Hot or not?

There is one constant reality when it comes to home computing devices, and that is heat generation. Every laptop, every video game console, every desktop PC, and, well, basically any electronic device emits heat. The more power, the more heat, and the more cooling you’ll need to keep things nice and frosty.

Microsoft’s Xbox brand took a bit of a hit during the Xbox 360 days, when the earlier batches of the console started to “RROD,” or Red Ring of Death, caused by overheating. Subsequent hardware revisions fixed the issue, but a question of heat dissipation has hung over Xbox consoles ever since. The Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X do not suffer from widespread heating problems, thankfully, but they can get a little bit noisy under load, not to mention a bit toasty.

How hot and noisy does the far more powerful Xbox Series X get? Let’s take a look, Predator style.

The Xbox Series X is rather cool

Xbox Series X running Monster Hunter World.

Using a thermal imaging camera, we can get some insights into how warm the Xbox Series X gets under load. This is running Monster Hunter World in resolution mode, from our main Xbox Series X preview. In resolution mode, Monster Hunter World achieves around 1800p resolution locked, pushing frames per second (FPS) into the mid-50s. No matter where we scanned the box, we couldn’t find a heat signature that went above 35C (95F), which is impressive.

Xbox Series X in standby mode.

In standby mode, we found that the Xbox Series X runs at around 25C (77F), which is roughly the same as my Amazon Echo pictured just behind the Xbox Series X here.

The temperature will naturally vary based on other external factors. Right now, it’s pretty damn cold in the UK, for example. I expect the Xbox Series X would generate more heat in the summer months, or in a climate that is generally warmer, particularly where air conditioning isn’t present. Right now, these tests are being done in average room temperature conditions of around 18C (64.4F).

How does the Xbox Series X compare to other devices, though?

Xbox Series X heat vs. other devices

Razer Blade 17 Pro (RTX 2070) running World of Warcraft.

Running World of Warcraft on Ultra settings with ray tracing, my Razer Blade 17 Pro (RTX 2070) air vents were emitting far, far warmer heat, anywhere up to 40C (104F). There’s no temperature monitoring tool for Xbox consoles, but the Razer Blade 17 Pro vent temperate roughly matches the readouts on the HWMonitor app for PC. This gives us at least a fairly accurate picture of how hot these devices are running.

Xbox One X running Monster Hunter World.

Next to a good old Xbox One X, also running Monster Hunter World in resolution mode, we see a more dramatic story. The Xbox Series X runs far cooler than the Xbox One X, while achieving higher frame rates. Monster Hunter World achieves around 1800p resolution on the Xbox One X, while struggling to maintain a 40FPS. The air temp coming from the Xbox One X vents hit anywhere up to 56C (133F).

PlayStation 4 running Bloodborne.

Comparing the Xbox Series X to the PlayStation 4 (PS4) base model is also a similar story to the Xbox One X. Running Bloodborne, the PlayStation 4 air vents around the back reached up to 60C (140F).

Xbox Series X is a pretty frosty boy

The Xbox Series X is a surprisingly cool device from what we can tell overall. The large vent at the top of the console may emit a larger volume of warm air than a smaller device, but, ultimately, you want that warm air outside of your electronics, not inside.

If the PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series X are to chase PC-like specs and performance, it stands to reason that they’ll also grab some PC-like form factors in the process. The Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 are two of the largest video game consoles ever made, as the laws of thermodynamics catch up to our expectations.

At the very least, it looks like we won’t be getting screwed over by widespread cooling problems next-gen.

The Xbox Series X should launch on November 10, 2020, and is compatible with your best Xbox One headset as well as all your best Xbox One accessories, alongside over 4,000 games from the Xbox One and Xbox 360 libraries.