Microsoft decided to do something very different for this generation. He decided to launch two consoles at the same time: one that received the crown for the most powerful machine, and one that was smaller, cheaper and less powerful. The idea was to attract die-hard gamers with the Xbox Series X and sweep them away with another more price-sensitive one.
It seemed to pay off, especially as pandemic shutdowns led to component shortages and unprecedented demand for consoles. The Xbox Series S was a bigger offering, and Microsoft won praise from industry analysts for selling the S and Game Pass into homes around the world. But as this generation hummed along, there was persistent chatter among owners, seemingly only in the background of tribal gamers at first, but now growing louder that the Xbox Series S might be in for some trouble.
On the popular Gaming subreddit, one recent post about the Xbox Series S has attracted a lot of interest. “Apparently the S series may run out of VRAM…” it’s titled, illustrating the point with a photo of a TV with an Xbox error message. “Out of video memory trying to allocate a rendering resource,” it says. “Make sure your video card has the minimum required memory, try lowering the resolution and/or close other running applications. Exit…” over Borderlands 3 frozen image.
Apparently the S series can run out of VRAM…
by u/jokekiller94 in games
First, let’s look at what VRAM actually is. Video RAM refers to any type of random access memory that is used to store image data for a video display and its specific purpose is to ensure smooth execution of the graphics display. Looking at the Xbox Series S specs, it has 10GB of VRAM, of which 8GB is dedicated to games and the rest is allocated to the operating system. In contrast, the more powerful Xbox Series X has 16GB of VRAM.
This seems important, but it’s important to remember that the Xbox Series S has always been built to run games at a maximum of 1440p, while the Xbox Series X aims for 4K. Meanwhile, Microsoft was aware of the memory issue associated with the S series, as this August 2022 article in The Verge confirms, with the company extending additional memory to developers to alleviate the problem.
One Redditor joked in the thread above, “Well, if the PC community has taught me anything, it’s time to do surgery on the Xbox and get a GPU transplant.” This is a joke to be very clear as a console cannot have the GPU turned off. However, the VRAM issue appears to be specific to Borderlands 3, as one heavily upvoted comment supports.
“This happens in Borderlands 3 all the time. That or outright freeze/crash. For some reason it works fine on the S series until it happens. Multiple crashes per (long) game session; Gearbox seems to have done a crappy job of optimization .Nonetheless, it works well on the X series,” he writes.
So there you have it. While the Series S has significantly less RAM to play with than its bigger brother, it also allows developers to better optimize their games, as Borderlands 3 seems to be a console-specific problem. But it begs the question of how the RAM issue might affect the S series going forward as the generation continues.
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