Microsoft unveils Xbox Series X specs, controller details

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Xbox Series X packs a powerful punch.
Image: Microsoft

After a long wait, Microsoft is finally giving gamers a look at the specs of the Xbox Series X. The powerful new console is loaded with plenty of impressive hardware to run the next generation of games.

Microsoft also offered fans some details regarding the new controller for the Xbox Series X as well as the console’s dimensions. If one thing is clear after hearing these new details, it’s that the console is going to be blazing fast in every aspect. Let’s dive in.

Technical Specs

The Xbox Series X is going to be a powerful machine. Although PC gamers might be quick to point out that their rig is just as fast, Microsoft’s forthcoming offering is a huge step forward in the console world. It will make blazing-fast gaming accessible to players who prefer having a console.

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At the core of the new Xbox is a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU. The chip boasts eight cores that each clock in at 3.8 GHz. Meanwhile, a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU adds 12 teraflops of processing power. Everything is based on a 7nm process. Due to the Series X’s compact design, it contains a split motherboard to help keep things cool.

The tower-like shape pulls air from the bottom and pushes it out at the top with a 130mm fan for efficient cooling.

In terms of performance, Microsoft is eyeing a minimum of 60fps (up to 120fps) when gaming in 4K. Despite these goals, the Xbox Series X does support 8K gaming as well at framerates of up to 120fps. The company has also reportedly been working with leading display manufacturers to ensure that games will look stunning on the next generation of TVs and monitors, according to Xbox boss Will Tuttle.

Finally, the Xbox Series X will include a 4K Blu-ray disc drive. Its array of ports is fairly straightforward. There will be one for Ethernet, HDMI out, a proprietary Seagate Storage Expansion Card (more on that below), and three USB 3.1 ports.

Sadly, there is still no price tag for the console.

Speed-Driven Performance

Although the Xbox Series X will face steep competition from Sony’s PS5 when it launches this holiday season, it hopes to differentiate itself in one major way—speed.

Everything about Microsoft’s marketing campaign to this point has focused on the new console’s quickness. This will be due in large part to the Series X’s SSD. It will load games far faster than even the Xbox One X. A demo from Microsoft shows the new console loading “State of Decay 2” 40 seconds faster than the previous generation.

Meanwhile, the console maker continues to tout the Series X’s ability to rapidly resume multiple games from a suspended state. While it isn’t clear how many titles can use the quick resume feature at once, it will support at least three. Microsoft also demonstrated this feature in action on the new console.

Memory Galore

The Xbox Series X includes 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a custom NVME SSD storage drive. It’s particularly refreshing to know that the base console will have a terabyte of storage.

The console’s 16GB of RAM is divided into 10GB of fast GPU optimal memory, 3.5GB of standard memory, and 2.5GB which is reserved by the OS.

As for additional storage, gamers will be able to expand their digital collection of Series X games with custom, 1TB storage cards. The proprietary cards from Seagate simply insert into a slot in the back of the console and have a much smaller footprint than an external hard drive.

Microsoft notes that Xbox One, 360, and original Xbox games can continue to be played from external USB hard drives. However, Series X titles will need to run off of either the internal SSD or the Expandable Storage Drive.

New Controller

Although the controller that comes with the Xbox Series X isn’t going to change much from the one bundled with the Xbox one, there are a few tweaks worth mentioning.

First, it will have a vastly improved Dpad. That has been a steady complaint of Xbox gamers for some time. As such, it’s nice to see Microsoft addressing it and making the change to the standard controller.

The Series X controller will also have a new button on its face that makes sharing easier. It appears between the round “View” and “Guide” buttons in the center of the controller. The addition will eliminate the need to enter the system menu to share in-game content.

Image: Microsoft

Meanwhile, the new controller will also make the jump to USB-C but will still be powered by AA batteries.

As for ergonomics, the controller is roughly the same. Microsoft says that it is making minor changes to help it fit a wider range of hands, but most gamers probably won’t notice. However, the Series X controller will feature some new textures. A blog post revealed that Microsoft is adding a subtle, tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers. This is something found in some special edition controllers that most players seem to enjoy.

Image: Microsoft

Those areas will also come with a matte finish rather than their current gloss, which should make playing easier whether your hands are sweaty or dry.

Microsoft did make it clear that existing controllers (yes, even 360 controllers) will work fine with the new console. However, the new one sounds pretty great.

Size Details

Speaking of the compact design, Microsoft has finally given gamers the size of its upcoming console. Although it can be used horizontally, most will stand it up vertically. In that orientation, the Xbox Series X measures 301mm tall and is 151mm deep and wide.

When Microsoft first unveiled the console’s form factor, many were quick to compare its tall cuboid shape to a refrigerator. The company playfully fired back at the critics by tweeting a graphic comparing the two side by side.

With these new details now in the wild, the 2020 holiday season can’t come soon enough. Stay tuned to The Burn-In for the latest news as the next generation of consoles and games approaches.

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