Microsoft reveals Xbox Series X specs including external SSD storage, quick resume, HDR and other features

Microsoft reveals Xbox Series X specs including external SSD storage, quick resume, HDR and other features
  • Microsoft has revealed the complete list of specifications for the Xbox Series X.

  • We also get our first look at the external SSD storage.

  • Microsoft demoed Minecraft to showcase the consoles Ray tracing abilities.

Microsoft has been quite forthcoming with information about the Xbox Series X. At the Game Awards 2019, it showcased what the console would look like. You can check that out here. A few weeks ago, it shed light on some of the features the console would bring. You can read about that here. Today we have all the specifications of the console and some journalists and tech experts got to spend some time with the new console and give their impressions of the device. Put simply, we have information about the form factor of the console, the expandable SSD storage, how traditional external storage will work, a look at quick resume along with loading times for games and a look at some games running on the system. There is also information about the new controller. So let's quickly break it down into everything we know about the new Xbox Series X console. 

Xbox Series X Specifications

We knew that the Series X would run on an AMD Zen 2 CPU coupled with RDNA 2 and dedicated RT cores for Ray Tracing along with SSD storage. Today we have a detailed breakdown of the specs. They are as follows. 

CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ 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
I/O Throughput: 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

From the above, it is clear that the Xbox Series X is a beast of a performer with raw hardware. One of the limitations of the console is the storage and it looks like Microsoft has worked with Seagate to come up with a storage solution that will not be the bottleneck when it comes to performance. Since the internal storage is pegged at 1TB, Microsoft has worked with Seagate to come up with a custom solution to cater to storage expansion. This external storage will work with the same level of performance as the internal SSD. How much it will cost is something that remains to be seen. So the big question still persists, will you be able to use a USB 3 storage device with the new console?

Old USB 3 Storage

Yes, you will be able to store your Series X games on an external drive but to play them, you will have to transfer them to the internal drive. How this will work is yet to be elaborated upon. But know that the Xbox Series X is compatible with the OG Xbox, Xbox 360 and the Xbox One library of games that can be stored and accessed from the comfort of an external drive. 

SSD Speed and Quick Resume

Microsoft also showcased how quickly games will load on the new console. They demoed State of Decay 2 booting up and on the Series X it booted up in one-third the time as compared to the Xbox One X. Microsoft also showed the Series X switching between a few Xbox One games including State of Decay 2, Hellblade, The Cave, Ori and the Blind Forest and a few more. It didn't take more than 7-8 seconds for the game to load from a suspended state which is quite impressive. 

New Controller

Stepping away from the console itself for one second, the journalists that got hands-on time with the console, got to check out the new controller as well. The biggest physical addition apart from the slightly redesigned size is the new D-Pad. It is inspired by the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller and makes it easy to access all eight directions on the D-Pad. Microsoft has also worked to reduce the latency between the input and reaction, making the gameplay smoother. There is also a dedicated share button on the controller and unfortunately, it still runs on 2 AA batteries. There is a USB-C connector this time instead of MicroUSB, in case you use a play and charge kit with the console. 

Ray-tracing, HDR and Gaming Performance

Speaking of Ray Tracing, it is hardware accelerated on the Series X. Minecraft was showcased with RTX on the console, but we are still waiting to see games like Metro Exodus and Control running with Ray Tracing on the console. Gears 5 was ported to the new console and with the current port, it is running at PC Ultra settings in 4K. To put things into perspective, the graphical performance of the game is the same as that of the RTX 2080 and that's without putting in a lot of effort to optimize it. The company also showcased how HDR will work for games that have not been mastered in HDR. According to Microsoft, "With Xbox Series X, existing Xbox games, including recent titles within the ID@Xbox program, that don’t already have native HDR support will get the next-gen treatment. Xbox Series X is able to leverage an innovative HDR reconstruction technique to enhance existing SDR games with no work from developers and no impact to available CPU, GPU or memory resources."

Console design

In all the promotional material, one cannot gauge the design of the console. However, now we know how big it is. Placed next to the Xbox One X vertically, the Series X is about as tall, a lot wider but not as deep. Placed horizontally, it is taller and about the same width, but not as deep as the One X. The console is ideally kept vertically and should occupy about the same space as the One X. And on top, the green in the vents isn't an LED, rather a green pate to give the console better aesthetics.  

Price and availability

Microsoft hasn't spoken about pricing yet, but the company is still committed to a holiday 2020 release date.


Sameer Mitha

Sameer Mitha

Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels. View Full Profile

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