Xbox Series X early tests indicate NVIDIA RTX 2080 performance, taps 25 teraflops while ray tracing

Xbox Series X Board
Xbox Series X Board (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox Series X is Microsoft's upcoming next-generation console.
  • It's expected to launch in Holiday 2020, but may be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Digital Foundry confirmed that early performance was similar to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080.
  • While ray tracing, the system can tap into 25 teraflops of performance.

Recently, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X featured 12 teraflops (TFLOPs) of graphics performance on the dot. The rumors of it being 10.8, 11.3, or 11.8 proved to be inaccurate. Naturally, when a high figure like 12 TFLOPs is announced, everyone wants to compare it to existing chips on the market, but that comparison may not be that simple.

The Xbox Series X GPU uses AMD's RDNA 2.0 technology, which isn't available in any PC graphics card at the moment. This gives it the potential to surpass other NVIDIA cards in real-life use. However, even if we analyze the 12 TFLOPs figure, it puts the Xbox Series X over the GeForce RTX 2080 Super which stands at 11.3 TFLOPs . It's only beaten by the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti at 13.45 TFLOPs and the Radeon RX Vega 64, at 12.66 TFLOPs . However, the Radeon RX Vega 64 is AMD's last-generation chip so the advantages of RDNA 2.0 should outweigh the 0.66 TFLOPs difference.

Today, a lot of new Xbox Series X information was shared by many outlets and YouTubers. Digital Foundry wrote the following and confirmed that early performance was similar to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080.

However, even basic ports which barely use any of the Xbox Series X's new features are delivering impressive results. The Coalition's Mike Raynor and Colin Penty showed us a Xbox Series X conversion of Gears 5, produced in just two weeks. The developers worked with Epic Games in getting UE4 operating on Series X, then simply upped all of the internal quality presets to the equivalent of PC's ultra, adding improved contact shadows and UE4's brand-new... ray-traced screen-space global illumination. On top of that, Gears 5's cutscenes - running at 30 FPS on Xbox One X - were upped to a flawless 60 FPS. We'll be covering more on this soon, but there was one startling takeaway - we were shown benchmark results that, on this two-week-old, unoptimized port, already deliver very, very similar performance to an RTX 2080.

Microsoft technical fellow and Xbox system architect Andrew Goossen added the following. When using ray tracing, the system can effectively tap over 25 TFLOPs of performance.

Without hardware acceleration, this work could have been done in the shaders, but would have consumed over 13 TFLOPs alone. For the Xbox Series X, this work is offloaded onto dedicated hardware and the shader can continue to run in parallel with full performance. In other words, Series X can effectively tap the equivalent of well over 25 TFLOPs of performance while ray tracing.

The Xbox Series X sounds like quite the beast and we can't wait to see what the finalized ports will deliver. We're still eight months away from the release date — if the device isn't delayed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak — so this level of quality this early is good news indeed.

Xbox Series X/S


Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.