Xbox Series X specifications unveiled, new features could draw PC gamers
Amritanshu Mukherjee March 17, 2020
2020 is going to see the next major evolution in the gaming console universe. Microsoft's Xbox Series X is the one that is expected to hit the shelves earlier than the others. Unlike Sony, Microsoft has been quite vocal about the next-generation Xbox and has been telling us a few things about the internals of the box and how it will make gaming better for consoles. However, just before it launches the Xbox officially, the team has gone ahead revealing the full specifications.
Before we go ahead with the specifications, Microsoft assures that the Series X is not as big as a refrigerator. To prove that, they have literally compared it with a refrigerator side by side and the new Xbox is much smaller than a double-door fridge. The Series X is still comparable to the current generation consoles in size. However, there's better cooling with the top-mounted fan that pulls in air from inside and the bottom. The dual board design is clever and a new larger heat sink is present to ensure a cooler Xbox Series X when your gaming session heats up.
The next-generation Xbox has got some massive specifications upgrade compared to Xbox One X. Microsoft says that it is using a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores all of them clocked at 3.8GHz. The GPU has got a massive boost too, with a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU that promises compute power of up to 12 teraflops. The chip is based on the 7nm fabrication process, hence it should be more efficient than the current generation internals.
To help the Series X with superior performance, Microsoft has given it 16GB of GDDR6 RAM along with custom-built 1TB SSD storage. Yes, Microsoft is finally switching to SSDs for quicker load times, similar to gaming PCs. The Xbox Series X will be using the 16GB memory in a much better way. Microsoft says the system will use 10GB of this memory for graphics, another 3.5GB for standard memory and the remaining 2.5GB for the OS.
Microsoft is also solving the storage issue on the Xbox with new expansion cards. The Xbox Series X storage can be expanded with 1TB expansion cards that users can buy separately. The card can be attached to the system via dedicated port at the back. The Series X will also support external HDD via USB 3.2 and a 4K Blu-ray drive.
The performance gains are massive in this generation. Microsoft says games can run in 4K resolution at 60 fps but developers could max it out to 120fps. Moreover, Microsoft has optimised the system to help with gameplay experience. Games will load faster than ever, as shown in the demo where State of Decay 2 loads 40 seconds faster than on the Xbox One X. Players can also resume games where they left. Hence, you can leave pause a race in Forza Motorsport 7 and switch to another game or shut down the system. Once you come back to the game, the game will load exactly from where you left.
If you are wondering how it happens, Microsoft says the Xbox Series X will save those game states to the SSD.
Moreover, ray tracing makes its way to the Xbox Series X and the current demo shows Minecraft with ray tracing effects applied. Exclusive Xbox titles will also be enhanced for the Series X with enhanced textures, effects and higher frame rates. Support for 8K gaming is also mentioned and there's also support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), the latter two helping with reduced latency.
The controller is the most important hardware and Microsoft has improved it massively too. There's now USB-C for wired connection but it still relies on AA batteries for wireless sessions. A new share button has been included to share video clips and screenshots with friends.