Xbox Series X: More Technical Details and Specs Revealed by Microsoft
Lots of technical jargon in this post. Nerdgasm.
We’ve been given more details surrounding the next-generation Xbox today, and strap yourself in and prepare for a beefy read. The next bunch of information about the Xbox Series X comes from Xbox Wire and touches on speed, game compatibility, and brands the new console as the “most powerful Xbox ever.”
It was only last month that we learned about some of the specifications surrounding the Xbox Series X. We learned it was going to be faster and more powerful thanks to its next-generation custom processor. We found out it’d support raytracing, and that games can be instantly re-opened after being put into a suspended state. There was a lot to unpack, and now there’s even more after the information from today, focusing primarily on power, speed, and compatibility.
Xbox Wire editor-in-chief, Will Tuttle reveals the information in the latest blog post, saying that the team has already been determined “to deliver the most powerful Xbox ever,” which led to conversations surrounding what defines power for the new console which is slated to launch Holiday 2020. Tuttle explains that gamers mostly demand 60fps with high visual fidelity and precise, responsive input. “Developers have come up with creative solutions, such as dynamic resolution scaling, to maintain high image quality while not compromising on frame rate, but this is often done to work around the limitations and constraints of current generation hardware.” he says, “That’s all about to change with Xbox Series X.”
Jason Ronald, Director of Product Management on Xbox Series X said, “we don’t believe this generation will be defined by graphics or resolution alone.” Xbox has strengthed its long term partnership with AMD, meaning that the custom designed processor is powered by an 8 core AMD Zen 2 CPU and an RDNA 2-class GPU. This will ensure the new console delivers a new level of performance as well as making it the “biggest generational leap of SOC [System on a Chip] and API design” that Microsoft has done, said corporate vice president of AMD, Sebastien Nussbaum.
Xbox Wire also details a list of specifications that’s even more in-depth than the previous specification update we saw in February 2020.
8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
1 TB Custom NVME SSD
2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
USB 3.2 External HDD Support
4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
The Coalition’s Gears 5 was used as an example of the Xbox Series X using the full PC Ultra specifications. This saw the game now running higher resolution textures, higher resolution volumetric fog, and a 50% higher particle count than on the PC version in Ultra settings. The opening cutscene was showcased to the Xbox team which apparently now runs at 60fps in 4K, previously the cutscene ran at 30FPS on the Xbox One X.
Additionally, the new power from the next Xbox allowed loading times to be faster, and some features that had to be turned off for the Xbox One X version were able to be turned on, including contact shadows, and self-shadow lighting on plants and grass. Technical Director, Mike Rayner told Xbox Wire that the game is running over 100fps with investigations taking place to get the game running at 120fps for multiplayer modes.
In addition to that, Gears 5 will have an Xbox Series X optimized version available when the console launches later this year. Players will get it for free if they already own the Xbox One version of the game and will leverage Smart Delivery depending on the console they’re using.
Xbox Wire also details some information regarding the speed for the Xbox Series X. The console has been designed to allow players to spend more time playing rather than waiting. That’s where the Xbox Velocity Architecture comes in. This integrates hardware and software and is optimized for the streaming of in-game assets allowing 100GB of game assets to be instantly accessible by the developer.
“The CPU is the brain of our new console and the GPU is the heart, but the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul,” Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X, Andrew Goossen says. The Xbox Velocity Architecture is supposed to be about more than just faster loading times, apparently allowing games to become vastly bigger and more compelling. Large open-world games are used as an example, saying that to make them feel more dynamic and keep the player immersed, they require a massive increase in processing power and the ability to stream assets quickly.
Developers will now be able to “effectively eliminate loading times” between levels or create fast travel systems that are fast. As for latency, fast input scanning captures button presses as fast as 2ms. The actions from controller-to-console are synchronized super fast. Games get instantaneous input through Dynamic Latency Input and the input software stack has been redesigned with a focus on latency. The latency from console-to-display is also improved with HDMI 2.1, supporting 120fps, and instant synchronization through Variable Refresh Rate.
Above is the demo of the new Quick Resume technology we heard about last month. With current generation consoles, you can resume the last game you played, but thanks to the power from the new Xbox, players can resume multiple games by activating them from their suspended state. Not only that, with the games state being stored in the SSD, when you turn the console off, unplug it, or perform a system update, the games you were playing should pick up where you left off “without so much as a loading screen.”
As for game compatibility, supported titles will be able to make use of the Xbox Series X’s power and see improved boot and load times, stable frame rates, higher resolutions, and improved image quality. The compatibility will also allow Xbox One accessories to be carried over to the new console. The console is also designed to enable cross-generation multiplayer, meaning Rainbow Six: Siege players on an Xbox One, for example, can play with those on an Xbox Series X. The Smart Delivery feature allows players to only purchase a game once, allowing them to play it at it’s best on whatever Xbox console they’re on.
That was a beefy read, wasn’t it? You can find out some more technical information over at Digital Foundry if you’re a huge tech nerd, and if you want more, there’s an official glossary for some of Xbox’s fancy words. Otherwise, what do you make of the Xbox Series X that’s slated to launch Holiday 2020? Get chatting in the comments.