Microsoft is using two mainboards on this Xbox Series X compact design, and the entire unit is cooled through air being pulled in from the bottom and pushed out at the top via a 130mm fan.
One of the most obvious improvements that Microsoft is demonstrating with the Xbox Series X today is load times. In one tech demo (above), State of Decay 2 loads a full 40 seconds quicker on the Series X compared to the Xbox One X. That’s a massive improvement over current consoles.
Microsoft is using a solid-state drive on the Xbox Series X, and the focus is on speed and load times for next-gen games. The Xbox maker is using something called “Xbox Velocity Architecture,” that is designed to improve the integration between hardware and software for streaming of in game assets. The result will be seen in large open world games, where developers can use this system to create high fidelity environments that load dynamically using the processing power and SSD of the Xbox Series X.
This new SSD support will also allow Xbox Series X owners to resume multiple games instantly and even resume titles after the Series X is rebooted for a system update. Game states will be saved directly to the system’s SSD, so you can resume days or even weeks later. Microsoft is demonstrating this quick resume feature, using what looks like the existing dashboard for the Xbox One.
Microsoft is also demonstrating some ray tracing aspects of the Xbox Series X today. Ray tracing will enable more realistic lighting changes to games, with improved shadows and cinematic effects. We haven’t seen enough ray-traced games on the PC side just yet, but Microsoft is showing off how the Xbox Series X can handle ray tracing in titles like Minecraft. Microsoft is also optimizing Gears 5 with higher resolution textures, fog, and particles counts, all running in 60fps in 4K.
The next-gen Xbox will also support 8K gaming and frame rates of up to 120fps in games. Microsoft has partnered with the HDMI forum and TV manufacturers to enable Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) on the Series X as part of its HDMI 2.1 support. “The team has also been working with the industry’s leading TV manufacturers for the past two years to ensure the display ecosystem is ready for the features coming with Xbox Series X,” explains Microsoft’s Will Tuttle.
All of this should reduce latency from when you press a button on an Xbox controller to when you see that movement show up on screen. Speaking of the controller, it’s now USB-C, uses AA batteries, and supports Bluetooth Low Energy. There’s also a new share button for sending clips and screenshots to friends, and existing controllers will work just fine on the new Xbox Series X.
Today’s spec unveiling comes ahead of Microsoft’s plans to fully detail the console to developers later this week. Microsoft is also planning to unveil more details about the games we’ll see for the Xbox Series X in June.