Xbox Series S leak reveals specs of the budget Xbox Series X — is it worth it?

(Image credit: Reddit - u/jiveduder)

While the PS5 hardware reveal immediately revealed the existence of its PS5 Digital Edition, Microsoft has been much cagier with the reveal of the Xbox Series S. While the rumors have always pointed to to the existence of  a budget version of the Xbox Series X, the exact nature of what cuts would be made to that powerful consoles spec list to drop the price have remained mostly a mystery.

That is until this latest leak arrived courtesy of Tweak Town and Tom Warren of The Verge. Following the posting of a specs comparison between the Xbox Series X and Series S by Tweak Town, Warren filled in one piece of missing info to give us a virtually complete picture of the specs for the Xbox Series S (via GameRant).

While a lower-priced option from Microsoft was always going to be interesting to some buyers, it is perhaps going to draw a little more interest after the somewhat staggering $599 price point that leaked for the Xbox Series X.

So let's take a look at exactly what trade-offs you'll be making in order to save possibly a few hundred dollars with the Xbox Series S.

(Image credit: TweakTown)

They put it front and center on the chart and rightfully so as the number that is going to jump out to most Xbox Series X fans right away is the 4 teraflops, roughly a third of the output from the Xbox Series X and one of the biggest points of contention in the Xbox Series X vs. PS5 discussion.

The CPU is reportedly identical, while the GPU is where you see a significant difference with 20 RDNA 2.0 compute units @ 1.550GHz as compared to the 52 RDNA 2.0 CUs @1.825Ghz found in the Xbox Series X. 

This takes us to the real question of what exactly is the performance difference between the two going to look like on-screen. According to TweakTown's sources, the performance target for the Xbox Series S is 1440p resolution at 60 frames per second. While this is a far cry from the 4K 60fps and even 8K support of the Xbox Series X it is actually slightly better than the 1080p 60fps that we were anticipating.

Backwards compatibility and next-gen game support look the same across both consoles, so no issues there apparently. Some information that remains unsettled according to TweakTown includes support for 120Hz or variable refresh rate displays and hardware-accelerated ray tracing on the Xbox Series S.

The one other sacrifice that Xbox Series S buyers will be making will not come as a surprise to anyone that has been following along. And that is the lack of a disc drive. The Xbox Series X will, of course, feature a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive giving you both the ability to buy and play physical game discs or Blu-ray movies. 

We are still expecting Microsoft to have another Xbox 20/20 event this month and perhaps officially reveal the Xbox Series S, so stay tuned and we'll keep you updated.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.