HomeVehicleCars2021 Tesla Model S/X Refresh: A Gaming Hub for the Passengers

2021 Tesla Model S/X Refresh: A Gaming Hub for the Passengers

Tesla revealed the design refresh for its premium models on Wednesday. The Model S and X got some major hardware updates and interior changes, along with some exterior additions as well. The powertrain has received an upgrade, along with the addition of the Plaid and Plaid+ variants. They have also removed the Performance variant. The new interior has received positive feedback for its simplicity and clean look, except for the steering ‘yoke’. But what will interest the passengers of the new version is the gaming capabilities of the entertainment system.

An Interesting Feature for the Passengers

While the new powertrain in Tesla’s premium sedan and SUV will excite the drivers, there are also some interesting tidbits for the passengers too. The rear passengers now have an 8″ screen dedicated to themselves, which they can use for controlling the entertainment unit from the back. There is a 12.3″ display in front of the driver, in addition to the main 17″ touchscreen, which now comes in a horizontal shape rather than the earlier portrait shape.

The new touchscreen for the rear passengers

The most interesting thing, however, is the computing capability of the video gaming system which is inbuilt in the entertainment unit. Tesla has announced that the new Model S and X entertainment unit carries 10 teraflops of computing power. To put things into perspective, Sony’s PlayStation 5 has 10.3 teraflops, while the Xbox Series X has 12 teraflops of power. According to IGN, an American video game and entertainment media website, this is quite impressive for an in-car system.

And to ensure that the common public understands these capabilities, Elon Musk tweeted an image of the new touchscreen. Witcher 3 was playing on the screen, and he also mentioned that you can play CyberPunk 2077, too.

Tesla also mentioned that:

“the screen is ultra-bright, produces good colors, and you can tilt it left or right.”

Features of the New Entertainment System

While the 10 teraflops of computing power have already impressed many, that isn’t where Tesla stops offering features. The 17″ screen has a display with 2200×1300 pixels, which is on par with some of the better gaming laptops on the market today. Musk also said that the display is exceptionally responsive too. Currently, the system runs on a proprietary operating system, but there are a number of new gimmicks added.

Apart from the processing power and display, Tesla also offers wireless controller compatibility. This means that you can play video games while sitting anywhere in the vehicle. The audio system consists of 22 speakers and operates at a rated output of 960 watts, paired with active noise cancelling. This will ensure an immersive audio-visual experience. And connectivity options include Bluetooth, wireless as well as USB-C port with fast charging for all seats. For a moment, you tend to forget that you are talking about the tech in an electric car.

Previously, Tesla offered an entertainment unit which could “light-performance” games like Cuphead and Cat Quest. But games like Witcher 3 and CyberPunk 2077 require a lot more high-performance hardware. This talks about the upgrade in the entertainment unit that Tesla has come up with.

Tesla, however, refused to release any more details about the hardware that they have installed in the unit. That, combined with the fact that the unit runs on a proprietary operating system, makes it hard to compare the Tesla gaming ‘console’ with other standard consoles in the market. Make no mistake, it is one of the best systems ever seen in a modern vehicle. But limitations of having one’s own operating system are there to be seen too.

Our Opinion

Despite all this, IGN acknowledged the important step-up for a production vehicle to have such a well-developed entertainment system. Something of this quality hasn’t been seen in a vehicle before, and it may very well start a trend for future models.

10 teraflops is a massive figure for a gaming system inside a vehicle, and it talks a lot about Tesla’s vision. For the past few months, Musk has talked about having a RoboTaxi service soon. They released the beta version of the new Autopilot system for that very purpose. As and how Tesla moves towards achieving full vehicle autonomy, the RoboTaxi dream will start to materialize. And having a well-performing entertainment system will be an important feature in an autonomous taxi service, especially from the perspective of customer satisfaction.

Of course, this is just the beginning. With some changes in the operating system and the addition of some more features, this entertainment system is only going to improve. Who knows, we might even see an online Tesla gaming store in the future. The possibilities seem endless at the moment. For now, Witcher 3 and CyberPunk 2077 fans will be happy with this new entertainment system.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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