There is one constant reality when it comes to home computing devices, and that is heat generation. Every laptop, every video game console, every desktop PC, and, well, basically any electronic device emits heat. The more power, the more heat, and the more cooling you'll need to keep things nice and frosty.
Microsoft's Xbox brand took a bit of a hit during the Xbox 360 days, when the earlier batches of the console started to "RROD," or Red Ring of Death, caused by overheating. Subsequent hardware revisions fixed the issue, but a question of heat dissipation has hung over Xbox consoles ever since. The Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X do not suffer from widespread heating problems, thankfully, but they can get a little bit noisy under load, not to mention a bit toasty.
How hot and noisy does the far more powerful Xbox Series X get? Let's take a look, Predator style.
The Xbox Series X is quite cool
Using a thermal imaging camera, we can get some insights into how warm the Xbox Series X gets under load. This is running Monster Hunter World in resolution mode, from our main Xbox Series X preview. In resolution mode, Monster Hunter World achieves around 1800p resolution locked, pushing frames per second (FPS) into the mid-50s. No matter where we scanned the box, we couldn't find a heat signature that went above 35C (95F), which is impressive.
In standby mode, we found that the Xbox Series X runs at around 25C (77F), which is roughly the same as my Amazon Echo pictured just behind the Xbox Series X here.
Where the Xbox Series X began to get a bit warmer, and more in-line with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, was in games designed to take a bigger advantage of the hardware. Up until now, we only had access to backward compatible titles like Monster Hunter World, which are locked to 1800p and do not take full advantage of the system. Running the Xbox Series X-optimized Gears Tactics reveals a different story.
Running Gears Tactics, the Xbox Series X got a fair bit warmer than when it is running previous-gen titles, topping out at around 53C (126F). The front panel's warmest spots approached around 45C (113F).
The temperature will naturally vary based on a wide array of factors. Right now, it's pretty damn cold in the UK, for example. I expect the Xbox Series X would generate more heat in the summer months, or in a climate that is generally warmer, particularly where air conditioning isn't present. Right now, these tests are being done in average room temperature conditions of around 18C (64.4F).
How does the Xbox Series X compare to other devices, though?
Xbox Series X heat vs. other devices
One appliance that got a lot hotter than I expected during usage was, in fact, my Samsung Q80T TV, which I use to game with. The electronics across the bottom of the panel managed to reach anywhere up to 40C (104F) in the hottest spots, which came as a bit of a surprise. But hey, that's what all this thermal imaging fun is all about.
Running World of Warcraft on Ultra settings with light ray tracing, my Razer Blade 17 Pro (RTX 2070) air vents were emitting quite warm head too, anywhere up to 40C (104F). There's no temperature monitoring tool for Xbox consoles, but the Razer Blade 17 Pro vent temperate roughly matches the readouts on the HWMonitor app for PC. This gives us at least a fairly accurate picture of how hot these devices are running.
Next to a good old Xbox One X, also running Monster Hunter World in resolution mode, we see a more dramatic story. The Xbox Series X runs far cooler than the Xbox One X running equivalent software, while achieving higher frame rates. Monster Hunter World achieves around 1800p resolution on the Xbox One X, while struggling to maintain a 40FPS. The air temp coming from the Xbox One X vents hit anywhere up to 56C (133F).
Comparing the Xbox Series X to the PlayStation 4 (PS4) base model is also a similar story to the Xbox One X. Running Bloodborne, the PlayStation 4 air vents around the back reached up to 59C (140F).
Xbox Series X is adequately cooled
The Xbox Series X is a surprisingly cool device given the power it's packing, as far as we can tell overall anyway. This is far from a scientific study, but it's useful to get an overview of how warm the device gets when compared to other systems. The large vent at the top of the console may emit a larger volume of warm air than a smaller device, but, ultimately, you want that warm air outside of your electronics, not inside.
If the PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series X are to chase PC-like specs and performance, it stands to reason that they'll also grab some PC-like form factors in the process. The Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 are two of the largest video game consoles ever made, as the laws of thermodynamics catch up to our expectations.
At the very least, it looks like we won't be getting screwed over by widespread cooling problems next-gen.
The Xbox Series X should launch on November 10, 2020, and is compatible with your best Xbox One headset as well as all your best Xbox One accessories, alongside over 4,000 games from the Xbox One and Xbox 360 libraries.
Xbox Series X/S
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
Jez, great articles as always. If people want to complain about devices getting hot. They should own a Razer Blade. This laptop gets hot as iam playing those top triple A titles. But what you expect, when you want power and a slim form factor. Counting the days till I get my series X. Looking forward to making smoores on my series X as it heats up and I play Cyberpunk! Lol lol
I enjoyed the article and good to know the console keeps relatively cool.
However, a critical factor here is how noisy the console is based on the heat being removed. A graph showing noise versus heat would be pretty cool. This would also include the ambient temperature. Living in Australia can mean my place gets pretty hot.
A solid set of tests. Comparing it to other devices helped put it into a perspective. I think Microsoft has a poster of a RRoD in their lab so they know not to make that mistake again. 64.4F in your house? Maybe it's because we're from the South, but my wife would divorce me over that temp...
64 degrees and Jez is compling about no A/C??? Holy crap. Try NOLA where is currently 87 outside in October, and we call this 'good' feeling weather because the humidity is 60% vs 95%. 😜
Unfortunately, far too many people are just too scientifically illiterate to understand how the physical world actually works. I believe that this rumour started because someone felt warm air coming out of their XSX and some PlayStation fanboys jumped on it to try to pretend that the PS5 was better than the XSX because the latter gets too hot. What people don't seem to realise is that the hotter the air coming out of the machine, the cooler the machine will be inside. That's the whole point. If the PS5 doesn't have hot air coming out of it then that means that the generated heat is staying inside the device and that will adversely affect performance or lifespan or both. These powerful consoles can't operate without generating a lot of heat. Getting that heat out is a very good thing.
This was obviously never an issue (even if BC aren't the a good representation), the hotter the air is coming out, the better, if the air was cool then it probably means that there is an issue. Both of these consoles won't have issues withe heat, with the PS5 probably being better due to the nuclear approach they went with cooling, but that doesn't mean the Series X is bad, far from it.
One aspect which I believe gets over looked with the PS 5 is that when it is running PS4 games, in many cases it is doing it at a down clocked state. This will naturally result in less heat. Trade off here is less performance/enhancements. Apparently some games will run in enhanced mode. Really we won't know the full story until ppl other than Sony influencers get units in their hands to test things out.
Do we really know that? I follow Playstation news very closely and never saw that. My point was more because the extravagant cooling they were using, a heatsink almost the size of a Series S and liquid metal are going to make it a extremely cool machine.
It was documented by Digital foundry ages ago.
(Starting in early 2019 and again in Dec. ) The PS5 SOC CPU runs in three clock speed modes, PS4, PS4PRO, and PS5-variable.
So when it senses an older game it gears down the CPU so while the GPU offers some enhancements, the CPU doesn't. So CPU-bound games will remain CPU bound.
And Sony hasn't mentioned anything about equivalents to AutoHDR, frame rate doubling, or resolution boosts.
Remember, they "believe in generations".
All their efforts are going to new games not improving old ones you already paid for.
The PS4 Pro also has 2 profiles but it still makes PS4 games run better by running at the higher clockspeed. Auto-HDR I doubt it will have Doubling frame-rate and stuff like that seems that it's what is under what they call boost mode, with Ghost of Tsushima being the first game announced with it. We still need to wait to see though, Sony likes to keep their hype high.
Heatwise, it means old games don't run at max load.
Which is where we came in. :)
Not without developer input. MS created the XSX to do this at a system level without the developers input. Now, if developers want to further fine tune the BC game. Then, they can go and send an update out for that to take advantage of all XSX features.
I expected this kind of results, and it's the first one of these tests I see around. That said I definitely want to see the same tests done on a PS5. I know it will run hotter, while also having less performance.
Wonder if the fan will sound like a jet engine like PS4.
Hey Jez! You should've measured the TV! Most TVs get pretty hot pretty fast! Also you can see it clearly on one of the pictures that the TV is a *lot* hotter than the Xbox. Just to show those dumdums that got all meme-ey about the Xbox being hot.
good idea, i added it in an update for ye
Get the best of Windows Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Windows Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.