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Xbox Series X vs PC (2021): Battle Of Monster Gaming Rigs

Microsoft has released the specs sheet for their much anticipated next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, confirming that it’s going to be a beast. In fact, its hardware looks so impressively burly that it can outmuscle most high-end gaming PCs you can buy or build right now. To put it into perspective, we’ve compared the Xbox Series X with a highly rated gaming PC, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR, which costs roughly what Microsoft’s upcoming gaming console is predicted to be priced at.

Xbox Series X vs PC Comparison Chart

ModelXbox Series XCyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR
Microsoft Xbox Series X Gaming ConsoleCyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
CPUCustom AMD Zen 2Intel Core i5 9th Gen
Cores86
Speed3.8 GHz2.9 GHz
GPUCustom AMD RDNA 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
Die Size360.45 mm2284 mm2
Power12 TFLOPS5 TFLOPS
Memory16 GB GDDR68 GB DDR4
Memory Bandwidth560 GB/s192 GB/s
Internal Storage1 TB Custom NVMe SSD240 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD
Expandable Storage1 TB Expansion CardVariable
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-rayOptional
Wi-Fin/aYes
AccessoriesXbox Wireless ControllerKeyboard, Mouse
AvailabilityDecember 31, 2020Now

Design

The Xbox Series X is more compact than the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR.

Xbox Series X vs PC Design
It’s easy to see the polarizing design aesthetics between the Xbox Series X (left) and most premium gaming PCs like the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR (right).

While Microsoft has yet to publish exact dimensions and weight specifications for the Xbox Series X, we can estimate its relative size based on the Xbox Wireless Controller propped against it in the above image. As console controllers are pretty much standardized in size to fit hands, we can be fairly certain that the Xbox Series X is quite small and compact, and it’ll require less surface space than previous generations. That can be an advantage in homes already stacked with several entertainment devices, decor, etc.

In comparison, gaming PCs, especially the high-end ones, require a lot more dedicated space. Most users will need a separate desk strictly for their gaming PC setup, which consists of monitor(s), PC, keyboard, mouse, and more. Meanwhile, gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X will fit easily within any living room, since it can be tucked away when not in use.

Design-wise, consoles have been getting more and more minimalist in their looks, and the Xbox Series X is no exception. It’s simply a tall, black box with a grill at the top for cooling and ventilation. Only the Xbox logo, a slot for the optical Blu-ray drive and a power indicator mark the front facing side of the Series X. It’s a stark contrast against the typical neon-lit and often transparent cases of gaming PCs. The CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR in particular makes liberal use of LED lights both outside and inside the machine, which its transparent side lets you look through.

Graphics and Performance

The Xbox Series X has a more powerful CPU and GPU than the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR.

Xbox Series X vs PC Graphics and Performance
Microsoft shows exactly what’s inside the Xbox Series X in this creative image.

Based off numbers alone, the Xbox Series X is a monster gaming PC in a console shell. And by monster we mean you’ll have to spend a thousand bucks or more on a PC to get comparable performance. The Xbox Series X featuers a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU that rocks 3.8GHz with 8 cores, which can be further amped up with 16 threads for additional processing power via multi-threading. Meanwhile, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR only has 6 cores in its Intel Core i5 9th Gen capable of 2.9GHz speeds.

Microsoft is further pumping up the graphics capabilities of the Xbox Series X, developing a custom AMD RDNA2 GPU that pumps out 12 teraflops of computing power with an eye-popping 52 CU (compute units). That’s faster than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, currently AMD’s top card for the PC, which costs $400 by itself. Needless to say, most gaming PCs won’t be packing this much graphics power. For example, CyberPowerPC uses a solid, if unspectacular, mainstream graphics card for the Gamer Xtreme VR gaming PC, a 5-teraflop NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660.

Another highly relevant detail about the Xbox Series X is that it uses a 1TB NVMe SSD for its internal storage. Having a solid state drive (SSD) versus a hard disk drive (HDD) significantly reduces load times for games, resulting in quick transitions and smooth gameplay experiences. Like most PCs, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR still rocks both, a smaller 240GB SSD for the OS and a larger 1TB HDD for everything else. Unless you install games on its limited SSD space, prepare for frequent pauses between areas and levels and such.

You’ll also be able to double the Xbox Series X’s storage through its proprietary SSD expansion slot, which Microsoft says will be just as fast as the internal SSD. Plugging in an external HDD to the USB 3.2 slot is also an option, though you’ll have to transfer games into the SSD to run them. You get a bit more flexibility in expanding storage for PCs, though. You can jam as many HDDs or SSDs as can fit inside the case, in addition to the usual external drives.

Games

The Xbox Series X will let you play with exclusive console titles while gaming PCs let you access a wider variety of games.

Xbox Series X vs PC Games
While there are a few titles that can be played on both Xbox Series X and PC, such as Halo Infinite, a lot more can only be played on one and not the other.

Games are a big factor in choosing which machine to get, since some titles can only be played on select consoles or only available on PC. There already several new titles being confirmed for the Xbox Series X, with a lot more rumored to be added on release. Some of these Xbox Series X games include:

  • Halo Infinite
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
  • Outriders
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • Rainbox Six Siege
  • Gothic
  • Gods & Monsters
  • Dying Light 2

Interestingly, the Xbox Series X will have 100% backward-compatibility with Xbox One titles, meaning you can still enjoy previous those games on the new beefed-up console. In addition, you’ll get access to all titles currently available with an Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft is also introducing a new feature called Smart Delivery, which allows current Xbox One owners to always get the best version of cross-generation games they own.

As to sheer volume and variety, there’s no beating the number of titles that can be played on the PC. You get access to time-devouring MMOs like World of Warcraft, competitive shooters and MOBAs like CS:GO, League of Legends and DOTA 2, and plenty more small titles via game distribution services such as Steam and Epic Games.

Needless to say, backwards compatibility is automatic for the PC, as you can play games from 10-20 years ago on brand new rigs if you wish, and only your hardware specs will limit which current-gen titles you can run at acceptable graphics settings. That does mean that a game’s hardware requirements are important if you’re looking to play graphics-intensive titles on the PC, while you’ll face no such hurdles on the Xbox Series X.

Controls and Other Features

The Xbox Series X has a wireless controller while PCs primarily use a keyboard and mouse.

Xbox Series X vs PC Controls and Other Features
The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a modernized, sculpted design with some interesting new buttons.

One of the fundamental differences between console and PC gaming is the controls. By making controllers wireless, consoles are really the best for living room gaming, since you can relax on the couch at a nice, safe distance in front of your 4K TV. In comparison, the majority of PC games are controlled via keyboard and mouse, which means you’ll be sitting upright with the monitor a couple of feet from your face. Playstyle preferences factor heavily here, although you can play some titles on the PC with a controller too.

However, the biggest advantage that a PC will have over the Xbox Series X or any console is versatility. A gaming PC can be used for much more than just playing games. Desktop computers let you do all the things you want to do on the Internet, and can even be used for work-related stuff, surprise surprise. The Xbox Series X will likely be able to stream content just like the Xbox One but it will still be limited to entertainment purposes.

The other advantage of PC rigs is its modular design: you can upgrade it with new components over time to improve its speed, graphics power, and more. This means spending a lot more of course, but it’s an option to enhance the longevity of your rig. In contrast, the Xbox Series X has its hardware fixed as is, though with its specs are so high that you won’t need beefier components anyway.

Verdict

The Xbox Series X is more powerful than most gaming PCs.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft Xbox Series X Gaming Console

CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR

CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC

There’s no question that the Xbox Series X packs more muscle in its unassuming frame than most enthusiast-level PCs. It’s a monster gaming PC itself, with graphics capabilities that will deliver impressive 4K gaming experiences. There’s already a nice lineup of games ready to be unleashed with its advanced hardware, but being able to play currently available Xbox titles is just as great. If playing videogames on the couch in front of a big screen is your idea of an awesome time, make sure to keep your eye on further updates on the Xbox Series X as its Holiday 2020 launch approaches.

Without definite news on the price of the Xbox Series X on release, we can only assume that it’ll be set at a slightly higher range than the Xbox One X. At this price range you won’t find a gaming PC with comparable specs, but the flexibility of desktop computers does allow wider uses than consoles. As an example, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR is excellent for those who are looking to game a bit more seriously on the PC. It should be able to handle all the top titles at medium to high graphics settings, with room for upgrades down the line.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.