Microsoft's next-generation gaming console, formerly known as Project Scarlett, has been officially unveiled: the Xbox Series X. Since Scarlett was first confirmed, there have been numerous questions: What does it look like? What do the new games look like? How powerful is it going to be? We finally have the answers to those questions, and in talking with Xbox boss Phil Spencer, we got more insight into the power behind the Series X console.
With the launch of the Xbox Series X, it's no surprise Microsoft has graphical capability on the mind. Spencer told us, "We wanted to have a dramatic upgrade from the Xbox One base console. So when we do the math, we're over eight times the GPU power of the Xbox One, and two times what an Xbox One X is."
And when we do the math too, the Series X seems to be hitting around 12 teraFLOPs (the general metric used as shorthand to indicate graphics processing power). It's worth keeping in mind that hardware manufacturer AMD is leading the charge on the console's GPU/CPU, and the Series X will be capable of ray tracing for more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows. Microsoft also has its eyes set on the future beyond launch day as it's accounting for 8K resolution down the line and 120Hz refresh rate.
Xbox Series X Specs Quick Look
- CPU: AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: AMD Navi-based GPU (~12 TFLOPs)
- RAM: GDDR6 SDRAM (capacity not confirmed)
- Storage: NVMe SSD (capacity not confirmed)
- Max Output Resolution: 8K
- Max Refresh Rate: 120Hz
It's not all about GPU power alone--as expected, the Series X beefs up the CPU. Spencer explained, "On the CPU side, which is [something] we really wanted to push relative to previous generations, we have four times the compute power on the CPU in Project Scarlett." Admittedly, not much was given in terms of specifics, but whether or not the reference point is Xbox One's eight-core 1.75GHz CPU or One X's eight-core 2.3GHz CPU, Series X looks to be a significant upgrade.
Harnessing increased power isn't just about raw numbers; the architecture needs to be built to take full advantage of it. As Spencer continued, "I/O [input/output] is always an issue. How do we move both memory and bits around? So, we have a 40-times improvement in the I/O speed, [increased] bandwidth for us moving things around on the console [compared to] the past generation. And we've upgraded to GDDR6 memory inside of the box to ensure that the memory itself is able to keep up with the CPU, GPU, and the bandwidth requirements."
It doesn't end there, however. The Xbox Series X will utilize ultra-fast storage tech that's been commonplace for high-end PCs in recent years. "We've invested in NVMe solid-state drives and we're also giving developers a lot of new capabilities, and on top of that, try to virtually eliminate load times," Spencer said.
While Microsoft has still not divulged the exact specs of the Xbox Series X, its general assertions point towards a distinct jump that truly sounds next-gen worthy. We did get a taste of what's to come when we caught a glimpse of the Hellblade 2 trailer from Ninja Theory, which is a stunning visual showcase unlike anything previous consoles have done.
Graphical power isn't the only thing Microsoft aims for, but it's definitely something it cares about, which is apparent when Spencer stated, "Our goal has always been to build the most powerful console we can, and I think we're there. We like leading in power and performance and I feel like we're going to be there again."
The Xbox Series X is set to launch in the window of Holiday 2020, as is Sony's PlayStation 5. For more on Microsoft's upcoming console, be sure to read our full in-depth feature with more details on the Xbox Series X or check out all our stories below.
Xbox Series X And Xbox One News