Anyone worried that the Xbox Series S would somehow underperform can relax, according to Microsoft: The new console will be four times as powerful than the Xbox One and it will supports 120 fps and hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing and Variable Rate Shading.
“We’re excited to introduce you to Xbox Series S, an all-digital next-gen console designed to deliver everything that is core to next-generation gaming—faster load times, higher frame rates, and richer, more dynamic worlds—in our smallest Xbox ever,” Microsoft’s Liz Hamren writes. “Xbox Series S will join Xbox Series X this holiday giving you another way to jump into the next generation.”
With Xbox Series X leading the charge into the next console generation, some gamers are naturally apprehensive about a lower-end version of the console and wondering where Microsoft cut corners. There are some obvious places, like the lack of an optical drive and a smaller 512 GB SSD. But most of the components in the Xbox Series S seem impressive and deliver what Microsoft calls a generational leap in performance.
“Xbox Series S delivers the same next-generation speed and performance that define Xbox Series X, Hamren explains. “It is similar in CPU and has the identical I/O performance as Xbox Series X. In addition, Xbox Series S includes 512 GB of custom SSD storage and is powered by the Xbox Velocity Architecture, delivering more than 40 [times] the I/O bandwidth of an Xbox One resulting in faster loading times, steadier frame rates[,] and Quick Resume for multiple titles.
The audio subsystem on Xbox Series S is also identical to that of Xbox Series X, with Spatial Sound and Dolby Atmos support, and Dolby Vision support for gaming is coming to both consoles in 2021.
But the most important difference between the two consoles, Microsoft says, is their respective resolution support. Where Xbox Series X aims for a consistent 4K/UHD experience at 60 fps, Xbox Series S is for gamers who framerate over resolution and it doesn’t require a 4K TV. “Xbox Series S delivers approximately 3 [times] the GPU performance of Xbox One and was designed to play games at 1440p at 60 frames per second, with support for up to 120 fps,” Hamren adds.
And there’s one more consideration. While many seem disappointed by the smaller storage allotment of the Xbox Series S, the new console, like the Xbox Series X, supports a storage expansion card that lets you add an additional 1 TB of storage with the full speed and performance of the Xbox Velocity Architecture. (Previous-generation Xbox titles can still be played directly from an external USB 3.1 hard drives, but games Optimized for Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X must be played from internal storage or the expansion card.)
Here’s a handy chart that describes the differences between the two consoles.