Microsoft has finally announced its next generation video games console, with the device to be branded as the Xbox One X. While this may not be the most imaginative name in the history of consumer electronics, it does make sense for the corporation, with the naming of the device indicating that it is part of the existing generation. This is to some extent an attempt to appease existing Xbox One owners, and reassure them that Microsoft will not be jettisoning previous console releases just yet, even with a possible PlayStation 5 release looming.
Nonetheless, as the company continues to trail significantly behind Sony in the console marketplace, it will be essential for the Xbox One X to attract consumers rapidly. The new machine will launch on November 7, meaning that it only has a few weeks before the key critical Christmas marketplace to attract buyers. However, such is the buzz attached to any new item of consumer electronics nowadays, it is almost a certainty that the Xbox One X will sell out of its initial stock run.
But how has the mega-corporation chosen to improve the Xbox One X from the existing Xbox One S? Let’s take a look at where the differences lie between the two consoles.
Dimensions and weight
Firstly, the Xbox One X is marginally heavier and larger than its predecessor. The difference in size is so negligible as to be almost completely meaningless, with the Xbox One X being 1cm longer and 0.5cm broader than the One S.
Weight is arguably more significant, with the Xbox One X being somewhat heftier than its cousin, weighing in at 8.4lbs. The Xbox One weighs just 6.4lbs, meaning that the new device is around 30 per cent heavier. However, considering most people place their console on a shelf under the television and never move it again, this seems pretty trivial.
If the Xbox One X is to deliver a superior experience to its predecessor, it must obviously deliver in the processor department. So the CPU and GPU of the new system are absolutely vital, particularly if Microsoft is to provide the sort of gaming provisions that it has boasted about ahead of the release of the device.
And there is no doubt that the Xbox One X is massively more powerful than the Xbox One S. The new console has 8 competing cores, which was also the case with the Xbox One S, but these are clocked at 2.3GHz. The CPU in the previous generation was clocked at 1.75GHz, meaning that the new machine is significantly more powerful.
The custom GPU included in the Xbox One X is also a massive improvement over the Xbox One S, and will ensure that the new console handles graphics particularly niftily. Firstly, the speed of the GPU in the new unit is significantly higher than in the previous generation. The Xbox One X GPU is clocked at 1.172GHz, whereas the Xbox One S equivalent was 914MHz.
But it is in the compute units where the difference really kicks in with the next generation Xbox One X, with Microsoft having included 40 computer units in this new machine. This compares to 12 compute units in the Xbox One S, meaning that the graphical performance of the new console is greatly improved.
Xbox One X vs Xbox One S comparison chart
Indeed, Microsoft notes that the new console will achieve the 6 tflops of competing power that it had boasted about prior to unveiling the machine. This means that it is over four-times more powerful than the Xbox One S, which is only able to deliver 1.4 tflops of power. This will obviously lead to a pretty sizeable gulf in performance between the two machines, and will certainly pose issues for developers.
Microsoft has also improved the memory provision in the Xbox One X, while ensuring that it is delivered at a far faster speed than in the previous generation. The Xbox One X is fitted with 12GB of memory, which is 50 per cent more than the 8GB included in the Xbox One S.
Furthermore, this memory will also be delivered at 326GB/s, which is far faster than the 218GB/s of the Xbox One S. Coupled with the improved processor and computing capabilities of the console, this will ensure that the Xbox One S is an extremely powerful gaming machine.
This is one area of the Xbox One X that is arguably a little disappointing, with Microsoft having only included the provision for 1TB of storage in the initial Xbox One X release. Considering there is a 2TB version of the Xbox One S, and also that this version of the Microsoft Xbox One range provides three different models, it is perhaps a little surprising that Microsoft has not provided more choice and storage here.
Nonetheless, it seems a racing certainty that more versions of the Xbox One X will go live as production costs diminish.
The power supply unit of the Xbox One X has also been doubled in comparison to its predecessor. This doesn’t mean that much in gaming terms, but it does suggest that it will cost more to run than the Xbox One S.
This new Microsoft machine is quite simply the most expensive console in the history of the video gaming concept. Retailing at $500, it is significantly more pricey than any other machine available on the market currently, and approximately double the price of the Xbox One S, which can be picked up for $250 in its most affordable variant on Amazon.com.
There is no doubt that the Xbox One X is a hugely powerful and impressive video games console. It will significantly outperform the PlayStation 4 Pro, and frankly blows the Xbox One S out of the water. However, for a niche of computing and technology that has been intended to deliver relatively affordable gaming, the Xbox One X will launch at a fairly hefty price point.
Clearly Microsoft has attempted to learn its lesson from the previous generation, in which the under-powered Xbox One struggled to compete with the PlayStation 4. But it will need some excellent launch titles and exclusives if it is to become more than an overpriced pariah, regardless of its performance.