Xbox One S is Compact, Power Efficient, and (Slightly) Faster

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2016 - 11:06 PM |
Tagged: xbox one s, xbox one, TSMC, microsoft, console, 16nm

Microsoft recently unleashed a smaller version of its gaming console in the form of the Xbox One S. The new "S" variant packs an internal power supply, 4K Blu-ray optical drive, and a smaller (die shrunk) AMD SoC into a 40% smaller package. The new console is clad in all white with black accents and a circular vent on left half of the top. A USB port and pairing button has been added to the front and the power and eject buttons are now physical rather than capacitive (touch sensitive).

Rear I/O remains similar to the original console and includes a power input, two HDMI ports (one input, one output), two USB 3.0 ports, one Ethernet, one S/PDIF audio out, and one IR out port. There is no need for the power brick anymore though as the power supply is now internal. Along with being 40% smaller, it can now be mounted vertically using an included stand. While there is no longer a dedicated Kinect port, it is still possible to add a Kinect to your console using an adapter.

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The internal specifications of the Xbox One S remain consistent with the original Xbox One console except that it will now be available in a 2TB model. The gaming console is powered by a nearly identical processor that is now 35% smaller thanks to being manufactured on a smaller 16nm FinFet process node at TSMC. While the chip is more power efficient, it still features the same eight Jaguar CPU cores clocked at 1.75 GHz and 12 CU graphics portion (768 stream processors). Microsoft and AMD now support HDR and 4K resolutions and upscaling with the new chip. The graphics portion is where the new Xbox One S gets a bit interesting because it appears that Microsoft has given the GPU a bit of an overclock to 914 MHz. Compared to the original Xbox One's 853 MHz, this is a 7.1% increase in clockspeed. The increased GPU clocks also results in increased bandwidth for the ESRAM (204 GB/s on the original Xbox One versus 219 GB/s on the Xbox One S).

According to Microsoft, the increased GPU clockspeeds were necessary to be able to render non HDR versions of the game for Game DVR, Game Streaming, and taking screenshots in real time. A nice side benefit to this though is that the extra performance can result in improved game play in certain games. In Digital Foundry's testing, Richard Leadbetter found this to be especially true in games with unlocked frame rates or in games that are 30 FPS locked but where the original console could not hit 30 FPS consistently. The increased clocks can be felt in slightly smoother game play and less screen tearing. For example, they found that the Xbox One S got up to 11% higher frames in Project Cars (47 FPS versus 44) and between 6% to 8% in Hitman. Further, they found that the higher clocks help performance in playing Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One in backwards compatibility mode such as Alan Wake's American Nightmare.

The 2TB Xbox One S is available now for $400 while the 1TB ($350) and 500GB ($300) versions will be available on the 23rd. For comparison, the 500GB Xbox One (original) is currently $250. The Xbox One 1TB game console varies in price depending on game bundle.

What are your thoughts on the smaller console? While the ever so slight performance boost is a nice bonus, I definitely don't think that it is worth specifically upgrading for if you already have an Xbox One. If you have been holding off, now is the time to get a discounted original or smaller S version though! If you are hoping for more performance, definitely wait for Microsoft's Scorpio project or it's competitor the PlayStation 4 Neo (or even better a gaming PC right!? hehe).

I do know that Ryan has gotten his hands on the slimmer Xbox One S, so hopefully we will see some testing of our own as well as a teardown (hint, hint!).

Also read:

Source: Eurogamer

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August 9, 2016 | 03:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

eight jaguar cores clocked at less than two gigs and less than a thousand Island generation GCN cores clocked below a ghz?? wow. I forgot how under powered these little guys were/are. makes me think of just how much performance developers can squeeze out of the consoles, and that hopefully similar results can be realized on other platforms one day.

$250 for the og Xbone isnt too bad. what else are you gonna do with that kinda cash just lying around? buy one of those crummy rx 480s, or even worse yet, that paper weight of a 1060? thank you. I dont like the idea of melting the pci slot from off my mobo, nor does the idea of my fancy new gpu becoming a brick the moment more developers begin to 'check' off the dx12 feature entice me too much either, so.... i guess its "paying for the privilege to be cursed at by 10yr olds" for me then!

August 9, 2016 | 04:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"makes me think of just how much performance developers can squeeze out of the consoles"

That's the one positive thing about the consoles, as the otherwise crappy consoles force the developers to use every little trick in the book to get as much performance out of any GCN hardware features at hand. So once these games are ported over to the PC based systems any PCs/laptops that use GCN they will already be very optimized before the additional tweaks are added for them to make use of GCN/Polaris, or Vega based GCN systems.

Let's hope that some new consoles can be made that use Zen/Polaris or Zen/Vega because the console makers and developers will also try and get the maximum performance with the hardware that they have to work with. I'm really hoping that any New PS4 can get the latest GCN graphics because the PS4 uses a BSD based OS/Vulkan API and the drivers will probably be good for Linux OS based PC/Laptops also, as both BSD and Linux follow the Unix OS paradigm.

The more BSD/Linux based console based systems that use x86/GCN, or even Tegra Denver/Pascal, processors and the Vulkan API the better it will be for Linux/BSD(Unix derived/like OSs) based gaming and the better it will be for Steam OS based gaming, there is even a Debian distro that runs on the FreeBSD Kernel.

August 9, 2016 | 09:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You and I are of different opinions. It's a dedicated machine that has to do ONE thing really well. Play games. It does it passively. I honestly felt the hardware this time around was pretty lacking.

August 9, 2016 | 03:23 AM - Posted by Irishgamer01

Last weeks news this week...slight drop in standards

August 9, 2016 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Lots of PCPer folks covering various trade events in person, so not really as they are very busy!

And do not forget the Hot Chips Symposium on High Performance Chips.(1)

On Conference day 2, 8/23, from AMD: A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD, Michael Clark, AMD.

Conference Day 1, 8/22, from Nvidia: NVIDIA Tegra-Next System-on-Chip, Andi Skende, NVIDIA!

And plenty more from the usual suspects!


August 9, 2016 | 12:20 PM - Posted by remc86007

It won't happen, but it'd be cool if we could (try to) overclock the old Xbox one to see if it can handle the new frequency. The cooling system on the original is way overkill and the new clockspeeds aren't exactly revolutionary for GCN.

August 9, 2016 | 02:54 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hah yeah that would be cool if you could overclock the original. Maybe someone will figure out a way!

August 9, 2016 | 12:56 PM - Posted by CNote

I wonder if the next one will feature a closed loop water cooler like that Acer laptop? It would have to be pretty tough to handle stupid children and angry CoD players.

August 9, 2016 | 01:20 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

If they did it like the new Zotac minipc which has liquid cooling on bboth cpu and gpu, then it should be plenty sturdy -

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