Microsoft has announced new details on the Xbox Series X, including providing the full specs, new info on the controller, and demo videos of some of the new features in a series of blog posts on the Xbox Wire. You can read the full details HERE.
Following the AMD presentation, Technical Fellow Andrew Goossen took the reins to dive deep into the technological bells and whistles that will be powering Xbox Series X. We’ve listed the full system specs below, with handy links out to our glossary for definitions on what many of these terms mean:
|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|
|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|
Xbox Series X Overview
DirectML – Xbox Series X supports Machine Learning for games with DirectML, a component of DirectX. DirectML leverages unprecedented hardware performance in a console, benefiting from over 24 TFLOPS of 16-bit float performance and over 97 TOPS (trillion operations per second) of 4-bit integer performance on Xbox Series X. Machine Learning can improve a wide range of areas, such as making NPCs much smarter, providing vastly more lifelike animation, and greatly improving visual quality.
DirectStorage – DirectStorage is an all new I/O system designed specifically for gaming to unleash the full performance of the SSD and hardware decompression. It is one of the components that comprise the Xbox Velocity Architecture. Modern games perform asset streaming in the background to continuously load the next parts of the world while you play, and DirectStorage can reduce the CPU overhead for these I/O operations from multiple cores to taking just a small fraction of a single core; thereby freeing considerable CPU power for the game to spend on areas like better physics or more NPCs in a scene. This newest member of the DirectX family is being introduced with Xbox Series X and we plan to bring it to Windows as well.
Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) –Another innovation we are making to reduce latency for Xbox Series X is Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). With DLI, developers can more accurately synchronize the player’s input with the game’s simulation and render loop, even further reducing input latency while playing the game.
GPU Work Creation – Xbox Series X adds hardware, firmware and shader compiler support for GPU work creation that provides powerful capabilities for the GPU to efficiently handle new workloads without any CPU assistance. This provides more flexibility and performance for developers to deliver their graphics visions.
Hardware Accelerated DirectX Raytracing (DXR) – From improved lighting, shadows and reflections as well as more realistic acoustics and spatial audio, raytracing enables developers to create more physically accurate worlds. For the very first time in a game console, Xbox Series X includes support for high performance, hardware accelerated raytracing. Xbox Series X uses a custom-designed GPU leveraging the latest innovation from our partners at AMD and built in collaboration with the same team who developed DirectX Raytracing. Developers will be able to deliver incredibly immersive visual and audio experiences using the same techniques on PC and beyond.
Hardware Decompression – Hardware decompression is a dedicated hardware component introduced with Xbox Series X to allow games to consume as little space as possible on the SSD while eliminating all CPU overhead typically associated with run-time decompression. It reduces the software overhead of decompression when operating at full SSD performance from more than three CPU cores to zero – thereby freeing considerable CPU power for the game to spend on areas like better gameplay and improved framerates. Hardware decompression is one of the components of the Xbox Velocity Architecture.
Intelligent Delivery – Microsoft’s developer facing technology to reduce the size of game installs. Intelligent Delivery empowers developers to only install the pieces of the game you need, thereby minimizing the amount of content that needs to be installed or downloaded to the SSD.
Latency – Latency refers to responsiveness of the console and controller, including the time it takes for your input to be registered by your console and then displayed on your screen. Reducing latency results in a more connected and immersive experience. Xbox Series X will be our most responsive console ever featuring ultra-low latency with advanced technology that minimizes latency at every stage of the gaming pipeline so that you instantly see the impact of your actions on the screen.
Mesh Shading – Mesh shading will enable developers to dramatically improve the performance and image quality when rendering a substantial number of complex objects in a scene. As an example, mesh shaders could enable the player to experience asteroid belts and fields of flowers in more pristine detail without seeing a loss in performance.
Native Resolution – Native Resolution is an Xbox Series X backwards compatibility enhancement for select Xbox One games that allows them to render at native 4K even if they weren’t originally designed for 4K.
Optimized for Xbox Series X – Games built using the Xbox Series X development kit and designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Xbox Series X. These include new titles built natively using the Xbox Series X development environment as well as previously released titles that have been rebuilt specifically for Xbox Series X. They will showcase unparalleled load-times, visuals, responsiveness and framerates up to 120 fps.
Parallel Cooling Architecture – Parallel Cooling Architecture is the name of the innovative system design used to cool Xbox Series X. Building a console that delivers four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way – something that is critically important with all the extra power of our next generation console – led to its unique vertical design.
Project Acoustics – Incubated over a decade by Microsoft Research, Project Acoustics accurately models sound propagation physics in mixed reality and games, employed by many AAA experiences today. It is unique in simulating wave effects like diffraction in complex scene geometries without straining CPU, enabling a much more immersive and lifelike auditory experience. Plug-in support for both the Unity and Unreal game engines empower the sound designer with expressive controls to mold reality. Developers will be able to easily leverage Project Acoustics with Xbox Series X through the addition of a new custom audio hardware block.
Quick Resume – A new feature powered by the technical capabilities and the innovative Xbox Velocity Architecture in Xbox Series X, Quick Resume enables players to seamlessly switch between multiple titles and resume instantly from where you last left off.
RDNA 2 – The custom designed processor in the Xbox Series X leverages RDNA 2, the latest next generation graphics architecture from our partners at AMD. RDNA 2 provides a significant advancement in performance and efficiency as well as next generation graphics features such as hardware accelerated raytracing and variable rate shading.
Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS) – A component of the Xbox Velocity Architecture, SFS is a feature of the Xbox Series X hardware that allows games to load into memory, with fine granularity, only the portions of textures that the GPU needs for a scene, as it needs it. This enables far better memory utilization for textures, which is important given that every 4K texture consumes 8MB of memory. Because it avoids the wastage of loading into memory the portions of textures that are never needed, it is an effective 2x or 3x (or higher) multiplier on both amount of physical memory and SSD performance.
SDR to HDR Conversion – With Xbox Series X, existing Xbox games, including recent titles within the [email protected] 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.
Smart Delivery – Smart Delivery is a new technology introduced with Xbox Series X that will ensure you always play the best version of the games you own for your console, across generations. All Xbox Game Studios titles that are optimized for Xbox Series X, including “Halo Infinite” will support Smart Delivery, providing the best available version for whichever console you choose to play on. For example, this means if you purchase the Xbox One version of a supported title, we will identify and deliver the best version of it to your Xbox One, as usual. If you decide to jump into the next generation with Xbox Series X, we will automatically provide the Xbox Series X optimized version of the game at no additional cost if and when it becomes available. Smart Delivery is available to all Xbox developers.
Spatial Audio – Spatial Audio delivers deeply immersive audio which enables the player to more accurately pinpoint objects in a 3D play space. With full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic, Xbox Series X has custom audio hardware to offload audio processing from the CPU, dramatically improving the accessibility, quality and performance of these immersive experiences.
TFLOPS (Teraflops) – TFLOPS (or “teraflops”) stands for Trillion Floating-point Operations Per Second and is a measure of raw mathematical performance of a GPU. While Xbox Series X delivers 12 TFLOPS of 32-bit float performance, two times that of the Xbox One X, the architectural efficiency improvements brought by AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture plus our next generation features such as Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and hardware accelerated DirectX Raytracing means that Xbox Series X will deliver well over twice the effective graphics performance of Xbox One X for games.
Variable Rate Shading (VRS) – Variable Rate Shading increases GPU efficiency by concentrating shader work where it’s most needed and reducing shader work in areas where it won’t be noticeable. With minimal developer effort, VRS significantly improves GPU performance resulting in more stable and higher resolutions and frame rates with no perceptible loss in visual quality.
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) – Variable Refresh Rate is a new addition to HDMI 2.1 which enables capable displays to refreshed as fast as the console can render images, thereby eliminating tearing, increasing smoothness, and reducing latency. We have been working with the industry’s leading TV manufacturers to ensure the display ecosystem is ready for the features we are bringing with Xbox Series X.
Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card – Built in partnership with Seagate, this 1 TB custom storage solution expands storage capacity of Xbox Series X with the full speed and performance of the Xbox Velocity Architecture Previous generation Xbox titles can still be played directly from external USB 3.2 hard drives. However, to receive all the benefits of the Xbox Velocity Architecture and optimal performance, Xbox Series X, optimized games should be played from the internal SSD or Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card.
Xbox Velocity Architecture – The Xbox Velocity Architecture is the new architecture we’ve created for the Xbox Series X to unlock new capabilities never-before seen in console development. It consists of four components: our custom NVMe SSD, a dedicated hardware decompression block, the all new DirectStorage API, and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS). This combination of custom hardware and deep software integration allows developers to radically improve asset streaming and effectively multiply available memory. It will enable richer and more dynamic living worlds unlike anything ever seen before. It also effectively eliminates loading times, and makes fast travel systems just that: fast.
Xbox Wireless Protocol – One of the first points to reduce latency is within the communication between your controller and your console. By bringing our existing high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless protocol on the Xbox One family of devices to Xbox Series X, we’re able to not only reduce latency in your gaming experience but also ensure all of your existing Xbox One gaming accessories will be compatible with Xbox Series X.
Zen 2 – The custom designed processor in the Xbox Series X leverages AMD’s latest Zen 2 CPU architecture. Zen 2 provides a significant advancement in CPU performance delivering more than 4 times the performance of an Xbox One X.
120 FPS – With support for up to 120 frames per second (FPS), Xbox Series X allows developers to exceed the more traditional 60 FPS in favor of heightened realism and more precise controls for fast-paced action.
Xbox Series X Demo Videos
SOURCE: Xbox Wire
How to fix Warzone’s never-ending update loop on PlayStation & Xbox
Warzone’s developers have offered a potential fix for console players having to continuously reinstall the most recent update.
Warzone players on console have been stuck in a never-ending update loop where they need to install the update multiple times over, but Raven Software has offered players a solution to fix this frustrating issue.
Since Warzone’s update on April 6, which nerfed the dominant FFAR and AUG weapons, some console players have had to install the latest updates over and over. This never-ending update loop has been preventing players from accessing Warzone as the download never completes.
Some players reported this issue after the mid-Season 2 update dropped, but the issue appears to have cropped up again after the most recent Warzone update.
To end the update loop and access the game, some players have reported that they have had to completely uninstall the game and reinstall it. However, Raven Software have now acknowledged the issue in Warzone and have provided a possible solution.
Taking to their official Trello board, Raven Software added a card to their Warzone list that states “Some players on console are having to reinstall the update multiple times over.”
They have confirmed that the issue is under investigation and asked players to refer to the description for a potential solution.
Here’s what Raven Suggests to fix the never-ending update loop:
- Let both install
- Launch the game
- Go to DLC Management screen (R3) from Main menu or via Settings menu
- Install both Campaign Packs, & Special Ops Packs
Raven emphasized that this should fix the update loop, but asked players to let them know the results. You can get in touch either through their Twitter or the r/CODWarzone subreddit.
While this bug has most often been reported on PlayStation and Xbox, it’s worth trying on PC too if you’ve been having the same issue. Also, if you have the same issue on Black Ops Cold War, it’s worth trying this method here too.
Image Credit: Activision
Rumor: Battlefield 6 could launch on Xbox Game Pass
It’s possible that Battlefield 6 will launch on Xbox Game Pass following rumors of a Triple-A FPS game launching on Game Pass in Fall.
Rumors that a Triple-A first-person shooter game is highly likely to launch on Xbox Game Pass in Fall have led to speculation that this is Battlefield 6.
The Battlefield 6 rumor mill has been continuously turning, with details of the game supposedly being leaked. The content and settings of the game are still unconfirmed, but we know for definite that Battlefield’s 2021 title will launch in the Holiday season.
Talking on The XboxEra Podcast, Shpeshal Ed revealed a rumor that, “There is a third party, Triple-A, first-person shooter that is very highly likely to be launching in Game Pass this fall.”
Also talking on the podcast, Jon Clarke, the co-founder and Editor in Chief of XboxEra, explains that when you say “triple-A, third party, first-person shooter,” there are two franchises releasing games in 2021 that come to mind: Call of Duty and Battlefield.
It’s highly unlikely that Call of Duty 2021 will launch as part of Xbox Games Pass, as Activision already have an exclusivity deal with PlayStation. Therefore, Battlefield 6 is the most likely candidate.
“My other bet would be Battlefield 6 because the EA Play relationship already exists,” Clarke explained. “And I’m sure Microsoft are sharing lots and lots of lovely numbers on what it does for a player base when you’ve got 20 million people immediately available to play your game.”
Topic begins at 1:18:55
EA Play, EA’s subscription service, has now joined Game Pass, offering almost the entire backlog of Battlefield games to Game Pass owners, as well as free trials for the latest titles. This deal makes it very possible that Battlefield 6 will be available on the Game Pass.
Shpeshal Ed rebutted saying that Back4Blood is also releasing in Fall, but those on the podcast weren’t sure it would qualify as a Triple-A game. That leaves only Battlefield 6.
With Xbox acquiring Bethesda and having some of their games launch exclusively on the Xbox and PC, it’s clear that Microsoft is making moves to acquire the biggest franchises for Game Pass.
We reiterate that this is only a rumor for now, and all signs point towards Battlefield 6 being on Game Pass, but whether it’s a launch title remains to be seen.
Image Credit: EA
How to get 10 free PlayStation games in 2021
Sony is offering PlayStation 4 and 5 owners free copies of AAA, VR and Indie games as part of the Play At Home initiative in 2021.
Sony is offering PlayStation games for free to PS4 and PS5 owners during the months of March, April and May 2021.
As part of Sony’s “Play at home” initiative of 2021, PlayStation gamers are being treated to a library of indie, VR, and AAA games to play, free of charge. These titles will all be available for a limited time during the months of March, April, and May of 2021 in the PlayStation Store for download.
These games will be available to all PlayStation gamers, without the need for an active PS Plus subscription. Any Play At Home titles are completely free for all players, as was the case when Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was offered in the past.
Free PS Games for March 2021
The following games will be available for download from March 25, 2021 at 8 P.M. PT until April 22, 2021 at 8 P.M. PT.
PlayStation Indie Game Titles
- Enter the Gungeon
- Rez Infinite
- The Witness
PS VR Titles
- Astro Bot Rescue Mission
- Paper Beast
- Ratchet & Clank (Available from March 1, 2021 until March 31, 2021 at 8 P.M. PT)
Free PS Title For April 2021
For April, there is currently only one game announced for free. That will be Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition, which becomes free for all players between April 19, 2021, at 8 P.M. PT until May 15, 2021, at 8 P.M. PT.
Be sure to not miss the deadline for any of these games, and get them in your library before they’re gone. If you’re a PS VR owner, this may be a great time for you to stock up on quality titles for your hardware.
Sony has stated that they’ll have more to share soon, so perhaps that will be even more free titles for gamers to enjoy in the future. We’ll be sure to update when Sony makes an announcement.
Image Credits: Sony
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