Xbox One X or PC, which should you go for if you want the best possible gaming rig? We compare Microsoft’s new Xbox console with a traditional gaming PC, to see the pros and cons of each choice.
Microsoft has just launched its new Xbox One X console, which offers PC-quality gaming thanks to its support for 4K HDR visuals. Not to mention some pretty beefy specs.
So which is best for you, the £450 Xbox One X or a gaming PC rig?
Xbox One X vs PC gaming: Home setup
Traditionally, PC gaming involved sitting alone at a desk with headphones plugged in, ignoring everything and everyone else going on around you. However, that’s certainly not the case any longer.
In 2017 many people have PC gaming rigs set up in their lounge, for more social – and comfortable – sessions. You can hook up your machine to your PC and connect wireless controllers via Bluetooth, so you and your family or mates can get some local multiplayer action on the go.
Of course, the Xbox is impressively compact and sleek-looking. Whereas many gaming PCs are big, unsightly glowing beasts, unless you really stump up for an attractive and well-cooled mini case.
If the idea of having your rig sat in your living room doesn’t rest well, fear not. The likes of the Nvidia Shield TV can actually stream your gaming session direct from your PC to your telly, over your home WiFi network. Only a set selection of games are supported, but it’s an ever-growing list that covers most new releases.
In this respect, there’s no real difference between the Xbox One X and a computer.
Xbox One X vs PC gaming: Performance
The One X is one supremely powerful machine. By Microsoft’s own boasts, it packs in ‘40 percent more power than any other console’ – and we can’t really argue considering the specs on offer.
An 8-core 2.3GHz Custom AMD CPU runs the show, backed by 8GB of RAM. You also have a 6 Teraflop GPU, packing 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. And with liquid cooling on board, you can expect minimal noise despite all of that beefy tech.
Of course, power is one of the PC’s real selling points. You can essentially knock up any kind of rig you like, usually for a reasonably affordable cost – especially if you build yourself. Even if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can get a pre-built rig from specialists for a respectable price these days. That said, the Xbox is still more affordable when you’re looking at 4K gaming levels of performance.
The very best gaming PCs out there are more powerful than the Xbox One X, hands-down. However, you’ll have to pay out some serious sums for that level of performance.
As a direct comparison, we checked out the latest 4K-ready gaming machines on DinoPC. The most affordable option is the Primal AlphaX Intel Gaming PC, which offers an Intel Core i5 7500 chipset backed by 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (with 8GB VRAM). At a shade over £1000, this is over twice as expensive as the Xbox One X.
Of course, in this case the PC offers a stronger CPU and overall setup. You can expect to game with super-smooth frame rates and maximum resolution settings for the foreseeable future, where the Xbox One X will reach its limit sooner.
Which brings us onto..
Xbox One X vs PC gaming: Expansion
The true strength of the PC is its expandability. If your rig starts to slow down or you need a boost in some area to play the latest games, you can just open it up and pull out the old components, replacing with fresher kit. It’s also easy to stick in more storage and make other improvements, wherever required.
With the Xbox One X, you’re basically stuck with the original configuration. Want to play those next-gen titles? Time to put the One X out to pasture and grab a One Z (or whatever) instead, at full price.
Xbox One X vs PC gaming: Games
When it comes to the games catalogue, there’s no competition either. The PC has a far superior selection of titles available, via the fantastic service that is Steam.
Not only will most Xbox One X exclusive titles end up on PC either at the same time or a little later, but the PC will likely offer an even more immersive visual experience compared with the console. Add onto that the massive pre-existing body of games on Steam and you’ll never be short of titles to play. You can grab everything from re-released classics like Wolfenstein 3D to the latest blockbusters, covering any genre imaginable.
Of course, the Xbox One X has a respectable launch line-up and can also play all existing Xbox One titles, including Play Anywhere games. You can also get stuck into those existing Backward Compatible Xbox 360 games, with full upscaling so they look better than ever.
With the Xbox you also never have to worry about compatibility. These games are custom-made to run on the console, so you shouldn’t ever see an error message or spend ages fiddling with graphics settings to get a title to run. The same sadly can’t be said for PC.
However, as well as the selection on offer, PCs also score a victory when it comes to cost. PC games usually drop in price quite quickly and can often be picked up at half price or less from Steam, in the regular sales events. On Xbox, games hold their original price for longer. Plus you don’t have a massive selection of titles that you can pick up for under a fiver.
Xbox One X vs PC gaming: Media
The Xbox One X is a bit of a home cinema system as well as a gaming machine. With its slick interface, you can quickly dive into a selection of streaming services to watch 4K HDR-ready movies and shows. As well as HDR10 support, the One X can also blast surround sound in your lounge thanks to its Dolby Atmos support.
Plus, Microsoft’s console sports a UHD Blu-ray drive for playing discs.
On PC, you can of course stream 4K HDR-ready content if your rig is up to it. However, adding a Blu-ray drive will cost some serious cash, making the One X the more affordable option for home entertainment. You can even connect other streamers such as your Sky box to the Xbox, for ease of use.
Check out our guide to using the Xbox One X as a home cinema system for all you need to know.