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Xbox Series X Architecture Detailed in 'Deep Dive'

August 17, 2020

By: Robert N. Adams

 
 

The Xbox Series X architecture is set to be explored in detail later tonight, but Microsoft has revealed some key facts in advance of its presentation at Hot Chips 2020.

Microsoft's newest gaming console is all set to launch later this year, but they haven't really explored the tech in the same way that PlayStation did with a stream earlier this year. This is all super-geeky tech news, mind, so the layperson might not get much out of it.

 

That said, there is one astonishing thing revealed via the Xbox Series X architecture. As Tom's Hardware reports, Ray Tracing might just be a serious game changer for the next console generation.

Xbox Series X architecture details ray tracing acceleration
Image credit: Tom's Hardware, Microsoft

PC players will likely get a laugh out of the above image — after all, HD texture and lighting packs have been a part of Minecraft for years now. That said, DirectX Ray Tracing Acceleration makes Minecraft look positively phenomenal.

 
 

Mind, developers can't quite push the "Turn Ray Tracing On" button and get instant improvements. There will be a minor processing cost, but Microsoft notes that this can result in a 3–10X acceleration depending on how much stuff is on screen.

On that same note, the Xbox Series X will be capable of delivering 4K resolution at 120Hz, a feat that couldn't quite be accomplished by the Xbox One X. While its predecessor could meet the same resolution, the Xbox Series X manages to churn out a higher framerate — as long as developers can take advantage of it.

 
 

In addition to 120Hz support, the Xbox Series X will also be capable of 8K gaming. 4K televisions are rapidly becoming the standard, but Microsoft is already looking ahead to the next step beyond that.

Xbox Series X Architecture Hints at a Possible Price

What is the Xbox Series X going to cost? That's something we still don't know (nor do we know the PS5 price, mind), but the Xbox Series X architecture gives us some hints.

Microsoft is somewhat vague on the cost of the Xbox Series X's components, but one chart notes the cost issues with one component:

Xbox Series X architecture Moore's Law cost
Image credit: Tom's Hardware, Microsoft

Understandably, the Xbox Series X costs more to produce that previous consoles, at least in some parts. Using the Xbox One as a baseline and representing its cost with a dollar sign, the Xbox One S is marked as "$-", the Xbox One X is marked as "$+", and the Xbox Series X is marked as "$++".

 
 

It should be noted ,of course, that this is just a very rough estimate of the price of one portion of this upcoming console — it doesn't factor in the SSD, cooling, power supply, or any other components. While I'm a strong believer in a $399 price point for next-gen consoles, we may just as easily see it creep up to $499 or even $599. For now, we can only speculate on the Xbox Series price until Microsoft decides to reveal it.

In any case, these are just some of the highlights of the Xbox Series X architecture. You can read a fuller technical breakdown over at Tom's Hardwawre. You can also tune in to Hot Chips 2020 from 8:00–9:30 PM EDT to see Microsoft's presentation in full, but you'll have to pay a registration fee to watch it.

Are you excited for the possibilities provided by the Xbox Series X architecture? Do you think this will represent a substantial improvement over the current generation of consoles? Let us know in the comments below!

A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!