Microsoft Unveils Xbox Series X Specs And Shares Some Cool Details

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Unveils Xbox Series X Specs And Shares Some Cool Details

Did you know the Xbox Series X runs on a custom next-generation processor with four times the power of the Xbox One? How about the fact that it can save and quick resume from multiple games at once? Well now we know those things, along with the rest of the specs and details Microsoft shared about the Xbox Series X this morning.


In a post on Xbox Wire titled “What You Can Expect From the Next Generation of Gaming,” Xbox head Phil Spencer lays out details on Microsoft’s upcoming vertical black box. First, he talks hardware, including a custom processor leveraging AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures. The Xbox Series X features a GPU capable of 12 teraflops of performance, twice that of an Xbox One X and eight times the original Xbox One. As mentioned during the system’s announcement, the console will also support up to 120 frames per second, so investing in a faster television or monitor might be worthwhile. And in case anyone was worried about raytracing, the Series X supports DirectX raytracing, so the console won’t be missing out on that video buzzword.

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Unveils Xbox Series X Specs And Shares Some Cool Details

The coolest new feature revealed is Quick Resume, which allows players to suspend multiple games at once, resuming on-the-fly with no loading screens. I for one can’t wait to realize I put a game on pause weeks ago and never got back to it.

Then there is Smart Delivery, which means that no matter which version of the Xbox you’re playing on, Microsoft will make sure you’ve got the best version of the game for your console. I suppose things might get a little confusing, what with multiple hardware generations playing the same games. The Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with the Xbox One, the Xbox 360, and the original Xbox games the Xbox One is backwards compatible with. I’m already confused. Smart Delivery sounds like a godsend. Or just common sense.

The Series X uses something called Dynamic Latency Input to ensure fast and responsive wireless controller response. Microsoft has also worked with TV makers and the HDMI forum to harness features like variable refresh rate, syncing TV and gameplay frame rates to avoid jaggies and screen tearing.

Check out the post on Xbox Wire for more information on what the Xbox Series X is bringing to the living room this holiday season.


Correction: 2/24/2020, 11 a.m. ET: A previous version of the headline had an extraneous word in name of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox console. It has since been removed. 

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Thing is, it’s all cool and stuff, but in the end, it’s the real-world results that counts. We’ve been seeing diminished returns for each generation since quite some times already, each one of them having announced anything between 2 to 4 times, or about, more power than the previous generation. Thing is, what we get on screen, while better, is never in line with the same order of magnitude.

Every console kind of touts itself as leaps and bounds over the previous ones, and the truth is that while they are better, they’re not really “leaps and bounds” better, mostly in terms of game performance.

Thing is, gaming isn’t different than anything else. Look at video standards. When we went from analog (VHS) to digital (DVD) it was a revolution. Then we went from SD to HD, which made also quite a difference (although not as major as the previous shift). Then full HD, which was better but a less dramatic improvement over regular HD. Then we’re getting to ultra HD, which is again better, (it is, I’ve got 2 of those screes at home!) but may not be noticeable in some cases (like on TVs smaller than 50" and/or if you sit on a sofa not close enough to the TV, etc...)

Each generational gap is indeed better than the last. And while it’s true these require more and more number-crunching processing, what we get out of them, concretely, isn’t improving as much as the previous generation improved over its predecessor. It’s mostly like that in every tech, gaming included.

True groundbreaking shifts are quite rare. I think the last time it happened in gaming was when consoles allowed us to shift from 2D to 3D. We’ve been improving ever since, and quite a lot, but where we are today took decades of evolution. No manufacturer will make me believe that their new console will break new grounds in a single generationnal transition.

That being said, that new Xbox looks great. But its form factor means the only place I have in my entertainment center that it will fit in, is on the floor in front of the TV. So.... I sadly might not get one. Unless I’m changing all my furniture. And it’s not gonna happen for a console.