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Xbox Series X Dev Kit Teardown Reveals 40GB GDDR6 RAM

AMD APU surrounded by GDDR6 modules
AMD's custom APU surrounded by Samsung GDDR6 modules (Image credit: Gamers Nexus Video)

Gamers Nexus recently bought one of Microsoft's Xbox Series X Developer Kits (XDK) while looking for a juicy topic for a tech video. Following a reader tip, the TechTuber acquired the hardware via eBay for a sum in the region of $1,500. Unfortunately, however, Microsoft banned the console before Gamers Nexus could conduct any software testing. Nevertheless, Gamers Nexus soldiered on to explore the hardware side of the mysterious XDK and, among the things discovered, noted that it comes with 40GB of GDDR6 installed. For reference, the consumer console has 16GB of GDDR6.

Gamers Nexus editor-in-chief Steve Burke showcased Microsoft's XDK hardware. After revealing there would be no gaming/software tests due to the unfortunate machine ban from Microsoft, we got a tour of the outside of the machine.

The XDK looks like the Xbox One X dev kit and, therefore, nothing like the Xbox Series X 'tower' that shipped to consumers. Burke highlighted a front panel display that can show the status of various internal hardware components and do things like configure shortcuts or the array of five buttons above the display.

The teardown finally revealed the motherboard at around 9 minutes and 20 seconds into the video. After that, however, the host spent quite some time looking at the thermals and other aspects of the construction before getting down to performance component checks.

At around 16 minutes and 50 seconds into the video, Burke examined both sides of the XDK motherboard, confirming that 40GB of 14 Gbps GDDR6 is onboard. In addition, research revealed that the 20 memory modules (10 on each side of the PCB, surrounding the APU socket) are 16Gb in capacity (2GB each) and thus add up to 40GB GDDR6 of onboard RAM.

The XDK packing so much memory is for when the developers run debug software in the background, work with non-optimized code, and decompress builds onto the console. Interestingly, Burke reckoned that this dev kit's memory quota is one of the reasons that early leaks about the Xbox Series X consumer console suggested it would ship with a super-high memory capacity. Instead, Microsoft's console ended up with 16GB of GDDR6.

You can watch the video for more insights into the construction and the thermal solution in the XDK. However, due to the hardware not being able to run anything more complicated than a menu screen, the thermals will never be under any stress. 

To wrap up the video, Burke appealed to his viewership for any ideas about how to play games on this banned device. Unfortunately, if that cry for help is fruitless, this hardware will end up as a sad deconstructed framed and wall-mounted exhibit piece.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Giroro
    So you can't use xbox Hardware offline if Microsoft decides to ban you from Xbox live? Microsoft can completely brick your hardware if they arbitrarily decide they don't like you, or what you're doing? Where's the outrage?

    Its like I keep saying, the Right to Repair fight isn't going to mean much as we continue to lose the right to USE. Property rights need to be protected.

    Pretty soon, we're going to have to be in good standing with a subscription service and their advertisers just to drive your car or to keep food cold in your fridge.
    Reply
  • drivinfast247
    Giroro said:
    So you can't use xbox Hardware offline if Microsoft decides to ban you from Xbox live? Microsoft can completely brick your hardware if they arbitrarily decide they don't like you, or what you're doing? Where's the outrage?

    Its like I keep saying, the Right to Repair fight isn't going to mean much as we continue to lose the right to USE. Property rights need to be protected.

    Pretty soon, we're going to have to be in good standing with a subscription service and their advertisers just to drive your car or to keep food cold in your fridge.
    That type of thinking will impact your social credit score.
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    Not to be some conspiracy theorist but tech is really taking over the world and has a lot more control than we realize.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Giroro said:
    So you can't use xbox Hardware offline if Microsoft decides to ban you from Xbox live? Microsoft can completely brick your hardware if they arbitrarily decide they don't like you, or what you're doing? Where's the outrage?

    Its like I keep saying, the Right to Repair fight isn't going to mean much as we continue to lose the right to USE. Property rights need to be protected.

    Pretty soon, we're going to have to be in good standing with a subscription service and their advertisers just to drive your car or to keep food cold in your fridge.
    This isn't consumer hardware, it's a development tool. Devkits are typically considered the property of the console manufacturer, in this case Microsoft, and are loaned to developers, who agree to use them under certain restrictions. Whoever they bought it from likely didn't have the right to sell it to begin with, and it was apparently disabled prior to Gamers Nexus acquiring it. They never had a license with Microsoft to make use of the device or its proprietary software, and any such agreement would have undoubtedly restricted them from disclosing details of the system to others anyway.
    Reply
  • saltweaver
    Most likely XboxX2 will have that amount of memory and Zen6 or Zen7 APU.
    Reply
  • iamroot
    Giroro said:
    So you can't use xbox Hardware offline if Microsoft decides to ban you from Xbox live? Microsoft can completely brick your hardware if they arbitrarily decide they don't like you, or what you're doing?

    It's an XDK owned by Microsoft, loaned under NDA to developers for software development. They consider their development tools protected IP, which is understandable, and has nothing to do with "banning you from Xbox live." Yes: Microsoft currently blocks consoles from using their online service if it detects you have modified it, specifically to avoid fraud, piracy, cheating, etc. But many people use modded consoles offline.

    Giroro said:
    Pretty soon, we're going to have to be in good standing with a subscription service and their advertisers just to drive your car or to keep food cold in your fridge.

    Oh, I see - you just needed your pet rant to get out for a walk. Be sure to pick up after it.
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    iamroot said:



    Oh, I see - you just needed your pet rant to get out for a walk. Be sure to pick up after it.
    Its called social credit. Look at China. Educate yourself.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    saltweaver said:
    Most likely XboxX2 will have that amount of memory and Zen6 or Zen7 APU.

    Maybe not the memory amount, but if TSMC keeps moving the goal post as quickly as they are; we are going to be seeing a lot of revisions. I wouldn't be surprised to see a cost optimized Zen3, then a Zen3+, and then a Zen4 over the next few years. They really have no significant reason to hold themselves back from upgrading rapidly. People are going to start getting them 8K TVs, donchaknow.
    Reply
  • iamroot
    jacob249358 said:
    Its called social credit. Look at China. Educate yourself.

    Literally every person who replies "educate yourself" in intenet comments is either smoking too much weed or irrationally angry about things they don't understand and believe they do.
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    iamroot said:
    Literally every person who replies "educate yourself" in intenet comments is either smoking too much weed or irrationally angry about things they don't understand and believe they do.
    just read a few articles. And Giriro wasn't ranting by definition
    https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3096090/what-chinas-social-credit-system-and-why-it-controversial
    Reply