Microsoft said their new Xbox Series X is the most powerful console ever made. And with a release date of November 10, 2020 on the horizon, here's everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X:
Power and Specs
February 24, 2020 was a big day for Xbox fans around the world as Microsoft confirmed numerous Xbox Series X specs. The new console will feature 12 Teraflops of GPU performance, which claims to be eight times of what is currently in the Xbox One and double the Xbox One X. This is leaps and bounds the best GPU we've seen in a console.
In the official post about these new features, the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, noted “Xbox Series X delivers a true generational leap in processing and graphics power with cutting edge techniques resulting in higher framerates, larger, more sophisticated game worlds, and an immersive experience unlike anything seen in console gaming.”
Along with the stellar GPU coming in Xbox Series X, Spencer also talked about the “New Generation Custom Processor” that leverages AMD's latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures.
A new feature called “Variable Rate Shading (VRS)” has also been confirmed for the console:
Our patented form of VRS empowers developers to more efficiently utilize the full power of the Xbox Series X. Rather than spending GPU cycles uniformly to every single pixel on the screen, they can prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects. This technique results in more stable frame rates and higher resolution, with no impact on the final image quality.
This will go hand in hand with the already confirmed DirectX Raytracing, which has also been confirmed for the PS5.
A new Quick Resume feature will let you close multiple games at any point and instantaneously pick up where you left off "without waiting through long loading screens."
When the console was initially announced, one of the big selling points was that it can play games at 120 FPS and up to 8K. This was also confirmed by Spencer.
One of the more notable features announced was the extensive backwards compatibility features coming at launch with the Xbox Series X. It took Xbox over a year to implement some levels of backwards compatibility with the Xbox One, and we did not get the games we wanted to play right away. Spencer noted the following:
Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before. Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you.
This also pairs along with the announced upcoming “Smart Delivery” feature.
This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that – whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X – you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on. We’re making the commitment to use Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on. This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.
At the end of the post, Spencer stated "We can’t wait to share more details about the new Xbox with you in the coming months."
Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire Editor in Chief, revealed the full Xbox Series X specs in this Xbox Wire article on March 16, 2020.
Here are the full Xbox Series X specs:
- CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
- Die Size: 360.45 mm2
- Process: 7nm Enhanced
- Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
- Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
- Internal Storage: 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
- IO Throughout: 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
- Expandable Storage: 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
- External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
- Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
- Color: Matte Black
- Price: Unknown
- Release date: Holiday 2020
In that same Xbox Wire article, here's what Sebastien Nussbaum, Corporate VP and Senior Fellow, Semi-Custom Products and Technologies at AMD, said about the Xbox Series X:
“Xbox Series X is the biggest generational leap of SOC [System on a Chip] and API design that we’ve done with Microsoft, and it’s really an honor for AMD to be a trusted Microsoft partner for this endeavor,” said Nussbaum. “The Xbox Series X is going to be a beacon of technical innovation leadership for this console generation and will propagate the innovation throughout the DirectX ecosystem this year and into next year.”
Another feature that's been announced in the Xbox Wire article is the new Xbox Velocity Architecture that's going to work for offline streaming of games. Xbox has noted that their ultimate goal is to cut down the latency and input delay you might feel while playing games or streaming them from one of their cloud services. So, these new systems are catered to significantly cutting down the amount of delay the player will feel while playing.
Check out what Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X at Microsoft, had to say regarding their new commitment to low latency:
“The CPU is the brain of our new console and the GPU is the heart, but the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul,” said Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X at Microsoft. “The Xbox Velocity Architecture is about so much more than fast last times. It’s one of the most innovative parts of our new console. It’s about revolutionizing how games can create vastly bigger, more compelling worlds.
This has included developing brand new technology such as Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) as well as helping to shape the HDMI 2.1 specification by adding new gaming-centric features such as support for 120hz, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). The team has also been working with the industry’s leading TV manufacturers for the past two years to ensure the display ecosystem is ready for the features coming with Xbox Series X.”
Xbox revealed and confirmed the specs for the Xbox Series S, the all-digital version of the next-gen Xbox, via the trailer below. At nearly 60% smaller than Xbox Series X, it will be the smallest Xbox ever.
Here are the Xbox Series S specs:
- CPU: Eight-core 3.8ghz custom Zen 2
- GPU: Four teraflops 1.55 GHz
- RAM: 10GB GDDR6
- Frame rate: Up to 120 FPS
- Resolution: Up to 4K
- Storage: 512GB custom NVME SSD powered by Xbox Velocity Architecture
The description of the Xbox Series S trailer also notes that you can "Get started with an instant library of 100+ high quality games, including all new Xbox Game Studios titles the day they release, when you add Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (membership sold separately)."
Release Date and Pre-order
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the all-digital version of the next-gen Xbox console, released on November 10, 2020. Pre-orders started on September 22, 2020.
On September 9, 2020, Xbox confirmed the Xbox Series X will cost $499 (ERP) and the Xbox Series S will cost $299. This holiday, Xbox All Access is expanding to 12 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, Polan, South Korea, Sweden, UK, and the United States), giving you a next-gen Xbox and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at $34.99 per month for Xbox Series X and $24.99 per month for Xbox Series S. Xbox has also partnered with EA to provide Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members with an EA Play membership for free.
Design, Size, and Dimensions
Along with the big name reveal of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft revealed what the console will look like. The new Xbox Series X has already been dubbed “The Fridge.” It is much bulkier than previous iterations of the Xbox, but it doesn't surprise us because of the increased internal hardware.
Speaking of "The Fridge," Xbox tweeted the Xbox Series X dimensions on March 16, 2020: 151mm x 151mm x 301mm — and of course, used a fridge for scale.
Here are the official PlayStation 5 specs vs Xbox Series X specs for comparison:
PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X Specs Comparison Chart
|Feature||PlayStation 5||Xbox Series X|
|Release Date||November 12, 2020, for the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
November 19, 2020, for the rest of the world.
|November 10, 2020|
|CPU||x86-64-AMD Ryzen “Zen 2”
8 Cores / 16 Thre4ads
Variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
|8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU|
|GPU||AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine
Ray Tracing Acceleration
Variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz (10.3 TFLOPS)
|12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||16GB GDDR6 w/320 bit-wide bus|
|Memory Bandwidth||448GB/s||10GB at 560GB/s, 6GB at 336GB/s|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB NVMe SSD||1TB Custom NVMe SSD|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), 8-9GB/s (Compressed)||2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD Slot||Support for 1TB Seagate Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly, sold separately). Support for USB 3.1 external HDD (sold separately).|
|External Storage||USB HDD Support||USB 3.1 External HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive|
|Ports||USB Type-A port (Hi-Speed USB)
USB Type-A port (Super-Speed USB 10Gbps) x2
USB Type-C® port (Super-Speed USB 10Gbps)
HDMI OUT port
|3 USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports
1 HDMI 2.1 port
WiFi 802.11ac dual band
|Weight||4.5 kg (9.9 lb)||4.4 kg (9.8 lb)|
|Dimensions||Approximately 390mm x 104mm x 260mm (15.35in x 4.09in x 10.24in, excludes largest projection and base)||151mm x 151mm x 301mm (5.94in x 5.94in x 11.85in)|
|Backwards Compatibility||Almost all top 100 PS4 titles (ranked by play time) at launch, with expanded backwards compatibility coverage over time||Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
With regards to the Xbox Series S size and dimensions, Xbox confirmed on September 8, 2020, the Xbox Series S will be nearly 60% smaller than Xbox Series X, making it the smallest Xbox ever.
Xbox Series S vs Xbox Series X vs PlayStation 5 size (via The Verge) pic.twitter.com/4uAQwvHN6n— Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) October 27, 2020
According to Xbox Wire's article "Xbox Series X: Making Gaming’s Best Controller Even Better," the Xbox Series X Wireless Controller will ship with the Xbox Series X this holiday.
Here are the new controller features as confirmed by the Xbox Wire article:
Altered Form Factor
The controller will fit in a wider range of hand sizes, including smaller hands that are similar in size to those of an average 8-year-old. Xbox "did that by rounding the bumpers, slightly reducing and rounding parts around the triggers, and carefully sculpting the grips."
New Textures And Finishes
Xbox "added a tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers, which provides grip to improve feel and performance during gameplay ... A similar, yet more subtle pattern is on the grips. The D-pad, bumpers, and triggers now have a matte finish to maintain a smooth consistent feel, whether your hands are wet or dry."
New Hybrid D-pad
The hybrid D-pad is inspired by the D-pad on Xbox Elite controllers. "The slightly deeper dish gives your thumb a nice little “home” to sit in. The angles are finely tuned to give you a good amount of leverage with minimal movement. Gamers will notice a performance boost right out of the box."
New Share Button
The Xbox Series X has a new Share button "to make capturing and sharing instantaneous. It’s easy to just grab a screenshot or record a video without needing on-screen menus. Then you can easily access and share content with your favorite social platforms or directly with friends."
Xbox is introducing a system-wide set of improvements called Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). Basically, "information is sent more frequently from the controller and matched with exact frames of your game on-screen. The result: we shave off precious milliseconds at every step of gameplay, and actions are even more instantaneous."
For Xbox's primer on latency, check out "Xbox Series X: What’s the Deal with Latency?"
Cross-compatibility and Back-compatibility
Cross-compatibility between Xbox Series X and Xbox One consoles and controllers, along with back-compatibility with accessories gamers already have in their collection, will be supported.
They all work together with the same great Xbox Wireless Radio. Gamers can also play on more devices including PC, Android, and iOS. We’re implementing Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) so that pairing to these devices is much easier. The new controller also remembers multiple devices so switching between them is more seamless. And a USB-C port allows gamers to play and charge with a modern cable that’s more readily available.
We also wanted to maintain back-compatibility with accessories people already have in their collection. Since those are physical connections, that defines the shape of the lower half of the controller as well as the location of the audio and accessory ports. Ultimately, that means you can plug in your Chatpad or headset on day one, and it still just works.
Below are all the confirmed Xbox Series X games, according to Xbox, IGN, and other aforementioned sources. Games "Optimized for Xbox Series X" means the developer did extra work to take full advantage of the Xbox Series X's capabilities. Games using Smart Delivery let people who bought the game for Xbox One get the game for Xbox Series X for free.
|GAME TITLE||OPTIMIZED FOR XBOX SERIES X||SMART DELIVERY||XBOX SERIES X/S RELEASE DATE|
|Assassin's Creed Valhalla||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Balan Wonderworld||Yes||Yes||March 26, 2021|
|Bright Memory 1.0||Yes||Launch|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War||Yes||November 13, 2020|
|Call of the Sea||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Yes||Yes||November 19, 2020|
|Cygni: All Guns Blazing||TBA|
|Dead by Daylight||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Destiny 2: Beyond Light||Yes||Yes||December 8, 2020|
|Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Dying Light 2||TBA|
|Far Cry 6||February 18, 2021|
|FIFA 21||Yes||Holiday 2020|
|Forza Horizon 4||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Halo Infinite||Yes||Yes||December 31, 2021|
|Halo: The Master Chief Collection||Yes||November 17, 2020|
|Hello Neighbor 2||Yes||TBA|
|Immortals Fenyx Rising||Yes||December 3, 2020|
|In Sound Mind||2021|
|Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga||2021|
|Madden NFL 21 (free upgrade if you buy Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021)||Yes||Holiday 2020|
|Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate||November 17, 2020|
|Nth^0 Infinity Reborn||2021|
|Observer: System Redux||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Ori and the Will of the Wisps||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Outriders||February 2, 2021|
|Party Crasher Simulator||2021|
|Psychonauts 2||TBA 2021|
|Rainbow Six Quarantine||2020 - 2021|
|Rainbow Six Siege||Launch|
|Resident Evil: Village||May 7, 2021|
|Sea of Thieves||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2||December 2020|
|State of Decay 3||TBA|
|Tetris Effect: Connected||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|The Lord of the Rings: Gollum||2021|
|The Medium||Yes||N/A||December 10, 2020|
|The Second Extinction||TBA|
|The Sims 5||TBA|
|Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2||TBA 2020|
|Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2||Yes||Yes||TBA 2020|
|Vampire the Masquerade - Swansong||2021|
|Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition||Yes||December 31, 2020|
|Watch Dogs: Legion||Yes||Yes||October 29, 2020|
|Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood||February 4, 2021|
|WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship||Yes||Yes||September 8, 2020|
|Yakuza: Like a Dragon||Yes||Yes||Launch|
|Yes, Your Grace||Yes||Yes||June 26, 2020|
During the May 7, 2020 Inside Xbox event, there was a screen showcasing all publishers and developers that will be producing games for the Xbox Series X. Household names like Epic Games, Activisino-Blizzard, and Ubisoft are all on the list with notable smaller developers.
How excited are you for the newest Microsoft console?
What aspect of the Xbox Series X are you most excited about?
Let us know in the comments section below!
Top image via Twitter/@Xbox
This article was written by Nick Farrell, an experienced journalist who aims to provide insightful and proactive articles daily.