Xbox Series X and S: everything you need to know about the next gen of Xbox

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The next-generation of Xbox gaming is a little more complicated than what we’re used to. For starters, Microsoft has released not one but two new consoles this week: the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. Many of the initial crop of first-party games is also designed to be playable on its last generation Xbox, the Xbox One, as well as Windows PCs. And that’s before we get into Microsoft’s game streaming service, xCloud, which could mean you won’t need any Xbox hardware at all to play many of the latest games.

Each new generation tends to deliver big changes for console gaming, and Microsoft’s successors to the Xbox One are no different. Games look better, thanks to more powerful graphics hardware and built-in support for more realistic lighting technology, and in some cases feel more responsive, thanks to support for frame rates of up to 120fps. They also load quicker because both consoles now include fast solid-state storage, a big improvement over the mechanical hard drive included in the Xbox One.

But Microsoft’s approach to this new generation is a big departure from how console launches have worked previously. Typically, we’ve seen Sony and Microsoft release just one new piece of hardware at launch, and each one tends to come with an exclusive library of games that you have to buy the new console in order to play. While Sony, too, has operated a game streaming service for years, it’s only typically used PlayStation Now to offer access to older titles, rather than brand-new releases like xCloud is promising.

Microsoft’s new consoles give you a lot more freedom with how you play its new games, but depending on where you choose to play them, you won’t get exactly the same experience. The Xbox Series X is a much more powerful machine than the Series S or the current Xbox One, for example, which has a big impact on performance.

Microsoft’s two new consoles

This week, Microsoft released its two new Xbox consoles. There’s the $499 (£449, €499) Xbox Series X, and a cheaper $299 (£249, €299) Xbox Series S. You can read our reviews of both of them by following the links below.

It’s not unusual for console manufacturers to offer a couple of different hardware options at launch, but normally, the differences are minor. The PS3, for example, was initially available in two models. There was a version with a 60GB hard drive as well as a cheaper version with a smaller 20GB hard drive, no Wi-Fi support, and fewer ports. Meanwhile, Microsoft also originally sold a “Core” version of the Xbox 360 in 2005, which included compromises like including a wired rather than wireless controller and omitting a hard drive.

The differences between the Xbox Series S and Series X are more substantial and have a big impact on how games look. While Microsoft says the Series X is targeting running games at 60fps at a full 4K resolution, the Series S instead targets a lower 1440p resolution at 60fps. It’s a big power disparity, similar to what we saw between the Xbox One and the Xbox One X, but this time, the two consoles were available on day one, rather than releasing years apart.

The Xbox Series X comes complete with a disc drive.
Image: Microsoft
Microsoft’s Series S is less powerful and digital-only.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has a good rundown of the main differences between the Xbox Series X and the Series S on its website. Both have 8-core CPUs, although the X has a slightly higher maximum clock speed of 3.8GHz, rather than 3.6GHz on the Series S. Both support expandable storage of up to 1TB via an expansion card, both output over HDMI 2.1, and both are backwards compatible with “thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. Both support hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more realistic lighting in games, both support Dolby’s high-end Atmos audio technology, and both will support the Dolby Vision HDR standard. They’re also both backwards compatible with all officially licensed Xbox One accessories like controllers and headsets — although there are no plans to support the Kinect camera.

There are, however, big differences between the two. The Series X has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, but the Series S is digital-only, so you’ll have to download your games rather than buy them on disc. And yet, the disc-based X also has double the amount of internal storage with 1TB as opposed to 512GB. We found the storage in the Series S filled up quickly as a result. The Series X also has more RAM at 16GB compared to 10GB in the Series S. Physically, the Series S is also a lot smaller than the Series X; Microsoft calls the console its “smallest Xbox ever.” Despite the size differences, we’ve found both consoles have good cooling systems and are run cool and quiet when in use, so long as you don’t try blowing vape smoke into them.

Although they have different amounts of storage, both consoles use fast solid-state drives. For starters, that means that games load very quickly. We’ve found that many games that took over a minute to load on the Xbox One X now boot up in seconds. Games like Destiny 2 and Sea of Thieves, for example, load in half the time on the Series X as they did on the One X, and we found The Outer Worlds loaded in just six seconds on the new console.

Xbox Series X load times

Game Xbox Series X Xbox One X
Game Xbox Series X Xbox One X
CoD: Warzone 16 seconds 21 seconds
Red Dead Redemption 2 52 seconds 1 min, 35 seconds
The Outer Worlds 6 seconds 27 seconds
Evil Within 2 33 seconds 43 seconds
Sea of Thieves 20 seconds 1 min, 21 seconds
Warframe 25 seconds 1 min, 31 seconds
AC: Odyssey 30 seconds 1 min, 7 seconds
No Man's Sky 1 min, 27 seconds 2 mins, 13 seconds
Destiny 2 43 seconds 1 min, 52 seconds

This fast storage also helps enable a feature called Quick Resume on both consoles, which allows you to switch between games incredibly quickly in a lot of cases. The big problem right now is that it’s not supported by every game, although Microsoft is working to enable it across more titles. When it works, though, Quick Resume is one of the consoles’ best new additions, and Sony’s PS5 doesn’t have an equivalent feature.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

One of the most significant differences between the Series S and Series X is found in the graphics department. Although both consoles use AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics architecture, the Series X has 52 compute units. That’s not only more than double the 20 compute units you’ll find in the Series S, but they’re also clocked faster at 1.825GHz compared to 1.565GHz. In total, that means the Series X has 12.15 teraflops of graphical horsepower according to Microsoft, compared to 4 teraflops for the Series S.

The Xbox Series X is technically a shade more powerful than the PS5 in the graphics department. While Sony’s consoles are also based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, both models of the PS5 clock in with 10.28 teraflops of GPU power. They’ve got a smaller number of compute units (36), but their maximum cap is higher at 2.23GHz. They’ve also got 8-core CPUs, but they’re clocked at 3.5GHz. However, it’s important to note that the PS5’s CPU and GPU clock speeds are variable based on the total workload, so it’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison with the new Xbox consoles. This approach could benefit the PS5 in certain scenarios but limit it in others. Otherwise, the PS5’s specs on paper are similar to the Series X. It has 16GB of RAM, 825GB of storage, and a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.

There aren’t many cross-platform titles that allow us to see how the performance of the PS5 and Series X compare in practice, but an analysis of Devil May Cry 5 by Digital Foundry sees Sony and Microsoft’s consoles performing very similarly. In some modes, the Series X offers slightly faster performance, while the PS5 is ahead in others.

Like Microsoft, Sony also has a step-down digital-only version of its next console, but here, the differences are a lot more basic. The lack of a disc drive means that the digital console is a little slimmer, but otherwise, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan tells CNET that its two consoles are “identical products.” That means we shouldn’t see the same power disparity as Microsoft has.

Xbox Series X vs Series S vs PS5

Categories Xbox Series X Xbox Series S PS5 PS5 (digital-only)
Categories Xbox Series X Xbox Series S PS5 PS5 (digital-only)
CPU 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT Enabled) 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT Enabled) 8x Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency) 8x Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
GPU AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency) AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU Power 12.15 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS 10.28 TFLOPs 10.28 TFLOPs
RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 10GB GDDR6 RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM 16GB GDDR6 RAM
Performance Target Target 4K @ 60 FPS. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPS Target 1440p @ 60 FPS. Up to 120 FPS Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPS Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPS
Storage 1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed) 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed) 825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/sec compressed) 825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/sec compressed)
Free space for games 802GB 364GB 667GB 667GB
Expandable Storage 1TB Expansion Card 1TB Expansion Card NVMe SSD Slot NVMe SSD Slot
Backward Compatibility "Thousands" of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories. "Thousands" of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories. "Overwhelming majority" of PS4 games "Overwhelming majority" of PS4 games
Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray None 4K UHD Blu-ray None
Display Out HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.1
MSRP $499/£449/€499 $299/£249/€299 $499/£449/€499 $399/£349/€399

The difference in power generally means early Series S and Series X games run at different resolutions but often perform similarly. For example, Watch Dogs: Legion targets 4K at 30fps on the Series X and 1080p 30fps on the Series S, and both support ray-tracing for better-looking reflections. (Check out both in action here.)

Similarly, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon run at 60fps at 1080p on the Series S, compared to 4K 60fps on the Series X.

Despite the differences in resolution, Microsoft says both consoles are targeting frame rates of 60 frames per second and can support up to 120fps. For example, Rocket League will have a performance mode on both consoles that will allow it to run at 120fps, albeit in both cases at a reduced resolution compared to its 60fps mode. That said, there are some games that target different frame rates across the two consoles. Destiny 2’s crucible mode can run at 120Hz on Series X, but not on Series S, for example.

For now, however, the trend has been for games to feel just as smooth to play regardless of the console, but to look less detailed on the cheaper machine because of their lower resolution. That might not matter as much if you’re playing on an older 1080p TV, but it’ll be more apparent if you’re using a modern 4K set.

Although Microsoft has said the Series S targets 1440p, some early Series S games are running at 1080p. Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Gears Tactics target 1440p, but others like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, Fortnite, and Watch Dogs: Legion are 1080p. That may change as developers get more comfortable working with the new hardware, but based on past experience, it might not. For example, Microsoft billed the Xbox One X as being capable of 4K gaming at 60fps but many of the most popular games around didn’t run at full 4K. Fortnite, for example, runs at a maximum of 1728p on the Xbox One X, while Doom: Eternal tops out at 1800p.

Although your existing Xbox One controllers will work on the Xbox Series X and Series S, there’s also an updated controller for the new consoles, which is available in white, black, and blue. Although it’s broadly similar to the design Microsoft has used for its previous controllers, it’s slightly smaller and has a dedicated share button to simplify the process of uploading screenshots and video clips. Its D-pad is also a circle like the recent Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, rather than a cross like it was on the Xbox One.

New games, new hardware

New hardware needs new games to make the most of it, and Microsoft and its partners have announced a host of games that are coming to its new console. The biggest of these is Halo: Infinite, the latest entry in the long-running sci-fi first-person shooter franchise that’s become synonymous with the Xbox brand since its debut way back in 2001.

Unfortunately, Microsoft recently delayed Halo: Infinite, meaning it will now release in 2021, rather than arriving alongside the new console. News of the delay, which Microsoft attributed in part to the pandemic, came after the game’s visuals were met with criticism after their initial unveiling, prompting developer 343 Industries to admit, “We do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game.”

With other Xbox staples like Fable and Forza Motorsport without release dates, the delay has left third-party publishers to fill in the rest of the launch lineup, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Watch Dogs Legion, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Here’s a guide to the best launch day games, and here’s what the months ahead are looking like in terms of new releases.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a high-profile launch title for the new consoles.
Image: Ubisoft

These games support different Xbox Series X and Series S features. Watch Dogs Legion, for example, run in 4K on the Series X and supports ray tracing for more realistic-looking lighting on both consoles, but there’s no ray-tracing support in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Another interesting title in the launch lineup is Dirt 5, which can run at up to 120fps on the Xbox Series X. A high frame rate like this is especially important in a fast-paced racing game, and it means Dirt 5 feels more responsive to play on compatible TVs.

One common feature a lot of these games share is that they’ll also be available for current-gen consoles like the Xbox One and PS4. What was more surprising was when Microsoft said that would be true for even its own flagship games. If Microsoft keeps that promise, it would be a big departure from how console manufacturers have treated these games in the past, where these exclusive games have previously been an essential part of the sales pitch for new hardware.

New games, old hardware

Microsoft has said you won’t have to buy new hardware to enjoy its upcoming first-party titles because many of them will also come to Xbox One. Here’s how Xbox chief Phil Spencer described the company’s approach back in July, where he said that every Xbox Game Studios game in the next couple of years will be playable on the Xbox One.

You won’t be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox player to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios. That’s why Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years—like Halo Infinite—will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.

And if you’re more of a PC gamer and don’t own an Xbox One, then Microsoft also typically releases its major titles there as well, and it says it plans to continue this policy this year.

Microsoft has promised to bring Halo Infinite to PC and Xbox One as well as its new Xbox consoles.
Image: 343 Industries

There are some caveats you should be aware of. First is that these promises only cover Microsoft’s first-party titles, aka those published by Xbox Game Studios. Microsoft isn’t making any promises about how other publishers like EA, Ubisoft, or Activision will handle their new games.

Even then, Microsoft has been pretty explicit about the fact that this only covers its own games that will release across the “next couple of years,” and there are signs that some high-profile games that have already been announced might not be coming to the Xbox One. After Microsoft’s high-profile Xbox event in July, we noted that a majority of the title cards for Microsoft’s first-party games, including Forza Motorsport and Fable, didn’t mention that they’d be coming to the Xbox One.

Finally, in case this wasn’t obvious, you’re probably going to see a very different-looking game if you’re choosing to play on a base Xbox One from 2013 compared to a shiny new Xbox Series X.

There’s even been some concern that trying to continue to support the Xbox One could hold back Microsoft’s next-generation games, which could give Sony an advantage since it can focus all of its attention on the new hardware. Spencer, as well as developers we’ve spoken to, have said this shouldn’t be a problem, but so-called “cross-gen” games on previous consoles have never made the most of the latest hardware.

New games, no hardware

Say you don’t own an Xbox or a gaming PC, but you do have an Android phone. Does Microsoft have any next-gen gaming options for you? Thanks to game streaming, it does. On September 15th, Microsoft added game streaming to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99 a month. The feature, which was known previously as xCloud, could give you a way to play many of the biggest Xbox Series X games without having to own any gaming hardware at all. You can stream them to a device as simple as an Android phone, for example (but not iOS, which we’ll get into in a second).

Game streaming isn’t an entirely new idea — Sony launched its PlayStation Now service way back in 2014 to a muted response — but Microsoft is taking a much more interesting approach. Rather than focusing on older titles, as Sony did with PlayStation Now, Microsoft says its new games will be available to stream the day they release and lists recent first-party titles like Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 5, Tell Me Why, The Outer Worlds, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps as being among the 150-plus games available to stream at launch.

Microsoft promises to let you stream major Xbox games straight to your phone.
Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

There are currently a couple of compromises to this approach, as we found recently when we tested the service for ourselves. For starters, load times and lag and noticeable, and are worse than competing cloud gaming services from Google and Nvidia. Getting into gameplay can take between a minute and a minute and a half, and fast-paced games can feel sluggish. Microsoft says that the servers powering the service will be upgraded to Series S/X hardware next year, but as it stands the service feels unfinished.

xCloud also currently isn’t available on every platform. At the moment, xCloud is available for Android, but the restrictions Apple places on game streaming services mean that it’s yet to come to iOS. That should change next year, however, since Microsoft is planning to develop a web version of the service that will be able to run on Apple’s devices.

Since xCloud will be included with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, it’s offered alongside a huge array of content beyond game streaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s $14.99 a month subscription also lets you download and play over 100 games directly on your Xbox or Windows 10 PC, as well as EA Play. It also includes an Xbox Live Gold subscription, which gives access to online multiplayer on Xbox.

PlayStation Now is still around, of course, but Sony isn’t promoting it as a way to play its recent games. It might have a huge catalog of over 800 titles, but it doesn’t feel like a serious attempt to compete with Microsoft’s game streaming, even after a recent price cut to $9.99 a month.

The backwards-compatibility question

The ability to play a previous generation’s games on your new hardware (so-called “backwards compatibility”) has varied between different consoles and generations. Nintendo’s Wii U could happily play every Wii game, and the Wii could play every GameCube game before it. In contrast, the PS4 can’t natively play any games that were released for previous PlayStations — although some can be streamed via PlayStation Now.

With its new consoles, Microsoft has outlined three ways your old games will eventually be playable on its new hardware. Some games will be backwards compatible, some will receive enhancements, and others will receive a free upgrade when newer versions are released.

With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is making big promises about your ability to play your old Xbox games on its new hardware. For starters, “thousands” of games released for the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One are playable on the new consoles, and Microsoft has got a handy tool to let you browse them all. That includes almost every game released for the Xbox One, barring those that required its Kinect camera accessory.

The Xbox Series S can still play older games, but it doesn’t include their Xbox One X enhancements like higher resolutions. So in most cases, you’ll essentially be playing the version of the game that was designed for the less-powerful Xbox One S. That said, in some cases, those older games can still benefit from more modern hardware such as the faster solid-state drive, and games with dynamic resolution scaling can run at higher resolutions. Backwards-compatible original Xbox and Xbox 360 games run at an enhanced 1440p resolution.

The Series S won’t include Xbox One X enhancements for games.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

That’s the baseline, but in some cases, Microsoft says that games will be enhanced, running in higher resolutions and frame rates than they were originally released with and with support for new technologies like HDR. In particular, Microsoft says games can be updated to run at double their original frame rate on both the Series S and Series X. We’ve already seen Microsoft achieve impressive results with some of this technology.

Finally, there’s Smart Delivery, which is essentially a free upgrade program that means you won’t have to re-buy an Xbox One game — like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, or Doom Eternal — if it also gets released on the new hardware. Although this will theoretically offer the biggest upgrade, the feature is being selectively used. If you previously bought the original Control for Xbox One, for example, you won’t get a free upgrade to the next-gen version. That’s reserved for owners of Control’s new Ultimate Edition.

Sony has promised more modest improvements for PS4 games running on the PS5. It’s confirmed that the “overwhelming majority” of PS4 games will run on its new hardware, and says that some will have better loading speeds and more stable frame rates. Some developers have said they’ll offer free upgrades to the PS5 versions of their games.

Paying the price

If you want to continue to pay for your hardware and games up front, then that’s still an option with Microsoft’s new Xboxes. As mentioned above, the Xbox Series X retails for $499, while the Series S costs $299. Major releases, meanwhile, seem to be priced similarly or at a $10 premium to current-gen titles. The PS5 costs between $399 for its disc-free model, and $499 for its model with a 4K Blu-ray drive.

But going into this generation, Microsoft is making a big bet on people wanting to spend their money on games in monthly installments. For the Xbox Series X, that means paying $34.99 a month for 24 months via its Xbox All Access bundle (total cost: $839.76), while the Series S is available for $24.99 a month (total cost: $599.76). All Access will be available in 12 countries this year: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

That’s more expensive than buying the console upfront, but included with Xbox All Access is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — a subscription service that gets you free access to over 100 Xbox One titles, including big recent titles like Tell Me Why, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Forza Horizon 4free games via EA Play, Xbox Live Gold (a subscription that comes with its own monthly free games as well as access to online multiplayer), and game streaming via xCloud. Oh, and it gives free access to over 100 Windows 10 games as well, such as the recently released Microsoft Flight Simulator.

If you’d rather buy your hardware outright and buy a subscription to one of Microsoft’s game services separately, then Xbox Game Pass is available in a couple of different variations. Factor in the cost of these subscriptions to the total price of Xbox All Access, and the price of the console hardware itself drops to just $10 or $20 a month.

Xbox Game Pass comparison

Categories Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Xbox Game Pass Xbox Game Pass for PC
Categories Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Xbox Game Pass Xbox Game Pass for PC
Platform PC/Xbox Xbox PC
Games included 250+ games 250+ games 200+ games
Xbox Live Gold Yes No No
xCloud Yes No No
EA Play Yes No Yes
Monthly price $14.99/£10.99/€12.99 $9.99/£7.99/€9.99 $9.99/£7.99/€9.99

Suffice it to say, if you don’t have the cash to make a big upfront purchase, then Microsoft still wants to get you on board for its next generation of consoles. You won’t own any of the games you can play (aside from the older Xbox 360 games you can download with Xbox Live’s Games with Gold service), but that’s the trade-off you make.


Microsoft’s plans for the next generation of gaming are sprawling. Two consoles that are available via subscription and can play a huge chunk of your existing Xbox games, a new roster of games that will be playable on your existing Xbox One, a continuing focus on PC gaming, and a game streaming service mean that, no matter what hardware you own, there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to pay Microsoft to play its games.

We’ve written before about how the focus on trying to sell subscriptions rather than premium hardware means that the “true next-gen Xbox” is the subscription itself, rather than the hardware it plays on. Microsoft is casting its net wide, and it doesn’t want any hardware requirements to get in the way of you subscribing.

Sony, meanwhile, is doing what it’s always done: it’s making a new console, developing exclusive games for it, and selling it. It’s hard to argue too much with the approach when it’s done so well for the company so far, especially with the PS4.

As of this writing, the PS4 has reportedly outsold the Xbox One by a factor of over two to one, so it’s hard to see why Sony would want to change its strategy too much. Microsoft is coming into this next generation as an underdog, and it’s doing everything in its power to change the rules of the game.

Update November 12th, 1:30PM ET: Added hands on impressions now that the Xbox Series S and Series X have launched.

Correction November 12th, 1:30PM ET: An earlier version of this article stated that the PS5 will have 16GB of GDDR5 RAM. This is incorrect. It actually has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM.

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Comments

I’m worried about the Series S – but not about the GPU…about the RAM. The early Lockhart rumors had this console with 12 GB of RAM. Now we know it’s actually 10 GB of RAM, with apparently only 7.5 of which us usable by developers. That is awfully low, even with advancements like SFS and the NVME SSD. That’s a 5.5 GB difference of usable RAM between the S and X (and PS5 as well).

Could Series S games in the future be scaled down all the way to 720p just save space in RAM? I’m imagining future games on the PS5 and Series X like Elder Scrolls VI and GTA VI making use of the 13.5 GB of RAM on those consoles, and then figuring out how to reduce that to the 7.5 on the Series S. Lower res assets will save a lot of space, but I’m not sure it will be enough to make up a 5.5 GB difference.

GPU, Storage and RAM are toned down from the Series X because of scalabilty (no need for 4K and no need for more RAM).

I understand the specs are scaled down for 1080p, but the RAM pool is still quite small even considering the target resolution.

Here’s a tweet from an engine programmer at id Software about the limitation – https://i.imgur.com/NnsN5o3.png

Axel is more of a manager than a programmer these days. He’s just pushing things more than they need to be pushed. There’s more than enough RAM in the S to support it’s full 1440p HDR capability, AND all the game behind the graphics.

Since it’s targeting 1440p you don’t need as much ram. Remember that 4k is 4x the resolution of 1080p and 2x the resolution of 1440p. The series x was built as a 4k machine and the series s was built as a 1440p box

I’m worried about the Series S – but not about the GPU…about the RAM

The DF analysis said it would be tight on memory. We`ll have to see how that pans out.

Perhaps Series S will be an "up to" 1440p console, with some titles opting for 1080p due to memory limitations.

Isn’t this exactly MS’s messaging around the Series S?

I’m not sure why so many people are confused/upset about the Series S being ‘less powerful’ than the One X.

I’m not a big computer person, but I think of the Series S like a new ‘ultrabook’, vs. the One X being a ‘workstation’ from some years back. Of course the workstation (One X) will still have somewhat better specs on paper, and handle heavier loads, (4K) but that doesn’t mean the new notebook (series S) can’t offer an upgraded/smoother experience for it’s intended tasks. Especially with recent optimizations to both code and hardware. 16GB of ram was a healthy number for a good laptop in 2012, and it continues to be too this day… Doesn’t mean a 2020 laptop with the same spec isn’t better. Specs aren’t doubling every few years the way they used to, that’s just not what’s driving computing.

In that vein, I believe we are still not accustomed to the idea that 1080p will continue somewhat indefinitely, as an entirely adequate resolution for smaller displays. 720p TV sets disappeared from store shelves pretty quickly after 1080p became universally affordable, but 4K has yet to displace 1080p the same way.

It makes sense to cater a model to these respective (and both equally relevant) resolutions, and ensure a consistent experience for both. Microsoft could have easily marketed both the S and X as ‘4k ready’, and gimped the S with a 30fps cap at 4K for instance. Instead, they made no bones about the Series S’ 1440 or 1080p limits, and I think the machine is better for it.

You’re also forgetting about a number of key technologies that means MS doesn’t need to load complete textures into the RAM pool, instead they pull in smaller bite sized textures (MIPS) as needed plus a host of other tech built around Velocity Architecture. RAM usage on a console is nothing like a PC (which has to consider worst case scenario) as a console can quite happily use a JIT philosophy as all resources and systems are guaranteed.

MS could have released Lockhart with anything from 8 to 16GB. I guess MS believed 10GB will be enough and saved money that way. Is it really enough? We shall see.
It will definitely make developer work harder than 12, 14 or 16GB would.

Looking at the spec comparison, I’d be amazed if the PS5 was less than $500 and the all digital edition was less than $450. Maybe $450/$400 considering the difference in gpus, but word on the street is that Sony’s custom ssd isn’t cheap.

16GB GDDR5 RAM on PS5? Pretty sure it’s GDDR6 right?

So I am a HUGE fan of Sony’s exclusives and is the sole reason I’ll be getting a PS5 regardless of the price. I doubt I’ll buy day one simply because I don’t like those day one bugs. I’ll wait until the kinks are worked out. Either way, by the time I get one it’ll be less than the starting price. The PS5 disc version will likely be 500 and the disc-less I’m guessing 450. I mean, other than not getting a disc drive you get EVERYTHING else the disc version has so 50 less makes sense.

That all being said, I see xbox doing very well this time around and will probably dominate the market in terms of overall performance and price. In the end, people invested in Sony will stick with them and people invested in Microsoft will stick with them. Those who can and do buy both will do so. I don’t have time for both else I would. People finance these consoles these days often times so I don’t see why the price is such a HUGE deal. Now, if the PS5 turned out to be like $800 then I could see the price argument but it won’t be anything like that.

I’m hoping Sony can deliver a $399/$449 price point for the digital and disc versions of the PS5, respectively.

What did I say about Panos Panay and his love for yesterday’s specs?
Series X doesn’t support Wifi 6. A next gen console in 2020.

Panos Panay isn’t involved with Xbox. He’s Windows and Surface. Phil Spencer runs Xbox, including hardware.

There’s only one Hardware division at MS now, all under Panos. The Xbox hardware specific engineers are likely a subset team, but they are all working together with various parts of the company. Azure for example, as Xbox Series X was designed simultaneously as console and cloud hardware.

There is a pic out there where Panos was inspecting One X hardware fresh off the assembly lines.

Wifi specs are still a mess. AC Wave 1 or Wave 2? Makes a big difference… Other than the speed (MIMO in standard or MU flavors) for downloading games and updates… I turn off all the other Wifi 6 features. Who wants OFDMA? No, that’s a serious question, why would I want some things that typically have perpetual connections, like these consoles, to have its connection terminated or dropped down to low priority?

Series X doesn’t support Wifi 6

Zero impact on gaming. If you care about this stuff, you`ve already ditched wifi and are connecting your console over ethernet.

Big fan of the way Microsoft is approaching cross-device and cross-platform compatibility. The traditional model of the console is, as has been stated, a closed system that you buy because it has exclusives. Microsoft is making a radically different bet this time. They know they can’t compete on exclusives (at least not within the next few years), so they’re trying to sell a console purely on utility. They seem to want Xbox to be a background platform that connects all your gaming devices, instead of something that you turn to when you want to play specific titles. The gamble is whether consumers will find that the utility proposition outweighs the absence of exclusives.

It’s almost like a third lane of competition. Microsoft has ceded the closed-system model to Sony. Nintendo is out in its own world with its own software and value proposition. Microsoft is left with trying to fill the interstitial spaces with utility.

That 512Gb could get eaten up very quickly so I hope the digital distribution means only the relevant assets and textures are downloaded. I know expansion is an option but it adds extra cost.

I’ve read USB drives can be used with the caveat that games can be basically archived off to a slower drive, but if you want to run them you need to move them back first. It’s not perfect but I think it mitigates the issue a bit. As it stands even 1TB is going to feel restrictive depending on the game so as someone buying a Series X, I’ll still consider plugging in an external drive to save me having to download games constantly.

It’ll be a balancing act, but indications are so far that both the PS5 and Xbox will have pretty expensive solid state expansion options initially, so a USB drive seems like a decent compromise.

Yeah, I thought they might do that. At least its an option and to be honest, most people play 1 or 2 games regularly and the others aren’t regulars.

PS5 memory is listed wrong it should be GDDR6 and not GDDR5.

When will it support VR? That’s what I want to know.

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