Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles will launch on November 10th. The pricier option is the Xbox Series X for $499, and the digital Xbox Series S starts at $299. The $200 difference boils down to GPU and RAM upgrades on the Xbox Series X, and giving up a Blu-ray player on the Xbox Series S.
Pre-orders for the consoles, which are sure to be on holiday wishlists this year, will start on September 22nd. If you plan on shopping early, you can sign up to be notified by email from Microsoft’s storefront on Amazon.
Microsoft did say that the company will offer a new form of financing this year, allowing players to pick up a next-gen Xbox and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate starting at $24.99/month. That without any upfront costs. The price-tag also includes EA Play when it comes to Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft said in a blogpost, “We believe that access to the next generation should be available to everyone. And we know that price is an important factor for many of our fans. To complement Xbox Series X and invite more players into the next generation sooner, we built Xbox Series S—an all-digital, next-gen console designed to deliver everything that is core to next-generation gaming – faster load times, higher frame rates, and richer, more dynamic worlds – in our smallest, sleekest Xbox ever. Developing two consoles in parallel from the beginning enables us to deliver the most powerful console ever in Xbox Series X and make next-gen gaming available and affordable to more players on day one with Xbox Series S.”
The game lineup for launch day includes “Gears Tactics,” “Tetris Effect: Connected,” and two big Ubisoft titles: “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and “Watch Dogs: Legion.”
A lot changed under the hood in the new console design. Both options run on Microsoft’s new Velocity Architecture, and both versions will offer the “Quick Resume” feature, which decreases load times and lets you jump right back into a game. The two consoles also feature HDMI 2.1, frame rates up to 120fps, DirectX Raytracing, Variable Rate Shading, and Spatial Sound with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support. You’ll be able to use Dolby Vision through apps like Disney+, Vudu, and Netflix, but gaming support isn’t planned until sometime in 2021.
Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S
You may be wondering why there’s a $200 price difference between the two consoles. While the games remain the same, and both options offer many of the features, there are small differences in the hardware.
Both options feature an AMD Zen 2 CPU, but the Xbox Series X runs an 8-Core 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT) chip, while the Xbox Series S features a 3.6 GHz (3.4 GHz with SMT) option. It would be surprising if there’s any noticeable difference in gameplay with a .2 GHZ difference, but we’ll know more after testing both consoles.
The GPU and RAM are the two distinct differences between the consoles. Both options feature a custom RDNA 2 GPU, and the Xbox X’s runs 12.15 TFLOP, 52 CU at 1.825 GHz, while the Xbox Series S runs 4 TFLOP, 20 CU at 1.565 GHz. That could make a significant difference when pushing Raytracing, 4K gaming, or Dolby Vision options. If you’re planning on playing games on a 1080p screen, the difference might not be as noticeable.
When it comes to RAM, the Xbox Series X comes equipped with 16 GB GDDR6, while the Xbox Series S features 10GB GDDR6. That’s another sizable difference that high framerate or 4K players should consider when picking out a console. Microsoft stated that the Xbox Series can support 4K at 60 fps, and the Xbox Series S supports 1440p at 60 fps.
Another differences to consider is the storage. The Xbox Series X features a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD, and the Xbox Series X comes stock with a 512 GB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD. Both options do have a 1 TB expansion card and offer USB HDD support, so you have expansion options if you need them. The other difference is that Xbox Series X has a 4K UHD Blu-ray reader, and the Xbox Series S does not. Not only does that mean you can’t watch Blu-rays on the Xbox Series S, but you’ll have to buy all your games through the digital store. That seems to be the way most players get their games, shows, and movies now, so the difference isn’t as drastic as it once was.
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