Microsoft is launching two new game consoles: the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X. They are very different, so which should be preferred? Here are our tips for choosing the right one.

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Microsoft is launching two new game consoles: the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X. They are very different, so which should be preferred? Here are our tips for choosing the right one.

Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X: which model should you choose?Sony and Microsoft have two very different strategies for approaching the next generation of consoles. If Sony has chosen to offer a very similar PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which, in our opinion, makes it quite easy to choose which is the best model, this is not the case with Microsoft.

The Redmond firm has, in fact, opted for two models of consoles with very different characteristics. If the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X have the DNA of next-gen consoles, they are not aimed at exactly the same target.

The differences between the two models at a glance

Here are the main differences between the two consoles in a nutshell.

The Xbox Series S is an entry-level next-gen console designed to render in 1440p at up to 120 frames per second. It is compact, has no Blu-ray drive and is advertised at 299 euros.

The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-gen technology showcase console that announces native 4K rendering at up to 120 frames per second. It is more bulky, it has a 4K Blu-ray player and it is sold at 499 euros.

Two radically different designs

  • The Xbox Series S is much more compact and easier to store than the Series X

As Xbox Series S scales back most of the features of Series X, Microsoft may come up with a completely different design. And yes, the console does not have a Blu-ray drive and is much easier to cool. It therefore does not require the same ventilation system as the Series X.

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Designed to be used horizontally, the Xbox Series S is particularly easy to integrate into a living room with its minimal size : 27.5cm x 15.1cm x 6.5cm only. It’s the smallest Xbox ever made and that makes it the most compact next-gen console on the market.

The Xbox Series X is the equal of the PlayStation 5: a high-end and bulky console. The dimensions are 30cm x 15cm x 15cm. For its cooling, it has been designed to be used vertically, which makes it more difficult to integrate into a living room, compared to its little sister.

What is the difference in power between a Series S and a Series X?

  • The Xbox Series X is much more powerful, but Microsoft promises that the Series S will not be penalized by its power deficit

The two models have a very different technical sheet, but a common base in terms of architecture. In both cases, we find: a high-performance AMD Zen 2 processor, an AMD RDNA 2 graphics chip with the latest technologies (VRS, ray tracing, mesh shader, etc.) and an SSD with Xbox Velocity Architecture. It is this common base that makes the Xbox Series S a true next-gen console, capable of running the same games as the PS5 (excluding Sony exclusives) or the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series SXbox Series X

ProcessorAMD Zen 2, 8 cores at 3.4-3.6 GhzAMD Zen 2, 8 cores at 3.6-3.8 Ghz

GPUAMD RDNA 2 20 CU @ 1.565 GHz AMD RDNA 2 52 CU @ 1825 GHz

Graphics Power4 Tflops12.15 Tflops

RAM10 GB GDDR616 GB GDDR6

Bandwidth8 GB to 224 GB/s
2 GB to 56 GB/s10 GB to 560 GB/s
6 GB at 336 GB/s

Target render 1440p@60 FPS (up to 120 FPS)4K 2160p@60 FPS (up to 120 FPS)

Storage512 GB NVMe PCIe 41 GB NVMe PCIe 4

Speed2.4 GB/s decompressed data
4.8 GB/s compressed data

Disc PlayerNo4K UHD Blu-ray

Dimensions27.5cm x 15.1cm x 6.4cm30.1cm x 15.1cm x 15.1cm

Beyond this common basis, we can highlight two major differences between the two consoles. First of all the power delivered, with a GPU which is limited to 4 Tflops of raw power, it is three times less than the Xbox Series X. To this is added a deficit of RAM with 10 GB of GDDR6 against 16 GB for the Series X. These compromises are there because Microsoft aims to run games with a lower rendering definition, going from 4K (3840 x 2160p) for the Series X to 1440p (2560 x 1440p) for the Series S. That’s a lot less pixels to display, so less RAM and raw power needed, in principle. This rendering in 1440p can be displayed on 4K screens thanks to upscaling (artificial improvement of the definition) managed by the console.

It’s impossible to know at this time what the real game differences will be for the two consoles, especially in the years to come when the games will be fully developed for the new consoles. If you’re the type to watch Digital Foundry’s tests to find out how games run on each machine down to the pixel, the Xbox Series X is definitely the place to look. On the other hand, if you can’t tell the difference between Full HD and 4K with the naked eye already, or if you play on a Full HD screen, the Series S can probably be right for you. It can also be a good idea if you are already planning to change consoles mid-generation. Because it is very likely that Sony and Microsoft will launch new consoles in a few years that will be more powerful, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X on the previous generation. In this case, the Series S can be a good investment while waiting for a switch to 4K in a few years.

Is the Xbox Series S truly next-gen?

  • Yes

With such a difference in power, one wonders if the Xbox Series S is truly a next-gen console. Some may remember that the Xbox One delivers an identical raw power of 4 Tflops. First, the optimizations of the RDNA 2 architecture should make it possible to obtain, more or less, the same performance as the AMD GCN-based 6 Tflops chip of the Xbox One X. Second, the latter aimed for native 4K rendering. , which is not the case with the Series S.

The Xbox Series S is truly considered a next-gen console. It will benefit from all the games that will be released on Xbox consoles for years to come. The Xbox One X is part of the Xbox One generation and will thus be discontinued in the coming months once the latest cross-gen games are released. It is because it integrates an SSD and an RDNA 2 graphics chip that Microsoft can provide support for essential features for game developers on this new generation.

512GB vs 1TB storage

  • Xbox Series X can store more games

Another important point that changes between the two data sheets is the integrated storage. The Xbox Series S only offers 512 GB of storage space compared to 1 TB for the Xbox Series X. On paper, that’s a lot less space to store games. Microsoft promises that games for Series S will be able to occupy 30% less space, in particular by saving 4K textures.

Again, it’s hard to judge in advance. We can still remember that the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X will be entitled to 1 TB external SSDs marketed by Seagate to relieve internal storage. It will also be possible to store game downloads on an external hard drive (but the SSD will be required to run them).

Games and the price of games

  • New and recent physical games are cheaper, but Xbox Game Pass is a big selling point

As we explained in our comparison between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition, the price of the games is very different between their version on disc and the version that can be taken on The online store. We are talking about a difference of 10 to 15 euros on recent and new games between a purchase in store or in digital format. In the end, it is this argument that led us to recommend the PS5 with Blu-ray player. In addition, consoles without a disc drive do not allow the games to be loaned or resold second-hand.

Xbox’s situation is a bit different, however. We are thinking here of the Xbox Game Pass which allows for ten euros per month to access a catalog of more than 100 games including all new releases, from now 23 Microsoft studios. This is therefore a new parameter to take into account: if the Game Pass catalog remains the same, the situation will be identical between the two console models. Add to that the regular promotions for older games on the Xbox Store and you have a much tougher choice.

Gaming enthusiasts who want the biggest outputs from day one will likely go for the disc-based model. In all other cases, it is not at all ridiculous to imagine having an Xbox without a disc drive.

A big price difference

  • Xbox Series S is much cheaper than Xbox Series X

The strong point of the Xbox Series S is above all its aggressive price of 299.99 euros. It takes 200 euros more to afford a more powerful, but more cumbersome Xbox Series X. Such a price difference will require buying a dozen games in physical version over the life of the Series X to be amortized, it’s not nothing.

Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X: which model should you choose?

Xbox All Access to consider

Microsoft will offer in France a new way to buy an Xbox console with the Xbox All Access service. It is nothing more than a 24-month credit (at a slightly negative rate) integrating the purchase of the console and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

For this subscription, the Xbox Series S will be offered at 24.99 euros per month, while the Xbox Series X will be offered at 32.99 euros monthly. There is therefore a difference of 8 euros per month between the two console models, which seems more painless than the 200 euros difference when buying cash.

Conclusion: believe or not in the promise of the Series S

While we could have easily recommended the PS5 over the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, the choice on the Xbox side is much more difficult. The Xbox Series S is really a very interesting console on paper. For 300 euros, it is a next-gen console that promises to be able to run all games with a rendering up to 1440p and up to 120 frames per second. Its lack of a disc drive is partly compensated by the Xbox Game Pass subscription which is becoming more and more interesting. It also has the advantage of being much more discreet and compact than the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. It is a “slim” console before its time.

In the end, everything depends on the confidence that we can have in Microsoft’s promises concerning the console’s ability to really be comfortable with games in 3, 4, 5 or even 6 years. It is difficult to know in advance if the compromises chosen by the firm will be too difficult for the developers to bear.

But that promise seems to be mostly for gamers. Those for whom running a game in Full HD or 1440p would be two totally different things. To this audience, Microsoft recommends the Series X instead and we would be tempted to follow (if we stop at Xbox consoles). For others, the Series S could well be a very good deal allowing access to the next-gen at a low price and to benefit from the Game Pass catalog. The Series S seems to have been designed with the subscription in mind, as it makes sense for a console without a disc drive.

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