The price of a gaming PC as powerful as the Xbox Series X

Microsoft is expected to launch its next-generation console – the Xbox Series X – near the end of 2020.

Xbox team head Phil Spencer has said the new console will boast four-times the performance of the company’s current-generation top-end console – the Xbox One X.

Thanks to its powerful hardware, it will be capable of running games in 8K resolution and up to 120FPS.

The Series X is poised to take on Sony’s new console – the PlayStation 5 – which features similarly-specced components in multiple areas.

Below are the full specifications of the Xbox Series X.

Specifications Xbox Series X
CPU AMD Zen 2 (8-Core 3.5GHz)
Internal storage 1TB SSD
Expandable storage 1TB Expansion Card
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
I/O throughput 2.4GB/s RAW,  4.8GB/s compressed
Optical Drive 4K Blu-Ray

Analysts expect the Xbox Series X to be priced around the $500 mark, the same as the current retail price of the Xbox One X.

In South Africa, the Xbox One X currently retails for R8,999, which may be a rough indication of the Series X’s price tag when it arrives locally.

We’ve assembled a desktop PC with components that offer similar performance capabilities as what is expected from the Xbox Series X to see how much it would cost.

The build

We used components and pricing from online retailer Evetech, as it offers a wide range of components and customisation possibilities.

We chose an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X for our CPU as it boasts the same number of cores and threads as the custom AMD Zen 2 chip on the Xbox Series X, along with similar clock speeds.

The closest-performing GPU is the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, which can manage 12.66 TFLOPS – 0.66 TFLOPS more – than the Navi-based Series X GPU.

However, unlike the Series X GPU, it does not support hardware-based ray tracing, which means the GeForce RTX 2080 Super is the closest in terms of both performance (11.15 TFLOPS) and features.

The Xbox Series X features 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, which is shared between the CPU and GPU. 10GB is dedicated to graphics performance, while 3.5GB of standard memory can be used for lighter loads such as audio processing.

The remaining 2.5GB is used for running the console’s OS, applications, and other features.

With the RTX 2080 Super, we already have 8GB of GDDR6 memory for our PC. However, Windows tends to be more demanding in terms of RAM requirements, so we picked a pair of Corsair LPX 8GB DDR4 sticks to match up.

When it comes to storage, the Xbox Series X’s SSD will be capable of achieving raw data throughput speeds of up to 2.4GB/s, which is equivalent to a high-end PCIe Gen 3 SSD like the Hikvision E2000 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD.

For our motherboard, we chose the MSI X370 SLI Plus, and we selected the cheapest-available PSU with sufficient power for the system, which was a Gamdias Kratos 500W.

All of these components are packed into a Gamdias Argus M1 gaming case, an affordable unit which offers enough space for our hardware and some RGB lighting.

The table below shows the specifications of our Xbox Series X-equivalent gaming PC.

Value for money for gamers

Even without accounting for the 4K Blu-Ray drive, a controller, or operating system, the total cost of our system amounted to R34,393.

This is nearly four-times what the Xbox Series X could possibly cost in South Africa. As is typically true with each generation of consoles, the Series X will therefore likely offer great value for gamers.

The comparison should be taken with a pinch of salt, however.

While consoles are designed and purpose-built for gaming and some multimedia consumption on the side, a PC has many more applications outside of gaming and entertainment.

When used productively, a computer may offer a far better return on investment in the long run.

Now read: Microsoft discontinues Xbox One X and Xbox One S digital edition

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The price of a gaming PC as powerful as the Xbox Series X