The revamped new model of the Xbox One, the Xbox One S, is now available. It’s smaller, sleeker, and supports 4K and HDR, but one thing you won’t see advertised on the box or in Microsoft’s marketing materials is a boost to game performance. Despite this, the Xbox One S does provide improved performance, albeit not in all games.
Microsoft’s senior director of product marketing and planning, Albert Penello, spoke with Digital Foundry about the changes made to the system’s hardware, including its additional speed–the GPU sees the biggest bump, with a clock speed increase to 914 MHz from 853 MHz. (ES RAM bandwidth enjoys the same increase, going from 204 GB/s to 219 GB/s. CPU clock speed is unchanged.) He made it clear Microsoft didn’t want to mislead the public by talking about performance improvements, stating, “The key is that we did not want customers to expect any change in game performance for existing titles.” He also explained the GPU change was meant to allow developers to offer HDR content without “incur[ring] any performance hit.”
You can read the full results from Digital Foundry’s testing here, and see some of the differences for yourself in the video above. As the site sums up its findings: “The increased performance in the new console is fascinating to highlight in benchmarks, but in the ‘real world,’ Xbox One S simply adds an additional layer of consistency–some will notice it and appreciate it, others may want it just because it’s there, but equally, it’s fair to say that many more may not notice it at all.”
Whether all of this justifies the purchase of a new console will vary from person to person. Further complicating the matter is the impending launch of Project Scorpio next year, which promises to provide significantly more horse power than what’s offered with the Xbox One S.