Xbox One X Overview and Early Performance Numbers

We heard a lot about the upcoming Xbox One X console, which will be a more powerful, upgraded version of the original Xbox One. This version was originally known as Xbox Scorpio, but its final name will simply be Xbox One X. Its focus is on extending hardware capabilities, enabling true 4K gaming to accompany 4K TVs.

Owners of the “older” Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles should not worry about having to replace their devices - according to Microsoft, games will download the assets appropriate to the owner’s console. This means that regular Xbox One users will get 1080p assets, and the new console’s users will have the 4K assets downloaded, regardless of their TV’s output. 4K games will be huge, with Forza 7 taking the lead - it will occupy about 100 (yes, one hundred) GBs. All games will be compatible between Xbox One versions and will also be identical in terms of gameplay - the only difference will be graphics-wise.

You should notice some improvements with the new console even if you do not have a 4K TV, as game assets will still be 4K, downscaled to 1080p resolution.

Xbox One X Specifications and Price

The new console will be released on November 7, 2017 with a suggested price of $499 / €499. According to the developers of ARK: Survival Evolved, you will get a console with about the same power as a PC with a GTX 1070 graphics card and 16 GB of RAM. We will soon be able to verify this claim since we are starting to see some actual benchmarks. First, let’s look at what has changed between the previous and upcoming Xbox Ones.

Full specifications and comparisons to the original Xbox One and the PS4 Pro are available here, along with more details about how this new technology was developed. In most cases it is the game developers who must adhere to their target platform’s specifics and develop their games to run well on said platforms, outputting the intended FPS at all times. But since the Scorpio project was an upgrade to an existing platform, the developers at Microsoft had the possibility of benchmarking actual, existing games and extrapolating the data they received to see what it would take to run said games at 4K 60 FPS.

When compared to the original Xbox One, the X version is much, much stronger. Titanfall 2 will scale up to 6K and Shadow of War will have native 4K support, just to name a few examples. Not all games will be able to run at native 4K 60 FPS, but dynamic resolution will help a lot, even though it sacrifices some picture quality to ensure smooth frame rates.

The clock speed of the custom-made eight-core AMD CPU went from 1.75 to 2.3 GHz per core. Since graphics are the focus of the upgrade, the GPU advanced the most - there are 40 computing units, each at 1172 MHz, which is a huge boost when compared to the original console’s 12 units at 853 MHz. Memory was upgraded from 8 GB DDR3 and 32 MB of ESRAM to 12 GB GDDR5 (the ESRAM was directly mapped to a particular section of the GDDR5 modules), and memory bandwidth is 326 GB / second. Developers will have access to 9 GB of RAM, which can also be used by the games to cache upcoming sections if the running process does not make full use of the available amount.

As we can see, there is a huge amount of computing power packed into the console, which will utilize a vapor-cooling system instead of traditional fans, meaning it will run very quietly.

Early Performance Numbers

Most games in the future will use DirectX 12 with up to 50% more efficiency than DirectX 11. Eurogamer’s review and analysis features 9 unnamed titles, but some of those were guessed by speculators. All of the data says that even without using Xbox One X-specific improvements, the raw processing power of the console is enough for smooth 4K game play at either 30 or 60 FPS. It is not powerful enough to run all games at 4K / 60 FPS. One of the speculated titles in the benchmark is Star Wars Battlefront II, which will be a 720p game on the regular Xbox One. This game won’t be able to hit 60 FPS in 4K; according to the benchmarks, it stays at around 38 FPS. An unknown, in-house developed open world game surprisingly runs at about only 17 FPS, with a frame time of 58 ms. These all mean that developers will still have to make adjustments and optimizations to their games or utilize dynamic resolution.

The raw power of Xbox One X will help older titles even if their developers did not target the newer development SDK. These games will gain access to 3 teraflops instead of the 1.3 the original console is capable of, and will surely be able to make use of the higher amount of available RAM and more processing power. This means that even older titles will look somewhat better, as automatic resolution or graphics down scaling won’t be necessary for them on the new console.