Xbox Series X thermal and power analysis: how efficient is next-gen?

When the Xbox Series X form factor was first revealed at The Game Awards in December 2019, the size and shape of the unit was something of a surprise. In delivering what it believes to be the most powerful console of the next generation, Microsoft rewrote the rule book, producing a mini-tower like design aimed at maximising both performance and cooling. Has this decision paid off? With press units in the hands of journalists, stories began to appear suggesting that the console could get very hot. So, just how hot does it get and how much electricity does Series X draw from the mains? The answers are surprising – in a positive way!

With the final preview embargo up, I can share some more of my overall thoughts about the machine. I’ve already talked about the excellent backwards compatibility features, and what kind of storage solution is best for running your old Xbox titles on Series X, but now I can share more. Starting with the industrial design, there is a quiet revolution in design here, with the emphasis on the word ‘quiet’. Series X is quiet to the point where breaking out the noise meter is a pointless exercise because the console’s acoustics merge into the background noise of my living room and office. It’s essentially on par with Xbox One X – and perhaps even better – which I’d rate as the current gold standard in console design. Series X is more power-hungry, but the revised form factor ensures that noise is simply not an issue.

The size and shape of the box is quite different, but still very console-like. It’s basically the same height as One X, but somewhat portlier in certain dimensions. You can rest the machine vertically or horizontally and in terms of footprint, I think vertical is the way to go. Hot air rises by its very nature, so there may well be a slight cooling advantage in doing so too. In an entirely unscientific way, it certainly ‘looks’ better, in my opinion.

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