Eager to unveil their next-gen console to the rest of the world, Microsoft went ahead and announced the hardware specifications of the Xbox Series X back in February 2020, some weeks ahead of Sony.
Interestingly, this next-gen Xbox was eventually revealed to be using a custom-designed processor based on AMD’s critically acclaimed Zen 2 architecture. If anything, this means that the Xbox Series X is a serious contender today even for modern gaming PCs, as the trusty Zen architecture has since been the go-to CPU of gamers and hardware enthusiasts.
What CPU does the Xbox Series X have?
The Xbox Series X uses a custom, AMD Zen 2-based 8-core 16-thread CPU that has a fixed frequency of either 3.8Ghz or 3.6Ghz. The difference in clock speeds depends on whether it is using SMT mode (all 16 threads), or whether it is directly the CPU core-per-thread.
This is quite different from how Ryzen CPUs typically operate since the Zen architecture usually favors pushing performance as far as its thermal limits can go. Instead, there is a significant focus on performance stability, making the CPU’s upper performance limits predictable enough that the cooling system could easily be adapted to its design.
Xbox Series X CPU Equivalent
Based on design and application, the closest equivalent of the Xbox Series X CPU would most likely be the Ryzen 7 3700X. It uses the same Zen 2 architecture and eight cores and sixteen threads, despite having rather weird fixed frequency values. The SmartShift system is also slightly similar, though it doesn’t have the variable boost capabilities of its PC CPU counterpart.
A more efficient alternative equivalent would be the 6-core/12-thread Core i5-12400. Using its updated Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake architecture, it is capable of keeping up with even the most advanced Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) processors, while having very competitive retail prices. If you want something that can get you reasonably close to the MSRP of an Xbox Series X, this may be the better option.
Xbox Series X Processor Specs
Both the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X use a custom AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores and 16 threads, but the major difference is the clock speed configuration. The Xbox Series X CPU uses either 3.8Ghz or 3.6Ghz only, depending on how many threads are being utilized at that time, while the PS5 has a variable frequency of 3.5Ghz, which lowers down depending on overall usage even if an application (game) is still active.
Xbox Series X Specs List
- Architecture: AMD Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000 equivalent)
- Process Node: 7 nm
- Cores/Threads: 8/16 (SMT supported)
- Frequency: 3.8 Ghz and 3.6 Ghz (SMT mode, fixed values)
While the Xbox One X was certainly impressive in keeping the aging performance of the console line relevant, it just wasn’t ready for the CPU arms race that ensued as the console was released in 2017: the same year of AMD’s rebirth with the Zen architecture.
Today, with the latest Xbox Series X (and even Series S) now fully embracing a more enhanced version of this revolutionary CPU design, it is expected that the current console generation will last even longer. Or at the very least, delivering next-gen graphics today in these pure gaming machines are longer significantly different from that of current-generation PC equivalents. Performance-wise, and more importantly… price-wise.