Xbox Series S Rumored at 4 TFlops for $299 USD, and why TFlops don’t tell the full story

Today industry experts are dissecting the latest leak in what appears to be a nonstop flood of confidential information exposing next-gen game consoles. A low-cost alternative from Microsoft could be offered this time around and is likely to release as a digital-only, xCloud-ready console with considerably weaker power than the Xbox Series X. Judging by TFlops alone, gamers are wondering if Xbox Series S is truly a “next-gen” console at all, a sign that the teraflop measurement standard may have outworn its usefulness.

(Fan Art – Xbox Series S Concept 1)

But even though it is easy to get excited about hardware specs, especially if you’ve ever built your own PC, the RGN Community has been letting us know that they aren’t sold on the promises of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 until they see them in action. Announcements like Xbox Series X is over 6 times PS4’s power are too nebulous and don’t feel tangible. However, the detailed specs of Ray Tracing, VRS, VRR, NVMe, Auto Low Latency, etc. can wash over many potential customers for the industry. Teraflops have been a stopgap until more sophisticated alternatives emerge.

(Fan Art – Xbox Series S Concept 2)

XBOX SERIES S – 4 TFLOPS FOR $299

WHAT IS A TERAFLOP?

Total FLOating Point (calculations per) / Second.

WHY DO WE USE TFLOPS?

Back in the day “8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit” was the way to go. It was a marker for the times as pixels were still being counted by hand and every minor tweak in technology was a game-changer.

  • Atari 2600 – 8 Bit
  • Nintendo NES – 8 Bit
  • Sega Genesis – 16 Bit
  • Super Nintendo – 16 Bit
  • Sega Saturn – 32 Bit
  • Nintendo 64 – 64 Bit
  • Sega Dreamcast – 128 Bit
  • Nintendo Gamecube – 128 Bit
  • PlayStation 2 – 128 Bit
  • Xbox – 128 Bit

As you can see, during the generation before the first modern console wars (Xbox vs PlayStation), the four competing consoles were all classified as 128 Bit, but hardly anyone called them that. By that time the measurement was deemed invalid as systems began to vary drastically in Bit rating with special features others didn’t have such as Gamecube’s pre-rendering engine, PS2’s DVD Drive / Emotion Engine, the PC-inspiration of Xbox Original’s design, and the extremely fast polygon pipeline of Sega’s last gaming console, the Dreamcast.

Today most powerful GPUs for gaming range up to 352 Bit. It is not the primary attribute used to judge GPUs the way it had previously been for retro gaming consoles. In the PC Gaming scene, every part is put through rigorous testing by the community of enthusiasts and experts in the tech industry.

Current Line of NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphics Cards:

  • RTX 2080 Ti with 11GB of dedicated GDDR6 (on top of whatever amount of DDR4 RAM the user has installed in their PC), and 4,352 CUDA Cores.
  • RTX 2080 256 Bit with 8 GB GDDR6, and 2,944 CUDA Cores
  • RTX 2070 256 Bit with 8 GB GDDR6, and 2,304 CUDA Cores
  • RTX 2060 192 Bit with 6 GB GDDR6, and 1,920 CUDA Cores

It would also be worth mentioning that these new RTX line of cards come with an incredible amount of circuitry built in for the price and many gamers will still be running GTX 1050, 1060, 1070, 1080, etc. which contain a totally different set of parts and also cannot be directly compared to their predecessors, especially if Ray Tracing is being enabled, which was not available for the previous generation.

However, for consoles Teraflops is just a measurement which seems to stick, and thus has worked well for marketing teams to latch onto – and stays an imperfect way users will compare.

  • Xbox 360 – 0.35 Tflops
  • PlayStation 3 – 0.42 Tflops
  • Xbox One – 1.42 Tflops
  • PlayStation 4 – 1.94 Tflops
  • PlayStation 4 Pro – 4.2 Tflops
  • Xbox One X – 6 Tflops
  • PlayStation 5 – 9.6 Tflops (Rumored Leak)
  • Xbox Series X – 12 Tflops (w/ VRS, VRR, NVMe, RT+)

Editor’s Note: CUDA Cores from NVIDIA Graphics Cards and CUs (Compute Units) from next-gen AMD-powered consoles are not directly comparable. There are also many other nuanced differences between these four graphics cards such as over/under-clocked cores, bus speeds, capabilities, target audience, etc.