ben heck xbox one s teardown

Microsoft’s Xbox One S has been out for a few weeks now in the United States and Europe (yes, I’m still counting the UK in there for now), but there haven’t been a lot of great teardowns on the internet that go deeper into the console’s innards. There’s a fantastic one on iFixit for those of you who desire high-res images for planning mods, repairs, or geeking out in general, but modder Ben Heck probably has the best video teardown I’ve seen recently. If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because he’s also the guy who turns game consoles into laptops – like this one-off PS3 Laptop, for instance. Heck’s video goes a bit into the details, but also notes where modders can start thinking about their designs. Grab some coffee and a biscuit, and hit the jump.

One of the interesting things that I noticed – and that Heck also points out – is that the Xbox One S’s power supply is now completely passive. There’s no active cooling on it it, which suggests that it’s a high-efficiency design and possibly more overspecced than it needs to be. The only things that now make a noise is the fan, the hard drive, and the Blu-Ray drive motors. If the console boots without the Blu-Ray drive installed, and if you replaced the hard drive with a SSD, you’d end up with a really quiet system to game on. I wonder if Microsoft is thinking about doing that some day…

The Xbox One S is also more repairable than the previous console. The only difficult part to do here is to separate the bottom of the chassis from the rest of the housing, and from there it’s all screws and basic connectors. Microsoft even uses the same connector standard they’ve had in consoles since the original Xbox design, which is really nice.

Aside from everything being smaller, the biggest change has to be the cooling unit. The original Xbox One had a massive heatsink to draw heat away from the APU and exhaust it as quickly as possible, but on this redesign the heatsink is about a third the size of the original. With the die shrink on the APU it’s going to generate less heat, but it’s also a sign that Microsoft is no longer worried about overheating issues. This does raise the question about how much power they’re saving, however. Is the APU pushing out half as much heat as before? A third? How much power is it drawing from the wall now?

The answers to these questions would help shed a little light about AMD’s upcoming APUs that are part of the Bristol Ridge family. AMD has always used their console designs as prototype platforms for actual desktop parts, so it would be really neat if the upcoming Bristol Ridge desktop APUs end up using half as much power as the APUs they’re replacing from the Godavari family.

If you liked watching the video, you should also check out the teardown they recently did of the ultra-super-rare Nintendo-Sony PlayStation prototype console. This was filmed a while ago, back before the console worked properly, but it’s still awesome to hear the story of how it got into the hands of the Diebold family.