Xbox One X specs: how powerful is the new Xbox and how much better will games look?
Unlike the Xbox One S – which is more along the lines of a traditional slim redesign – Xbox One X is a mid-generation upgrade to the Xbox One.
At E3 we had a first glimpse at the box itself, which is touted as the smallest Xbox ever – smaller even than last year’s Xbox One S slimline revision.
The hard specs are as follows, with comparisons to the PS4 Pro and original Xbox One, over in our exclusive Digital Foundry Project Scorpio reveal:
- Eight custom CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz
- 326GB/s of memory bandwidth
- 1172MHz GPU – with 40 customised compute units
- 12GB GDDR5 memory
- 1TB HDD
- 4K UHD Blu-ray disc player
- 4K gaming support
- VR support
This is a machine with far more graphical prowess that the existing Xbox One, and how developers will take advantage of that 6TF of GPU power is up to them. (Digital Foundry has you covered if you’re interested in knowing what a teraflop actually is, by the way.)
Back during E3 2016, Xbox head Phil Spencer said users will only notice a difference with games running on Xbox One X if they had a 4K television (“Scorpio is designed as a 4K console, and if you don’t have a 4K TV, the benefit we’ve designed for, you’re not going to see”, he told Eurogamer in an interview during E3) but that’s changed – Spencer later clarified that “some developers will take advantage of that 6 teraflops in different ways”, meaning they won’t have to use the extra processing power to necessarily hit 4K, and can channel it towards a better looking 1080p experience instead – whether that’s through super sampling or otherwise.
So while Sony’s mid-generation upgrade PS4 Pro requires developers to support a 1080p resolution with its mandatory Pro mode from October, Xbox One X will be a little looser in how developers used the more advanced specs. This could be a good thing, as our own Richard Leadbetter questions whether chasing a higher pixel-count is a better use of mid-generation consoles than higher frame-rates or richer gameplay experiences.
Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro, existing PS4, Xbox One consoles
Digital Foundry originally created a suggested spec analysis on possible parts Xbox One X could be using, back before their exclusive reveal.
Now, we know the complete details of what’s in the box. To summarise, we can expect a much faster GPU than the PS4 Pro (4.2TF compared to Xbox One X’s 6TF – easily the system’s biggest selling point), 12GB of GDDR5 RAM (9GB of which is for games, 3GB for a 4k dashboard) and eight custom GPU cores at a whopping 1172MHz.
|PS4||PS4 Pro||Xbox One||Xbox One X|
|CPU||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 1.6GHz||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75GHz||Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz|
|GPU||18 Radeon GCN compute units at 800MHz||36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz||12 GCN compute units at 853MHz||40 customised compute units at 1172MHz|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5 at 176GB/s||8GB GDDR5 at 218GB/s||8GB DDR3 at 68GB/s and 32MB ESRAM at max 218GB/s||12GB GDDR5 at 326GB/s|
This means that while Xbox One has lagged behind PS4 performance, Xbox One X is set to offer a sizable leap over both the PS4 and PS4 Pro, with much better graphical and memory capabilities, and support for native 4K gaming.
To quote Digital Foundry in the Xbox Project Scorpio spec analysis: “It’s a remarkable turnabout. A good portion of PlayStation 4’s success has been down to its spec advantage over Xbox One, combined with a focus on the hardcore player. Sony’s technological advantage will be gone with the next wave of hardware.”
Xbox One X games, peripherals and VR
Xbox One X is a mid-generation upgrade of the Xbox One, and so all games and peripherals that run on an Xbox One today will work on the new system, including controllers and Kinect, as well as initiatives such as Xbox 360 backwards compatibility and cross-buy with Windows 10 as well.
Additionally, Microsoft has said there won’t be any Xbox One X exclusives, despite initially contradictory messaging from Shannon Loftis shortly after the console’s announcement that was swiftly corrected by Aaron Greenberg:
Great thing is with Project Scorpio as part of #XboxOne family all your games will work, no Scorpio exclusives, so no one gets left behind
— Aaron Greenberg âï¸ (@aarongreenberg) June 14, 2016
However, at gamescom 2016, Xbox marketing chief Aaron Greenberg confirmed there would be VR exclusive Xbox One X games, since they view VR as separate to traditional console games.
This was somewhat hinted at during the announcement video for Project Scorpio with Bethesda’s Todd Howard saying: “We’re moving Fallout 4 to VR and to have a console that can support that at the resolution and speed that we really want, I think it’s going to be magical.”
The interview also didn’t rule out permanent forward compatibility, however, with Greenberg hinting at a move away from traditional console generations to an iterative hardware model with permanent backward compatibility – similar to what Apple does on iOS.
Xbox One X 4K gaming and VR support – how will it work?
Microsoft has said Xbox One X’s extra power will be particularly useful in two areas; delivering 4K gaming and “high fidelity” VR.
In Digital Foundry’s opinion and spec analysis of Xbox One X, the suggestion is that, if the software –
by which we mean games – are optimised well enough, “there is some evidence that Scorpio’s true 4K performance could pose a challenge to the likes of Nvidia’s GTX 1070 and AMD’s Fury X-class hardware.
Over in the deepdive on Scorpio tech, Digital Foundry detailed what they were shown of a special Forza Motorsport demo running in native 4K at 60fps – with power to spare. “Clearly this is just one game, but the point is that Scorpio doesn’t just scale Xbox One engines to 4K. For the Forza engine at least, there’s overhead, and plenty of it.”
This was later confirmed with the announcement of Forza Motorsport 7 at E3, which will run at a native 4K at 60FPS.
At E3 2017 we’ve had Digital Foundry deep dives into other games, such as BioWare’s Anthem and Assassin’s Creed Origins on the system. Both aren’t ‘true’ 4K, employing checkerboard rendering and / or dynamic resolution, but still offer some very impressive results.
However, a larger question from the event was the lack of code running on Xbox One X hardware, with several titles shown on PC instead – making it too early to make broad assessments of the jump between the PS4 Pro or even the standard Xbox One.
To quote Digital Foundry: “We’d like to stress that everything we’ve heard from developers about Xbox One X behind the scenes has been positive, but in the wake of the big hardware reveal – which set the bar so high – E3 was supposed to be about the games, and we were hopeful of comprehensive validation of the bold claims made for what is clearly a remarkable piece of console engineering.”
As for 4K media, in Rich’s words “Microsoft is confident in the quality of the scaler built into Scorpio’s display processor”, and is enhanced over the Xbox One S to “handle the bandwidth and quality requirements of 4K”. That, of course, includes supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and likely 4K streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. (If you’re interested in investing in a 4K TV ahead of Xbox One X, here are some of the best television screens for HDR gaming.)
As for VR support, that’s “no problem” with the proposed specs on offer, according to Digital Foundry, as “a 6TF Radeon GPU [a rough equivalent to Scorpio’s power] comfortably outperforms the baseline R9 290 and GTX 970 suggested for VR ready PCs”.
The other question is how VR will work on Xbox One X. Unlike Sony, Microsoft doesn’t have a VR headset of its own, so will land on third parties to help. The obvious bet is with Oculus, with whom they currently have a partnership in providing Xbox One controllers with every device sold, as well as optimising the hardware to work more effectively with Windows, but neither Microsoft or Oculus has suggested anything along these lines just yet.
Even at the system’s full unveiling at E3 2017, VR wasn’t mentioned. Only a post-conference interview with Giant Bomb (as reported by Gamer Network partner Road to VR) saw Xbox boss Phil Spencer address the topic, saying that though the system is more than capable, but it’s a case of how the box fits into people’s homes: “The power of the box is fine in terms of having a VR or MR experience run on it, it’s really that family room environment that we’re struggling a little bit with.”
Xbox One X backwards compatibility with Xbox One
Like PS4 Pro, certain existing Xbox One games will see developers create optimised updates for Xbox One X – including first party titles Gears Of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Minecraft, Halo Wars 2, Killer Instinct, as well as third party games such as Final Fantasy 15 and Rocket League, some of which will run in full 4K.
Meanwhile, some existing Xbox One games “will look different” and may “run a little better” on Xbox One X, using Halo 5’s dynamic scaling as an example – in fact, Digital Foundry have also run an analysis on just how much better your Xbox One and 360 games will be on Scorpio.
This is something we’ve already seen in the Xbox One S; while the system is not a mid-generation upgrade like Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, it offers an unadvertised slight performance boost of up to nine frames-per-second in certain games thanks to a GPU upgrade for 4K upscaling and HDR support.
In short, Xbox One X will likely offer a range of benefits to your classic Xbox gaming, from smoother performance to higher resolutions and better texture filtering – but to quote Rich Leadbetter himself:
“What this means in practice is that games that cannot fully sustain their target frame-rate on Xbox One stand a really good chance of doing so on Scorpio. But to be clear: what we won’t see will be 30fps games suddenly running at 60fps. The game itself still sets its frame-rate target, and there are no functions for removing performance limits.”
Source: xbox one – Google News