Microsoft has unveiled more specs regarding the Xbox Series X that should be launching near the end of this year, and they're predictably exceptional.
We already knew that Microsoft would be using AMD's Zen 2 CPU cores, but we now know more about the GPU backing it up. Microsoft has confirmed that it will be using AMD's RDNA 2 architecture for the integrated GPU. We don't know much about that just yet but what we do know is promising - it includes hardware ray tracing functionality, which will be backed up with by Variable Rate Shading.
Both features have been supported by Microsoft's DirectX for a while now but neither were previously available via AMD's previous RDNA lineup.
The GPU is also capable of processing power of up to 12 teraflops which makes it only slightly slower than a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, in theory at least. In comparison to the Radeon RX 5700 XT, it offers 2 teraflops more than this flagship card which is quite extraordinary at this stage. That also means it has 8 times the processing power of a standard Xbox One and twice that of an Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X already supports 4K gaming but it's obvious that the Xbox Series X will be building on this substantially. Microsoft has continued to point out that the console will have 120 fps support.
Backing those specs up will also be SSD storage, although no word has been given on specs here other than Microsoft explaining that it will be a 'custom-built' SSD. The Xbox Series X will also support HDMI 2.1 in a bid to reduce latency even further with Variable Refresh Rate support ensuring that the console synchronises the display's refresh rate to the game's frame rate.
For now, specs are only specs. Particularly when it comes to consoles, it's what the relevant companies do with them that count.
Microsoft has already explained that first-party Xbox Series X games won't be exclusive for at least the first year of the console which isn't immediately appealing, but there is a more promising clause here. It's been announced that Cyberpunk 2077 will only need to be purchasable once by those upgrading soon after its launch, with owners effectively gaining both One and Series X versions for the price of one game. The hope is that more companies will embrace this thinking.
It could be backed up by the Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery system which means that no matter which version of the Xbox you're playing on, the console automatically ensures you're playing the best version for that device.
Other features include Quick Resume which means you can suspend multiple games at once, resuming on-the-fly without having to wait for a loading screen to kick in.
And, of course, there'll be even more support for Xbox Game Pass which seems like Microsoft's true jewel in the crown.
For now, speculate wildly on just how well these specs translate into real world experience, as well as what price you expect it to be at launch. The Xbox Series X won't be out till at least November so there's plenty of time for pondering.
May 5 2021 | 09:30