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Xbox Series X: Specs, Price, Everything We Know

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Series X is set to release this Holiday season, bringing Microsoft’s flagship console series into a new generation. It follows the original launch of the Xbox One in 2013 and the release of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X upgrades in 2016 and 2017, respectively. And as we inch closer to that deadline, we’re learning more and more about the Xbox Series. In fact, there's enough information to put the Xbox Series X up against the PS5 in a face-off

Microsoft has already officially unveiled the Xbox Series X's full specs, with a commitment towards 4K, 60+ fps frame rates and ray-tracing. However, certain details like price are still unknown. That’s why we’re collecting all the information we know, confirmed and rumored, into one convenient page for our readers to keep up to date on the launch of the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X Cheat Sheet: Key details at a glance 

Release DateHoliday 2020
PriceTBD, expected around $499
Key features4K at 60 Fps, 8K, 120 Fps, ray-tracing, fast load times
Key gamesHalo Infinite, Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, Full Xbox One backwards compatibility
CPUCustom AMD Zen 2 CPU
RAM16GB GDDR6 memory
GPU12 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU
Storage1TB NVMe SSD, proprietary SSD expansion slot

Xbox Series X Release Date 

While we don’t have a specific release date yet, Xbox has confirmed both on social media and on its blog that it is planning to release the Xbox Series X this holiday season.

Fears over coronavirus had analysts suspecting delays earlier this March, but on March 24th, Microsoft announced in an interview with CNBC that its Chinese supply chains are "getting back on track." CEO Satya Nadella did add the caveat that "we’ll have to check back on it" when discussing the release date, but seemed mostly confident it, ending his comments by saying "we feel good about where we are."

Previous Xbox consoles have tended to launch in November, so look out for the Xbox Series X around that time as well.

Xbox Series X Specs 

CPUAMD Zen 2 custom CPU: 8 cores, 16 threads @ 3.8 GHz
GPUAMD RDNA 2 custom GPU: 12 Teraflops, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
Die Size360.45mm²
RAM Bandwidth10GB @ 560 GBps, 6GB @ 336 GBps
Storage1TB NVMe SSD
Expandable Storage1TB expansion card, external USB 3.2 hard drive support
Optical Drive4K Blu-ray

Earlier this March, Microsoft announced the full specs for the Xbox Series X, revealing a commitment to bringing PC style power to the living room.

The Xbox Series X will use an AMD Zen 2 custom CPU with 8 cores and 16 threads @ 3.8 GHz, a 12 teraflops AMD RDNA 2 custom GPU with 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM running at a bandwidth of 10GB @560 GBps and 6GB @ 336 GBps, a 1 TB NVMe SSD with a slot for an optional proprietary 1TB SSD expansion card, and a 4K Blu-ray optical drive. It will also feature USB ports for accessories and external hard drives.

Most of these specs are comparable to the PS5 specs Sony announced shortly after Xbox’s post, though the Xbox Series X features a larger SSD than the PS5’s 825 GB one, a slightly more powerful CPU at 3.8GHz vs 3.5 GHz, and a generally more powerful GPU than the PS5’s 10.3 teraflop, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz card.

According to Digital Foundry’s hands-on time with the Xbox Series X, all these specs come together to make it more than “twice as powerful as Xbox One X,” with it being able to run four Xbox One S game sessions simultaneously on the same chip.

Xbox Series X Graphics Performance

The idea behind these specs is to allow the Xbox Series X to support 4K gameplay at 60 fps across all new games, as well as 8K or 120 fps gameplay for some select titles. These Xbox Series X will also support variable refresh rate technology, which allows the console to automatically change its refresh rate based on the TV or monitor it’s hooked up to so as to avoid tearing and ghosting. On a similar note, variable rate shading technology is confirmed for the new Xbox as well, which will allow developers to dedicate certain parts of the GPU to specific effects, allowing for a steadier frame rate at high resolutions.

However, the most impressive announced graphical feature is hardware accelerated ray tracing, a technique that allows for highly realistic lighting, shadows, and reflection. Traditionally, the rendering time for this technique has been too long for use in games, but both the Xbox Series X and PS5 are promising to bring it to real-time entertainment in the next console generation.

Xbos Series X Storage Performance

Powering all of these features is a new 1TB SSD, which will compensate for higher resolutions by allowing for faster load times. On the software side, Microsoft is also creating the "Xbox Velocity Architecture," which will take advantage of the SSD to allow "100 GB of game assets to be instantly accessible by the developer."

To increase speed further, Microsoft is also advertising new tools for devs to control latency, specifically the ability to reduce screen tearing by decoupling frame buffering from latency, as well as reduce input lag by using "dynamic latency input" to capture "button presses as fast as 2 ms."

Xbox Series X External Storage

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The catch to all of these features is that the Xbox Series X will expect all new games to be running off an SSD, as well as any backwards compatible games looking to take advantage of the new technology. Should your internal SSD fill up, then, users looking to play the most recent titles are expected to buy a proprietary 1TB SSD card for the system. This will run identically to the internal SSD once plugged in, but will likely cost around $200. Microsoft has confirmed that older Xbox games that don’t use the Series X’s new features can still be run off external hard drives, however. There is no confirmed support for third-party external SSDs, whereas the PS5 has announced it will support some M.2 SSDs after launch.

The SSD will also allow for multiple games to be suspended at once, using a new feature called “Quick Resume.”

Xbox Series X Price and Payment Options

Microsoft and Sony both have yet to release pricing information on either of their next gen consoles, so we have little to go on here except for prior information and the specs.

Both the original Xbox One and the Xbox One X released for $499, while the PS4 released for $399 and the PS5 is currently being speculated to sell for “around $450.” And with the PS5 specs having confirmed Sony’s new console as having an 825GB PCIe SSD against the Xbox Series X’s 1TB NVMe SSD as well as a weaker GPU (10.3 teraflops against the Xbox’s 12 teraflops), that recent trend of Xbox being more expensive than Playstation seems likely to continue. An initial price point of anywhere from $499 to $550 is likely.

What we do know is that Microsoft’s next Xbox will be available through its Xbox All Access program, allowing users to purchase the Series X on a finance plan assuming their account has enough history financing an Xbox One first. The Xbox All Access program currently lets users finance an Xbox One S or Xbox One X starting at $19.99 a month, and Microsoft announced last October that anyone currently financing an Xbox One who has already made at least 18 payments will be able to upgrade their plan to a Series X when it launches.

Xbox Series X Controller 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Series X controller is set to be largely identical to the Xbox One controller, aside from a few quality of life upgrades. 

In a move that will come as a relief to those of us with tiny hands, the blog post announcing the controller says that its “size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people.” The new controller also seems to be taking notes from the PS4 controller by including a dedicated share button. The triggers and bumpers feature a new matte finish, and the bumpers include new textured dots as well. The D-pad has been redesigned to better match the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller.

If you prefer your existing stuff, the Xbox Series X is also set to work with all existing Xbox One accessories, including controllers.

Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility

The Xbox Series X is set to include full backwards compatibility with all games that can run on the Xbox One, including the full Xbox One library and the hundreds of original Xbox and Xbox 360 games that are playable on Xbox One.

Some Xbox One games running on the Xbox Series X via SSD are also set to be “Xbox Series X Optimized,” meaning that they will feature higher frame rates and resolution than when playing on Xbox One. For instance, Gears of War 5 is currently being optimized for Xbox Series X, with the team already hitting 4K 60 fps resolution on equivalent settings to PCs running the game on “Ultra,” as well as 100 fps at lower resolutions.

Microsoft is also planning a new “Smart Delivery” feature, which will allow gamers to only buy games once and then share them across multiple consoles. No more having to buy PS3 games remade for PS4 to use the new console’s higher specs. Just buy the base game once, and it will automatically use the highest specs available depending on the system it’s being played on. In other words, like a PC, your system determines your performance more than the game.

Xbox Series X Games 

Games currently announced for the Xbox Series X include Halo Infinite, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, and a number of multi-platform releases like Watch Dogs Legion and Starfield. We also know that Elder Scrolls VI and a new Battlefield are coming, which are likely to release on the Xbox Series X as well.

As the console’s first major first-party games, both Halo Infinite and Hellblade II have trailers that do help give us an idea of what the console can do, though neither show off gameplay quite yet.

Mirroring an initiative in recent years to release all new Xbox One games on PC, Xbox has also confirmed that all exclusives for the Xbox Series X will also be playable on Xbox One and PC. However, this might change in the future, as Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty only confirmed the promise for “the next year, two years,” according to MCV.

Xbox Series X Pre-order 

Currently, there is no way to pre-order an Xbox Series X, though prospective owners can start working towards financing one through Xbox All Access starting now.

Xbox Series X Design

Yes, it still looks like a fridge.

The Xbox Series X focuses on a vertical orientation and a featureless black exterior with big "monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey" vibes. While it can be placed horizontally, its rectangular design resembles a computer tower more than a game console, so it's unlikely to be thin enough to fit under a monitor. On the top is an indented cooling vent with what looks to be a green light inside, with the back housing the I/O, including the proprietary SSD expansion slot.

  • cryoburner
    Xbox Series X: Specs, Price, Everything We Know
    That is something of a click-bait title. It implies that the price has been announced, but the article just makes some rough guesses based on what the previous console cost. Hey, if we're going to do that, the original Xbox was $299 at launch, the standard version of the Xbox 360 was $399, and the Xbox One was $499. If they keep adding $100 each generation, the Series X might be $599, so long as they feel people would be willing to pay that much. And technically, if we figure in inflation, the Xbox One was already over $550 at launch in today's money. With more expensive storage and what seems to be relatively high-end graphics hardware, I wouldn't be surprised if the Series X is more expensive to manufacture than the One was at launch.

    Of course, Microsoft might be willing to take a loss on each console to get their foot in the door, which they can then recoup through online service subscriptions and game sales, so a $499 price might not be totally out of the picture. A lot depends on how Sony prices their console. If the PS5 is around that price and the Series X is more powerful, it might not be surprising to see it priced $50-$100 higher than Sony's console.

    We don't even know if there will just be one version of the console though. One set of specs has been released, but the name "Series X" implies there might be more than one variant at different price points.
  • spongiemaster
    cryoburner said:
    That is something of a click-bait title. It implies that the price has been announced, but the article just makes some rough guesses based on what the previous console cost.

    Welcome to the current state of THG. What are the 2 far and away most important pieces of information for a console? The price and the games. We don't know the price (despite indicating they do in the title) and we know nothing of the launch lineup or have any in game footage. So the answer to what is everything THG knows about the new Xbox? Nothing anyone cares about. Fluff piece no one should waste their time reading.
  • hotaru251
    tbh this should be an example of why console gamers should just ge ta PC.

    you have $500~ console

    then (at least XB) youre gonna have $200~ proprietary storage expansion.

    what $60 for a 2nd controller?

    then the yearly fee just to use online game features so another $60 year.

    youre looking at $800+ (excluding games) just in 1st year.

    then after 5 the console is obsolete and u repeat the proccess.

    you can build a pc for that price and have it last you over a decade.
  • SkyRock1986
    One thing that happens a lot is the mis-use of the word "teraflops". Teraflops are almost useless in gaming without the support of other hardware like low latency memory etc. L1YiWSmu3e4View:
  • cryoburner
    SkyRock1986 said:
    One thing that happens a lot is the mis-use of the word "teraflops". Teraflops are almost useless in gaming without the support of other hardware like low latency memory etc.
    While that can certainly be true, the guy in that video used a poor example of the RX 480 vs the GTX 1060. Going by the numbers and games he listed, it looks like he was just going down the list of UserBenchmark's very questionable "EFps" metric that they recently added, which purportedly compares the performance of graphics cards in popular games, but in reality limits itself to a tiny selection of older and esports titles, ones that happen to favor Nvidia's architecture in ways that are not particularly representative of modern AAA titles. So while he was right that the RX 480 wasn't substantially faster than the 1060 despite offering more TFLOPs, he wasn't right in implying that it was significantly slower. In fact, in many newer games, the RX 480 tends to be a little faster than the 1060, albeit not enough to account for the TFLOP difference.

    And of course, AMD and Nvidia are using different architectures for their cards, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In the case of the upcoming consoles though, they will both be using the RDNA2 architecture from AMD, so the performance of that hardware should be a lot more comparable based on TFLOP numbers. And based on the other specs that they have provided, it's reasonable to assume that the Series X will provide better performance, at least as far as traditional rasterized graphics are concerned. Neither company has provided many details about things like raytracing performance yet, so it's hard to say whether there might be any significant differences there.

    Of course, in the grand scheme of things, better performance will likely only translate to a slightly sharper image and/or slightly higher frame rates, which might be difficult to notice, short of comparing the consoles running side-by-side. And we don't about pricing yet either. More performance might be fine, but if comes at a 25% higher price, many will likely opt for the lower-cost offering.