Cool, cool, cool: Screwdriver-wielders delve into the guts of an Xbox Series X

'Like an air conditioner with a graphics card'.... Lessons in heat management from Microsoft

As excited players fired up Microsoft's latest take on gaming, terrors of the torx screw, iFixit, were busy pulling theirs to pieces.

Today's victim, the Xbox Series X, was considerably chunkier than the also released Series S, but also apparently packs more power and an optical drive in the squat, black case.

xbox ifixit teardown

Cracking it open. Pic courtesy: iFixit

Microsoft's last crack at a super-powered console, the Xbox One X, scored an impressive eight out of ten for repairability, with only the hard drive meriting particular criticism. A few years on, and that pesky hard drive continues to present problems for those looking to upgrade or repair.

Perhaps stung by overheating issues in the past, the new Series X "almost feels like an air conditioner with a graphics card" according to iFixit's engineers. Indeed, the hulking 130mm fan is relatively easy to extract, requiring just a pair of screws and freed clips in order to gain access; handy for keeping the innards spick and span.

digital xray inspection firm creative electron imaged the xbox controller for the ifixit teardown

Digital X-ray inspection firm Creative Electron imaged the xbox controller for the iFixit teardown. Pic: Creative Electron

A few more screws and clips beneath the base of the console saw the optical drive – the same model used on the Xbox One X and S – extracted, and a bit of bad news: the drive appears paired to the console motherboard, necessitating some soldering to replace it.

Digging further into the internals revealed what the team described as "mostly just heat management strapped to some boards." Thermal management is the name of the game, and the relative quiet of the Series X when compared to its predecessors is tribute to the designers packing every spare bit of space with cooling technology. Copper, fins, thoughtful airflow management and an enormous fan should stop things getting steamy during an arduous gaming session.

The internal power supply has been increased to 315 watts (up from the 245 watts of the Xbox One X, but down on the 350 watt supply of the PS5) and an aluminium chassis inserted between the system boards in order to shunt heat away from the internals.

Lurking beneath the thermal compound, the team found the 1TB drive: an m.2 2230 NVMe SSD, and SanDisk chips to manage the storage. While the storage is not soldered to the board, the iFixit team reckoned that software headaches meant that replacement by an end-user would be a challenge.

Going further revealed the final board: the "Project Scarlett" (for all the codename hounds out there) AMD Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU chip along with 16GB of GDDR6 SGRAM.

Overall, the iFixit crew found the teardown relatively mundane with software barriers marring what should have been a straightforward repair experience. Those software locks saw the score drop a little to a still admirable 7 out of 10.

The attention paid to cooling is certainly, er, cool though. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022