Fast Facts

  • Xbox One X release date: November 7, 2017
  • Price: $499 / £449

Microsoft is back with a brand new box. After stumbling through the initial launch of the Xbox One, MS has worked to refine and reiterate on its design process, culminating in the Xbox One X: a version of the Xbox One that stays within the same console family while offering new options and increased graphical power to those interested in a mid-generation ‘refresh’. But how is Xbox One X different from a regular Xbox One, how does it compare to the PS4 Pro and – most importantly – what does it all mean for you? Let’s break it down.

Xbox One X – what is it?

PS4 and Xbox One both came out as markedly more powerful than their predecessors, yet were lagging a bit behind in terms of power. While PCs and televisions were embracing 4K resolution, Sony and Microsoft both struggled to get games running at native 1080p and/or 60 frames per second. While it’s not uncommon for consoles to be a step behind on the tech curve, many were left wondering why these two powerhouses didn’t put a little more oomf in their boxes.

Both companies responded by introducing what have been referred to as “mid-generation refresh” consoles. These are more powerful versions of the base product, but not so advanced as to be considered a wholly new generation. Remember how the N64 had an expansion bay for extra memory processing? It’s kind of like that, but on a bigger (and more expensive) scale.

These refresh platforms would be considered an extension of the current consoles, and would play everything the base form could. Both Sony and Microsoft also decided that, for now, there would be no games exclusive to these refreshed platforms.

Sony’s mid-generation refresh is the PS4 Pro, announced and released in 2016. Microsoft’s is the Xbox One X, which was originally teased under the codename ‘Project Scorpio’ at E3 2016 before being given a proper name, price, and release date at E3 2017.

Read more: Who needs a console generation? PS4 Pro and Scorpio are the birth of a new upgrade cycle

Xbox One X technical specs – how powerful is it?

So just how much more powerful is Xbox One X than a standard Xbox One? First, let’s break down the major pieces of a console. There’s the CPU, the GPU, the RAM, the hard drive, and the optical drive. If you want a more detailed look at these terms and how they impact Xbox One X performance, we’ve got an article that does exactly that. For those of you who just like the numbers, let’s compare.

First up, the original Xbox One:

CPU: Eight custom Jaguar-series x86 cores running at 1.75GHz
GPU: 12 GCN-series compute units running at 853MHz
RAM: 8GB of DDR3 with 68GB/second bandwidth and 32MB ESRAM with 204GB/second bandwidth
Hard drive: 500GB hard drive running at 5400rpm
Optical drive: Blu-ray

Now, the Xbox One X:

CPU: Eight custom x86 cores running at 2.3GHz
GPU: 40 custom compute units running at 1172MHz
RAM: 12GB of GDDR5 with 326GB/second bandwidth
Hard drive: 1TB hard drive running at 5400rpm
Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray

Put it all together and you have… well, a bunch of numbers. Thankfully, there’s a way to organize these numbers and measure a console’s power, called “floating operations per second,” or “flops.” Here’s how the two versions of Microsoft’s console compare:

Xbox One: 1,310,000 megaflops
Xbox One X: 6,000,000 megaflops

This all being said, there’s still software programming and benchmarks to be performed which will optimize the system, and this measurement should not be considered the be-all end-all way of measuring a machine’s capabilities. But, in terms of pure numbers, the Xbox One X is more than quadruple the power of a base Xbox One.

Read more: Do Xbox Scorpio’s 6 teraflops really make it the most powerful console ever? Let’s look closer

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro

So we know how Xbox One X compares to its own sibling, but what about the competition? Well, let’s line ’em up just like we did the Xbox One and the Xbox One X.

Here’s the PS4 Pro:

CPU: Eight custom Jaguar-series x86 cores running at 2.1GHz
GPU: 36 GCN-series compute units running at 911MHz
RAM: 8GB of GDDR5 with 218GB/second bandwidth
Hard drive: 1TB hard drive running at 5400rpm
Optical drive: Blu-ray

And once more, here’s the Xbox One X:

CPU: Eight custom x86 cores running at 2.3GHz
GPU: 40 custom compute units running at 1172MHz
RAM: 12GB of GDDR5 with 326GB/second bandwidth
Hard drive: 1TB hard drive running at 5400rpm
Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray

Want a flop comparison?

PS4 Pro: 4,200,000 megaflops
Xbox One X: 6,000,000 megaflops

It’s not quite as dramatic a leap as before, but the Xbox One X is definitely the more powerful of the two consoles in terms of raw horsepower. Of course, it’s up to developers to decide how they want to use these components to get the most out of their games, whether it be more detailed environments, smoother framerates, or any number of features/enhancements.

Neither system runs all of its games at native 4K, often employing tricks like dynamic scaling or checkerboard rendering to make an image appear nicer than 1080p, but not quite 4K-nice. However, Microsoft has said it plans for all first-party games to run at native 4K and the company is on track to deliver.

Both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X support HDR, and both use all your existing accessories and games. Only PS4 Pro has support for a virtual reality headset (so far), while between the two, only Xbox One X plays 4K UHD Blu-ray movies (Xbox One S also has this feature).

Read more: What’s the difference between PS4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio: all your questions answered

Xbox One X games – what can I play?

As mentioned above, Xbox One X will play all the games that the base Xbox One does. That means every Xbox One game, every backwards compatible Xbox 360 game, and – as announced at E3 2017 – even some original Xbox games which will be made backwards compatible in the future.

There are also no Xbox One X-exclusive games currently in development or planned. However, there are enhancements for some games that will be exclusive to Xbox One X. For example, while you can play Gears of War 4 right now on a base Xbox One, playing it on an Xbox One X will yield not only increased resolution, but more detailed assets and better lighting.

One thing we don’t yet know is how Xbox One X will handle games that have not been designed or updated with the new console in mind. The PS4 Pro features something called ‘Boost Mode’ which lets older PS4 games, even those that haven’t been patched to take advantage of the more powerful hardware, run smoother. But this is an option that must be turned on and off manually, and its usage doesn’t always yield positive results.

Xbox’s Albert Penello tweeted in April that “the whole console is boost mode,” but what that means in terms of results is currently unclear. Will users be able to downshift the console so that it behaves like a regular Xbox One? Is every game going to be running at higher framerates whether you like it or not? At this point, we really don’t know.

Read more: Xbox Scorpio got a boost in power, and now *every* game should run better (yes, even old ones)

Xbox One X – where can I get it?

Despite the announced price of $499 / £449 and a confirmed release date of November 7, the Xbox One X is actually not yet available for pre-order. You can, however, submit your email and be registered so that you’re among the first to know when it is available. Here are a few retailers that are letting customers put their names on a first-to-know list:

Amazon: Xbox One X pre-order page
GameStop: Xbox One X pre-order page
GAME: Xbox One X pre-order page

And that’s everything you need to know about the Xbox One X!

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