Xbox Series X specs: Phil Spencer confirms 12 Teraflops, ray tracing and more

By Sam Quirke,
After that surprising reveal of the Xbox Series X at last years Game Awards, Phil Spencer has finally put pen to paper and rounded up some specific Xbox Series X tech specs. Headlining the announcement is a 12 teraflops GPU – that's double the Xbox One X's graphical processing power, and critically is a couple ahead of what Google Stadia is trying to offer.

Xbox Series X design

Xbox Series X will have a 12 teraflops GPU using AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 tech

Phil Spencer confirmed that the Xbox Series X will be running a custom processor utilising the architecture of the AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2. 12 Teraflops is double the Xbox One X's 6 and is notably higher than Google Stadia's highly publicised 10. To very loosely translate for the layman, more teraflops means more graphical processing power, implying higher frame rates, larger and more complex game worlds and more. It will be up to game developers to make the most of it, though, and for the rest of the console's hardware to keep up. PC graphics cards will always be a challenge to compete with; the Series X GPU would still be behind the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti purported 13.4 TFLOPS. Most interestingly, Digital Foundry's analysis of leaked tech in Sony's machine suggests the PlayStation 5 is only capable of 9.2 TFLOPs – if true, that's significantly lower than the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X will use Variable Rate Shading

As Spencer points out in his update, Variable Rate Shading is all about creating GPU efficiency, freeing up all of that power to be used elsewhere. At the moment every pixel you see in a video game has a shader applied to it, even if it's not your direct focus. This new technology allows shaders to be prioritized towards key points of focus on the screen – a character, an important object, a path. Crucially this allows frame rates to have a chance of keeping up with higher resolutions.

Xbox Series X will use hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing

Raytracing, a buzzword for this next generation of consoles, essentially amounts to the ability to produce much more dynamic and realistic environments. In particular lighting and reflections will be much more life-like, though Spencer also points out that real-time acoustics will be more accurate as you traverse the game world too.

Phil Spencer's post also mentioned some other key aspects of the new console:

  • A custom, "next-generation SSD" will act as the console's main storage, which will allegedly cut down on game loading times.
  • A new Quick Resume feature will be able to handle multiple suspended games – you can potentially hop into a quick Halo match when your friends are online without having to save and close whatever you're in the middle of playing.
  • Using a new feature called Dynamic Latency Output, Spencer is aiming to tackle latency between the new Xbox Wireless Controller and the system, allowing for more immediate response times to button presses.
  • Team Xbox have partnered with HDMI experts and TV manufacturers to enable auto-select of Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate. When an Xbox is connected, these modes will choose the lowest latency settings and sync refresh rates to the game's frame rate.
  • Xbox Series X will support up to 120 frames per second for the developers that wish to try and match it.
  • Backward-compatible Xbox 360 games and Xbox original games will not only be compatible with the Series X, but they will also benefit from steadier frame rates and quicker loading times.
  • New Smart Delivery technology means that you only need to purchase one copy of a game to get an optimised experience for your console – whether that's an Xbox One or an Xbox Series X. Publishers can "choose to use" this technology to release just one game for the Xbox One and the Series X, rather than force customers to pay for an upgraded game when they upgrade their console.
That's everything that Phil chose to share at this point – crucially, that doesn't include a release date or a price. It's still tenuously possible that Phil is avoiding mentioning a secretive lower-spec additional console to be released under codename Lockhart, but we're still sceptical of these rumours.

Though the Xbox Series X will be cross-compatible with Xbox One, we're still keeping a list of confirmed Xbox Series X games – titles that publishers have confirmed are being designed for delivery using this exciting new technology.

Source: Xbox Wire
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016 and is now the Editor for both TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. He loves gaming on all devices and in all genres. He remains a stubborn Assassin's Creed and Pokémon fan.