Xbox Series X VentSource: Microsoft

Today, Microsoft revealed new details about its upcoming next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. Everything from the specifications, to advanced features like audio ray tracing, were discussed in lengthy interviews and hands-on sessions with various outlets and YouTubers. You can read about all the major announcements below.

Backward Compatibility

The Xbox Series X enhances a lot of existing Xbox One games. For example, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition runs at 1080p on Xbox One, but the Xbox Series X adds high dynamic range (HDR) colors and upgrades the resolution to native 4K.

Benchmarks

According to Digital Foundry, the Xbox Series X has quite impressive early benchmarks. The outlet compared the performance to that of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, which is quite an impressive feat. However, the console's graphics processing unit (GPU) also has a few tricks up its sleeve. Microsoft technical fellow and Xbox system architect Andrew Goossen said, when using ray tracing, the system can effectively tap over 25 teraflops of performance.

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Design

Every Xbox Series X appears to have a tiny Master Chief helmet stamped inside. It's a very cool touch, similar to the Master Chief riding a scorpion stamp inside the Xbox One X.

Gears 5

Gears 5 is getting quite the upgrade on Xbox Series X. The visual quality has also been increased to true Ultra settings, and there's ray tracing involved. The team is also actively looking into pushing multiplayer to 120 frames per second.

Loading

One of the biggest complaints about the Xbox One and Xbox One X is that the loading times are quite lengthy. While the Xbox One X improves them somewhat, they're still problematic due to the traditional hard drives. Even using an external solid-state drive (SSD) doesn't really help. Luckily, the Xbox Series X dramatically solves this problem. State of Decay 2, a notorious game on current-generation devices, loads in roughly seven seconds!

Minecraft

Microsoft used ray-traced demos of Minecraft to showcase the feature for Xbox Series X. While nothing has been openly confirmed by the company or developer Mojang, the use of Minecraft for Xbox Series X ray tracing means that it's a possibility. It's probably going to be announced sooner rather than later.

PlayStation 5

The PlayStation 5 appears to have similar specifications, but it seems like the Xbox Series X edges it out when it comes to features like backward compatibility and DirectX technology.

Project Acoustics

Project Acoustics is Microsoft's audio ray tracing solution that should dramatically improve the sound of next-generation games. The company said it's "a wave acoustics engine for 3D interactive experiences. It models wave effects like occlusion, obstruction, portaling, and reverberation effects in complex scenes without requiring manual zone markup or CPU intensive ray tracing."

Quick Resume

The Xbox Series X allows you to quickly suspend and resume multiple games, exactly where you left them. While this seems to apply to single-player titles, it should make jumping back into various experiences a breeze. The video Microsoft showcased is quite impressive so take a look.

Specifications

Microsoft revealed the entire Xbox Series X specifications today. The machine seems quite powerful and features phenomenal performance that rivals top-of-the-line NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 cards.

Category Xbox Series X
Processor 8 Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
Graphics 12 TFLOPS (12.155 exactly), 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size 360.45 mm2
Process 7 nm Enhanced
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320 mb bus
Memory Bandwidth 10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (raw), 4.8 GB/s (compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS
Color Matte Black
Size 301 mm x 151 mm x 151 mm
Release Date Holiday 2020

Storage

The Xbox Series X will feature a storage expansion port in the back which promises identical performance with the internal SSD. It's not a replacement for external USB hard drives, as those will continue to be supported for old games, but the expansion card promises identical performance to the internal drive. The company recommends them for Xbox Series X-optimized games for optimal performance.

Storage Requirements

Xbox Series X Enhanced games need to run from NVMe storage, not USB storage. This will result is better loading times and much more.

Xbox Series X Controller

The Xbox Series X Controller features a USB-C port and AA batteries. While many may complain about the AA batteries, they're a great feature to have because you can stay wireless even if the batteries die. Swapping them out only takes a few seconds. There's no need to plug in the controller and charge it for a few hours. Additionally, you don't have to worry about poor battery life and decaying batteries like you do on Sony's DualShock 4.

The Xbox Series X is shaping up to be quite the machine and we can't wait to get our hands on it in Holiday 2020. Hopefully, the coronavirus outbreak won't impact production too much so the console will be able to launch in that window. What was the standout feature for you? Let us know.

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