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Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s Next Console, Has AMD Hardware-based Ray Tracing

(Image credit: Microsoft)

In a surprise announcement at The Game Awards last night, Microsoft unveiled that its next console will be called the Xbox Series X. Additionally, it unveiled a new design and a controller. It will release in time for the holidays in 2020.

From a teaser video, the design looks like a small form factor tower, similar to the Corsair One desktop. There's ventilation on the top (with what appears to be green lighting) and a disk drive on the front. In Microsoft's official announcement, it's said that the box can be placed either horizontally or vertically.

The controller is almost identical, though there is now a share button and a d-pad resembling the one from the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. The shape has changed ever so slightly, which Microsoft claims will be comfortable for more people, but the controller is otherwise largely the same. It will work with Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and, of course, be included with the Series X.

On the technical side, Xbox head Phil Spencer wrote that the system, powered by an AMD Zen 2-based processor and a  "next generation RDNA architecture" with hardware accelerated ray tracing. Microsoft is claiming it will play games in 4K at 60 fps "with a possibility of up to 120 fps" and offer both Variable Refresh Rate and "8K capability."

In an interview with Gamespot, Spencer said that "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." The Xbox One X pushes six teraflops of performance out of the GPU, so by that math, the Xbox Series X could potentially push 12 teraflops.

Additionally, Spencer touted Microsoft's patented Variable Rate Shading tech and an SSD for faster load times. Developer functionality includes Auto Low Latency Mode and Dynamic Latency Input, though those weren't further detailed. 

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft, which is working on its Project xCloud streaming, is also suggesting that the Series X will have unique ways to bring games with  you elsewhere. 

Finally, there is a promise of Xbox One Series X being backwards compatible across every Xbox, every Xbox One accessory, and, of course, Xbox Game Pass.

Halo Infinite is set to be among the first party offerings that launch with the system. At the Game Awards, Microsoft showed video from Senua's Saga: Hellblade II.

So far, this is being discussed as a single console. There are reports and rumors, however, of two options: a more powerful version (code-named Anaconda) and a more affordable option (Lockhart). Microsoft has not confirmed this, but the "Series" name suggests there could be multiple consoles within a lineup.

  • sizzling
    I think that case design is a mistake. It is too much like a mini pc and for most home users I doubts that’s what they want in their livingroom. I’d much prefer a flat design that’s easy to loose in a cabinet. Looks a bit like a Corsair One clone.
    Reply
  • cwolf78
    I disagree. This looks like a highly efficient design. I think form should be secondary to function. I'm willing to bet this stays relatively quiet under load: much more so than a traditional design. From a hardware standpoint, the Xbox One X was brilliant as far as the cooling capability in such a small footprint. Keep in mind, however, the Series X uses components with much higher TDP and thus thermals so it's doubtful the same design would carry over and be sufficient without being far too loud.

    Also: I think it would probably be a bad idea to keep this in a cabinet. This is literally a gaming PC with thermals to match. You wouldn't put your PC in a cabinet and for good reason. (At least, I'd hope not...)
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    In a way it reminds me of a nuclear power stack. If it glows green out the top it kind of throws back to the original XBox's startup screen which is the inside of a power reactor. (Although Chernkov Radiation is blue) Having a transitioning and shifting green light might be a neat option. (Like a free plasma flow.)
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    i wonder how many redbulls this x box minifridge can hold lol
    Reply
  • sizzling
    cwolf78 said:
    I disagree. This looks like a highly efficient design. I think form should be secondary to function. I'm willing to bet this stays relatively quiet under load: much more so than a traditional design. From a hardware standpoint, the Xbox One X was brilliant as far as the cooling capability in such a small footprint. Keep in mind, however, the Series X uses components with much higher TDP and thus thermals so it's doubtful the same design would carry over and be sufficient without being far too loud.

    Also: I think it would probably be a bad idea to keep this in a cabinet. This is literally a gaming PC with thermals to match. You wouldn't put your PC in a cabinet and for good reason. (At least, I'd hope not...)
    I’m not disputing from a technical point of view and the silent claims are good to hear. However when I think of where people I know keep their XBox’s it’s in spaces similar to set top boxes where this looks like it won’t fit. For me this is a box like a subwoofer I need to hide somewhere.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    "Xbox Series X "

    Hey Microsoft, the Wii U called. They said they already have an Xbox one X.

    Also My TV stand called and said it has no idea how the new Xbox one X will fit on it's AV-sized shelves.

    All joking aside, the Xbox one X can't actually pull-off a native 4k30 in most games, so there's no way that a measly "twice as powerful as Xbox one X" is going to be able to pull off 4k60.
    I guess this lends validity to the extremely disappointing leaked specs.
    Also that name is objectively terrible from a marketing standpoint. A lot of people aren't going to realize its a new xbox.
    Reply
  • Zizo007
    Giroro said:
    "Xbox Series X "

    Hey Microsoft, the Wii U called. They said they already have an Xbox one X.

    Also My TV stand called and said it has no idea how the new Xbox one X will fit on it's AV-sized shelves.

    All joking aside, the Xbox one X can't actually pull-off a native 4k30 in most games, so there's no way that a measly "twice as powerful as Xbox one X" is going to be able to pull off 4k60.
    I guess this lends validity to the extremely disappointing leaked specs.
    Also that name is objectively terrible from a marketing standpoint. A lot of people aren't going to realize its a new xbox.

    It will be four times faster than the Xbox One X:
    The console itself is designed to be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations, and Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, promises that it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” The Xbox Series X will include a custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture. Microsoft is also using an NVMe SSD on Xbox Series X, which promises to boost load times. Xbox Series X will also support 8K gaming, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate support.Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/12/21016575/microsoft-xbox-series-x-next-xbox-console
    It will be 4K60 but I doubt that it will run any title at 4K120 or 8K30 like they are claiming.

    I wonder if this custom RDNA GPU outperforms the 5700XT and if it has hardware ray tracing.
    With all these features, I can't imagine how much it will cost, probably something like a gaming PC.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Most likely not even near 5700... two times faster than previous generation console in gpu... that means something like 5500 speed.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    Zizo007 said:
    It will be four times faster than the Xbox One X:
    The console itself is designed to be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations, and Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, promises that it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” The Xbox Series X will include a custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture. Microsoft is also using an NVMe SSD on Xbox Series X, which promises to boost load times. Xbox Series X will also support 8K gaming, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate support. Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/12/21016575/microsoft-xbox-series-x-next-xbox-console
    It will be 4K60 but I doubt that it will run any title at 4K120 or 8K30 like they are claiming.

    "Spencer said that "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." "

    Source: This Article.

    I think your quote is about CPU. CPU power has very little effect on the framerate in consoles, or at least usually isn't the primary cause (unless its struggling to load something from storage). Since it's fixed, developers just build their game console around what it can handle. So Scene complexity, physics, AI etc will improve somewhat, but output resolution isn't dictated by CPU.

    Even still, a 4x increase in CPU power isn't even that good compared to gains made between previous generations. The Xbox One X really spoiled their ability to brag about how much better the Xbox Series X is supposed to be.

    Although, if the rumored 13GB of unified memory for games is true, then that's going to be a significant bottleneck on any game that wants both scene complexity and 4k. The 16GB total pool is, what, only 50% more than a 12GB Xbox one X? The Xbox One had 16x the memory of the 360 - that's what a generational leap should look like.
    Reply
  • justin.m.beauvais
    Next from Microsoft: The xX||XB0X 0n3 S3ri3s X2||Xx
    Reply