Xbox One X Tear-Down: Impressive Modularity For a Console (+ Errata)

By Published November 07, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Microsoft has, rather surprisingly, made it easy to get into and maintain the Xbox One X. The refreshed console uses just two screws to secure the chassis – two opposing, plastic jackets for the inner frame – and then uses serial numbering to identify the order of parts removal. For a console, we think the Xbox One X’s modularity of design is brilliant and, even if it’s just for Microsoft’s internal RMA purposes, it makes things easier for the enthusiast audience to maintain. We pulled apart the new Xbox One X in our disassembly process, walking through the VRM, APU, cooling solution, and overall construction of the unit.

Before diving in, a note on the specs: The Xbox One X uses an AMD Jaguar APU, to which is affixed an AMD Polaris GPU with 40 CUs. This CU count is greater than the RX 580’s 36 CUs (and so yields 2560 SPs vs. 2304 SPs), but runs at a lower clock speed. Enter our errata from the video: The clock speed of the integrated Polaris GPU in the Xbox One X is purportedly 1172MHz (some early claims indicated 1720MHz, but that proved to be the memory speed); at 1172MHz, the integrated Polaris GPU is about 100MHz slower than the original reference Boost of the RX 480, or about 168MHz slower than some of the RX 580 partner models. Consider this a correction of those numbers – we ended up citing the 1700MHz figure in the video, but that is actually incorrect; the correct figure is 1172MHz core, 1700MHz memory (6800MHz effective). The memory operates a 326GB/s bandwidth on its 384-bit bus. As for the rest, 40 CUs means 160 TMUs, giving a texture fill-rate of 188GT/s.


Xbox One X Tear-Down

Taking the Xbox One X apart is pretty simple: It starts with two screws (one is hidden under a removable tamper seal), and then the upper housing slides off the top of the frame. You can use TR10 for this, though they are a bit rounded-out to start with, so be careful.

Underneath, the flat-top screws slot all the way through to the opposing plastic housing, so those should be removed first. All the long chassis screws use the same head, so go through those first, then disconnect the ribbon cable at the front of the enclosure (leading to one of the two wireless cards), and then remove the lower housing. At this point, it’s just a matter of removing every screw to get inside.

Internally, Microsoft has labeled each of its major components as:

  1. Fan
  2. Power Supply (245W unit)
  3. Optical Drive
  4. Hard Drive

Remove the components in this order. At this point, they all sort of slot together without screws, so it’s an easy process. The cooler is a ~112mm radial blower fan, using an upscaled version of what you’d find on a reference GPU. The vapor chamber exacerbates this similarity to desktop GPUs, and provides full coverage cooling of the VRMs, VRAM, and APU.

xbox one x teardown 2

The Xbox One X uses a 4-phase GPU VRM + 1-phase CPU VRM. The VRM components are heatsinked into the aluminum fins directly (via aluminum plate), and do not leverage the vapor chamber for cooling. The APU and VRAM (12GB total) sinks into the copper coldplate for the vapor chamber, which cools all the core components. Standard aluminum fins provide the surface area, and most of the heat exhausts out the back of the enclosure. Removing the heatsink will require decoupling the board from the lower housing, which can be done by removing the flanking daughterboard PCBs from the side of the frame. Underneath, a retention kit for the vapor chamber secures the assembly together. You’ll need a spudger or prier to turn (like a key) under the corner of the retention kit. This pops it off. Refer to the video for a guide.

xbox one x teardown 3

xbox one x motherboard

Thermal paste can be replaced at this point, and might need to be after some aging. The stock stuff doesn’t look great.

The hard drive is one of Seagate’s, whose data sheet indicates a 5400RPM. That said, we have seen a few reports alleging 7200RPM.

xbox one x cooler

Microsoft surprised us with this design. Most consoles are a nightmare to disassemble, but this one is trivial. It’d be about an hour job to replace the thermal paste and reassemble the unit. The semi-modularity of components means it’ll be effortless to install replacement parts in the future, particularly for the cooler and PSU (the two most likely points of failure). Job well done, Microsoft. This is effectively a PC, and a well-built, affordable one, at that.

We’re working on benchmarking for thermals, power, noise, and FPS today.

Learn more in the video above!

Editorial: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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