Xbox Series X: All you need to know about the powerful gaming machine

Great news gaming fans! We now know what’s inside Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox Series X console. After leaks, written posts and a teaser trailer, we finally have some actual specs to share. The official specs come months before the Xbox’s launch.

Microsoft isn’t pulling any punches. Xbox Series X is an immensely powerful gaming machine.

The Xbox team took a broader approach to their forthcoming console. Instead of zoning in on better graphics and higher frame rates alone, the team worked with three themes for the new Xbox: power, speed and compatibility. Let’s take a deep dive into the specs that make these three pillars possible.

Xbox Series X expanded internal view. (Photo: Xbox)

At the heart of the new Xbox is a custom-built SoC (System on a Chip) featuring a 7nm, AMD Zen 2 CPU delivering up to 4 times the power of the Xbox One X. The CPU is an 8-core chip that runs at 3.8 GHz sustained speeds in single-threaded tasks. That speed drops to 3.6 GHz with multi-threaded workloads. One CPU core is reserved for the console’s operating system.

Paired with the CPU is the custom RDNA 2 GPU. It boasts a whopping 12 teraflops of power thanks to 52 compute units running at 1.825 GHz. That’s twice the graphical performance of the Xbox One X.

These external SSDs sure look like memory cards.

Thankfully, the Xbox team went with 1TB of NVMe SSD (solid-state drive) storage instead of a traditional hard drive. SSDs deliver much faster performance than ancient spinning discs.

The Series X is armed with 16 GB of GDDR6 memory. That 16 GB is allocated fascinatingly. Ten gigabytes of that run at 560 GB/s and optimised for the GPU. 3.5 GB is standard memory and the remaining 2.5 GB is reserved for the OS. The standard and OS memory both run at 336 GB/s.

Xbox Series X split mainboard design.

Microsoft chose a split mainboard design for the new Xbox Series X. The two pieces go on either side of a metal chassis with a  massive vapour chamber covering the CPU/GPU chip. There’s a single fan up top designed to provide adequate airflow for the high-performance internals.

The arrangement of the hardware explains why the Xbox Series X looks like a PC tower. All the internal components are stacked vertically and are very different from any console we’ve seen to date. The new form factor should provide adequate cooling for the internal components. A chip running at 3.8 GHz is bound to get hot.

Simulated airflow on the new Xbox.

All the above specs make several improvements possible. Here are a few.

  • Quick Resume – The Series X quickly switches between multiple games with less loading screens. The games resume from exactly where you left them.
  • Hardware Accelerated Ray tracing – Light bounces naturally through environments, mimicking real life. Shadows and reflections look more realistic.
  • 4K gaming @ 60fps – Series X games offer high-fidelity graphics at 60fps. 120fps is also possible
The heart of the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X can also play older game titles from previous Xbox consoles. Backward compatible games will run with better fidelity and faster, sustained frame rates thanks to all the new technology.

Microsoft is very transparent with its progress on the Xbox Series X console. Meanwhile, we’ve got little to no official word from the competition. Sony’s been tight-lipped about its next-generation PlayStation 5. We’ve heard rumours but nothing concrete.

There’s an epic gaming console battle brewing. Microsoft is ready to take on its rivals. Let’s see what team blue has in store for us all.