Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: Which should you buy?

Alan Bernal
Xbox Series X and S green background

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles are arriving in just under a week. Here, we have included all of the information you need to decide which next-gen console you should buy. 

Xbox-faithfuls are sure to be gearing up for the premium edition of the Series lineup, but key features – as well as a tantalizing price point for the smaller sibling in the family – could turn heads once the two release in November.

Microsoft is doubling down on promising the “most powerful console ever” with the Xbox Series X, which is packed with a processor powered by AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures that will also be featured in the Series S.

If you’re still hazy on which one to buy, then take a look at the breakdown below to get a better sense at everything from pricing to utility to make the decision a bit easier.

Both the Xbox Series X and Series S will feature a “custom-designed processor leveraging AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures.”

Xbox Series X/S Specs comparison

Both the Xbox Series X and the Series S will have incredibly fast processing capabilities as well as SSD storage to cut load times; but where one provides raw power, the other will bank on leniency to enter the Xbox family.

Microsoft isn’t shy about hedging specs on the Series S to cast a wider net of attraction on potential buyers. The Series S will still feature a lot of next-gen specs to invite players into the future of gaming, but it won’t hold a candle to its big brother’s processing muscle- and Microsoft is okay with that.

  • Read more: Xbox fans react to “asinine” Series S hard drive space rumors

  • The Xbox Series X will be for the 4K gamers who want to experience every flagship title at its highest quality. Not only does the Series X have ‘true 4K gaming with up to 120 frames-per-second,’ it will also be 8K ready with its 12 teraflops of processing power.

    While the same can’t be said about the Series S, new technologies from the Xbox creators made sure that the upcoming budget-console would still be a worthwhile leap from the previous generation while aiming at 1080p monitor users.

    Xbox Series X trailer

    From Microsoft’s reveal of the Series S, the company will look to provide gaming up to 1440p resolution at 120 frames-per-second while also supporting ray tracing, variable rate shading, and variable refresh rate.

    The all-digital console will have a 512 GB SSD, and will have 4K media playback while also boasting upscaling for games at the same resolution.

    Specs Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
    Processor 8-Core, 3.8-GHz; 3.6 with SMT Custom AMD Zen 2 8-Core, 3.8-GHZ; 3.6-GHZ with SMT Custom AMD Zen 2
    Graphics 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs at 1.825 GHZ RDNA 2 GPU 4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs at 1.55 GHZ RDNA 2 GPU
    Memory 16 GB GDDR6 10 GB GDDR6
    Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD 512 GB Custom NVME SSD
    Expandable Storage USB 3.2 external HDD support; 1 TB expansion slot 1 TB expansion slot
    Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive N/A – All Digital
    Resolution 4K at 60 FPS, up to 8K & 120 FPS 1440p at 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS
    Ray Tracing Yes Yes

    Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S price, release date

    Pricing for both consoles will be the biggest point of discussion for people looking to pick up Microsoft’s next entry in the Xbox family.

    The Xbox Series S has been confirmed for $299 / £249, while the Xbox Series X will launch at $499 / £449.

    The prices were confirmed on September 9, on the official Xbox Twitter account. The same tweet also confirms November 10 would be the release date for the new consoles.

    Even with all of the sacrifices that the all-digital Series S model makes, it’s still an interesting price point to consider, rivaling the mega-popular Nintendo Switch at the same ERP.

    Xbox Series S trailer

    What games will be on Xbox Series X & Xbox Series S?

    The games on both will be exactly the same, of course, and many are already set for a next-gen release.

    Below is a short list of those to expect on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, not to mention the hundreds of titles on Xbox Game Pass as well.

    • Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA Online)
    • Fortnite (4k 60fps)
    • FIFA 21
    • Borderlands 3 (4k 60fps in single-player)
    • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
    • Destiny 2
    • Dirt 5
    • Dustborn
    • Echo Generation
    • Everwild
    • Fable
    • Hitman 3
    • Madden NFL 21
    • Mortal Kombat 11 (optimized for next-gen)
    • Marvel’s Avengers
    • NKA 2K21
    • Far Cry 6
    • Gears 5
    • Gotham Knights
    Cod Cold War campaign
    Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is coming to next-gen consoles.
    • Halo Infinite
    • Forza Motorsport
    • As Dusk Falls
    • Atomic Heart
    • Avowed
    • Battlefield 6
    • Overcooked
    • Rainbow Six Quarantine
    • Resident Evil 8
    • Sherlock Holmes: Chapter 1
    • State of Decay 3
    • The Lord of the Rings Gollum
    • The Outer Worlds
    • Unknown 9: The Awakening
    • Watch Dogs: Legion
    • Bright Memory Infinite
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
    • Call of the Sea
    • Chivalry 2
    • Control: Ultimate Edition
    • Cris Tales
    • Cyberpunk 2077
    • Demon Turf

    Should I buy the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S?

    For tried-and-true Xbox fanboys, the discussion is null and void: Get the Xbox Series X. Are you a PlayStation die-hard or an ascended PC player who still wants to experience the best of Xbox? Get the Xbox Series S.

    In reality, the question will be much more nuanced for prospective buyers. While having the best that tech can offer is always a juicy idea, some gamers will look to get the most bang for their buck.

    If you prefer games on PC or on PlayStation, then spending $300 on a side-console could be much more attractive than going for the full premium price of the Xbox Series X. If you have someone in your life who has historically surrounded themselves in Xbox’s ecosystem, then get them the beefier Series X.

    Both consoles will still let you dive into games like Gears of War, Halo: Infinite, Fable and more, but how you want to experience them will really drive the decision.