Are you looking for a brand new gaming machine, Just Interested in gaming, and want the most firepower possible for your money? So, you might want to consider the $500 Xbox Series X that launched on November 10. There’s no way you can even come close to building an X-series equivalent computer for anywhere close to the $500 price tag of Microsoft’s next-gen console. we tried.
But in the Xbox Series X’s battle against gaming PCs, there’s a lot more to consider than just pricing. Let’s dig.
Xbox Series X vs. Gaming PC Specs: Microsoft’s Killer Value
First, the elephant in the room. For the first year or two after their release, new game consoles tend to offer a lot more for the money than similar gaming consoles, and the Xbox Series X is no exception. It probably puts your gaming rig to shame, and at a relatively small $500 price tag.
The Microsoft console is powered by a custom AMD chip with eight “Zen 2” CPU cores and graphics built using the new “RDNA 2” Radeon GPU architecture. These parts alone will set you up we will Above the $500 total price for an equivalent PC. The Xbox’s CPU is comparable to the latest generation Ryzen 7 3700X, which costs around $300. Its 40 RDNA 2 GPUs come clocked at 1,815MHz.
Moving on to GPUs, the $580 RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6800 graphics card has 60 CUs on the same clock speed, so the Xbox Series X will probably be about on par with something like a step-down Radeon RX 6700. The console works Somewhere in the ballpark of the last generation RTX 2080, maybe a little lower.
Add a super-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD, throw in the ability to play Blu-ray discs, and the Xbox Series X’s value proposition will wreck an absolutely equivalent gaming PC—and that’s before you even start thinking about the costs of cases, motherboards, etc. The most affordable PCIe 4.0 SSD costs $200.
Finally, our first attempt at building an Xbox Series X PC cost about $1,500. Oof. There’s a reason Microsoft’s next-gen console convinced my colleague Mark Hutchman not to invest in a gaming battle.
The Xbox Series X (and the more expensive, less powerful $300 Xbox Series S) also offers some key features you won’t find with Windows PCs. Notably, Quick Resume stores the playing state of multiple games within the system memory, allowing you to come back almost instantly. You will probably never find something that can compare on a multipurpose PC.
Another neat tool that uses pseudo-HDR technology on non-HDR games, allows you to take full advantage of your expensive HDR TV. (Hopefully, that comes to Windows in the future!) Of course, the dedicated focus of a box that’s simply designed to let you sit on your couch and play games after work or school shouldn’t be ruled out either. You don’t have to worry about messing with driver updates or Blue Screens of Death on Xbox.
All that said, a PC isn’t as flawed as you might think.
Microsoft invests heavily in owning your games just work No matter where you play, as the owner of both Xbox and Windows. want to play gear tactics On your old Xbox One? The new Xbox Series X? The new Xbox Series S, but slightly less capable? Your gaming PC? Do you have it. Your Xbox Live friends will move between systems, as well as your achievements and saves in various games.
The great Netflix-like Xbox Game Pass subscription works across platforms too, and Microsoft is bringing DirectStorage — the ultra-fast storage backbone of the Xbox Series X chassis — to Windows 10 PCs to eliminate game load times if you have an NVMe SSD installed . DirectX 12 Ultimate’s core features of Series X capabilities work on PCs as well, including ray tracing and variable rate shading. (Hell, they grew up on PC!)
Most importantly, all the things that make PC games more valuable than consoles still apply (regardless of the price of the new hardware). Buying an Xbox locks you into Microsoft’s closed ecosystem. But on PC, you can switch between Xbox Game Pass, Steam, Epic Games Store, Origin, GOG, Ubisoft Connect, Battle.net and many more custom games like valuation or League of Legends, and more. With so much competition, you’ll find great games at great discounts, or even give away through various storefronts – most notably the weekly freebie from Epic. And while Microsoft deserves big props for devoting so much effort to pushing backwards compatibility with Xbox, you can still play decades-old DOS games on your PC if you want to.
You don’t have to pay a monthly fee to play online multiplayer games on PC either – even with cross-platform Xbox Live games from Microsoft. This nonsense does not fly on a platform where competition prevails.
You don’t need a whole new gaming PC
The value of the Xbox Series X also wears off a bit if you look at it through a wider lens, given the advantages of a PC. If you’re buying a new system entirely dedicated to gaming, a Microsoft console is definitely cheaper than a gaming PC. But you can do more than just play on your PC — pay your taxes, email friends, shop online, edit videos, create music, juggle spreadsheets, and a myriad of other tasks. If you need devices to work And the Play, who needs an account.
If you already have a decent, relatively modern PC, you don’t need to try to reverse load the Xbox Series X from scratch. Extensibility and upgrades remain core principles of PC. The new consoles run for periods over their predecessors, but a lot of that improved performance comes from the Xbox Series X that has made the leap from slower 5,400-rpm hard drives to SSDs, and from old AMD Jaguar CPU cores to the latest and cool AMD Ryzen processors. They catch up with any gaming PC created in the past five years, in other words.
But if your PC already has a decent CPU and SSD, all you have to do to match the power of the Xbox Series X is swap an equivalent graphics card. This is the hard part, but only because of the timing. Microsoft’s console pumps tires roughly on par with the GeForce RTX 2080 — the $800 GPU. But we’re in the midst of GPU upgrades for generations, too. The $500 GeForce RTX 3070 already matches the performance of the previous flagship RTX 2080 Ti at less than half the cost, while the $400 GeForce RTX 3060 Ti beats the last-generation RTX 2080 Super. It actually offers more graphics firepower than Xbox Series X.
Assuming you can find stock of these graphics cards – the demand for gaming hardware is through the roof right now – that means you can upgrade your current gaming PC to Xbox Series X-like performance for great performance less From the price of the new console from Microsoft. A standard SSD should work well for gaming for the foreseeable future, and if Microsoft’s DirectStorage technology ends up changing the rules of the game, you can always upgrade to an NVMe SSD to take advantage of faster load times at some point down the road. Upgrading is great.
So, yes: if you already have an old laptop or desktop to handle work, as my colleague Mark Hatchman does, and you’re looking to buy completion new system on his own For gaming, the Xbox Series X delivers exceptional value. But if you already have a relatively recent PC and simply want to play the latest games at good frame rates with everything running, take advantage of the flexibility of a PC and put a new graphics card in it when you are able. You’ll get the same gaming experience as with Microsoft’s new console, plus all the other benefits the PC platform has to offer, including a larger catalog of games.
In the battle of Xbox Series X vs. gaming PCs, the winner depends on what You Need. Now we just need Microsoft to make an Xbox gaming laptop to connect the two worlds.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to compare the Xbox Series X with the Radeon RX 6800 and GeForce RTX 3060 Ti launched shortly after.