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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

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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.

10 Comments
  • Digital Foundry pointed out its actually higher than a RTX 2080. The benchmark in question was for Gears 5. The Gears 5 Series X build was put together in 6 days according to Digital Foundry. And had 0 optimization for Series X. Essentially it is the One X version with 4K Ultra (highest PC settings) activated. And it benchmarked the same as an RTX 2080. A game actually designed for Series X and RDNA 2 from the ground up will be even higher than that benchmark. Much higher. Basically the 12tflops Series X ran the absolute top Gears 5 visuals designed for old Architecture that same as the best PC graphics card available today. In just 6 days development time. That's incredible.
  • I'm going to believe the text that was quoted from the DF article over someone's opinion in the comments, sorry.
  • Digital Foundry printed what I'm saying in their own article. It is what Digital Foundry have said. Gears 5 in an unoptimzed state using 0% of any new Series X GPU features shows it benchmarking at RTX 2080. That's what the officially confirm and say. A game made which uses RDN2 is going to blow RTX 2080 away. Go to 7 mins in this video. The Gears 5 benchmark is the Xbox One game with all settings flicked to Ultra PC settings. And 2 additional settings higher than PC. It's just the Series X running the Xbox One game at max. A game built for Series X is gonna blow that benchmark sky high. https://youtu.be/qcY4nRHapmE
  • Ok so if you think about it there is something off about all this new info we got. Digital Foundry did show a benchmark for gears 5 on the xbox one x and 2080 graphics card showing that the benchmark was basically identical. What i am confuse at is that in the same video they showed gears 5 first cinematic cutscene at ultra pc settings running at 60fps? HOW!? The 2080 cant run that cutscene at 60fps? How is it running the same in the benchmark but not in the cinematic cutscene. Im so confuse. Help.
  • The OP makes a good point. The Gears demo was basically a quick put together demo meaning changing a few line of code to run on the new hardware. Simply put, Xbox series X is brute forcing the demo to output on the screen. The benefit with consoles over pc is that, developers can take this working copy analyze the code and debug the inefficiency and recode it in a way that RDNA2 efficient down to the metal if you will. Just as an example, say a scene takes 1-2 tflops of gpu cycles to render, after some close to the metal optimization, it now takes half a tflop of gpu cycles to output the same scene. Understanding that its safe to say, xbox series x is lot more powerful than RTX 2080. While the RTX 2080 is no slouch, PC games don't have the same level of console's close to the metal optimization, there is a lot of inefficiency due to many factors and one of them is OS overhead and background services on your pc. This is why the consoles benefit greatly from the deep optimization, this is why the Switch punches above its hardware weight class.
  • Wow! thats is really interesting i never knew that thanks for the reply.
  • With so many technology in this thing I have a feeling, this will price at $600. Here what I think will happen.
    1) The xbox one s will be designated last gen, no upward compatibility unless using Project xCloud, just backward from the current generation. 2) Xbox one X will be the new baseline entry level for the next generation, I see a price cut at the same time as the relelase of xbox series x. or 3) There has to be a entry level xbox series x that start out as $299 to be successful.
  • Pretty sure that's the Xbox One X.
  • What he said
  • Wow. That's impressive, especially in an un-optimized early build.