Xbox Series X could be getting an upgrade – but you won't actually see it

Looking up slightly at an Xbox Series X console with a controller leaning against the front.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Alex Van Aken)
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Microsoft is reportedly developing an upgraded chip for the Xbox Series X that would improve the console’s power efficiency and likely make it cheaper to manufacture.

That’s according to journalist Brad Sams, who said Microsoft is currently revising the Xbox Series X|S chip during a recent Q&A on his personal YouTube channel.

After a viewer asked whether Microsoft was developing an improved chip for the console, Sams responded: “I believe it is accurate that Microsoft is working on a smaller, more power-efficient chip. I’m very confident in that.”

“You’ve got to remember, while the console has been out 18 months, the console Microsoft initially started building was signed off on probably 14 or 12 months before it actually shipped,” he added.

“So, in the world of technology, it’s a dated design.”

As for what new features the chip would introduce, Sams suggested the hardware improvements are likely to be limited, but not totally redundant.

“Now, are we going to see performance improvements, are we going to see anything else? I do not believe so. But Microsoft is always working on making cooler, more efficient chips because that lowers the cost of production.”

More power, for less

That Microsoft is developing an improved chip for the Xbox Series X shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. As Sams emphasizes, the tech giant will always be iterating on its hardware designs for the sake of cost-cutting. We've already seen Sony change the PS5's heatsink for a more cost-effective design

While this latest iteration might not introduce radical changes for the console, it’ll certainly bring some improvements for new Xbox Series X|S owners. A more efficient chip means the console will draw less power, allowing it to run cooler and potentially quieter. That might seem inconsequential, but anyone who's looked at the back of their Xbox and seen layers of dust clogging up its air vents will be thankful that hardware manufacturers take such problems into account.

For more radical performance changes, we’ll have to wait until a new and improved Xbox Series X releases somewhere down the line. Microsoft will almost certainly launch an upgraded edition of the console, just as it released the Xbox One X and Sony launched PS4 Pro. But that will introduce bigger changes than just a new chip. We’d expect to see expanded SSD storage, a better GPU, and more memory.

The Xbox Series X is still in the early phase of its lifecycle and combined with the ongoing chip shortage that has stymied its take-up, we wouldn’t expect a major new edition to launch anytime soon. For now, expect to see chip upgrades such as this one appearing on the horizon.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.