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New details on Xbox Series X – Full Specs, Controller Info, Demo Videos

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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.

Tech Specs

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:

CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size360.45 mm2
Process7nm Enhanced
Memory16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
Memory Bandwidth10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External StorageUSB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target4K @ 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

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

How to install Black Ops Cold War PS5 high-resolution texture packs

Here’s how PS5 users can download new high-resolution texture packs for Black Ops Cold War, making the game look better than ever.

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How to install Black Ops Cold War PS5 high-resolution texture packs

PlayStation 5 Black Ops Cold War players have been treated to some brand new high-resolution texture packs with the Season 4 Reloaded update, so here’s how to install the Cold War PS5 high-resolution texture packs.

Black Ops Cold War’s mid-season update is almost here, finally bringing the Mauer Der Toten Zombies map, the OTs 9 SMG, and Tactical Nukes to regular multiplayer modes. On top of that, PlayStation 5 players will get some brand new high-resolution texture packs for “the best visual experience.”

Here’s when you can start downloading the new texture packs and how to apply them to Black Ops Cold War.

Black Ops Cold War PS5 high resolution texture packs

Black Ops Cold War’s Season 4 Reloaded update is now live, and all of its new content is now available for players to experience. When you launch Cold War for the first time after the update, you’ll be prompted to download the new high-resolution texture pack.

This gives significant graphical improvements to the game, making even the game look even better if you’re playing at 4K. Warzone has already received these texture packs, but now they’ve come to Cold War on PS5.

Players were met with a “This content can’t be found” error message up until now when trying to download these packs. However, they are now available for players to utilize. You will be met with an image like the one below:

Black Ops Cold War PS5 high-resolution texture packs

How to install Black Ops Cold War PS5 high-resolution texture packs

Here’s how to download the high-resolution texture packs following Season 4 Reloaded going live:

  1. Launch Black Ops Cold War
  2. Accept the on-screen download prompt
  3. Follow the on-screen steps to download and install the texture pack

If you don’t accept the prompt the first time it pops up, you can find the high-resolution texture packs through the Game Installs menu. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Launch Black Ops Cold War
  2. Click ‘R3’ (Right Analog Stick) while on the main menu to bring up File Management
  3. Locate the new high-resolution texture pack
  4. Follow the on-screen steps to download and install the texture pack

And that’s it! Black Ops Cold War multiplayer, Zombies and Dead Ops Arcade 3 will be looking their best on the PlayStation 5.

You can also check out how to get daily Double XP Tokens in Cold War Season 4 and beyond.

Image Credit: Activision / Treyarch

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Battlefield

Battlefield 2042: Last-gen vs. next-gen console differences

Battlefield 2042 players on PS4 & Xbox One will play on smaller maps with less enemies than PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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Battlefield character with PS5 & Xbox Series X

Battlefield 2042 officially launches on October 22, 2021, but players who purchase the game on next-gen consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S are set to enjoy a different experience compared to their PS5 and Xbox One counterparts.

After weeks of hype, Battlefield 2042 was finally announced on June 9, 2021. The first entry in the series for almost 3 years, 2042 brings three exciting multiplayer modes, although no single-player or battle royale mode at launch. On top of that, Specialists make their first appearance in the Battlefield franchise this year, with 10 characters equipped with their own abilities to help you in combat.

Set to be the biggest and most ambitious Battlefield game to date, there had been rumors that the game would skip the last generation of consoles entirely. While we now know that isn’t the case, there will be some major differences between the two versions of the game.

Helicipter flying in Battlefield 2042

Battlefield 2042 on PS4, Xbox One vs PS5, Xbox Series X, PC

During a pre-launch presentation with DICE and EA, the developers confirmed that the game was built with next-gen players in mind, with 128 players on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.

Unfortunately for those still using older hardware, DICE and EA state that lobbies will max out at the usual 64 players, meaning that you won’t be able to experience the same combat as those with newer hardware.

Due to the fact that there are fewer players, Battlefield 2042’s maps will be “tailored to smaller scale to ensure epic battles,” although gameplay and mid-map events will “all be the same” regardless of what platform you play on.

battlefield 2042 vehicle gameplay

In a recent briefing from Battlefield’s Senior Design Director, Dan Berlin, DICE provided more details on the differences between the two versions.

“Our intention is to ensure that nothing detracts from the overall experience of playing Battlefield 2042,” he explained. The main differences are that they’ve reduced the player count and “made adjustments to the playable area on the maps to ensure a fluid play experience.”

He reiterated that “Weapons, Vehicles, Specialists and Gadgets all remain the same no matter what generation of console you’re playing on.” Weather effects and “Environmental Hazards like EMP storms will also be experienced by all players,” he continued.

Players jumping out of a helicopter in Battlefield 2042

In the same briefing, DICE also confirmed that Battlefield 2042 will feature crossplay. However, Xbox One and PS4 users won’t be able to play with their next-gen counterparts and will be limited to matchmaking with the previous

On the bright side, Battlefield 2042 will also feature cross-progression and cross-commerce, so if you decide to either advance to the next generation of consoles or switch to PC, you’ll keep all of your progress and purchases.

While this is likely to be disappointing for those on PS4 and Xbox One, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. While the last-gen consoles are powerful, EA and DICE have to ensure that gameplay and graphics remain spectacular, and it’s possible that the older hardware wasn’t capable of handling 124 players.

How this will actually feel while playing the game remains to be seen, and we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the Battlefield 2042 Open Beta to be sure.

Image Credits: EA / DICE

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Call of Duty: Warzone

How to fix Warzone’s never-ending “Update Requires Restart” loop on PlayStation & Xbox

Warzone’s developers have offered a potential fix for console players having to continuously reinstall the most recent update.

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Warzone Xbox and PlayStation players

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, some console players have had to install the same updates over and over. This has continued into Season 4, and the never-ending update loop is still preventing players from accessing Call of Duty: Warzone as the download never completes.

Some players reported this issue after the mid-Season 2 update dropped, but the problem appears to be a persistent nuisance all the way into Season 4.

Fixing CoD: Warzone’s never-ending “Update Requires Restart” issue

A player sniping in Warzone

To end the update loop and access the game, players have reported that they have had to completely uninstall the game and reinstall it.

However, Raven Software acknowledged the issue in Warzone and has possible solutions for frustrated players.

Install Modern Warfare Campaign & Special Ops Packs

picadilly campaign mission in modern warfare

A solution for Warzone players that Raven has recommended is for players to have all of the game’s content installed, this includes the game’s Campaign and Special Ops side content.

Usually, players will delete the Campaign or Spec Ops once they feel they’ve played all there is to play, but in this case, it might help with the update issue.

To do this:

  1. Load Modern Warfare or Warzone
  2. Go to the DLC Management screen from the Main menu or via the Settings menu
  3. Install both of the Campaign & Special Ops Packs

Perform a Hard Reset of the PlayStation or Xbox

Warzone players running in Verdansk

If you’re getting the message endlessly, then an easy fix for many is to simply shut down the console, and boot it up again.

To do this, simply:

  1. Hold down the main power button for a few seconds until it begins to shut down
  2. Wait until you know for sure that the system has ended all operations
  3. Unplug the console’s mains, and leave it to rest for a few minutes
  4. Plug it back in and start up the console again
  5. Load up Warzone and see if the issue persists

Uninstall and Reinstall Call of Duty: Warzone / Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

cod warzone battling near satellite

The option that no one, understandably, wants to do as it will take a large amount of time and effort to reinstall Call of Duty’s large file size.

However, it is a solution, and one that you may have to try. If you’re going to do attempt this long process, this is what you’ll need to do.

  1. Go to your system’s memory storage settings
  2. Find ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ and/or ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ and then press to delete them from your hard drive
  3. Allow the process to complete, and then reinstall them

Raven emphasized that one of these solutions 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 CoD Warzone subreddit.

While this bug has most often been reported on PlayStation and Xbox, it’s worth trying to adapt these solutions for PC too. Also, if you have the same issue on Black Ops Cold War, it’s worth trying this method here too.

Also, check out how to get Black Ops 4 for free with PlayStation Plus.

Image Credit: Activision

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