Xbox Series X Specifications Revealed

by in General | Mar, 17th 2020

The day has finally come — Xbox Series X specs have been revealed! After many rumor-laden months and leaks, Microsoft has decided to tell the world what their upcoming next-gen console will pack, and, it’s quite a beast. Perhaps that’s even an understatement.

First, it’s a well-known fact at this point that next-gen consoles will effectively be small form-factor PCs architecture-wise. That’s a huge plus for everyone involved. This means the porting time from PC to console (or vice-versa) will be bafflingly short, especially when compared to the way things were before. More games will, therefore, be cross-platform releases. They’ll all run pretty much the same. You won’t notice a huge difference between a next-gen console and a spec’d-out PC come 2021, and that’s a breakthrough.

Microsoft, for one, is going all out. They’ve found a lot of success with the release of Xbox One X. That one triumph made things pretty clear: gamers want a more powerful console that can churn through 4K like it’s nothing. They’re prepared to invest for such a luxury as well.

The Xbox Series X is, therefore, a continuation of that philosophy. It’s by far the most powerful console we’ve ever seen (we’re still waiting for Sony’s PlayStation 5, though), and is more than twice as strong as the Xbox One X. Still, “strong” is a relative term, so let’s take a closer look at the revealed Xbox Series X specs!

All of the Features

CPU — Microsoft is using a custom Zen 2 processor from AMD with eight cores running at 3.8 Ghz (or 3.66 Ghz with simultaneous multithreading). This CPU should be about as strong as, say, the Ryzen 7 3700, or somewhere in that ballpark. In other words, the Xbox Series X will have more than enough processing power.

GPU — A custom RDNA 2 graphics card with 52 CUs (compute units), 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM (shared between the CPU and GPU, with 2 GB reserved for the operating system), clocked at 1.825 Ghz, outputting up to 12 TFLOPs of graphics power. This is a beast of a GPU. If you need something to compare it to, have in mind that AMD’s latest Radeon RX 5700 XT with 8GB of GDDR6 memory is noticeably weaker, with less compute units, less memory and slower clock speed. This custom SoC (System on a Chip) is also based on AMD’s upcoming RDNA 2 architecture, which isn’t out yet on the PC side of things. AMD promises around 50% gains while also lowering power consumption.

In short, if it’s high frame rates and mind-blowing graphics you’re after, the Xbox Series X is a must-buy. 60 FPS at 4K will be a breeze. Microsoft is reportedly aiming for 120 FPS as well. Whether that’ll be attainable in all titles (regardless of graphical fidelity) remains to be seen.

Storage — 1 TB custom NVMe PCIe Gen4 SSD that’s blazing fast. The fact that consoles are only now getting fast storage is baffling. PC gamers have been enjoying the benefits of NVMe and SSD drivers for years, but better late than never. What all of this means is that in-game loading times will decrease by a lot. The HDD found in the Xbox Series X is a 5400 RPM one that has up to 100 MB/s read and write speeds. A Gen4 PCIe SSD has somewhere between 4 GB and 5GB. Yeah. You’ll notice a huge difference, that’s for sure.

Microsoft already has an ad out showcasing the difference. They’re also giving us a view of their upcoming Quick Resume feature.

You can switch between multiple games like they’re all running at the same time. So you go from one game to another, wait for just a couple of seconds, and then you’re immediately back inside an entirely different world. This will also work even after you switch the console off or do a system update.

Rounding the spec sheet out, we have USB 3.2 support and an optical 4K Blu-ray drive. With so much horsepower at their disposal, players will have full ray tracing support from the very get-go.

Proprietary Storage

If you need more storage than what the console will provide, you’ll have to buy expandable storage designed and developed exclusively by Seagate. We’re talking about a weird-looking expansion cartridge (that’s just an additional NVMe SSD) that’s bound to cost way more than it should. Because Xbox Series X titles will require insanely fast storage, you’ll have to buy one sooner or later.

At the time of this writing, one of the more popular PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSDs (in 1 TB capacity) costs $199.99. Yes, it’s insanely fast, but it’ll also burn through your wallet.

If, on the other hand, you need more storage for your standard Xbox One, Xbox 360 or Xbox games (hooray for backward compatibility), a standard USB 3.1 external hard drive will do the trick.

How well this will pan out remains to be seen. Proprietary storage solutions never caught on because, well, consumers aren’t as crazy or pliable as companies seem to think. Sony tried the same thing back with the PlayStation Vita and their obscenely expensive microSD-looking memory cards. To say that it was a failed undertaking would be an understatement.

Sony… Who?

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X has been the only thing the gaming community has been talking about over the last couple of months. Sony, on the other hand, has been strangely quiet. They’ve announced the PlayStation 5, but they’ve only shown its logo, which looks as everyone expected. Industry insiders are saying the PS5 will be about as strong as Microsoft’s upcoming offerings, but we’ve yet to see anything concrete.

We don’t know how strong their console will be. There’s not even a render for us to go over. We’ve all seen multiple developer kits and prototypes, but that’s not much now. All of this raises an important question: why are they waiting so much? The first quarter of 2020 is almost behind us. Yet we only have a logo to talk about.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has already shown us everything. We know how the console will look, how strong its internals will be, and the only thing left is the final price tag. Regardless of the asking price, gamers will get a lot of bang for their buck, that’s for sure. Building an equivalent PC would cost way more. If you’re looking to get into console gaming, the 2020 holiday season would be as good a time as any.


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