Xbox One S rocks overclocked GPU for boosted frame rates

Original Xbox One is effectively obsolete.

2 minutes & 4 seconds read time

Remember when Microsoft said the Xbox One S doesn't have a GPU and CPU boost and that it plays games identically the same as the normal Xbox One? Yeah, they totally lied. The Xbox One S is not only faster, but it can boost in-game frame rates by 11% and beyond.

Microsoft's new $299 Xbox One S has some hidden powers. Not only does it upscale 1080p games to 4K resolution, play 4K UHD Blu-rays and supports High Dynamic Range, the new console is equipped with tweaked hardware that delivers a consistent and noticeable frame rate bump.

According to Digital Foundry's testing, the Xbox One S offers overall improved frame rate and power efficiency performance over the original Xbox One. The S model's performance jump comes from its new internal hardware, which is comprised of a new shrunken 16nm FinFET semi-custom AMD SoC which houses an overclocked GPU (boosted to 914MHz from the vanilla Xbox's 853MHz), improved ESRAM bandwidth (219GB/s versus the vanilla's 204GB/s), and a smidgen of 0.9 extra teraflops performance. Remember that the original Xbox One featured a 28nm AMD APU, so the Xbox One S enjoys a 33% die shrink that translates into some serious power efficiency. The CPU, however, hasn't been boosted and remains at 1.75 GHz.

"The Xbox One S is like the console equivalent to a factory overclocked graphics card. The same, but a bit better," said Digital Foundry's Richard Ledbetter.

How does this hardware actually impact game performance? DF tested multiple Xbox One games on the Xbox One S and saw a consistent frame rate increase on many games tested. In fact, some games like Project Cars saw an 11% FPS boost on the Xbox One S, and Leadbetter notes that the new Xbox can boost frame rates by up to 9 FPS. The smaller Xbox also saw less tearing on games like Arkham Knight.

At the same time, however, there were some games that saw no performance boosts. Fallout 4 was the same on Xbox One S and original Xbox One, with absolutely zero boosts in any capacity--so it just depends on the game.

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When Digital Foundry contacted Microsoft with its findings, Redmond finally admitted that the Xbox One S is actually better than the old model:

"Some games, those that utilize dynamic resolution and/or unlocked frame rates may see a very minor performance increase. 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."

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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