Inside Xbox Series X: the full specs –,

Inside Xbox Series X: the full specs –,

This is it. After months of teaser trailers , blog posts and even the occasional leak , we can finally reveal firm, hard facts on Xbox Series X. We visited Microsoft’s Redmond WA mothership in the first week of March, we saw the unit, handled it, played on it and even constructed it from its component parts. We’ve seen the NVMe expandable storage, we’ve had our first taste of hardware accelerated ray tracing on next-gen console and we’ve seen how one of Microsoft’s most talented developers is looking to enhance one of the most technically impressive games available today for the new Xbox. We’ve had a taster of some brilliant backwards compatibility features – and yes, today we can reveal the full, official specification for the Xbox Series X console.


There’s a vast amount of material to share but for now, we’ll be trying to deliver the key points with the promise of much more to come. In this piece, we’ll be looking in depth at the tech powering the new machine, and we’ll reveal:

      How Series X is more than twice as powerful as Xbox One X in practice;      The difference its hardware accelerated ray tracing will make to the look of your games;      How its radical approach to memory and fast storage could be a game-changer – including the amazing Quick Resume feature;      Microsoft’s war on input lag and screen tearing;


      And some impressive compatibility features, including automated HDR for older games!

    • It all starts with the three key tenets that the next generation Xbox is built upon: power, speed and compatibility. Microsoft doubtless has its own messaging to share built around these pillars, but they also serve as a solid foundation for our story too.

    • Just how powerful is Xbox Series X?

With power, it all begins with the Project Scarlett SoC – system on chip. The processor is fabricated on an enhanced rendition of TSMC’s 7nm process, which we understand rolls up a bunch of improvements to the technology, right up to but not including the new EUV-based 7nm . The chip itself is a mm 2 slice of silicon (significantly smaller than we speculated), that pairs customized versions of AMD’s Zen 2 CPU core with . 320 teraflops of GPU compute power.

As expected, we’re getting eight CPU cores and 26 threads, delivered via two quad-core units on the silicon, with one CPU core (or two threads) reserved for running the underlying operating system and the front-end ‘shell’. Microsoft is promising a 4x improvement in both single-core and overall throughput over Xbox One X – and CPU speeds are impressive, with a peak 3.8GHz frequency. This is when SMT – or hyper-threading – is disabled. Curiously, developers can choose to run with eight physical cores at the higher clock, or all cores and threads can be enabled with a lower 3.6GHz frequency. Those frequencies are completely locked and won’t adjust according to load or thermal conditions – a point Microsoft emphasizing several times during our visit.

In our PC-based tests, having SMT enabled can deliver up to per cent – or more – of additional performance in well-threaded applications. However, for launch titles at least, Microsoft expects developers to opt for the higher 3.8GHz mode with SMT disabled. “From a game developer’s perspective, we expect a lot of them to actually stick with the eight cores because their current games are running with the distribution often set to seven cores and seven worker threads,” explains Microsoft technical fellow and Xbox system architect Andrew Goossen . “And so for them to go wider, for them to go to hardware threads, it means That they have the system to do it, but then, you have to have workloads that split even more effectively across them. And so we’re actually finding that the vast majority of developers – talking with them about the their choices for launch – the vast majority are going to go with the SMT disabled and the higher clock. “

compute units (from in total on silicon, four disabled to increase production yield) running at a sustained, locked MHz. Once again, Microsoft stresses the point that frequencies are consistent on all machines, in all environments. There are no boost clocks with Xbox Series X.

TFLOPs was our goal from the very beginning. We wanted a minimum doubling of performance over Xbox One X to support our 4K 90 and 227 targets. And we wanted that doubling to apply uniformly to all games, “explains Andrew Goossen. “To achieve this, we set a target of 2x the raw TFLOPs of performance knowing that architectural improvements would make the typical effective performance much higher than 2x. We set our goal as a doubling of raw TFLOPs of performance before architectural improvements were even considered – for a few reasons. Principally, it defined an audacious target for power consumption and so defined our whole system architecture.

“But also, in the early stages of design, it’s difficult for us to accurately predict the uplift from architectural improvements across our worst cases. Our bar was a doubling in all cases, not just an average. So the most practical engineering way to ensure baseline 2x improvement across the worst cases logged in all games was to set a goal of twice the raw TFLOPs performance. So then we concentrated our efforts on making the effective performance even higher with architectural improvements and new features. “

We’ve got a separate piece covering the basics of the Series X’s form factor – but right now, here’s the console in its horizontal configuration.


Xbox Series X Xbox One X

Xbox One S (CPU) 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)

8x Custom Jaguar Cores at 2. (GHz) 8x Custom Jaguar Cores at 1. (GHz) (GPU) TFLOPs, (CUs at 1) (GHz, Custom RDNA 2) 6 TFLOPs, (CUs at 1.) (GHz, Custom GCN Polaris Features) 1.4 TFLOPS, (CUs at (MHz, Custom GCN GPU) (Die Size) . mm (2) PCI Express 4.0 connections hook up both internal and optional external SSDs directly to the processor. The final component in the triumvirate is an extension to DirectX – DirectStorage – a necessary upgrade bearing in mind that existing file I / O protocols are knocking on for 40 years old, and in their current form would require two Zen CPU cores simply to cover the overhead, which DirectStorage reduces to just one tenth of single core.

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