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Faulty Xbox Series X chips may be reborn for pre-built PCs

Xbox Series X chip
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

One of the reasons it’s so hard to catch an Xbox Series X restock before it sells out is an ongoing chip shortage: a worldwide silicone scarcity that’s even affected cars and washing machines.

However, some Xbox Series X chips might have been redirected away from the console and into pre-built PCs. As our sister site Tom’s Hardware reported that Chinese retailer TMall is selling a PC with the AMD 4700S, a mysterious chip with stark similarities to the Xbox Series X’s AMD-built CPU.

The PC listing, via Twitter user @momomo_us, confirms that the AMD 4700S is an octa-core chip with 16 total threads. That’s not strange in itself, but it also gives the system memory as 16GB of GDDR6 RAM — and a photo of the PC’s interior doesn’t show any memory slots for DDR4 memory modules, by far the most common RAM for desktops.

This all points towards the AMD 4700S being more of a system-on-a-chip (SoC) than a traditional desktop CPU, like any of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series; also notable is the lack of “Ryzen” in the name. What’s more, it could potentially be a repurposed Xbox Series X chip: this is also an 8-core, 16-thread SoC with 16GB of GDDR6 memory.

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This isn’t a dead certainty, as the clock speeds don’t match up exactly: the Xbox Series X chip runs at a maximum boost clock speed of 3.8GHz, while the AMD 4700S appears to max out at 4GHz. However, the Xbox chip has an integrated GPU, which AMD could have disabled in order to reduce power usage and gain the thermal headroom needed to raise the boost clock slightly. On this PC, the 4700S is paired with a dedicated graphics card, so would have no need for an integrated GPU.

Again, it’s not a smoking gun, but there is evidence to suggest AMD is selling Xbox Series X chips to OEMs as the AMD 4700S — after making a few tweaks. Not that there would necessarily be anything untoward about that, either: as Tom’s Hardware suggested, it could be that these chips were originally Xbox parts with faulty graphics and were simply modified in such a way that would avoid breaking any exclusivity agreements with Microsoft while letting the chips go and be useful elsewhere.

Sadly, recycling chips that have already been produced won’t help the slow supply of processors in the first instance. As such, anyone wanting a next-gen console will still need to get lucky at finding where to buy the Xbox Series X and dig up PS5 restocks.

James Archer

As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. His favorite musical genre is rock, despite once claiming the guitar is “too complicated” for humans to play. He plays bass instead.