Xbox Series X Review
Xbox Series X: Specs, games and features
It’s here - and trigger fingers are twitching everywhere. Let’s take a first look what makes Xbox Series X the season’s gotta-have-it console for serious gamers.
November 2020 | 6 minutes read
Get ready to up your game
Be prepared for new levels of visual realism and immersion, native 4K gaming at 120 frames per second and more. Microsoft's Xbox Series X is going to set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility with an unprecedented 12 teraflops of power inside its next-gen processor.
Here's everything you need to know.
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
Xbox Series X price
The good news is you can get the new Series X and Series S for $0 upfront with Xbox All Access. Then Series X comes in at $46 a month and the entry-level Xbox Series S at $33 a month.
The minimum cost for Series X is $1104 and for Series S it's $792. Over 24 months.
Xbox All Access is great because you get the new Xbox console, plus you get Game Pass Ultimate with access to 100-plus games from the vast Xbox playlist. Which means you won’t have to pay for a bunch of pricey games either. It’s probably the easiest and most affordable way to get into next-gen gaming.
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?
Check out our evolving Gamer Explainer video series where we translate gamer speak into everyday language.
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
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.