Features

Xbox Series X vs. PC

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According to numerous rumors, posts, leaks and articles published on various websites such as the TechRadar, Tom’s Guide and official Xbox blog, upcoming Xbox Series X console will be quite a beast in terms of hardware specs. As you already probably know, Xbox Series X is the next-generation Xbox console, which was previously known by its codename “Project Scarlett”.

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Although the new console was planned to be launched on Thanksgiving Day 2020, the launch date was pushed to Holidays 2020, probably due to the coronavirus outbreak which no one expected to happen. However, if COVID-19 gets under control in the following months, there is a high probability that we might see Xbox Series X launching sooner.

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Although we still can’t exactly pinpoint Xbox Series X’s launch date, we can talk about its features, since most of them seem to be officially confirmed. The new Xbox console will apparently feature backward compatibility up to four generations back in time. That means that with Series X you’ll be able to play games released for Xbox 360, and even original Xbox. But how will that work, it remains to be seen.

In terms of visual appearance and aesthetics, Series X will feature a blockier chassis which resembles more to that of a small multimedia PC. So far we know that you’ll be able to play Halo Infinite and Hellblade 2 on this new console, however, VR games won’t be supported, because Microsoft doesn’t seem to hold VR relevant. That is a shame, since you won’t be able to play VR exclusive AAA titles such as the Half-Life: Alyx which so far won many accolades.

Nevertheless, what is the most interesting thing about this new console are its hardware specifications. According to the specs sheet published by Microsoft, Xbox Series X will be a beast of a console. Take a look here:

Xbox Series X Hardware Specs

ComponentFeatures
CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size360.45 mm2
Process7nm Enhanced
Memory16 GB GDDR6 with 320-bit bus
Memory Bandwidth10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External StorageUSB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

The Xbox Series X will apparently feature customized AMD CPU based on Zen 2 architecture with 8 physical cores and 16 threads, with boost clock speed of 3.8 GHz, and a base speed of 3.6 GHz. According to the Digital Foundry, CPU frequencies won’t be completely locked, which means Xbox Series X will adjust the CPU power based on computing tasks and thermals.

Since Xbox Series X’s CPU is based on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, our speculation is that it will offer the same performance as Ryzen 7 3700X processor which is also based on Zen 2 architecture, and it features 8 cores and 16 threads.

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Meanwhile, the GPU of the Xbox Series X will be based on AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics processing microarchitecture, and will feature a whooping 12 teraflops of compute performance. The GPU will consist of 52 compute units, which will supposedly run at 1.825 MHz each. The GPU will also support ray tracing technology which will enable it to render photo-realistic lightning.

Since AMD hasn’t released any GPU for PC that features ray tracing, it is hard to speculate what Xbox Series X’s GPU desktop counterpart would actually be. Looking at its specifications, the graphics processing unit of Series X will be a monster. The Radeon VII, the most powerful GPU released by AMD so far, features 60 compute units, while the second most powerful RX 5700 XT features 40 compute units. This means that Series X’s new GPU will be somewhere in between aforementioned GPUs in terms of performance. If we try to find an equivalent counterpart in Nvidia’s camp, the new GPU should probably be on par with GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER which alone costs more than $600.

Speaking of system memory, the Xbox Series X will sport 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which is 4GB more than Xbox One X. Most gaming PCs nowdays have this amount of memory, so it’s no surprise that the upcoming console will feature this same amount. Keep in mind, however, that Xbox Series X will only use 13.5GB for games, while the other 2.5GB will be reserved for the operating system.

Image credit: Microsoft

Another advanced feature of Xbox Series X is that the console will utilize super-fast 1TB NVMe SSD which will offer significant performance leaps compared to earlier generations of video game consoles. So far we don’t know the writing and reading speeds of this SSD, however, we are sure that’ll match the performance of its mainstream PC counterparts.

According to Microsoft, Xbox Series X will be able to run games at 60 FPS in 4K, while the console will also support graphics rendering of up to 120 FPS. The 4K gaming in 60 FPS still seems like a far cry in 2020, however, it might be possible when you consider that games on consoles don’t have as much graphics options as on PC, and they are usually graphically downgraded in order to provide smooth gaming experience.

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The Xbox Series X will also support Variable Rate Shading, which works similar to dynamic resolution scaling on PC, and will also support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) which works the same way as AMD’s FreeSync technology or Nvidia’s G-Sync tech.

In terms of pricing, we still don’t know what the price of new Xbox console will be, however, we predict it will be similar to the one of the Playstation 5. Considering the tech Series X utilizes, it will be astonishing to see if this console will be sold for prices below $1,000. The Series X will feature very powerful GPU, combined with custom made CPU and state-of-the-art SSD. All of these components would cost you more than $1,500 if you were to build a PC which would offer the same performance. In our opinion, the Xbox Series X’s equivalent desktop PC configuration should look something like this:

Xbox Series X performance equivalent PC

ComponentSelectionAvailability
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread ProcessorCheck price
RAMG.Skill Aegis 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000 MHz CL16Check price
MBOMSI B450M GAMING PLUS Max, AM4, DDR4, ATXCheck price
GPUGIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER WINDFORCE OC 3X 8GCheck price
SSDSamsung 970 EVO 1TB NVMe M.2Check price
PSUCorsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold CertifiedCheck price
CaseNZXT H710i Mid Tower ATXCheck price

As you can see, even in 2020, this PC would still be a complete overkill. With it, you would easily play most shooter games at 144 FPS at 1080P, and even at 1440P resolutions. It could also be very suitable for 4K gaming. Judging by the specs of our imaginary PC, it is no longer hard to imagine how the new Xbox Series X will be powerful. This console could become a real competitor to custom-made gaming PCs, provided that it comes with a reasonable price tag. Keep in mind, however, that no matter how attractive this new console might be, it will still have some disadvantages compared to classic PCs. For example, you won’t be able to install mods for your games, and you would have to buy an expensive UHD TV in order to properly enjoy its full capabilities.

Nonetheless, the new Xbox Series X seems like a really interesting tech product, and we’re hoping to see it push new boundaries in the world of mainstream gaming. Provided that it comes with a reasonable price tag, it might even convert some hardcore PC gamers to console gamers. However, these are only speculations, and only time will tell whether they were true or not.

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