The Xbox One S, which releases today, comes with a number of new bells and whistles for fans of Microsoft's console.
The device is an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player that can display in 4K and has HDR10 support, which further increases picture quality. It's also a fraction of the size of the original Xbox One and comes with an internal power supply, making it perfect for players who find themselves regularly transporting their console.
However, one additional perk, and one that Microsoft hasn't really talked up, is the fact that the Xbox One S's improved GPU clock speed results in improved performance for some, though not all, games played on the console.
As reported by Eurogamer, the difference can mostly be seen in games that have an unlocked framerate. However, even games at a locked 30fps can seen improvements if they regularly struggle to maintain the intended 30fps target. Games tested by the site included Project Cars, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Fallout 4 and Batman: Arkham Knight, all with varying results. Most games saw some, albeit small, improvements to framerates and overall smoothness, while others, like Fallout 4, saw virtually no change at all.
"At worst, Xbox One S operates exactly like the standard Xbox One," Eurogamer writes. "At best, we saw a 9fps 'in the moment' differential between both consoles running the same content."
Even backwards compatible titles can take advantage of the improved hardware. The site reports that Alan Wake's American Nightmare saw far fewer dips below 30fps running on the Xbox One S, though they do note that games with far worse performance problems (like Halo: Reach) won't likely see much improvement.
That leads to the real question: if the Xbox One S truly does result in improved performance on most games, why wouldn't Microsoft advertise the console that way? According to Microsoft's Albert Penello, senior director of product management and planning, it came down to the fact that the improvements were relatively minor, and only measurable in certain games.
Either way, it's good to see that the Xbox One S seems to be superior to the original Xbox One in nearly every way. Though fans who don't own a 4K television might not want to rush out to upgrade, those who do plan on purchasing an Xbox One S can know that they are getting the best version of Microsoft's console available.