(Pocket-lint) - Later this year, Microsoft will release its next-generation powerhouse of a games console - the Xbox Series X.

However, that might not be the only machine available. A trimmed-down version is also heavily rumoured, which will provide some of the next-gen thrills but potentially at a cheaper price.

The Xbox Series S (also known as Lockheart) could even be announced soon, so we've put together a handy guide based on confirmed details (for Series X) and rumoured specifications (for the Series S) to help you decide which machine could be best for you.

Design

We can only speculate on the design of the Xbox Series S, as nobody has professed to seeing one yet.

We do have an excellent concept render created by Jiveduder and posted on Reddit. He's taken the idea of the presumably cheaper console being shorter, but of the same design aesthetic. And he's given it a similar white colourscheme to match the Xbox One S.

In all honesty, we don't yet know if it'll be like that or simply a white version of the monolithic Xbox Series X - after all, there's not a whole lot of difference between the One X and One S in looks, bar the colour. Also, even with cut down specs, the Series S will still need plenty of heat control and the smaller the box the harder it is to keep cool.

Processing and graphics

There could be a significant difference in processing and graphical hardware if rumours are to be believed.

The Xbox Series X will run on a custom Zen 2 eight-core processor running at 3.8GHz per core, with 12 teraflops (52CUs) of RDNA 2 graphics.

And while some of the spec will be around the same ballpark, the Series S is said to have just 4 teraflops of graphical power to play with. That's quite a drop and could result in some games having fewer graphical features.

Ray tracing is still said to be supported by both, but while the Series X will be able to run games in full 4K resolution, with a possibility of 120fps support somewhere down the line, the Series S will allegedly be locked at 1440p and 60fps.

Even with its lower spec though, the Series S should still be as capable as the Xbox One X, if not more.

Memory and storage

There is no hint as yet how much RAM (or what type) the Xbox Series S might carry.

The Series X, however, will have 16GB of DDR6 RAM to play with.

In terms of storage, both will carry an SSD for faster load times and the rest of the abilities that solid-state drives can offer. The X will come with a 1TB internal SSD, with an expansion slot for an additional, proprietary 1TB drive. It will also support USB 3 and up external hard drives.

We would imagine the Series S will also come with 1TB, considering most games these days are anywhere up to 100GB in size. Some are even larger, such as Call of Duty: Warzone.

Controller

A new Xbox Wireless Controller will ship with the Xbox Series X and we couldn't imagine the Series S version will be any different.

You can find out more about the new gamepad here: Xbox Series X controller: All you need to know.

Games and accessories

All Xbox games - be they Xbox One, Xbox Series, or even original Xbox and Xbox 360 - are expected to work across the entire family of consoles. That includes the Series X, with games featuring enhanced graphics and other platform talents coming under the banner of "Optimised for Xbox Series X".

Undoubtedly they will apply to Series S too.

As for accessories, Xbox has confirmed that all Xbox One controllers, headsets and other first and third-party accessories will work with Series X (and likely Series S) too.

Microsoft's games library subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, is also said to include the next-gen consoles when they arrive.

Home Entertainment

According to rumours, another big difference between Series X and Lockheart (Series S) will be the latter will lack a physical media drive.

The Series X (like the existing One X) will sport a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray drive for games and movie playback alike.

It'll also undoubtedly support HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, for improved video and sound respectively.

While there is unlikely to be a drive on the S, we still expect it to support the same video and audio technologies, for playback through streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Price

This is the big one. We don't yet know how much the Xbox Series X will cost, let alone a smaller, less expensive model.

Needless to say, if there is to be an Xbox Series S, it will be seen as the more affordable way to get a next-generation console.

Conclusion

We will update this feature when more details about both consoles are confirmed - especially in the case of the currently rumoured-only Xbox Series S.

What we can say is that it makes complete sense for Microsoft to launch two consoles, at two price points, much like it has done in the past. And, with two models of the PlayStation 5 heading to market around the same holiday 2020 period - one with a physical drive and one without - it would be more surprising if Microsoft didn't follow suit. After all, it already tested the idea with the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition in 2019.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Dan Grabham.