With the Xbox Series X’s November 10th release date only a few weeks away, gamers worldwide are frothing for their first look at this revolutionary new platform. With processing speeds, graphics, and gameplay approaching PC-quality, we’re all expecting a decent package from Microsoft this winter.
Microsoft has certainly been less cryptic with releasing details on the Series X than Sony’s strategy with the PS5. In this review, we’ll unpack the specs and features of the new offering from Xbox.
Xbox Series X Specs and Features
Microsoft is bringing some serious changes to the Xbox platform with the Series X launch. We got a look at the console specs, and the hardware looks impressive. Here’s a glance at the Series X Specs.
- CPU – Custom Zen-2 CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT)
- GPU – Custom RDNA 2 GPU with 12 TeraFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
- Process – 7nm Enhanced
- Memory – 16GB GDDR6 with 320b bus
- Memory Bandwidth – 6GB @ 336 GB/s and 10GB @ 560 GB/s
- Onboard Storage – 1TB Custom NVME SSD
- I/O Throughput – (Raw) 2.4 GB/s and 4.8 GB/s
- Expansion Storage – 1TB Expansion Cards
- External Storage –External HDD Support with USB 3.2
- Optical Drive – 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray Disc Drive
- Performance – 4K @ 60 to 120-fps
We can see that the Xbox Series X is packing some serious power, and we expect it to be an exciting step-up in what we think is possible with console gaming. This next-gen console features specifications rivaling many of the top gaming laptops with a dedicated function.
Customized Processing Power and Graphics from AMD
With the Xbox Series X, we’re looking at a customized AMD Zen-2 CPU, featuring eight cores with 16 threads. The processor pushes speeds of up to 3.6GHz, with a 3.8GHz turbo boost. The Custom RDNA 2 GPU in the Xbox Series X features a staggering 12 TeraFLOPS of computing performance.
You get 52 compute units featuring 3328 shaders, and runs locked at 1,825 MHz. There aren’t any boost clocks for the Xbox Series X GPU, but it offers stable, consistent performance, even with the most demanding games.
AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture offers ray-tracing, enhancing images with photo-realistic lighting effects. Looking at the specs and performance, we could assume that the Xbox Series X will have the same computational power and graphics rendering as a gaming laptop running an Nvidia RTX 2080 dedicated 6GB graphics card. That’s some decent power and on the cutting edge of what’s possible with gaming consoles.
Enhanced Memory for a Smoother Gaming Experience
We like the addition of 16GB of GDDR6 memory in the Xbox Series X. That’s a significant upgrade over the Xbox One X’s 12GB GDDR5 memory.
Microsoft explains the games won’t require all that memory, with 13.5GB – 10GB of optimal GPU memory and 3.5GB standard memory. The standard 2.5GB memory caters to the operating system, meaning we can expect a significantly better operating system, with better UI from the Series X.
The improvement from the speed of the fast GDDR6 memory offers a giant leap in gameplay performance. Microsoft match this feature with the lightning-fast NVMe SSD. As a result, you can expect quick loading times and better gameplay performance with the Xbox Series X.
Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and 8K Capability?
Microsoft is targeting a 4K resolution. However, the company mentioned that the Xbox Series X comes with 8K capability. Microsoft claims its console runs games in 4K at 60-fps, with support up to 120-fps.
The Xbox Series X features Variable Rate Shading (VRS), prioritizing effects on in-game objects and characters, providing a stable frame rate, with higher graphics resolution.
The Xbox Series X features a design with four key components to increase performance in this next-gen console. You get a custom NVME SSD, a redesigned DirectStorage API layer, Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS), and hardware-accelerated decompression blocks.
Velocity Architecture enables the Xbox Series X to offer performance exceeding its raw specifications. The result is face-ripping loading times, reduction in the game file size, and the creation of immersive gaming experiences that surpass anything we could imagine possible with a console.
Microsoft intends to release the Xbox Series X with the “Quick Resume” feature, allowing players to pick up exactly where they left off in the game.
Another significant improvement in Series X is the addition of a solid-state drive. We all know how much better laptops and PCs run with SSDs.
Anyone who modded their old Xbox One with an SSD knows the difference it makes in performance. The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB custom NVME SSD, giving you almost instant loading times.
Combining the SSD with the Quick Resume function means you never have to sit through loading screens again.
Seagate Expansion Storage
While the 1TB onboard Storage is impressive, it might not be enough for some gamers. Considering some games are well over 100GB, it’s nice to know you have a storage expansion option with the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X features a Seagate expansion card, giving the impression of a mix between a USB thumb drive and an external hard drive. The expansion drive has the design to plug directly into the Series X proprietary port on the console’s rear.
We’re not crazy about the propriety port, but the added speed advantage it gives the console is worth the hassle. Microsoft claims it’s necessary to help the expansion card match the SSD speeds. As a result, there’s no impact on performance when playing games off the expansion card.
Seagate explains that the expansion drive combines with the Quick Resume function, allowing gamers to seamlessly change between games in an instant, without any loading time. However, the expansion card sells separately to the console, and we have no info on pricing at this stage.
The flash memory function of the Seagate expansion card features custom PCIe Gen4x2 NVMe and a 1TB capacity.
Wrapping Up – Is It Backwards Compatible?
Microsoft announced the Xbox Series X would be fully compatible with all previous Xbox One games – much to gamers’ relief. We think Xbox will ditch the Kinetic Tracker with the Series X, but we expect compatibility with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.
Microsoft intends to introduce a next-generation controller with the console, but details are sketchy at this point. For now, gamers around the globe keep their attention on the November 10th release date.
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