Microsoft’s Xbox One S To Feature More Powerful CPU And GPU For Better Gaming Performance

There's been a lot of chatter leading up to E3 about more powerful gaming consoles designed to take advantage of the growing number of 4K televisions in the wild. Turns out the rumors were true, or at least some of them. In addition to teasing an upgraded version of the Xbox One known as Project Scorpio, which will be four times faster than the original Xbox One, Microsoft unveiled its most compact Xbox model yet, the Xbox One S.

Xbox One S
The Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One, a feat that's made even more remarkable by the fact that Microsoft was able to cram the power supply inside the console—there's no external power brick, just a regular power cord to plug into a standard outlet. Microsoft also designed the Xbox One S so that it can sit horizontally or vertically with an optional stand, which apparently was a popular fan request.

Being slimmer and sporting a new "robot white" color scheme might have been enough to spark renewed interest in the Xbox One, but Microsoft didn't stop there. The Xbox One S supports 4K Ultra HD playback along with High Dynamic Range (HDR), the latter of which is a feature that's quickly gaining steam in the home theater market. HDR isn't just for movies though—Microsoft promises "richer, more luminous colors" in titles such as Gears of War 4 and Scalebound.

One thing Microsoft didn't talk about is whether or not it upgraded the CPU and GPU. Rod Fergusson, studio head at The Coalition, which is developing Gears of War 4, told Polygon that the Xbox One S has additional raw GPU and CPU power. That's allowed developers for The Coalition to limit the instances of reduced frame rates in busy or otherwise more graphically intensive sections of the game.

There's an integrated IR blaster in the Xbox One S. To improve accessibility, Microsoft shifted one of the three USB ports and the pairing button to the front of the Xbox One S, which sit alongside the new IR blaster. Microsoft also removed the dedicated Kinect port from the back. If you own a Kinect and want to to continue using it, you'll need a USB adapter, which Microsoft will provide for free to gamers who upgrade (more details here).

Xbox One S Controllers

Finally, Microsoft also retooled its wireless controller for the Xbox One S. It features a textured grip for enhanced comfort, improveed signal performance with up to twice the wireless range (when used with the Xbox One S), an improved thumbstick design to reduce wear, and Bluetooth support to make it easier to connect to Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft is making available a limited number of Xbox One S consoles with 2TB of storage for $399 in early August (you can pre-order one now). Sometime after you'll be able to purchase the Xbox One S with 1TB for $349 and 500GB for $299. The vertical stand will be available as a standalone purchase for $20.