The Xbox Series X could be getting new graphics modes that can save you money

An Xbox Series X controller standing upright in front of the console
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Alex Van Aken)

Microsoft is looking into additional Xbox Series X energy-saving modes which could impact performance on the console. Soon, you'll be able to choose to lower your in-game resolutions and framerates to save on your energy bills.

Microsoft has been sending Xbox Series X|S owners enrolled in the Xbox Insider program a questionnaire that asks the console’s playerbase about their energy consumption. The ‘energy efficiency features’ list of questions asks for detailed input about improvements and additions to Xbox Series X energy-saving modes, as reported by Windows Central.

Microsoft asked if the respondent's worried about their energy bills while gaming for long periods of time, and if they would modify the hardware settings to mitigate these issues. The company has proposed making adjustments such as ‘altering the resolution, frame rate, visual effects or GPU’.

The hardware manufacturer is also considering automating features such as the resolution and frame rate when the game is left inactive to save on energy consumption. However, from the questionnaire, it’s apparent that Microsoft has thought about the negative effects of reducing performance, too. While we’ve covered energy-saving Xbox Series X updates in past months, this related to lower standby wattage, not for active gameplay sessions.

One of the questions proposed asks for a response to this statement: “I am worried that turning on energy-saving features may negatively impact my gameplay experience”. It has not been outlined by Microsoft whether or not these features would be implemented in a future software update, but the company has considered options here, whether that means going from dynamic 4K to lower resolutions such as 1440p or 1080p, and capping the max FPS remains to be seen.

How much money could Xbox Series X energy saving modes save?

The Xbox Series X is quoted as using 153W power during active gameplay. If we take recent averages from electricity costs into account then you’re roughly spending 2.26 cents/ph (with the console going full speed). In the UK, however, those rates jump to 5.20 pence/ph. If the average Xbox Series X user played their console for two hours every day for a week, then that’s a total of 31.64 cents in the US and 72.83 pence in the UK. The console when used in standby mode draws 0.5 W, which is substantially more power efficient than the 13W of Sleep Mode.

An energy-saving mode that takes the strain off the console's RDNA 2 GPU could see the wattage per hour significantly reduced. The AMD graphics that power the Xbox Series X, a custom-engineered Scarlett processor, is technically capable of delivering up to 200W TDP on a 320-bit memory bus. Undervolting is certainly possible with this hardware, where less power means decreased performance, as graphics cards utilizing the hardware can do, especially in the best gaming laptops. As for how much this will impact gaming performance, that remains to be seen should this update come to fruition.

If you’re someone who is interested in getting Microsoft’s latest console for less, then the Black Friday Xbox Series X deals could yield savings on the system, games, and accessories in less than a month’s time. For those after a spare gamepad or two, we’re also expecting discounts in the Black Friday Xbox controller deals as well.

Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.