Microsoft has released the full hardware spec sheet for its forthcoming Xbox Series X games console, and there's plenty to gawk at.
Simply put, it's immensely powerful stuff on paper, being twice as powerful as the Xbox One X in theory. Its processor is a semi-custom SoC courtesy of Microsoft's partnership with AMD, with the chip built on the 7nm enhanced process. It offers eight Zen 2 cores that are reported to run at 3.8GHz and 3.6GHz with SMT enabling 16 logical processors. In comparison, the Xbox One X came in with eight cores and a Jaguar enhanced CPU.
A look by Digital Foundry has already found the CPU frequencies aren't completely locked either, suggesting that the console could adjust the CPU power based on workload and temperatures. Obviously, that's something that really needs to be seen in practice to see what effect it has.
The all-important GPU is similarly beefy sounding, running custom RDNA 2 based graphics architecture which promises real-time ray tracing optimised for DXR 1.1 as well as providing support for variable-rate shading (VRS). The GPU will feature 52 compute units (which is expected to work out at 3,328 stream processors, assuming each CU has 64 stream processors). Expect an engine clock of up to 1,825 MHz and a peak compute throughput of 12 TFLOPs.
Microsoft promises the GPU will be capable of supporting resolutions of up to 8K, although the performance target is aimed squarely at a rather respectable 4K resolution at 60 frames per second.
Memory wise, expect to see 16GB GDDR6 with 10GB of that running at 560GB/s bandwidth and the remaining 6GB running at 336 GB/s. In the past, the Xbox One X used 12GB of GDDR5 with the Xbox One S only using 8GB of DDR3.
Similarly speedy is the storage space which will be a 1TB NVMe SSD with a 2,400MB/s peak sequential transfer rate. It's possible to expand that via a 1TB NVMe storage expansion module which sounds dubious. Who wants to rely on proprietary tech? Fortunately, other external storage devices are supported too via 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 but expect that storage expansion module to be expensive yet popular amongst some gamers.
Oh, and there'll be a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive, much like the Xbox One X before it, ensuring this isn't a 'digital only' console which is always a rumour that worries everyone.
There's a new improved controller to finish off the package, which looks very similar to the previous one, but tosses in a Share button for those keen to stream.
It all sounds immensely promising, tech wise, but obviously we'll need to wait and see how it actually performs when gaming. In theory, the Xbox Series X launches in November 2020, but like most announcements right now, we have an inkling this may end up changing due to COVID-19.
April 16 2021 | 18:20