Digital Foundry tears down Xbox Series S showing its minimalistic design

Published: Aug 13th 2021, 16:33 GMT   Comments

Xbox Series S teardown

One of the Xbox Series S consoles owned by Digital Foundry has recently stopped working. This gave the DF team an opportunity to teardown the console to see the internals.

Xbox Series S teardown, Source: Digital Foundry

XBOX Series S|X consoles are not meant to be taken apart. This is why we don’t see that many teardown videos of the new generation consoles. The Microsoft consoles actually do have one advantage over PlayStation 5 consoles here though, and that’s the lack of liquid metal cooling on the processor. It goes without saying that it is much simpler to reapply thermal paste than liquid metal.

The video shows that Microsoft has put a lot of attention to the details with the Xbox Series S. It’s a very small console (27.5×15.1×6.5 cm) with a weight of a typical laptop (1.93kg). This tiny device packs a huge heatsink and powerful custom SoC designed by AMD. The chip is based on Zen2 microarchitecture and offers 8 cores combined with 20 Compute Units based on RDNA2 graphics. Additionally, the device is equipped with 10GB GDDR6 memory.

Xbox Series S teardown, Source: Digital Foundry

The console has a modular design, with each element clearly labeled and some screws even color-coded. The Wifi, interface daughter boards, and power supply are modular, which means they are easy to disassemble and replace. This is not the case with the heatsink above the processor through, which is neither easy to remove nor possible to completely be put together back. This is mainly because the heat shield above the memory is not meant to be removed and as noted by DF, it cannot be put back in the same form.

Xbox Series S teardown, Source: Digital Foundry

We also get a closer look at the internal 512GB storage. It is based on a custom Western Digital SN530 NVNe SSD, which, unfortunately, cannot easily be replaced or upgraded. The small internal storage and relatively expensive Seagate expansion storage are by far the biggest downsides of this generation Xbox consoles.

In comparison to Series X, the S lacks a Bluray optical drive as well as 0.5TB of storage that the higher-end console offers. With a price tag of 299 USD/EUR, the console is a very interesting alternative to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 and AMD Radeon RX 6700/6600 series, which are actually more expensive.

Next-Generation Gaming Consoles
VideoCardz.comSony PlayStation 5Xbox Series XXbox Series SKFConsole
CPU7nm AMD Zen27nm AMD Zen27nm AMD Zen214nm Intel Core i9-9980HK
CPU Config
CPU Clock
up to 3.5 GHz
up to 3.8GHz
up to 3.6GHz
up to 5.0 GHz
GPU Config
36 CUs
52 CUs
20 CUs
30 SMs
GPU Clock
2.23 GHz
1.83 GHz
1.57 GHz
1.68 GHz
GPU Power
10.28 TFLOPS
12.15 TFLOPS
Performance Target4K up to 120fps4K up to 120fps1440p up to 120fps4K with RT
Release DateNovember 2020November 2020November 2020TBC
Notes* Digital EditionComes with a Chicken Chamber


[Digital Foundry] Xbox Series S Complete Teardown: Inside Microsoft's Superb Mini-Console (200,401 views)

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