Specifications for Microsoft’s next console, Xbox Series X (also known by codename Project Scarlett) are slowly coming out. We already know that it will carry an AMD CPU based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture (opens in new tab), along with a "next-gen" AMD graphics card (opens in new tab) that will pack hardware-based ray tracing (opens in new tab). We've also known for a while that the new Xbox will pack a great new SSD (opens in new tab), but up until today the details have remained somewhat scarce.
More information has also surfaced about the console's rear I/O.
Rear I/O From a Prototype Leak
At CES, AMD showed a render of the Xbox Series X during its keynote, which showed the console's rear I/O connectivity. This got many of us excited, however, AMD was swift to admit that the render was fake. It was made using a 3D model from TurboSquid, and we also suspected that the connectivity shown wasn't representative of the end product.
Although this is still a prototype (as indicated on the unit), these images are interesting for two main reasons: we get to see the connectivity, and they're images of the actual hardware, not renders.
As far as the connectivity goes, there's an HDMI port, SPDIF optical audio port, power, Ethernet, and two USB SuperSpeed ports. The front of the unit has an additional USB port.
@IdleSloth1984 @blueisviolet @XcloudTimdog pic.twitter.com/qmVlhTTaqiJanuary 22, 2020
What's notable is the single HDMI port. On the Xbox One, Microsoft had both HDMI-in and HDMI-out. The HDMI-in would let you route devices like a cable box through the console, which would be the one device connected to a television. It appears Microsoft is considering abandoning that approach.
We can only speculate that the new Xbox will feature HDMI 2.1, because if it doesn't, it won't be able to meet Microsoft's promise of 4K gaming at 60 fps. Naturally, HDMI 2.1 would also add support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
New Phison E19 Controller
A few days back a report from Digitimes claimed that the Xbox Series X would come with a Phison SSD controller, though it wasn't clear exactly which controller Microsoft would end up selecting for the new console. At the time, the Phison E16 was the obvious choice, but we also knew that Phison has the E18 controller in the pipeline, which could offer an alternative option.
Nevertheless, a new rumor from the LinkedIn profile of an unknown software engineer. appears to point towards the use of a DRAM-Less Phison E19 controller that is engineered for use in consoles, cameras, tablets and more.
Despite the E19 controller's higher name designation than the E16 controller, it looks like the E19 won't reach the 7 GB/s throughput that the E16 is capable of. Instead, it has a maximum read speed of 3.7 GB/s and peak write speeds of 3.0 GB/s. Of course, these figures are no surprise as the previously reported 7 GB/s would be quite excessive for a gaming console.
Although Phison's infographic shows that the controller can deal with up to 2TB worth of NAND memory, yet another previous report indicated that the Xbox Series X would come with a maximum 1TB SSD, though there would also be a lighter 512GB option. Given that today's games can easily exceed 50GB in their installation size, these capacities wouldn't be surprising. These large SSDs in the new consoles are even expected to gobble up as much as 5 percent of the SSD shipments in 2020.
There is a rumor that there will be two types of new Xboxes, hence the name Xbox Series X. It is possible that these rumored high-end specifications are for a top-end version of Xbox Series X (if there will be more than one), and that the lower-spec model is aimed at only playing games at 1080p, while also streaming games and media.