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Xbox Series X pushes what’s possible on a gaming console

The New Xbox Series X gaming console
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft is not messing around with the Xbox Series X, delivering significant hardware improvements that dwarf the Xbox One and Xbox One X. In a new blog post, Xbox head Phil Spencer shared even more details on the console’s processors and its advanced features.

Xbox Series X has a custom processor, which Microsoft previously said would make use of AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture. The console offers four times more processing power than the standard Xbox One and up to eight times more GPU performance. Its GPU is twice as powerful as the Xbox One X, as well, with 12 teraflops, which measures computing performance, over the One X’s six.

Xbox Series X will make use of hardware-accelerated DirectX ray tracing, a feature that traces the path of simulated light and photons to deliver more realistic hues and shadows. It’s impossible on current hardware and is mostly limited to expensive PC systems at the moment. The PlayStation 5 will also feature ray tracing of some sort.

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The Xbox Series X will also make use of variable rate shading using a patented system that prioritizes individual effects on characters and objects. This allows for more efficient use of hardware without impacting resolution or frame rate.

On Xbox One, only one game can be paused at a time, but this is changing on Xbox Series X. The Quick Resume feature allows players to pause multiple games and resume them almost immediately, and with SSD storage, loading times should be drastically reduced once the game has started.

Xbox Series X - World Premier - 4K trailer

Other technical improvements include HDMI 2.1 improvements, with support for auto low latency mode and variable refresh rate to reduce lag and avoid screen tearing. This is combined with a controller feature called “dynamic latency input,” which synchronizes input between the Xbox Wireless Controller and the console to deliver more responsive gameplay.

Xbox Series X arrives this holiday season, and it will support all four generations of Xbox games, including Xbox Game Pass titles. The Xbox Game Pass program will continue on Series X, as well, with launch game Halo Infinite available for free to subscribers.

Thus far, Microsoft has given significantly more information on Xbox Series X than Sony has with the PS5. It’s unclear when that will change, as the company recently pulled out of big conferences like GDC and PAX East over coronavirus fears. Sony will also be skipping E3 2020, while Microsoft will still hold its traditional press conference.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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