Five Things We Learned About the Xbox Series X Beyond Specs Today

Xbox Series X For Dummies

Microsoft had a big blow out of Xbox Series X technical information today, and for a lot of us, seeing specs listed out doesn’t really mean that much. But for those of you that are invested in that kind of information, here’s the system’s specs as they’re listed on the Xbox Wire:

CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 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/ 320mb 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

But what about the rest of us who are more concerned about how all these innards help the Xbox Series X improve the experience on a more tangible level? The visual learners among us, if you will. For those of us who fit that description, there’s actually been a fair bit of new information that can paint that picture for you more vividly than a chart of specs can. So let’s break those down:

The Xbox Series X improves load times of Xbox One games.

If you didn’t know already, the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with Xbox One games. But the system isn’t going to be making a 1:1 recreation of experiencing games on Xbox One, instead, it will be using the power of the Series X to improve things like loading times. Here’s a demo of both consoles loading the same section of State of Decay 2, where the Series X loads the game in a fraction of the time it takes its predecessor. So much so I kinda felt anxious looking at the Xbox One X screen while the Series X screen was playing the game.

The Xbox Series X will use proprietary storage cards.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. The Xbox Series X is coming with 1TB internal storage pre-installed, but from the sound of it, you won’t be able to just use any external hard drive if you want more storage. According to Digital Foundry, Microsoft will be releasing proprietary storage cards akin to memory cards from before consoles had internal storage. There’s no word on how much these will cost, but if you want to save more Series X games and data, you’ll have to use them. The system will still include USB ports for Xbox One games and content, but if you need more storage specifically for Series X content, you’ll need to shell out the cash for these.

via Digital Foundry

The Xbox Series X is rather large.

Given the Series X’s shape being more along the lines of a PC tower, many people have been wondering if and how it can fit in their entertainment centers. Well now we’ve got some side-by-side comparisons between the console and the Xbox One X (courtesy of Eurogamer/Digital Foundry). As for the actual dimensions, Microsoft has confirmed the box is 151mm x 151mm x 301mm, or roughly 5.9 inches x 5.9 inches x 11 inches.

The Xbox Series X can run multiple games at once.

In one of the many upgrades between the Xbox One and Series X, the new console will be able to suspend and resume multiple games at once. In a tech demo Microsoft released today, the Series X is seen suspending and resuming five games pretty seamlessly. So if you’re the type to play multiple games at once, you won’t have to close one out to play another.

The Xbox Series X’s controller looks…mostly the same.

Aesthetically, the Series X’s controller is nearly identical to the Xbox One’s. But it comes with a few notable changes, including a new D-pad, which will have more defined directional buttons for more precise input. The other notable inclusion is the Share Button, which will make capturing footage and screenshots more immediate than they were on the Xbox One.

The Xbox Series X is planned to launch this holiday season, but given how the coronavirus is affecting everything from industry events to console manufacturing and game development, we’ll see if these plans still pan out.