Xbox Series X Review
Get the inside story on the most powerful gaming console ever, Xbox Series X with 12 teraflops, ultra-fast load times, 8K resolution and 30 new game titles.
5 minute read
Xbox Series X specs
So what’s in the black box? Here are the key specs and features of the Xbox Series X:
- 12 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU
- 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU
- 1TB custom storage
- Up to 8K resolution and 120 FPS
- Ray tracing for super realistic lighting effects
- Near-instant load times so you’re straight into play
- Quick Resume to jump between open games in a flash
- Full Xbox One backwards compatibility
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Gears 5, Gears Tactics, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- 100’s of other titles on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Twice the teraflops: Xbox Series X is next level
Xbox Series X packs a huge 12 teraflops under the hood - four times the processing power and graphics grunt of the Xbox One X according to Microsoft.
Not sure what a Teraflop is? @HeyImNatalia makes it super clear in this bite-sized video:
What is a Teraflop?
NATALIE: If you clicked on this video you're probably wondering -
"What on Earth is a Teraflop?
"Do they even really matter?"
"Will I become a God tier gamer because I have more of them?"
This, my friend, will all be answered in today's video. Let's jump straight into it.
So as a whole, Teraflops are the measurement - of raw mathematical data happening inside your GPU every given second. Now, let's put that in simple terms.
So essentially, Teraflops are how many different calculations your GPU inside your computer or your console can handle to render the games and images you're seeing on your screen. And to break it down even further, your GPU is your 'Graphics Processing Unit.' And this is what renders the images that you see within your games, TV shows, movies - all that kinda stuff.
It's important to have a really good GPU to handle the large amount of images that are happening at any given moment - especially in gaming. For a little bit of extra context- it's really important to know where the word 'Teraflop' has even come from.
So 'Teraflop', the word, is actually made up of two parts 'Tera' and 'Flops' 'Tera', meaning 'Trillion' and 'flops' being your actual performance metric. and the word 'flops' actually means: 'Floating Point Operations Per Second.'
Are you still with me?
But Nat, what is a 'Floating Point Operation?'
So a 'flop' or a 'Floating Point Operation' is a spontaneous calculation that your computer needs to figure out on the spot to render what you're seeing in front of you.
This is so that the information on the screen is correct at any given moment.
Online multiplayer games are an exact reason why 'flops' need to exist. Look, to put it into context, I'm going to use Fortnite as an example.
So, when you jump into a new Fortnite lobby filled with 99 other competitors - there's already new information that needs to get rendered. Your GPU needs to figure out who else is in the game, what skins they're wearing, where the Battle Bus is going, where the Llamas have dropped, where the loot is on the ground, literally all this new and random information that is not automatically known when the game is opened.
On top of this new information at the beginning of the game - it also needs to calculate all the player's movements at every given moment within the game. Their X, their Y and their Z location will be changing at all times. The amount of ammo they have, the loadout they have, the health they have, whether they're hitting their shots or not.
That all has to get calculated.
Fortnite as a game cannot predict in the game files every single little choice, movement, action, skin wearing, skins that they're going to bring into the game moving forward, they can't predict all that information.
So your PC or your console essentially has to calculate exactly what you're doing at any given moment, what everybody else around you is doing and display it on the screen accordingly.
Wait, I feel like that was a really good explanation. I'm kinda impressed.
So, hypothetically if you had a 1 Teraflop GPU - what you would get is 1 Trillion spontaneous bit calculations per second. Which is crazy! It is a pretty insane number.
So with that in mind, with a higher amount of 'Teraflops' you'd be able to have a higher amount of calculations happening in your computer at any given second.
This itself can result in faster render times and also smoother gameplay.
Now, does this mean you should go out and buy the highest amount of Teraflops you can possibly buy and what your bank account will allow you?
Though you can approximately gauge the power of a GPU based on the amount of Teraflops it has - you'll find that your GPU does communicate with the game drivers, with other hardware, with memory, with bandwidth, all things that can impact your gameplay.
So, whether you're building a new PC, upgrading, doing anything with your gaming system - make sure you go out and do your research before buying the 'latest' and the 'greatest' and find something that works best for you and your gaming system.
CPU and GPU upgrades make the drive hard to beat
The CPU is the brain of the new Xbox hard drive and the GPU is the heart – and they’ve both gotten a solid upgrade for the Series X release. It’s Microsoft’s fastest, most powerful gaming console ever with 12 teraflops of GPU performance delivering a new level of visual fidelity and immersion with native 4K gaming at up to 120 frames per second.
It also means reduced load times AND the ability to support ray tracing capabilities. More on that later…
Speed: it’s all about the SSD
The upgraded SSD is a very big deal because when it comes to gaming, the hard drive is where the rubber hits the road. And you’re going to hit the road considerably faster with the Xbox Series X. We haven’t seen load times like this before.
But it’s also about the whole experience being more seamless and more real. When it comes to gaming, power equals speed equals performance – and the sheer power and speed of Xbox Velocity Architecture powered by a custom SSD delivers big improvements in real-world play on the Series X.
Frame rates and latency
The big game changers with the Xbox Series X are the latency and frame rates. The new Solid State Drive, or SSD – essentially a super-efficient hard drive with no moving parts - promises to load data considerably faster and more reliably than anything you’ve played on before.
You’ll be looking at improved transitions between levels, more detailed graphics, and far more realistic and immersive experiences on whatever game you’re into.
The Xbox Series X power boost extends to the graphics, with improvements to everything from the way that games can resume from sleep, to the smoothness and loading times of open world games to the way that elements like light, water, wind and smoke look and move on screen.
On top of that is the hardware support for Direct X Ray tracing, a graphics game changer.
Ray tracing and why it matters
Ray tracing is the next level of realism in gaming. It involves tracking the way light bounces around a virtual enrvironment and rendering it, emulating the way we see light in the real world. It’s used in animated movies, and now it’s set to become the new normal in gaming.
Xbox Series X has next-generation ray tracing rendering support, and as more games come out that support ray tracing’s amazingly realistic lightplay too, it’s going to be hard to go back.
With the Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X you get an additional 1TB of external memory and you can still maintain the same peak performance of the internal SSD. It's sold separately.
Tall, dark, handsome: the new Xbox console design
The Xbox Series X design definitely sets it apart from other consoles. While the competition is going slim, sleek and small, the new Xbox is like a big black sentinel standing head and shoulders above the crowd.
This extra-large tower of power may be a nod back to Microsoft’s gaming PC roots… but in reality, it's less about aesthetics and more about the custom-made innovations - from the chimney-stack top vent to the layered processor setup that give the Series X the chops to outgun its rivals in the inevitable matchups to come.
Xbox Series X unboxing and hands-on preview
FOOTAGE: We open with Telstra Gaming Reviewer, Joshua Appadoo, known on Twitter as @sclomency, standing on a set in front of an empty table with two shelves behind him. The shelves contain a mix of “geek culture” paraphernalia like video game boxes and statuettes.
JOSHUA: NexGen is here, and thanks to our friends over at Microsoft, I'm getting an early look at the Xbox Series X.
(Epic music plays in the background.)
FOOTAGE: The camera dramatically pans to an Xbox Series X standing on a table in vertical position with an Xbox controller leaning against the front and a pair of headphones leaning against the side of the Xbox. We zoom in on the top of the Xbox, showing the Xbox logo on the left. Moving to the right is the disk slot. The camera then moves back to Joshua who now has an Xbox Series X on the table in front of him.
JOSHUA: This is the most powerful console to date, and today we're going to unbox this absolute beast, and see what it can do. Let's crack this open and get to it.
FOOTAGE: A topdown view of the table. Joshua starts unpacking the Xbox Series X and places it vertically on the table. Joshua then points at the Xbox.
JOSHUA: We'll come back to this in a minute.
FOOTAGE: Joshua takes cables and the Xbox controller out of the box and puts them on the table, admiring the controller.
JOSHUA: In the box, standard cables, HDMI, and then this beauty of a controller. Look at that. We'll go into that in a minute. And then the almighty, all useful paperwork.
FOOTAGE: The camera moves back to face Joshua as he throws the little manual that comes with the Xbox jokingly over his shoulder. Joshua then clears the packaging from the table, picks up the Xbox and places it in front of him.
JOSHUA: Let's get this out of here, because this is what we came to see. This is Xbox Series X. The aesthetic of this console is so minimalistic, I love it. It doesn't need to look like a console to be the best.
Now, I really like the fact that it can be put up in vertical mode. Almost all of the consoles have been made with the intention to put them horizontally and lay them flat. I'm going to rock this in vertical mode to really distinguish it from the rest of my consoles.
FOOTAGE: A zoomed-in shot of the Xbox’s exhaust fan. The fan is covered by a grate made up of circles.
JOSHUA: Now, in terms of design, I'm a huge fan and so is this. Not only does it keep your games console cool, but do you hear this?
FOOTAGE: Joshua switches on the Xbox.
(There is a digital sound of the Xbox being turned on, followed by silence.)
JOSHUA: Do you hear that? Me neither. It's dead silent.
FOOTAGE: A topdown view of the back of the Xbox shows 6 available ports. From left to right, there are two USB 3.1 ports, an ethernet port that sits above a storage expansion slot, and finally the main leads port and HDMI port.
JOSHUA: A couple of things to note on the unit itself. The HDMI port on this is equipped with HDMI 2.1 which is all ready to deliver that 4K 120fps, buttery smooth, ultra-realistic gameplay like we've never seen before on a console.
As well as that, on the back you'll see the addition of the expandable storage slot, which will house your secondary SSD for your ever-expanding library of games.
FOOTAGE: Joshua picks up the controller and we get shots of it from the front, back and topdown.
JOSHUA: And we can't talk games without talking controller because how else are you going to play them? This controller feels so good in the hand. It's comfortable, it's got that classic Xbox shape and the bumpers and triggers are now textured for your grip and comfort. As well as the addition of a brand new button in the middle, which lets you screenshot or share a clip instantly to all of your friends.
FOOTAGE: Close-up of the middle of the controller. We see three buttons in a v-shape underneath the Xbox logo. The middle button is new and has a share icon on it. Then the camera moves back to Joshua.
JOSHUA: I'm so excited to see some absolute classic games revived on Series X, all thanks to this massive boost in performance that we've got. Games like Prince of Persia, The Elder Scrolls, Cyberpunk 2077, and the next 17 iterations of FIFA, which I can't wait to sink my teeth into.
FOOTAGE: Joshua points at the Xbox next to him.
JOSHUA: Speaking of performance, after playing around with this for a few hours, I only just noticed how little time I spent in loading screens, and how much more time I was actually able to spend playing the games.
So which games will have your name down for pre-order? I know I've got my eyes on Cyberpunk 2077 and I know Xbox All Access will have me covered for heaps more.
And that's some of my first impressions after being hands on with Series X for the last few days. If you'd like to find out more, head over to Telstra Exchange for a full review, and tune in next time when we test some games on this beast of a console.
If you have any questions for me, you can find me on Twitter as @sclomency. And as always, I'll catch you guys next time.
Xbox Series X Controller
The player-first ergonomic design of the Wireless Controller has been given an upgrade for Series X, with some really handy additions;
- A dedicated Share button for screenshots and video clips,
- An improved D-pad like the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller,
- Textured dots grip on the bumpers to stay on target,
- More resistant matte finish on high-use buttons,
- enhanced comfort during play
The new Xbox Wireless Controller will work on Windows PCs as well as mobile phones, just like the current controller. And you’ll be able to use almost all existing Xbox One accessories on the Xbox Series X, so there's no need to ditch specialty gear that you already own.
When you power on your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S you’ll be greeted by the largest launch lineup in Xbox history. Here's the full list of 30 games:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Smart Delivery)
- Borderlands 3 (Smart Delivery)
- Bright Memory 1.0
- Cuisine Royale (Smart Delivery)
- Dead by Daylight (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- DIRT 5 (Smart Delivery)
- The Falconeer (Smart Delivery)
- Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Gears 5(Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Grounded (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- King Oddball (Smart Delivery)
- Maneater (Smart Delivery)
- Manifold Garden (Smart Delivery)
- NBA 2K21
- Observer: System Redux
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Planet Coaster (Smart Delivery)
- Sea of Thieves (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- TheTouryst (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- War Thunder (Smart Delivery)
- Warhammer:ChaosbaneSlayer Edition
- Watch Dogs: Legion(Smart Delivery)
- WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship (Smart Delivery)
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Smart Delivery)
- Yes, Your Grace (Smart Delivery)
And in an extra nice play from Microsoft, all the exclusive games on Xbox Series X are also going to be available on the Series S, the Xbox One and PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Xbox Series X is Microsoft's flagship new console and their most powerful ever, while the Xbox Series S offers next-generation performance at a more affordable price.
The other main differences between Series X and Series S are:
- Xbox Series X has 12 teraflops of power: Xbox Series S has 4 teraflops
- Xbox Series X has 1 TTB of SSD internal storage; Xbox Series S has 512 GB
- Xbox Series X has true 4K gaming and 4K UHD Blu-ray entertainment. These aren't included with Xbox Series S
- Xbox Series X can play physical game discs. Xbox Series is all-digital and does not play game discs.
You can see a full list of Series X and Series S features on Telstra's Xbox Series X product page
Yes, the good news is Xbox Series X is compatible with thousands of games across four generations of Xbox. So your Xbox One games will play on Xbox Series X.
Yes, according to Microsoft you can lay the Xbox Series X on its side. However there are couple of things to think about if you do:
- Airflow: Make sure your new Xbox Series X has room to breathe. This is especially important if yo're thinking of placing it in a cabinet. Performance processors need to intake cold air and exhaust hot air to operate at their very best.
- The stand: Your Xbox Series X has a circular stand on the base that is NOT removable, but as long as you happy with it looking a bit odd, go nuts.