with Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery feature, for any game that supports the tech, if you buy it on Xbox One, you can then get the Xbox Series X version for free. 

"This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be released on Xbox One first and come to Xbox Series X later". 

Cyberpunk 2077 has already confirmed that it will take advantage of Smart Delivery. 

Xbox Series X controller

Xbox Series X controller - What does it look like?

Xbox Series X controller impressions

Xbox Series X controller design impressions: From our hands-on testing, we've found that Microsoft has learned the right lessons from the Xbox Series Elite 2 and poured them into the Xbox Series X controller design.

We finally have a proper look at the Xbox Series X controller, and it's rather – reassuringly – familiar. You can take a look at it above, but here are the biggest takeaways in quick, bullet-point form:

  • New D-Pad with slightly deeper dish, and finely tuned angles to give you more leverage with less movement
  • Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity for pairing with more devices, including PC, Android and iOS
  • USB-C port for charging
  • Share button
  • Tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers
  • Matte finish on D-Pad, bumpers and triggers
  • Still uses batteries

Xbox Series X memory cards

Xbox Series X memory cards - What's up with that?

Don't panic, the world of memory cards for your saves is looooong gone, but there's a brand new feature / accessory for the Xbox Series X that's putting a new spin on the idea of memory cards. The Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card was announced as part of the Xbox Series X tech unveiling, and "provides additional game storage at peak speed and performance by replicating the console's internal custom SSD experience. The 1TB card is inserted directly into the back of the console via the dedicated storage expansion port." No word on price yet, but it'll be the best way to boost the Xbox Series X internal storage for more games. 

Xbox Series X VR

Does Xbox Series X have VR?

Microsoft has an interesting relationship with virtual reality. On the PC side, its Windows Mixed Reality initiative has found moderate success, featuring a broad variety of lightweight VR headsets and offering an expansive library of games and experiences. On the console tip, however, news has been less positive - at last year's E3, Microsoft's CMO for gaming told Gameindustry.biz that the company "doesn't have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality."

However, all hope is not lost. A newly discovered patent seems to suggest that Microsoft is working on a VR headset along with motion controllers, a stylus, and fully fledged boundary mat which can turn your living room into its very own digital playground. With the continuing success of Playstation VR, which currently boasts the most sales of any high end VR headset, Microsoft may well still have an appetite to dip its toes into the virtual pool. 

What do you think about the rumours surrounding the Xbox Series X at the moment? Let us know in the comments below. 

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for over seven years, and for GamesRadar, she is in charge of reviews, best lists, and the overall running of the site and its staff. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! 

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Xbox One X, Xbox One S digital SKU discontinued ahead of Xbox Series X

Microsoft has discontinued all of its Xbox One hardware line except for the Xbox One S in order to make way for its next-gen Xbox Series family of consoles, which could include the beefy Xbox Series X and the more affordable Xbox Series S.

Xbox One X, Xbox One S digital SKU discontinued ahead of Xbox Series X 66 | TweakTown.com

Today Microsoft confirmed it will be halting production of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. The only current-gen system that will continue production is the Xbox One S with a disc drive. "As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we're taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. Xbox One S will continue to be manufactured and sold globally," a Microsoft rep told The Verge.

The news underlines years' worth of reports of a dual next-gen console lineup. Microsoft will replace the Xbox One X with its beefier 12TFLOP Xbox Series X, and the discontinuation of the Xbox One S digital edition signifies the rumored Xbox Series X (aka Lockhart) will replace the disc-less console. Reports say Lockhart will be an all-digital system that serves as the lower-cost, and lower-powered Xbox One S version of the next-gen lineup.

Read more:Microsoft blurs gens: Xbox One games now labeled as just Xbox games

The new Xbox Series line should be a new hardware ecosystem family similar to the current arrangement that includes the base 2013 Xbox One, the 2016 Xbox One S, and the 2017 Xbox One X.

Microsoft has yet to confirm the existence of the Xbox Series S, but we should hear more details in the coming months leading up to launch. There's reports we could see a reveal at a special showcase this August.

The Xbox Series X releases Holiday 2020. No pricing, release date, or pre-order info has been announced so far. Check below for more information:

Lockhart/Xbox Series S

  • 1440p 60FPS max perf (targets 1080p 60FPS)
  • No disc drive
  • PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU and scaled-down Navi GPU
  • Lower 10GB GDDR6 memory pool
  • 4 TFLOP Navi GPU
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD with 2.4GB/sec speeds
  • Full 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU and Navi RDNA 2.0 GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 4x as powerful as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP
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NEWS SOURCE:theverge.com

Derek Strickland

Derek Strickland

Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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Having a Single Xbox SKU Would Have Been Preferable, But the Xbox Series S Doesn’t Require Too Much Extra Work – Dev

xbox series s

We’ve heard more than a few people in the industry talked about the Xbox Series S over the last few months, and while there are some who have expressed concerns about the console’s lower specs, others have jumped to its defence and praised it emphatically (Microsoft themselves included). The question of whether the Xbox Series S’ weaker hardware will hold back multiplatform games for PS5 and Xbox Series X going forward has been asked often, but Exor Studios CO Paweł Lekki – currently at work on upcoming survival action RPG The Riftbreaker – doesn’t feel like the system is going to present much of an issue for developers.

Speaking with Wccftech in an interview, Lekki acknowledged the fact that having a single SKU of the new Xbox would have been more convenient for developers, but added that owing to the console’s CPU being largely similar to that of the Xbox Series X, scaling games for both consoles shouldn’t be very challenging. Though he did mention the gulf in the two consoles’ memories, which can affect actual game design, and not just visuals, Lekki also added that having a cheaper console that can play next-gen consoles is a smart move by Microsoft.

“Yes, the Xbox Series S requires additional optimization,” Lekki said. “While we were able to simply compile The Riftbreaker for the Xbox Series X and it ‘just works’, the XSS requires additional optimization. Still, it doesn’t look like it will require that much work to be running well at 1080p on the XSS. The best thing about the current architecture is that the CPU power on both Xbox models is practically the same. Scaling graphical effects is a lot easier than scaling gameplay.

“The amount of available memory is a determining factor in a lot of cases when we talk about the size of a game world or about how many things can be happening within it at any given time. The size of the memory that is available in the XSS is the actual determining point for the entire console generation as gameplay features have to be fitted to the lowest spec. From the point of view of a developer it would be much easier if there was a single XSX SKU, but given the circumstances I think that Microsoft has made good choices in how to create a much cheaper console, that can still run next-generation games.”

The Riftbreaker is due out some time this year for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.


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Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S Model Unboxing

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FIFA 22 Gameplay (Xbox Series X UHD) [4K60FPS]

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