Does the Xbox Series X get smoking hot when gaming? We use a thermal camera to find out
It's getting hot in here.
Andrew LanxonEditor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
latest console, the Xbox Series X, is packed with hyperfast custom tech to make it an absolute beast for playing the latest games at huge resolutions and impressive frame rates. Such immense processing power generates quite a lot of heat though, so to see exactly how hot the Xbox Series X gets, I pointed a thermal camera at it.
I started with the console switched off. The console would surely be the same temperature as the rest of the room if it's not doing anything, right? Well not quite. The console is always on to an extent, doing background downloads, keeping games updated and allowing me to dive back in quickly. As a result, I actually got a reading of 18.8 degrees Celsius (65.8 F) -- about five degrees hotter than the surrounding room. The fan was also gently humming away on top and I could feel a slightly breeze coming from it. You can change the power settings to allow it to fully turn off when not in use.
Next, I turned the console on and let it linger on the main home screen for a while. The heat rose to about 20.4 C. It was time to try taxing its processors a little more, so I fired up Forza Horizon 4 and sent my Bugatti Chiron hurtling across fields, destroying everything in its path. My hope was that the faster I drove and more damage I caused, the more polygons the console would have to process in the game and the harder it would be working as a result. After around 30 minutes of gameplay the temperature was reading 35.8 C.
I then turned to Gears 5 -- a game with glossy graphics and lots of action, which I hoped would offer more of a challenge. Again, I gave it around 20 minutes of gameplay and got a reading of 49.5 C (121.1 F), which is the highest temperature I was able to observe from the console.
Microsoft hasn't given an indication of what temperatures the console should be achieving, but I'm pretty happy with only 49.5 C. High-end
PCs can get significantly hotter than that and require elaborate liquid cooling systems to avoid them overheating and shutting down. Once more demanding games arrive that can really take advantage of the new hardware then we may see higher temperatures.