Series X Under The Bonnet

The wait is almost over, COVID-19 permitting, for the Xbox Series X and although the name may be slightly ambiguous, the specs are not.

Obviously the images of the Series X have been circulating long enough for everyone to now accept the awkward shape of the next generation. The look is not unpleasant, just impractical when it comes to placement in my games room. The latest, and greatest, generation of Xbox consoles may well be relegated to the floor, on a carpet, doesn’t seem right really. That fact aside the new shape is designed for superior airflow, makes sense but I’m pretty sure that my carpet will have some input into that.

Superior Airflow Design

So without delay, let us look at the super techy specs.

CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die size360.45 mm2
Process7nm Enhanced
Memory16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
Memory Bandwidth10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal storage1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Exandable storage1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External storageUSB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical drive4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance target4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
Tech Specs.
Series X Split Motherboard Design

That all sounds fantastic, but what does it really mean. The essence to take away from this is that the system will be powerful, more powerful than the Xbox One and a fair bit faster than the Xbox One X. How much more power I hear you say.

Xbox Series XXbox One X
CPU8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT)8x Custom Jaguar Cores at 2.13GHz
GPU12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 26 TFLOPs, 40 CUs at 1.172GHz, Custom GCN + Polaris Features
Die Size360.45mm2366.94mm2
ProcessTSMC 7nm EnhancedTSMC 16nmFF+
Memory16GB GDDR612GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s326GB/s
Internal Storage1TB Custom NVMe SSD1TB HDD
IO Throughput2.4GB/s (Raw), 4.8GB/s (Compressed)120MB/s
Expandable Storage1TB Expansion Card
External StorageUSB 3.2 HDD SupportUSB 3.2 HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
Performance Target4K at 60fps – up to 120fps4K at 30fps – up to 60fps
Xbox Series X Vs. Xbox One X

The above comparison lays it out clearly, the Series X is packing some serious heat compared to the, currently, worlds most powerful games console. This raw power will translate to games directly, the most notable feature being support for ray tracing, more on that when we see it in the wild.

My favourite feature is the ability to expand the system storage via a method that looks to hook it directly into the system bus mimicking the embedded internal storage, that’s super cool but no doubt expensive.

Series X Expandable Storage Interface

As with every generation of console, fans are ultimately seduced by the technical specifications. The reality of the console will be something slightly different, especially after a few years, but day one I expect a few games to show of some of the new power but they certainly won’t test the console. This is seen every generation, I remember standing in line at E3 in 2013 for my first experience of the Xbox One, it was exciting and the games blew me away, but they didn’t really, I was just excited and it was the new hotness. The games didn’t push to console, not really, which is a good thing because who wants the next generation to peak on day one, not one person.

All that being said, I’ll be there on day one.

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