Xbox Series X|S - Should you get it?

September 23, 2020

Xbox Series X|S - Should you get it?

 

It’s the year 2020, you’ve been cooped up at home for a good portion of the year, and you’re itching for something that would break the monotony of your life. Suddenly, your dreams come true in the form of the latest generation video game consoles, both releasing within a week or so from each other, with all new games to enjoy.

But that all important question hangs over you, which one to get?

On one hand, you have Sony’s PlayStation 5, and on the other, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S. This article will try its very best to explain what’s going on with the Xbox, and maybe give you enough information to make an informed choice.

 

Xbox Series X Design & Specs:

First up we have the most powerful console to date, the Xbox Series X. Microsoft has really pulled out all the stops with this console, fitting it with everything they could to make it run smoother, and look better.

Specs
CPU: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT Enabled)
GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52CUs @ 1.825GHz
GPU Power: 12.15 TFLOPS
RAM: 16GB GDDR6 RAM
Performance Target: Target 4K @ 60 FPS. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPS
Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)
Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card
Backward Compatibility: “Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories.
Disc Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Display Out: HDMI 2.1
MRSP: SGD $699

If specs confuses you, the main things you need to take note of are performance target, storage, backwards compatibility and price.

 

Performance:

You will be able to play the latest games in 4K resolution (provided you have a 4K Monitor or TV), at 60 Frames per Second. 60 FPS is the norm for most things currently, like your phone display, but even phones are offering 90 Fps or 120 FPS nowadays. Technically, the Xbox Series X is supposed to be able to hit 8K resolution, although if you own an 8K monitor, you’re probably rich enough to get both an Xbox and PS5, and maybe throw in a custom PC without thinking too much.

The thing to take note here is “Up to 120 FPS”. This probably means not all games will run equal, as can be seen from the Xbox One X. To run at 120 FPS, your resolution will need to take a hit, maybe running at 2K or even 1080p. This may not be a bad thing, as some users will trade smooth frame rates over graphics, and honestly, as long as the game doesn’t look like Craig, you’re probably good.

 

Storage:

The Xbox Series X will run on an SSD, with 1TB storage. For those unfamiliar with SSDs, in very simple terms, if your computer has a HDD, it will take 40 seconds to boot up. With an SSD, it may take as fast as 9 to 15 secs. So yea, it’ll read and run games faster as compared to the Xbox One X.

 

Backwards Compatibility:

Honestly there isn’t much to explain as everything is written pretty simply. Xbox supports backwards compatibility with its ever-growing list. Of course this probably has more to do with the Xbox Game Pass, giving you a wide array of games across the different generations. And whether for better or for worse, the next few Next Gen game releases will continue run on the Xbox One as well as the Series X, but with a very user-friendly feature called Smart Delivery.

Smart Delivery makes is such that you can buy a copy of any game that supports Smart Delivery, and you’ll have access to the best version of the game down the line. This means if you purchase Halo: Infinite (whenever it comes out) on the Xbox One, you can play it on the Series X as well when you get it. Save data will be compatible across both consoles as well, so you can continue right where you left off, which is a very convenient feature.

This feature is available in all Microsoft Studio owned games but is made available for other developers and publishers as well if they so choose to use it. To be clear, this works on both digital games AND physical discs as well.

 

Price:

All things considered, having a retail price of $699 seems pretty reasonable for a Next Gen console. The Xbox One X was $699 at release as well.

 

Design:

These Next Gen consoles are pretty “memeable” with the PS5 looking like a Wifi router, the Xbox Series X looking like a mini fridge, and the Xbox Series S looking like a subwoofer. The Xbox Series X is a black rectangular box with cooling vents on the top and is able to stand both upright and on its side. It does have alternative cooling ports on the back in case someone blocks the vents on the top. When its design was first released, netizens started photoshopping the Xbox Series X into their houses, replacing their fridges.

 

Xbox Series S Specs:

If you are not ready to shell out a full $699 for the Xbox Series X at this moment, you might want to consider its slightly less powerful younger brother, the Xbox Series S.

Specs
CPU: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT Enabled)
GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20CUs @ 1.565GHz
GPU Power: 4 TFLOPS
RAM: 10GB GDDR6 RAM
Performance Target: Target 1440p @ 60 FPS. Up to 120 FPS.
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)
Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card
Backward Compatibility: “Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories.
Disc Drive: None
Display Out: HDMI 2.1
MRSP: SGD $459

The Xbox Series S does not have a disc drive and is fully digital. It is about a third of the size of the Series X, and runs at about 50% performance. It will run at 1440p but upscales to 4K, so expect resolution and frame rates to take a hit on more graphically demanding games.

It has half the storage of the Series X, which is a bit of a bummer as you would expect the console which is meant to download games to have a larger capacity, but the bright side is it can still play all the games the Series X can and you can expand the storage.

It’s around 60% of the price of the Series X so if you don’t have that much cash, you might consider this as a viable option. If you don’t mind the graphical drop of course.

The thing to take note is, the Xbox Series S is by no means a weak console. Sure, next to the Xbox Series X it might not look as impressive, but it is important to remember, it is better than the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X on paper might look like the better console still, but with the upgraded CPU, GPU and SSD, the Xbox Series S actually runs games smoother, with better frame rates and with next-gen effects like ray tracing, dynamic lighting and shadows. So take that into consideration during your decision making process.

 

Why you should consider getting an Xbox:

Now why should you consider getting an Xbox over a PlayStation 5? The short answer is that it is really up to you.

The long answer will be this:

In terms of backwards compatibility, the PS5 will be compatible with most of the PS4 games. The Xbox has access to games ranging all the way back to the original Xbox. However, we understand that not all players will appreciate this feature, as you buy new consoles to play new games, not old ones and that is fair. So let’s talk about new games.

PlayStation 5 has come out the game swinging with its exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and God of War 2, but a number of games will be available on the Xbox as well, albeit some after an initial launch period.

A lot of people may be concerned over the fact that the Xbox Series X/S will have no exclusives at launch, but instead will have games releasing on both the Xbox One and the Xbox Series. Those worries are not unfounded, but what Microsoft seems to be trying to build is a games community, not a console community. With its Game Pass, Xbox seems to be more concerned over who buys the pass instead of who buys its consoles, giving players the freedom of choice to play on whichever platform they like. Whether this affects graphical quality or not, that remains to be seen, and it is best not to use the recent Halo: Infinite reveal as a benchmark as there seems to be more problems with the game than its graphics.

The Xbox has some added cool new features as well. With Smart Delivery, you can purchase a game on one platform, and play it on whatever console you want. With Quick Resume, players can jump from game to game in little to no time and pick up where they left off. With Game Pass, players have access to over 100 games, with more on the way (EA Play and the recently announced ZeniMax/Bethesda merger).

All in all, if you are looking for a console where you can play a large capacity of games at an affordable price, and with convenient features, the Xbox will be for you.





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