All You Need to Know About The Xbox One

The Xbox One S
The Xbox One S

Since the launch of the original Xbox, the folks over at Sony had some serious competition on their hands. The original idea for the Xbox was started when an employee brought up the idea of putting Microsoft’s DirectX in a box, hence the name Xbox.

Since that original inception, we have had 3 versions of the Xbox, each becoming more powerful and adding much more features than the previous iteration. But what exactly is inside this so-called DirectX in a box?

As with the previous article based on the PlayStation, I’m going to look what’s under the hood and provide key information and an overall low down about what makes this bundle of plastic joy run.

Here we’re going to provide you all the details on all the versions of the Xbox. That’s specifications on the standard Xbox One, Xbox One S which are the current generation of Xbox consoles. We’ll also cover what we know of the upcoming unreleased Xbox One X. The names might be getting a little silly now, but the details of what’s inside are where the real fun is.

CPU

The standard Xbox One and S variant use an energy-efficient 8-core custom AMD Jaguar CPU, made up of two quad cores that clocks in at 1.75GHz, and 4MB of L2 cache.

The future Xbox One X has once again, a custom AMD 8-core 2.3GHz processor included in its hardware.

Memory

The Xbox One and S Variant have 8 GB of DDR3 ram clocked at 2133 MHz, that provides bandwidth of 68.26 GB/s. They also both contain an additional 32MB of eSRAM, which has a bandwidth of 204 GB/s (102 in and 102 out) according to Microsoft.

The Xbox One X also has an upgrade to its RAM and includes 12GB of DDR5, with a reported bandwidth of 326 GB/s.

Graphics Processing

Both the Xbox One and the S version have the same GPU system included, which is an AMD Sea Islands. These processors are based on AMD GCN architecture and have a total of 768 cores, which run at 853MHz. This theoretically peaks at 1.31 TFLOPS, which is similar to an R7 260X. Which is to say not all that powerful by today’s standards.

The Xbox One X is where the real magic happens for graphics processing. Unlike the One and the One S, the One X uses an AMD Polaris Ellesmere XTL Type. The GPU is clocked at 1172MHz, generating 6 teraflops of graphical performance. That is similar to Nvidia GTX 980 TI, which is leaps and bounds better than the previous version.

Hard Drive

Xbox has released multiple versions of their consoles, all with different disk space options. The standard Xbox One would have a 500GB hard drive as standard and have the option later to have a 1TB version. With the Xbox One S and X, things get a little bit different.

The Xbox One S has the options for a 500GB, 1TB or 2TB version available. It’s worth noting that the 2TB version is the special edition models and are much harder to come by.

It’s important to note in the Xbox One and S variant the hard drives are standard 5400 RPM platter drives and are not easily replaceable. However, they do support external hard drives.

The Xbox One X has the option for a 1TB version only, which is standard for most high-powered consoles these days and right in line with what most would expect to see.

Other Hardware

The Xbox One versions have a few differences in terms of their output ports as you may expect. First of all, all of the console versions have the same port that enables the Xbox Kinect 2 – the camera and motion sensor that is an optional extra with the console.

The Kinect 2 uses a 1080p camera and can also enable certain voice controls for the console. The Kinect is a neat feature, but personally, I don’t think it’s as useful as it could be.

HDMI outputs are all included in the consoles, but these will differ from version to version. The Xbox One has HDMI 1.4, whereas the Xbox One S has HDMI 2.0. The Xbox One X obviously had to go a step further and include an HDMI 2.1 port, thus keeping slightly ahead of the trend.

All versions of the Xbox One also include a Blu-ray player and this is Microsoft’s first console to do so. A welcome move and a smart one as PlayStation had already utilized this since the PlayStation 3.

Power & Cooling

All versions of the Xbox One have a smart cooling system installed, which allows the console to regulate its temperature accordingly. This was not present in the Xbox 360 and thus the console ran into many problems in this regard. The console is now able to monitor its temperature and adjusts the fan speed to cool if necessary.

The Xbox One also uses an external fan-assisted power supply unit, which is rather later, to say the least. This PSU is the same across all version of the console and also does not differ from country to country.

The Xbox One X reportedly has some kind of liquid-cooled vapor chamber. It will be interesting to see what it actually is.

Controllers

The Xbox One controller (get it here) maintains the overall layout from the 360 controllers, but now includes a smoother texture to the analog sticks. The buttons are slightly curved in shape and it can also be run via batteries (we recommend rechargable) or by purchasing a Xbox battery pack. The battery pack requires the user to charge this by connecting it via micro-USB cable to the console. These battery packs do not come as standard with the consoles and are an optional extra.

Microsoft also releases an elite version in 2015 (get it here), which allows users to customize certain layout aspects of the controller, like D-Pad location, to their liking. It also included interchangeable hair trigger locks, which reduce the amount of distance that must be pressed on certain buttons.

UI

The Xbox One has gone through a few UI upgrades and changes since its original release. There are plenty of options on the home screen, but at times this can feel slightly awkward and frustrating to use. Navigation is not always straightforward and as most people use this console for gaming, accessing your library is not as easy as one would like.

It gets easier with use for sure but can feel a little clunky.

Backwards Compatibility

When the console first launched there was no backward compatibility. After murmurs and rumors for what seemed like an age, it was eventually announced that backward compatibility would be a thing on Xbox One.

The number of games that are able to be played via backward compatibility is set to grow as well, as Microsoft has announced that you will be able to play original Xbox games in the near future.

4k Support

The current versions of Xbox that will be able to support 4K resolutions are the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X versions. Both of the consoles will allow this support using HDR10. Significantly the Xbox One X will also be able to support VR in 4k as well, improving the overall virtual experience dramatically.

The Xbox One S supports Blue-ray 4K playback, which is one of the better selling points of the console.

Online Service

Xbox Live is a paid online service that allows users to play their games online and it also throws in a few free games every month. Players can either pay this via a monthly subscription basis or purchase allotted time cards, which can allow access to the service for a few months at a time all the way up to a full year.

Note that you do not need and Xbox Live subscription to do things like watch Netflix or use the other multimedia functions of this unit.

Console Version Differences

As stated they’re a few differences in the console models. To break it down into a bite-sized chunk the table below provides a few details on what differs from Xbox to Xbox.

Xbox OneXbox One SXbox One X (future)
CPUCustom 1.75GHz 8-core AMD JaguarCustom 1.75GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar2.3GHz 8-core,AMD-customized Jaguar Evolved
GPUAMD Sea Islands (GCN 2) Bonaire Type (Custom 853MHz/914MHz UC R7 260360)AMD Sea Islands (GCN 2) Bonaire Type (Custom 853MHz/914MHz UC R7 260360)AMD Polaris (GCN 4) Ellesmere XTL Type (Custom 1172Mhz UC RX 590)
GPU Memory8GB GDDR58GB GDDR512 GB GDDR5
HDRYesYesYes
4K SupportNoYesYes
Storage500GB & 1TB500GB & 1TB & 2TB1TB
VRNoNoOculus Rift
RAM8 GB DDR3 32 MB ESRAM8 GB DDR3 32 MB ESRAM12 GB GDDR5
HDMI OutputHDMI 1.4HDMI 2.0HDMI 2.1
NetworkingGigabit Ethernet, WiFi (A/B/G/N dual-band at 2.4ghz and 5ghz)Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi (A/B/G/N dual-band at 2.4ghz and 5ghz)Unknown

Final Thoughts

Now you have the details for your next purchase or upgrade its time to start saving those pennies. After doing all my research for this article, I have to be honest and say I don’t think it’s really worth upgrading from a Xbox One to and Xbox One S unless you value the 4K features.

The Xbox One X is an entirely different beast altogether and looks like it will be a worthy upgrade. Hopefully, you now have the information you need to make the best choice yourself.

If you would like to help support this site and it’s great content pick up an Xbox One S here.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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