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Microsoft reveals what's really inside the Xbox One S

In a new interview, Microsoft's Xbox senior director of product marketing and planning Albert Penello reveals a lot more of what hardware is inside the newly launched Xbox One S console.

You may already know the basics; that the Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the older Xbox One console, and it can now handle streaming 4K video along with playing UHD Blu-ray movies. However, in chatting with Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, Penello gets even more down and dirty on what's in the Xbox One S. For example, he reveals just how much smaller the SoC is in the new console:

The SoC in the Xbox One S is designed in the 16nm Fin FET process, which results in a die that is 240mm2; 33 percent smaller and consumes less power than the 28nm SoC in the original Xbox One.

Penello also described how the support for 4K video was added to the Xbox One S:

There are several components required to support the 4K UHD video playback that result in a combination of changes in the new console. First, we added a 4K HEVC decoder to the SoC to render the compressed video streams efficiently in hardware. Next, we updated the video output to HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. The interface revisions are all integrated into the SoC and enable outputting video at the higher bandwidths required for 4K UHD and HDR formats, as well as the copy protection tech required for protected content. And of course, we updated the optical drive to support the BD-UHD disc format.

The GPU clock speed for the Xbox One S has also been given a small boost compared to the Xbox One, according to Penello:

We also used this opportunity to increase the GPU frequency from 853 MHz to 914 MHz. By making this change, developers creating HDR titles do not have to incur any performance hit. We also decided to make the extra six per cent available to all titles. So some games (ones that utilise dynamic resolution and/or unlocked framerates) may see a very minor performance improvement. Our testing internally has shown this to be pretty minor, and is only measurable on certain games, so we didn't want to make it a "selling point" for the new console.

The disc drive in the Xbox One S has also been updated for playing UHD Blu-Ray movies:

In addition to DSP firmware updates, the drive in the Xbox One S also includes a new optical pickup to support three-layer UHD Blu-ray format discs. Plus HDMI 2.0 video output with HDCP 2.2 copy protection is also a BD-UHD certification requirement, both of which are included in Xbox One S and weren't implemented on the other Xbox One consoles.

The 2TB version of the Xbox One is on sale now for $399 (opens in new tab), and the 500GB and 1TB versions of the console will be available later in August.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Need more?

Check out our other articles for more info on the Xbox One Summer Update.

49 Comments
  • If I didn't already have the original I'd love this - When Project Scorpio comes out my OG Xbox One will move into my home office for dev.
  • People are moaning on HOTUK that the 4k Blueray player does not output bitstream of any HD audio formats. Seems like a bit of a miss if true.
  • I'm in the preview and after the last update my surround sound went to shat. After a bunch of bs, I found the audio settings were changed. How could it not support bitstream? I find this hard to believe, gotta be someone that has no idea what their talking about. lol
  • It does, I have one and you have the option to bitstream
  • Thanks for being honest....
  • The best game console so far, well at least for me ;D
  • Games that were bound by gpu will benefit from this. Just cause 3 and home front as well as dark souls3 were gpu bound IIRC.
  • Hm, will have to try out Just Cause 3 as that game did have some lag/load issues on the original One.
  • I thought we would see an "exploded" view of the new system, but it is nice to see specs.
  • I feel ripped off with the original Xbox one all of a sudden.
  • Meh, I'm not. One way of looking at it is to say that you got your console a few years earlier (well, depends when you bought it) for the mere tradeoff of a barely noticeable difference in gameplay, and a slightly bulkier design. Silver lining.
  • Xbox one is still a great unit if anything one should wait for the next console
  • Considering the performance is just as rubbish as the original I wouldnt.
  • Ripped off? I'm the Xbox ONE has been out for 3 years. Nect year comes the real upgrade which in turn will make it 4 years old. Do you expect any tech to last forever. You don't seem to understand how this all works. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'd rather have the Xbox One S be 39.7% smaller and actually have a Kinect port.
  • That .3% though...
  • .3% is for the fan holes.
  • I know I could go bing what SoC means, but it would be nice if the article explained it :/
  • System On a Chip. The APU (CPU+GPU) and its dye.
  • Means system-on-a-chip aka everything on a chip pretty much
  • it means SystemOnChip - one silicon that contains all components (CPU, Chipset etc.) SoC are mainly used in phones as it does not need extra space on board to use addtional chips like on desktop motherbords.
  • SoC stands for, System on a Chip and it is exactly what it sounds like.
  • System On a Chip. Whole system on one chip instead of several separate chips, each performing its own function.
  • I'm going to join in like the other 4 guys after the 1st guy already told you what it is! Chip on a System =SoCks don't get it confused with **** though.
  • I love these detailed interviews, thanks for this article!
  • Great insight!
  • I want to sell my old console!
  • I think you should, just the standalone UHD Bluray playback is a great value. Just in January the only player capable of playing those discs was valued in over a grand. (1000 US dollars) so this is a great value for the money, and also includes a game console.
  • So is there any non gaming performance increases? When I hit the home button does it still take 500 years to go back to the home screen...if there is a performance increase and increases my usability I will sell my old console and get this one.
  • Seems a bit faster, but that could just be since its new and no files scattered across the drive yet.  Still nowhere near as fast as it was before that awful update last year.  
  • I'm very happy about Xbox One S supporting UHD Bluray Disc playback with HDMI 2.0 specification, I want to buy a new UHD TV that supports this standard HDR10. My next TV will be a Samsung or a Sony which will be compatible with this console. 
    I won't get anything from LG since they went DolbyVision route which is not supported by Xbox One S.
  • Lg tvs do both... Dolby Vision is more advanced, so when they can do it, they can do hdr10 as well out of the box, or with an update like Vizio P series.
  • DV is better, but there are extra licensing costs the tv manufacturer has to pay, so its going to be a lot less widespread. I think there isn't going to be much of a perceivable difference though, at least not with how I see most people st up their TVs in 'dynamic' mode that makes my eyes bleed.
  • I just want to know the hard drive specs. Did they stay with the standard 5400 RPM HDD or start using the hybrid drive in the elite console? It would be pretty **** if they kept the same HDD. They could have at least upgraded to 7200rpm drive. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I mean I use a external drive but you know like SD cards they give out someday I hope they did. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (LG V10 or Nexus 5x)
  • Even if its the same rpm transfer rates will probably be improved thanks to the greater data density.  The HDD read/write head won't have to move as far and more data will pass under it than a lower capacity unit. It does seem faster, but that could just be from my One S's drive being nice and fresh with no fragmentation.  Who knows till we see an iFixit-style teardown.
  • Greater density is meaningless if they have no defragmenter system in place.
  • If its as close to desktop WIndows 10 as I understand it to be, it does cleanup stuff behind the scenes.  I'd like a settings panel option for cleanup/defrag, but thats probably getting beyond the scope of a game console. And even if it doesn't and the drive gets fragmented, higher density WILL result in a small performance bump, but probably nothing noticable.
  • Does it upscale games or do they require a resolution change?
  • It upscales games and video if you choose it... Otherwise you can keep the original resolution.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Still doesn't state the brand of the Blu ray player... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • And still no proper cec HDMI control... Why??? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • yeah, why oh why! I think they expect ppl to use the IR Blaster functionality, but I'd rather it did HDMI control like my PS4 does.
  • It upscales everything if you want it to.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Funny, now I can use the controller also with my Shield TV.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Oh, and still no proper HD sound.... Of course you can choose to convert to dts or dd, or just pcm.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Our testing internally has shown this to be pretty minor, and is only measurable on certain games, so we didn't want to make it a "selling point" for the new console." If it was Apple they would be pushing it as revolutionary, and when it did not as much as they say, they would tell the user they are using it wrong. Good on Microsoft.
  • Wait a sec... An AMD APU with 16nm FinFET process? AMD Zen rumors claimed that AMD's first Zen CPU will be on its APU lineup but I wasn't expecting it to be in the Xbox up to half a year earlier than laptops and retail! O.o
  • Rumors are, well, rumors.