Xbox Series X emits a ton of heat; it’s supposed to do that
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Xbox Series X emits a ton of heat; it’s supposed to do that

Alex Kane
7 October 2020

Microsoft’s new console is working as intended.

Early Xbox Series X impressions have been causing a stir, and one concern that’s come up is how hot the more expensive of Microsoft’s two next-gen machines seems.

One video, since deleted but translated by VGC, said the Series X “doesn’t make any noise, but damn, it’s hot! The console is emitting heat like crazy. It’s almost like a fireplace shaft. You can heat up your flat with it.”

The sheer amount of energy being used by the console means excess heat is inevitable. Normally, a large, noisy fan like the one in the PS4 or Xbox One would manage most of the cooling necessary to keep things running.

But the Series X is essentially designed to be a prism-shaped cooling vent, with lots of holes at the top, a fan at the base, and lots of room throughout the inside of the chassis.

A new video by YouTuber Spawn Wave does a fantastic job of breaking down how this works, and Microsoft itself has alsoexplained some of how the Series X was engineered.

“Xbox Series X features the most powerful System on Chip (SoC) ever from Xbox, and creatively cooling that chip with a single axial fan is what unlocked the solution to the form,” Xbox Wire’s Will Tuttle explained in a blog post.

“By splitting the motherboard in half and bolting each side to the central aluminum chassis, the team was able to pull a huge amount of air through the entire system at a low enough acoustic level to keep the console running quietly and efficiently.”

As Spawn Wave points out, the Xbox 360’s infamous “red ring of death” fault was at its core a cooling issue; the internal heat regularly melted portions of the motherboard.

Console hardware has evolved to become more and more PC-like, which means more heat to manage, and Microsoft hasn’t forgotten the hard lessons of that first 360 model and all those flashing red rings.

Folks have noted how shockingly quiet the Series X is.

“It’s still cooling effectively,” Spawn Wave says. “The reason we know that is because hot air is coming out of it. If the heat stayed inside the system, that would be a problem.”

“This is the entire point. If the cooling solution is working effectively, it’s pushing the hot air out,” GamesBeat journalist Jeff Grubb said on Twitter.

“People conflate heat with overheating. Heat is inevitable. What matters is how the system manages the thermal byproduct. And the more heat you feel coming out means less heat inside the case throttling performance.”

As Spawn Wave says, “It’s all normal. That’s what it’s supposed to do.”

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