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The Xbox Series X runs so hot that you risk combusting into flame if you get within a few feet of it. Or, at least, that is what people who have never used the system would have you believe. But what is the reality? The short answer is that it runs cool compared to other devices. And I tested that to give you an understanding of the advancements of the next-generation consoles. Microsoft and Sony both emphasized cooling and acoustics for their next-gen devices, and I can confirm that Microsoft has succeeded so far.

The Xbox Series X consistently runs at a lower temperature than both the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. But let’s clarify what I mean by that, and how did I test this? I used a thermocouple thermometer that I could stick inside each device. But I didn’t tear the machines down, so I had to pick where I was going to place the sensor to get a reading. So I did what made the most sense to me. I used my hand while each console was running to feel the vent that was expelling the hottest air. And then stuffed the sensor into that slot about a half-inch deep. So let’s be clear — these readings are not how hot the APU is running. This is a measurement of the air temperature just inside the case.

I considered taking apart each console and trying to attach the thermocouple to each console’s system-on-a-chip, but the Xbox Series X that I have is still just preview hardware. Microsoft’s final hardware could render this test meaningless. Additionally, I have to send this Xbox back to Microsoft, so I don’t want to break it.

But the general takeaway is this: The Xbox Series X runs cool.

Xbox Series X versus the current generation

I did a couple of tests with each console, but I’m going to share the details of temperature performance while playing Hitman 2. For this test, I booted each system up after they were off for at least 30 minutes. I then immediately started Hitman 2 and played 10 minutes of the Mumbai level. The sensor doesn’t turn on until the game first loads. The ambient temperature of the room was a steady 23.6C.

Here’s how each system performed through that duration:

Temp (C) Xbox Series X Xbox One X PS4 Pro RTX 3080/Ryzen 9 3900XT
Max Tmp 50.4 54.5 65 44.1
Avg. Tmp 47.7 52.1 62.5 35.5
Min. Tmp 38.9 50 60.1 32.1

Here’s what that looks like as a chart:

This test isn’t perfect, but it should alleviate any concerns about the Xbox Series X temperature. It still runs hot enough to slowly warm up a room, but not like a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. At the same time, it makes sense that the PC, which is much larger and has significantly more fans and vents and an AIO CPU cooler, is pushing cooler air out of one of its vents. To provide some more insight: Throughout this test, the CPU was reporting its internal temperature at around 72 degrees.

In another test, I tried doing whatever I could think of to get the systems running as hot as possible. Turns out that is usually “open some menus.” I could never get the PS4 Pro hotter than the 65C it hit during the Hitman 2 test. The Xbox One X, meanwhile, hit as high as 60.3C. But the Xbox Series X peaked at 57.4C.

Microsoft deserves credit for designing a machine that stays relatively cool without producing any real noticeable sound. This is impressive engineering.

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