Xbox Series X Review – Just How Powerful Is Microsoft’s New Console?

The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s latest and most powerful gaming console to date. With impressive specs like 12 teraflops of GPU power, fast SSD storage, and advanced features like ray tracing, the Series X represents a major technological leap for consoles.

But just how powerful is the Xbox Series X compared to previous Xbox models and the competition? What can gamers expect in terms of performance, graphics, load times and next-gen gaming capabilities? This comprehensive review will analyze the key specs and benchmark test results to give you the definitive verdict on the real-world power and capabilities of the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X Specs and Technology


The Xbox Series X is equipped with an 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.8GHz. This provides a huge boost over the 8 Jaguar cores in the Xbox One X clocked at just 2.3GHz. With a vastly improved architecture and clock speeds, the Series X delivers more than double the processing power for advanced physics, AI, immersion and framerates up to 120fps.


For graphics, the Series X features a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU with 52 compute units and 3328 stream processors, providing 12 TFLOPS of power. That’s around 1.7x the GPU power of the Xbox One X and over 8x the original Xbox One. The RDNA 2 architecture also enables advanced features like ray tracing, variable rate shading and mesh shaders.


The Xbox Series X is equipped with 16GB of GDDR6 memory with a 560 GB/s memory bandwidth. The faster memory improves load times and allows the GPU to process assets and textures more efficiently. There’s also a 1TB custom NVMe SSD which drastically reduces load times vs HDDs.

Visuals and Resolution

The Series X supports 4K resolution at up to 120fps along with 8K capability. With HDMI 2.1, it can display 10-bit HDR and high frame rates up to 120fps for super smooth visuals. The GPU power enables higher resolution assets, ray tracing and stable 60fps+ performance.


For sound, the Tempest 3D audio engine provides immersive 360-degree audio with ‘object-based’ spatial sound. There’s also Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support for best-in-class audiovisual immersion.

Backwards Compatibility

The Xbox Series X supports four generations of backwards compatibility – from original Xbox to Xbox One titles. Many games benefit from Auto HDR, faster load times and improved resolution. Some titles like Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 also receive XS-specific enhancements and higher performance.

Hardware Benchmark Performance

Independent benchmark tests demonstrate the real-world capabilities and raw performance of the Xbox Series X hardware compared to previous Xbox consoles. Here are some key benchmark results:

CPU Performance

The 8-core Zen 2 CPU provides a massive boost over the Xbox One X’s Jaguar processor according to Digital Foundry:

  • 150% faster on single thread
  • 185% faster on multi-thread

This translates to much higher, steadier framerates in games due to the drastically improved processing power.

GPU Performance

The 12 TFLOP Navi GPU provides ultra high resolutions and framerates:

  • Up to native 4K at 60fps
  • Up to 120fps for 1080p and 1440p
  • Variable Rate Shading boosts efficiency by up to 30%

This gives developers much more headroom for higher fidelity graphics and resolutions while maintaining high framerates.

Loading Times

SSD vs HDD loading times compared per Digital Foundry:

GameXbox One X HDDXbox Series X SSDImprovement
Red Dead Redemption 21m 20s31s4.3x
Final Fantasy XV49s14s3.5x
The Outer Worlds38s6s6.3x

The NVMe SSD provides massive improvements in loading speeds across various games.

Ray Tracing Performance

In benchmarks of Watch Dogs Legion with ray tracing enabled at 4K resolution:

  • Xbox Series X maintained 38-45fps
  • Xbox One X struggled at 14-16fps

The Series X can handle ray tracing effects 2-3x better thanks to the RDNA 2 GPU architecture and higher processing power.

Overall, independent testing demonstrates the Xbox Series X delivers a massive generational leap in performance – living up to its promise as the most powerful Xbox ever.

Game Performance and Graphics

The hardware specs and benchmarks prove the Series X has some serious horsepower. But how does this translate into real in-game performance and next-gen graphics? Here’s an overview of key improvements:


The CPU and GPU power enables performance up to 120fps while also improving consistency by eliminating drops and spikes. This enables incredibly smooth gameplay.

Titles like Halo Infinite and Ori and the Will of the Wisps will run at 120fps in performance mode. While games like Dirt 5, Gears 5 and Call of Duty offer 120fps multiplayer.

Even graphically intensive games like Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition run at 60fps in 4K with ray tracing enabled.

Load Times

Games see an average 4-5x improvement in load times thanks to the SSD. For example, fast travel in The Outer Worlds is instant on Series X whereas the Xbox One takes 15-20 seconds.

Visual Fidelity

Higher resolutions, more advanced effects and increased draw distances are now possible while maintaining high framerates:

  • Up to native 4K (2160p) resolution
  • Real-time ray tracing for lighting and reflections
  • Higher resolution textures and assets

This allows much greater visual detail, immersion and realism. Ray tracing in particular can revolutionize lighting realism as seen in titles like Watch Dogs Legion.

Quick Resume

The velocity architecture enables multiple games to be suspended and instantly resumed – effectively delivering ‘virtual save states’. Players can jump between up to 5-6 suspended titles within seconds.

Higher Player Counts

CPU and memory improvements also enable higher player counts in multiplayer. Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War supports up to 40 players in Ground War mode. While Grounded supports up to 100 players on a server.

Eliminates Long Loads

Long load sequences between missions or deaths are eliminated for seamless, frustration-free gameplay thanks to the SSD and RAM capacity.

Overall, next-gen performance delivers transformative improvements in framerates, load times, visuals and immersion. Key titles like Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 are even retroactively enhanced when played on Series X.

Backwards Compatibility and Optimizations

A major advantage of the Xbox Series X is its stellar backwards compatibility spanning all previous generations. Here are some key enhancements when playing backwards compatible games:

  • Auto HDR for automatic HDR reconstruction
  • Higher, steadier framerates
  • Faster loading times
  • Quick Resume support

In addition, Microsoft has indicated that machine learning can be applied over time to further enhance backwards compatible titles.

Certain Xbox One games also receive substantial Optimizations for Xbox Series X:

  • Higher resolution – 1440p/4K up from 1080p
  • Higher framerates – 60/120fps up from 30fps
  • Faster loading times due to SSD
  • Quick resume support
  • Additional visual enhancements and options

For example, Gears 5 was optimized to run at 4K/60fps with vastly improved texture filtering, while Forza Horizon 4 runs at 4K/60fps with additional visual enhancements.

This allows Xbox One games to play and look significantly better on Series X from day one.

Game Library and Exclusives

Of course, console power is meaningless without compelling games to play. While the Xbox Series X falls behind Sony’s PlayStation 5 in regards to exclusives, here are some highlights of the Xbox library and upcoming exclusives:

  • Halo Infinite – The next flagship Halo chapter and a graphical showcase for Series X.
  • Forza Motorsport – A full next-gen reboot of the Forza racing simulator.
  • Everwild – Mystical new IP from Rare studios.
  • Hellblade 2 – Stunning sequel by Ninja Theory with jaw-dropping visuals.
  • State of Decay 3 – New entry in the popular zombie survival sim.
  • Fable – Revival of the classic RPG adventure franchise.
  • Avowed – Fantasy RPG set in the Pillars of Eternity universe by Obsidian.

The Series X also offers full access to Xbox Game Pass, EA Play and Xbox backwards compatibility. Multiplatform games typically perform best on Series X.

While the Xbox platform still lacks quantity of exclusives compared to PlayStation, the focus on delivering quality exclusives and superior multiplatform performance provides plenty of incentive for Xbox loyalists.

User Interface and New Features

The Xbox Series X presents a refined, streamlined version of the Xbox interface without losing functionality:

  • Slicker design with faster performance
  • Customizable home screen
  • Revamped Microsoft Store
  • Faster access to Pass, Games & Apps
  • Integrated Discord support
  • New ‘Xbox Assist’ help features

Several new system-level features also aim to improve quality of life:

  • Quick Resume – Instantly resume multiple suspended games.
  • Smart Delivery – Automatic delivery of the best version of a game.
  • FPS Boost – Higher unlocked framerates for select backwards compatible games.
  • Auto HDR – Auto HDR reconstruction for older games.

These enhancements optimize convenience while also showcasing the full capabilities of the console.

Verdict – A Massive Generational Leap in Power

The Xbox Series X delivers an enormous technological jump over previous Xbox generations and sets a new bar for console power and performance.

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Key advantages of the Xbox Series X:

  • Significantly more advanced CPU and GPU providing up to 12 TFLOPS power
  • Lightning fast load times with the SSD
  • Native 4K gaming at up to 120fps
  • Ray tracing support for cutting edge visuals and realism
  • Quick Resume for near instant access to multiple games
  • Smart Delivery to guarantee you play the best version of purchased games
  • Backwards compatibility across four generations

The Xbox Series X convincingly delivers on Microsoft’s promise of being the most powerful console. While the console space is heating up, the Series X is an excellent choice for players who prioritize advanced graphics, performance and backwards compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much more powerful is the Xbox Series X compared to the Xbox One X?

The Xbox Series X represents over 3x the GPU power (12TF vs 4TF), 2x the processing speed (3.8Ghz vs 2.3Ghz) and 7x the storage speed of the Xbox One X. This translates to significantly higher framerates, resolutions and visual effects.

Can the Xbox Series X do native 4K at 120fps?

Yes, the Series X is capable of up to 4K resolution at 120fps along with support for up to 8K resolution. Multiple titles like Ori, Gears 5 and Call of Duty offer 120fps modes.

Does the Xbox Series X support ray tracing?

Yes, the custom RDNA 2 GPU supports hardware accelerated ray tracing for highly realistic lighting, reflections and shadows. Games like Watch Dogs Legion showcase the visual benefits.

How fast are the loading times compared to the Xbox One X?

On average, games load anywhere from 2-5x faster on the Series X thanks to the custom SSD and velocity architecture. Games like The Outer Worlds load in under 10 seconds.

Is the Xbox Series X backwards compatible with Xbox One and 360 games?

Yes, the Series X offers industry leading backwards compatibility covering all previous Xbox generations. Many titles benefit from auto-HDR, higher resolution and doubled framerates.

How does the Xbox Series X compare to the PS5?

The Xbox Series X and PS5 offer comparable power on paper. The PS5 boasts a faster SSD while the Series X has a more powerful GPU. Overall performance and multiplatform games are very similar on both consoles. The main differences are their exclusives.


The Xbox Series X delivers a huge generational leap that lives up to the hype as the most powerful Xbox yet. The custom Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU push console performance to new heights with up to 4K 120fps, ray tracing support and almost non-existent load times.

Smart innovations like Quick Resume and FPS Boost complement industry leading backwards compatibility to provide an outstanding next-gen experience for Xbox fans. While exclusives remain a valid criticism, the Xbox Series X pushes technical boundaries and clearly stakes its claim as a top-tier gaming powerhouse.

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