Xbox Velocity Architecture in Xbox Series X further detailed via new trailer

Xbox Series X Storage Expansion
Xbox Series X Storage Expansion (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Velocity Architecture is the phrase Microsoft is using to denote some custom hardware in the Xbox Series X.
  • Today, Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management on Xbox Series, talked more about this technology.
  • Xbox has also released a new trailer with some key highlights.

The Xbox Series X is on the way and its packing quite a bit of custom hardware. Today, Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management on Xbox Series X, went into a little more detail (opens in new tab) on just what the special Xbox Velocity Architecture entails.

Ronald talks about how in addition to having a custom SSD, the Xbox Series X also has extremely capable hardware decompression and far more efficient memory usage. None of this is "new" information but it's broken down in a more detailed, thorough fashion. Xbox also released a trailer with some the key highlights of Xbox Velocity Architecture. You can see the trailer below.

If this is complicated, the important takeaway is that Xbox is using a fast SSD to make loading games and game assets much quicker.

Custom technology is obviously nice but games are the reason players buy new systems and after a sample of third-party titles were shown off in May, the industry is waiting to see just what Xbox Game Studios has in store. Xbox is holding a big Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, where we'll see Halo Infinite and other big Xbox titles in the pipeline.

Xbox Series X/S

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

11 Comments
  • Good thing Microsoft started this Velocity Architecture article. For some reason some people don't even know that the Series X has Velocity or think the Series X has a slow SSD compared to the PS5 when velocity and the Series X Custom SSD can do incredible and very fast things. (Funny thing.. While people claim the PS5 SSD will be the fastest over PC SSD's for years, it actually is already beaten by the last year announced Aorus Gen4 AIC 8TB PC SSD which is 3 times faster 😅)
  • The article's "important takeaway" is a gross oversimplification of the technology. There is a lot more going on here than just a faster SSD. If Xbox has done what they have put in the video, there are some impressive innovations here.
  • There were alot of people already trying to explain just how good VA is. What MS has effectively done is instead of drive cost through the roof and have a faster SSD. They instead do much more work on the I/O side and with SFS and Direct storage can stream gane assets at 2.5x the base SSD speed on average. This cost save is seen in the more powerful GPU, CPU and memory bandwidth. It's allowed MS to do what the PS5 is doing, but a different way. And a more cost effective way. SSDs are expensive and run extremely hot. If Sony had something similar they would have mentioned this in their 40 mins SSD talk. It was smart to wait for now to release this info. The whole SSD thing died down a bit. And now MS show their hand with their full setup of their SSD. Roll on July 23rd. If Hellblade 2 is shown at all, I expect it will be releasing xmass 2022 earliest. And it will be a ground up game using UE5 just for Series X.
  • If it's on the software side then Sony should be able to implement something similar down the track, if they haven't already.
  • It's not just software. The I/O has been designed to work with VA. It's not a simple case of just writing software. The hardware compression hardware and low Latency hardware choices are all part of it. A software update isn't going to solve that. Maybe PS5 Pro can. But then that makes it totally pointless as to why Sony would increase the cost to consumer for such expensive SSDs. The SSDs external that Sony will recommend for use are not even available on PC yet. Expecting $400 + for a 1TB PS5 expansion SSD. Because of the direction they went. MS have been alot cleverer in design again. Same as One X over PS4 Pro. But this time it's a bigger gap.
  • The hardware decompression and low latency is already on the PS5, VA is like Smart Delivery, it's a cool PR name for a feature that the competition already does and in the case of VA the PS5 does it much better with it also having a DMA block, 2 I/O coprocessors, cache scrubbers, a pool of SRAM and a SSD with 6 levels of priority. The XSX has a better GPU but the PS5 has a better SSD, this is super clear and it's good because without one console being objectively better than the other it means that they need to compete more in other areas.
  • Yes. But designed entirely differently. From scratch Series X hardware is designed along with the software elements of VA to marry perfectly together. That's the point. Sure I can write software APU for a hardware deign that was designed without the software in my mind. But you are not going to achieve the same desired effect as building the hardware specifically for VA. Therein lies the point. MS designed the Series X from the ground up to operate this way. Making major breakthroughs in I/O and Gane asset streaming design. Sony opted for higher cost raw speed option. The 2 options gain a similar outcome. But 1 option means the consumer has less power for actual display visuals but also raise the cost of the device. This is a big reason as to why many expect the PS5 to be more expensive at launch than Series X. And yet less powerful overall. Also no the PS5 end result isn't much better. In fact it's worse. It's more costly to the consumer. Sony explicitly said the Assest streams at 5gb/s. They spent 40 mins explaining how they achieve this. MS have now given full details on Series X implementation. With the end result being 2.5x on average ( which means it is sometimes higher than 2.5 and sometimes lower) so it's average sassest streaming end result is 6gb/s. 2.4 X 2.5 =6. And this is the non decompressed figure. PS5 can do 9gb/s with decompression. Series X. 4.8 X 2.5 = 12. Series X as a whole can asset stream on an end result and average of 12gb/s. MS have very clearly announced this with all this VA information. Don't be surprised when titles like Hellblade 2 using UE5 look and run considerably better than the UE5 demo.
  • You are eating marketing, that 2.5x better also exists on the PS5, that is just about the new ways textures can be streamed with an SSD. There is no way around it, Sony built a considerably better storage architecture Microsoft did a good job but not nearly as well because they had a different priority (GPU) Microsoft loves to trow PR names at their features to make them look better or more unique than they really are, same is happening with Smart Delivery, it was done almost a decade ago by Sony but they decided to give a cool name.
  • No it's not. It's not on PS5. If Sony had designed there console around it, they would have told you this in the 40 mins of blabbing on about the SSD in PS5 during their 1 hour talk. There is a reason MS held this info back. It's to late for PS to change it now. Sony haven't spoke about it. And they definately haven't got it. I assure you. If they did have itx they would not have wasted all that money on their SSD. The reason the PS5 is so massive in size, and underpowered on thr GPU and Bandwidth is to keep cost down. They spent it on the SSD. I can guarantee you if Sony were able to Asset stream at 22gb/s you would all have known about that in their 40 mins talk. They would have screamed it from the rooftops. Sony have been caught well and truly with their pants down here. MS can asset stream faster and have more visual power. Quite the turnaround. Many tried to warn people about VA being a breakthrough in Game Asset streaming. And here we are.
  • Series X is going to be a beast in performance. Again. But it will not matter, PS5 will have all the brainwashed kids playing their unimaginative, lame games even if it's a potato. Talk about a captive audience...
  • Have you played games like Erica or Hard Rain before it? What about that game where you're walking around as an AI helper?
    No... You are too captivated by the Xbox and are making claims without any idea of what the competition offers.
    If you *had* seen these exclusive Playstation games, I don't think you would call them unimaginative and lame. The games mentioned above do things with the PS controller you can't even do on any Xbox controller. There's (a) "gravity" sensor(s) in the PS controller (I assume), which can sense when you move the controller and allows games to use that instead of things like mushing a button. Some games will even include couch-interaction through a mobile app. Have you seen ANY Xbox games that do that? I have not. That is not unimaginative or lame, that is controller innovation!
    To be fair, Xbox ecosystem have the Xbox Adaptive Controller, but that's not what most gamers care about. Still, it's controller innovation. Think what you will, but I have always preferred my Xbox ecosystem. (got a Project Scorpio edition myself) However, I cannot and will not deny that games exclusively made for the Playstation is far more innovative than anything I have EVER seen on Xbox One or Xbox One X. I hope this will change with Series X, but so far, I can see why people prefer the PS ecosystem of GAMES.