This is part of Digital Foundry’s current coverage of the Xbox Series X. You can find the rest here:

  • The full specifications of the Xbox Series X! How powerful is the new generation console?
  • Xbox Series X: the ray tracing difference and efficient design
  • Xbox Series X: Why Faster SSD Storage Changes Everything
  • Xbox Series X: the fight against input lag and heartbreak
  • Xbox Series X: How Old Games Work Better on Next Generation Console

This is not a PC style mini tower – really not. We spent some time with the Xbox Series X on Microsoft’s Redmond campus and even put the actual system alongside an Xbox One X – and while it’s clear Microsoft has drastically revised the form factor of the console, it is always adapted to the Salon Conception. It’s just something different and definitely a bit more portable than the type of gaming box you might be used to. The bottom line is that it’s still a console.

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The design of the X-Series is essentially the result of the performance goal of a machine designed to run at fixed clock speeds at – at least for a home console – unprecedented frequencies. The CPU component of a console has never operated at 3.8 GHz. We’ve never seen a fixed-design gaming device run its GPU at clock speeds that match the frequencies we’ve seen on a standalone PC graphics card. Additionally, another important design goal is to break away from the fluctuating “boost clocks” of PC components and mobile devices and deliver high-end performance with solid consistency.

For starters, a new episode of Digital Foundry Direct was recently filmed in the United States. There, my colleague John Linneman and I discuss our thoughts on the Series-X hardware and do all the Xbox One-X form factor comparisons you need. And we come to the surprising conclusion that the X Series is indeed quite similar to the two GameCubes stacked on top of each other. Okay, we had to tie up two GBA players to get a broadly equivalent size, but that gives you a rough idea.

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The video also contains a few images of my attempts to assemble an Xbox Series X from its components – and I think you’ll find it revealing. When you push so much power through the system and provide enough cooling, you get a surprisingly tight, super compact design that mirrors the appearance of the trash can-like Mac Pro. The cooling air is drawn in from below the unit, is pressed from above through the interior and ventilation slots and is exhausted by a 130mm fan.

But it’s the structure of inner life that fascinates me the most. The X series has of them Motherboards, one for the main processor, its 320-bit memory interface and 10 GDDR6 memory modules. These are mounted on both sides on a solid piece of aluminum. A heavy heat sink, consisting of a copper vapor chamber and an aluminum heat sink, is then attached to the SoC. Other key components like the power supply and the 4K UHD Blu-ray player fit in before the axial fan (with the Master Chief Easter egg on the side) sits on top. The entire construction is then slid into the case and the back panel is secured.

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We don’t currently know how much power the X-series consumes while gaming – and although the processor uses a much more efficient and improved version of the TSMC 7nm node, the clock speeds and logical unit size mean – not to mention the form factor and that design that is needed to dissipate heat – that this will be a performance hungry box. The only indication of a possible increase in consumption (and to be clear, is fair an implication) are the specifications of the integrated power supply.

Much like the Xbox One X, the PSU we saw on the X Series (which as we point out may not be final) supports multi-voltages, and for 50Hz power supplies, the specification is 200-220V at 2.2A versus 200-220V at 1.3A on the Xbox One X. This is a 70% increase in power. It’s anything but a conclusive comparison, but it does give some insight into what the design team needs and why a new form factor was needed.

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Xbox Series X Xbox One X Xbox One S
Cut 15,1 cm x 15,1 cm x 30,1 cm 30 cm x 24 cm x 6 cm 29,5 cm x 23 cm x 6,5 cm
Volume total 6.86 liters 4.32 liters 4.41 liters
Weight 4,45 kg 3,69 kg 2,90 kg
Ports: HDMI 2.1 output, 3x USB 3.2, network port, expandable memory slot, power HDMI 2.0b output, HDMI 1.4 input, 3x USB 3.2, Toslink audio, IR output, Gigabit Ethernet, power HDMI 2.0a output, HDMI 1.4 input, 3x USB 3.2, Toslink audio, IR output, Gigabit Ethernet, power.
Drive: Blu-ray 4K UHD Blu-ray 4K UHD Blu-ray 4K UHD
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Some concluding observations: The Game Awards CG teaser may have made the top of the X-series appear to come with some sort of green LED lighting. However, we can assure you that’s not the case – it’s a simple green plastic insert that sits between the fan and the components. Second, the rear of the latest unit is pretty much the same as the prototype design that leaked some time ago, with one exception: digital audio output through Toslink is gone. From our perspective, that’s a bit of a shame as it rules out any form of surround sound from older audio hardware – it’s now only HDMI.

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And we’d like to tell you something else about our visit to Microsoft – the kind of development kit. There have been a few leaks in the PlayStation 5 SDK, but nothing at all to the X-series counterpart. A subsequent general deployment of development hardware may partially explain this, but it’s also a fact that the kit The X-Series development team does so.The Xbox One X equivalent is incredibly similar – potential leaks may not have known they had another development kit ahead of them. A direct comparison shows that the Series-X-Dev kit is slightly larger than the dark gray color scheme and has an optimized number of connections. Either way, it’s a way to anonymize your new material by making your new SDK look like the old one.

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It was a fascinating experience seeing the new console at Microsoft headquarters with a series of tech demos, but the presentations on the industrial design of the Xbox Series X were just as informative. You’ll get some early reactions to the presentation in today’s DF Direct, but we’ll be back soon with a more detailed breakdown of how the new machine was built.

All the latest news from Xbox Series X:

  • The full specifications of the Xbox Series X! How powerful is the new generation console?
  • How big is the Xbox Series X compared to the Xbox One X?

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