Table of contents:
- Xbox Series X Tech Sheet
- Lower latency on remote and TV
- Ray tracing and 3D audio
- Tower design to improve ventilation
Xbox Series X has revealed all its secrets, and we can now consider Microsoft's next-generation console official, as its sheet has been published complete technique, photos of its exterior and information about its control, internal architecture and main characteristics.
Inside the Xbox Series X we will find powerful hardware, with a processor and AMD graphics, which should allow developers to move your games to 4K and 60 frames per second, although it will support up to 120 fps for titles that want to prioritize fluidity over resolution.
The graphics and processor go together on a 360.45mm² chip, slightly larger than the one Xbox One X currently uses. They are manufactured to a 7nm+ process (an optimization over 7nm), and everything indicates that they generate a lot of heat, which explains the large dimensions of Xbox Series X.
"Speed" is the main motto of Xbox Series X, which affects almost all sections of the system. At the core is a 1TB SSD, which will speed up game loads, thanks to its 2 transfer rate, 4 GB/s, rising to 4, 8 GB/s through hardware compression.
Perhaps most surprisingly, we can now resume playing any game from the exact point we left off, with a charge just a couple of seconds. Thanks to the SSD, there is no limit to the number of games that will start immediately, nor are they affected if we restart Xbox Series X after updating it.
To expand storage, Seagate will be in charge of manufacturing some specific memory cards, with a capacity of 1 TB, and with some identical specifications to internal storage.
The additional SSD will connect directly to the motherboard via a slot on the rear. Although mechanical disks (HDD) can be connected to the USB ports, their limited speed will not make them suitable for installing Xbox Series X games.
Xbox Series X Tech Sheet
The new Microsoft machine is committed to powerful hardware, which suggests a high launch price, since all aspects border at a high level. These are the console specifications:
- Processor: Custom AMD Zen 2 8-core 3.8GHz (7nm, 360 area, 45mm²).
- Graphic: Custom AMD RDNA 2, 12 TFLOPS, with 52 CUs at 1.82 GHz.
- Video Output: [email protected] (120fps supported) with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
- RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 320-bus-bit (10 GB at 560 GB/s and 6 GB at 336 GB/s).
- Storage: 1TB 2.4GB/s NVME SSD (4.8GB/s compressed) + slot for additional 1TB.
- Disc player: Blu-Ray 4K UHD.
- Ports: HDMI 2.1 output, 3 x USB 3.2, Ethernet, SSD slot and Kensington port.
- Dimensions: 15, 1 x 15, 1 x 30, 1 cm.
Lower latency on remote and TV
The speed of loading games or menus is only one of the important aspects. The other is latency, that is, the time that elapses between pressing a button on the remote and that action being reflected on the screen.
Xbox Series X brings improvements on both fronts: First, the controller continues to use Xbox Wireless Protocol, which is faster than Bluetooth, and that now picks up the signals with a higher frequency, but maintaining compatibility with the controls of the current Xbox One family.
The other novelty comes from HDMI 2.1, a video port present in few televisions yet, but with many advantages for gaming.
Thanks to HDMI 2.1, Xbox Series X will support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), adapting the frames displayed to those generated by the card graphics, avoiding delays and visual glitches.
On the other hand, Auto Low Latency Mode will make the TV automatically switch to game mode when we use Xbox Series X, offering the best possible experience.
Ray tracing and 3D audio
We have already explained what ray tracing is, a lighting system in video games that simulates the operation of real light rays, and that on Xbox Series X it will be hardware accelerated.
The result should be more realistic lighting, especially when reflections and transparencies come into play. Ray tracing is a very demanding technique at the power level, so we will have to see to what extent it will be generalized on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Where ray tracing is going to be used is in 3D sound, since we will have spatial audio based on objects, which will much more realistic effects with a specific origin (shots, voices, an opponent walking behind us…)
Microsoft has Windows Sonic for spatial sound, but also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, common in sound bars. Since a dedicated audio chip has been added, it will not detract from other game features.
While nothing has been announced yet, 3D audio systems make it possible to create immersive experiences with just a headset, and it will be interesting to see if Xbox Series X enables it.
Tower design to improve ventilation
Although Xbox Series X can be placed horizontally, it has initially been designed as a kind of vertical black monolith. The reason is the ventilation, which creates a unique flow thanks to the upper fan that expels heat.
Looking at the huge heatsink, and the fact that the power supply is separated from the main board by the disk drive, it can be assumed that the heat generated is considerable, and that these decisions have been made design to avoid noisy fans.
The aspect that has changed the least is the new command. A button has been added to share our games in streaming, the crosshead has been redesigned and is loaded by USB-C, but broadly speaking it has barely changed.
Since the new controller will support games on PC, Android and iOS, apart from the Xbox protocol it will be possible to connect with Bluetooth Low Energy, or by cable. And it is that Microsoft is working on the xCloud cloud game, and this will be the reference controller.
Now we can say that Xbox Series X is official, since its technical sheet no longer has any secrets, but practically nothing has been shared about its future games at the moment.
Also, the more than likely Xbox Series S, the economic model, will possibly be revealed shortly. On an official level, Microsoft has not confirmed Series S and, furthermore, has not revealed the price of Series X, a key aspect in its fight against the future PlayStation 5.
Of course, the Xbox Series X launch date is maintained at Christmas 2020. Despite the disruptions that the coronavirus COVID-19 has caused worldwide, for now the manufacturer is reaffirming the launch date that it had already brought forward.
What do you think of the Xbox Series X specs? Do you think the PS5 technical sheet will be at the same level?