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Microsoft optimizes Xbox One, boosts GPU clock speed in run-up to launch

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Since E3, as Microsoft moved into an internal hardware beta phase for the Xbox One, the company has been able to optimize the next-gen console, a process chief product officer for Xbox Marc Whitten detailed on Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb's podcast this week.

Whitten offered the Xbox One's recently deployed "mono driver," the graphics software optimized for the console's hardware, as one example.

"You sort of start with the base [DirectX] driver, then you take out all parts that don't look like Xbox One and you add in everything that really, really, optimizes that experience," Whitten said. "And almost all of our content partners have really picked it up now, and it's really, I think, made a really nice improvement. It's really cool."

Another advantage of beta testing on the final hardware is that it allows Microsoft to move from the theory of how the Xbox One hardware would perform to its reality. Now that Microsoft has settled on the hardware and started to test units internally, the Xbox One team has been able to improve hardware performance, a process he called "tweaking the knobs."

"An example that's actually been really good news for us ... is we've tweaked up our clock speed on the GPU from 800 MHz to 853 MHz," he said. "Just an example of how you really start landing the program as you get closer to launch."

The Xbox One is slated to launch later this year, and the next-gen console will sport an 8-core CPU, 8 GB of system memory and a 500 GB hard drive. Sony's PlayStation 4 will sport a similar system-on-a-chip architecture. Both semi-custom APUs will be manufactured by AMD. For more on how AMD made its way into Microsoft's and Sony's next-gen consoles, be sure to check out Polygon's interview with representatives from the company.

Also check out what id Software technical director John Carmack has to say about the two consoles, which he believes are amazingly close in capabilities.