Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X specs, Sony, PlayStation 5, PS5, SSD
Ever since Microsoft showed us the first look of the Xbox Series X in December last year, there was little doubt about what it was trying to pull off with its next-generation game console. Even though Microsoft did not share many hardware specifics, at that time, there was no denying that the Xbox Series X would be something special – a monster PC in the guise of a console probably. The unique tower design was a good start.
Turns out, it’s more than that. The Xbox Series X doesn’t only look the part, it’s got the guts to play it too. At least that’s what the console’s full spec sheet would have you believe. Now the Xbox One X, which is currently the most powerful game console in the world, is famous for packing so much excess power, there’s almost always some power to spare – something that could then be used to bring further enhancements to the game that you’re playing, cosmetic or otherwise. With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is taking things several notches higher.
Not only is the Xbox Series X cramming more power under the hood, Microsoft is also working ‘specifically’ on areas like speed and backward compatibility to ensure ‘existing’ Xbox games work seemingly better, while next-generation ones would simply fly on its next console. Here are 10 things that make the Xbox Series X possibly the most highly anticipated Xbox consoles of all time.
- Let’s start with that design, because well, there’s no escaping it. The Xbox Series X’s tower design has already visited meme-city on multiple occasions since Microsoft showed it off for the first time in December last year, with people comparing it with all sorts of household appliances – like a fridge for instance. But can you really blame them? The console stands vertically (Microsoft says you can place it horizontally too), is shaped like a rectangle and has a disk drive for a door handle. Microsoft says, well it may look like a fridge, but it won’t take up as much space. Phew! It is still the biggest console that Microsoft has ever made. That design seems functional though. The new Xbox packs so much power, it needed PC-like cooling with air being pulled in from the bottom and pushed out at the top using a 130mm fan – which is also why there are much bigger pores at the top. Microsoft is preparing for the worst case scenario and a traditional console-like tight-fit design wouldn’t possibly have made that possible.
- Speaking of which, the Xbox Series X has a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU paired with a Radeon RDNA 2 GPU. Based on a 7nm manufacturing process, the AMD Zen 2 CPU has 8 cores clocked at 3.8GHz each, while the Radeon RDNA 2 GPU boasts 12 teraflops and 52 compute units clocked at 1.825GHz each. All of this is paired with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM (2.5GB reserved by the OS) and 1TB NVME solid-state drive storage. The combination, Microsoft says, should entail in a 40x performance jump in storage speed over existing consoles, including the Xbox One X.
- While the Xbox Series X will come with 1TB storage straight-off-the-bat, we all know how limiting it could be with modern-day game titles chugging over 100GB space in one go – plus updates. 1TB is not enough. To that effect, the Xbox Series X will support expandable storage of up to 1TB – since it would be supporting the same SSD format, we can expect similar performance across the board, as the on-board memory. Be prepared to pay more for these ‘custom’ Xbox Series X expansion cards though. Only Seagate seems to be making them for now and we still don’t know how much they’ll cost, but we all know how proprietary storage can be expensive – the Nintendo Switch cartridges are a classic example.
- Speed seems to be the buzz word when it comes to the next Xbox. “We don’t believe this generation will be defined by graphics or resolution alone,” Microsoft says. The emphasis seems to be on “how quickly you can move between experiences or applications” so gamers can spend “more time playing and less time waiting.” The Xbox Series X will come with a ‘Quick Resume’ feature that would allow them to resume multiple titles at the same time with the press of a button. Microsoft is going so far to say that it would be possible to quickly resume a game “even after you turn off the console, unplug it entirely, or even take a system update.”
- The console will feature something that Microsoft is calling ‘Xbox Velocity Architecture,’ that would allow 100 GB of game assets to be ‘instantly’ accessible by the developer who could then enhance their large open world games with high fidelity environments using the power and SSD of the Xbox Series X. The technology would also allow developers to ‘effectively’ eliminate loading times between levels or create faster travel systems.
- The Xbox Series X will support hardware accelerated DirectX Raytracing, to simulate more realistic in-game environments. It would be interesting to see if this pushes more and more developers to bring Raytracing to their games.
- The console will also feature Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to reduce latency “from the controller to the console and from the console to the display.” Microsoft says it has been working with the industry’s leading TV manufacturers for the past two years “to ensure the display ecosystem is ready for the features coming with Xbox Series X.”
- Microsoft is pushing for performance at 4K 60fps, up to 120fps, and 8K gaming with the Xbox Series X.
- “Thousands of games across four console generations will look and play best” on the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has already confirmed, confirming that the console will theoretically be compatible with existing backward compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 games, and Xbox One titles. Older games will get “improved boot and load times, more stable frame rates, higher resolutions and improved image quality,” while a new feature called Smart Delivery will ensure “you only have to purchase a title once, knowing you will get the best version of the title on whatever Xbox console you choose to play on.”
- Even though Microsoft will be shipping a new USB-C controller with Bluetooth Low Energy and quick share button plus an updated D-Pad and generally better ergonomics, all your existing controllers will work just fine with the Xbox Series X.