The heatsink alone provides 20 percent more airflow than the Xbox One.
It’s been a strange couple of weeks for the Xbox Series X and PS5. The former has 12 TFLOPS of GPU performance, which theoretically should make it the more powerful console. However, the latter features a seemingly faster SSD solution while still having 10.28 TFLOPS of performance.
Given the power that each console is packing, they each have different ways of handling cooling. The PS5 uses a new system to reduce fan noise (though the cooling system was reportedly “unusually” expensive). As for the Xbox Series X, principal designer Chris Kujawski spoke to Digital Foundry about the console’s design dictates the overall airflow. It’s apparently 70 percent more than the Xbox One.
“With all that power, you have to move a lot of air and you want to move it quietly. We studied many different ways of doing air movement in a product and a single axial fan was the most efficient, the quietest air mover for our system… we do a bunch of customisations here, so the number of blades, particularly the blade geometry, is highly, highly optimized to operate within the confines of our system.
“We also have to have good air in to the enclosure, so you have certain venting and large holes. You have exhaust out the top and we have large venting holes, but the net effect of putting all of this together, having parallel paths, having this really powerful quiet fan at the top, is that we get 70 per cent more airflow through this console than the past generation and we get 20 per cent more airflow through our heatsink alone than in the past generation.”
Direct of electrical engineering Andres Hernandez also spoke about other cooling components, like the GDDR6 RAM’s vapor chamber that helps in dissipation. “We have these very powerful regulators, so one of the challenges is how do we actually cool that much power density? So, we actually ended up using the vapor chamber for a couple of things. The first one is we also heat sink our GDDR6 memory to the vapor chamber. That made a lot of sense because when you’re pushing a lot of bandwidth, those chips are thermally high. And then the second piece is, as I mentioned, the regulators. It’s one of the most power-dense pieces of our box.”
The Xbox Series X is currently slated to release in holiday 2020. Microsoft is planning an online event following E3 2020’s cancellation so expect more details and footage of games soon.