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Microsoft reveals more Xbox Series X specs

Next-generation Xbox boasts 12 teraflop GPU

front left angle shot of Xbox Series X with controller standing in front of the console’s bottom right corner Image: Microsoft
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Microsoft revealed new details on its next-generation console, the Xbox Series X, on Monday morning, confirming specifications on what the company calls its “superior balance of power and speed” for its new hardware. The next-gen Xbox, Microsoft said, will be four times as powerful as the original Xbox One.

The Xbox Series X “next-generation custom processor” will employ AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture, head of Xbox Phil Spencer wrote on the Xbox website.

“Delivering four times the processing power of an Xbox One and enabling developers to leverage 12 [teraflops] of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) performance – twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One,” Spencer said. He called the next-generation Xbox’s processing and graphics power “a true generational leap,” offering higher frame rates — with support for up to 120 fps — and more sophisticated game worlds.

That 12 teraflops claim is twice that of what Microsoft promised with the Xbox One X (then known as Project Scorpio) when it revealed the mid-generation console update back in 2016.

Spencer also outlined the Xbox Series X’s variable rate shading, saying, “Rather than spending GPU cycles uniformly to every single pixel on the screen, they can prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects. This technique results in more stable frame rates and higher resolution, with no impact on the final image quality.” He also promised hardware-accelerated DirectX ray tracing, with “true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real time.”

Microsoft also reconfirmed features like SSD storage, which promise faster loading times, as well as new ones, like Quick Resume, for Xbox Series X:

“The new Quick Resume feature lets you continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, returning you to where you were and what you were doing, without waiting through long loading screens,” Spencer said.

Spencer also touched on efforts to reduce latency on Xbox Series X, for both input and output.

“We’re optimizing latency in the player-to-console pipeline starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages our high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console,” Spencer said. “With Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a new feature which synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive.

“We’ve partnered with the HDMI forum and TV manufacturers to enable the best gaming experience through features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). ALLM allows Xbox One and Xbox Series X to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode. VRR synchronizes the display’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate, maintaining smooth visuals without tearing. Ensuring minimal lag and the most responsive gaming experience.”

More details on the next-gen Xbox are available at the company’s Xbox Wire post.

Xbox Series X is expected to launch during holiday 2020. Pricing for the next-gen Xbox has not been announced.

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