It seems that earlier reports of the new Xbox Series X running so hot "you can heat up your flat with it" may have been somewhat exaggerated. Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter has taken a thermal camera to his early sample and found that, while it certainly does run hot, its heat dissipation is actually very effective.
The tower-like Xbox Series X has two large fans; one at the bottom that draws in cool air and one at the top that expels hot air. Leadbetter reports that the bottom of the console constantly runs more or less at room temperature, while the console's skin registers about 48-49deg C.
Unsurprisingly, the top of the console is where it gets hottest, with the thermal camera measuring a maximum of 62deg C. Leadbetter notes that that's "hotter than any console I've tested before", but that that's not really surprising given that it's also "the most powerful console I've tested".
Crucially, while it does run a bit hotter than the Xbox One X, the Series X runs far cooler than a high-end PC and is hardly going to act like a house radiator. You will want to ensure it's got some airflow, though, so hiding it in a cupboard is inadvisable.
Leadbetter also tested the heat of the expansion card, which is used to extend the Series X's storage and on which Giant Bomb's Jeff Bakalar Apparently burnt his hand. Here, the thermal camera registered a temperature of 49deg C, which is warm but certainly not burning hot.
All told, the extremely experienced Leadbetter is very impressed with the Series X's cooling, particularly as it produces almost no noise: "Series X is quiet to the point where breaking out the noise meter is a pointless exercise because the console's acoustics merge into the background noise of my living room and office", he says.
He reckons it's at least as quiet as the near-silent One X, which is an excellent result for a console that's so much more powerful.
Will the PS5 be similarly quiet? We'll have to wait and see as it seems that Sony is yet to send out review consoles. Heat and noise really matter to gamers, though, so they'll be areas that both manufacturers will be keen to win.
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