Xbox Series X | Review, the most powerful console ever

Xbox Series X | Review, the most powerful console ever
Page 1: Xbox Series X | Review, the most powerful console ever Page 1: Xbox Series X | Review, the most powerful console ever Page 2: Xbox Series X interface and controller Page 3: Performance and load times Page 4: Temperatures, noise, consumption and Verdict

Power Your Dreams

Xbox Series X is here . Finally after months of diatribes, chatter and rumors, the new generation console from Microsoft is preparing to reach stores and homes around the world on November 10th 2020.

After a somewhat fluctuating generation , also due to a rather problematic departure of Xbox One in terms of communication, Phil Spencer has taken the situation in hand and embarked on a path aimed at breaking into the gamers public, raising the value of the brand and giving life to an ecosystem destined to change, forever, the world of modern gaming.

With the birth of Xbox Game Pass, it uses expansion with xCloud and the new first party studios, which among many also include all the Zenimax software houses , Xbox is now in a very different condition from that of 2013. The future is, in fact, all to be written and, undoubtedly, rosy.

The sales numbers of the consoles, at first fundamental, now become just a speck of dust in the midst of the millions of users who every day subscribe to xCloud, Xbox Game Pass and all the services aimed at becoming a standard for all players. Phil Spencer has therefore thought of a gaming world without barriers, without compromises, where everyone can choose where, how and when to play, without necessarily forcing to buy a console to make use of titles such as Gears Of War, Halo, Fable or Forza Motorsport. br>
However, the console remains a focal point for the division. Xbox is, and will always be, seen as a symbol dedicated to living room platforms, an icon that reveals power and innovation (There's No Power Greater Than X), concepts that have always been etched in Microsoft's mind as a starting point in the development of the own gaming machine.

These pillars have been maintained in the idea and development of Microsoft's new ninth generation console, Xbox Series X. With her, in the last few weeks, we have spent busy days, putting her under pressure on various occasions, analyzing and testing everything that could be useful, and essential, to provide you with a complete picture of her performance, her qualities and also the possible criticalities of the next-gen console of the Colossus of Redmond.

As it should be, we tell you right away that what you will find on November 10th is not only the currently most powerful console on the market but also a machine that respects all the qualitative premises of design, temperatures and consumption, confirming itself as the best Xbox ever made by Microsoft. A real gem.

Technical Specifications

Xbox Series X takes a significant step forward, from the point of view of technical specifications, compared to Xbox One and Xbox One X but the main difference concerns the architecture completely revamped, which introduces RDNA 2 for the GPU, ZEN 2 for the CPU and, of course, the NVMe SSD, which guarantees drastically reduced load times compared to the past.

During its design, Microsoft took inspiration from their skills in the PC field, giving life to a very special motherboard, divided into two parts to improve not only heat dissipation but also general performance. The RAM, 16 GB GDDR6 - of which 13.5 GB only for games - has been divided into two parts: 10 GB, with a bandwidth of 560GB / s, are addressed as support to the GPU, while 6 GB , with 336GB / s bandwidth, they're all for the CPU. In this way, according to the Redmond company, the games would be optimized much better and with less effort.

The RDNA 2 GPU with 12 TFLOPS, 52 CU at 1825 MHz is definitely important, especially when you consider that the real-time ray tracing will be managed via hardware by the double processing units (DCU), with the exclusive support of the API, Microsoft DirectX Raytracing.

The RDNA 2 architecture also supports other technologies such as VRS (Variable Rate Shading) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). The first allows you to increase the efficiency of the GPU, concentrating the work of the shaders where it is no longer needed and reducing the work in areas where it is not needed. The second is, however, present thanks to HDMI 2.1, which allows compatible displays to refresh the image at the same speed as the console render, in order to eliminate tearing, increase fluidity and reduce general latency.

The real step forward, however, is the CPU. By finally embracing the Ryzen with ZEN 2, the ability to build more complex worlds, better artificial intelligences, and undoubtedly bolder design choices is offered. Xbox Series X is equipped with an 8-core CPU at 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with SMT), which together with the GPU, analyzed above, form one of the largest APUs ever made, with a 360 DIE, 45 mm2.

We can also say goodbye to infinite load times, thanks to the introduction of a custom 1 TB NVMe SSD with 2.4 GB / s raw and 4.8 GB I / O throughput / s in compressed mode. The storage memory available for games is 820 GB, which can be expanded with a proprietary NVMe SSD cartridge, which is inserted into the back of the console. A particularly original and intuitive choice, considering that it is a plug & play solution. However, it must be emphasized that this is a decision that forces the consumer to buy proprietary cartridges, with higher prices than normal NVMe SSDs. For those wishing, however, the console provides support for external 3.1 hard drives that can be used, however, only to start backwards compatible video games (Xbox, 360 and One) or to move titles that are not often used in order to avoid long downloads. every time you want to replay it. Moving a game from the internal SSD to an external HDD will not take more than ten / fifteen minutes (timing that varies according to the type of Hard Disk used), a reasonable time if you do not want to opt, from the first months, to the purchase of a proprietary SSD.

The SSD uses Intelligent Delivery and Hardware Decompression. The first allows you to choose to install only certain parts of the game, such as single player or multiplayer, while the second is a hardware component necessary to reduce the space of games on SSD. To give you an example, Gears 5, with all the next-gen improvements, weighs 75.2 GB against the over 80 required on Xbox One X. A result, all in all, commendable.

Xbox Series X takes advantage, in addition, additional technologies that confirm, not that there was a need, the innovation behind this console. Among the many we mention the DirectStorage, a function that will also arrive on Windows soon and that allows you to moderate the CPU consumption in the background. The SFS (Sampler Feedback Streaming), a feature that allows games to load on the memory only the portions of texture necessary for a given scene and, finally, the DirectML a component of DirectX, which allows Machine Learning for games with DirectML, improving the AI ​​for example or allowing more realistic animations, perhaps improving the overall graphic quality. An example of this type can be found in the introduction of automatic HDR for games that do not have it natively, all without any kind of additional work on the part of the developers.

All these technologies, combined together, give life to the Xbox Velocity Architecture, a new architecture patented by Microsoft that allows a series of completely new approaches in video games, including the Quick Resume, which we will talk about in the next pages.

Small parenthesis for audio , where Xbox Series X leverages Project Acoustics and Spatial Audio. The first is a patent on which Microsoft has been working for more than 10 years, which allows you to create physical models of the propagation of sound in video games, perfect for creating complex sound effects. The second, on the other hand, integrates a more precise 3D audio, with full support for DST: X, Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos. In fact, Series X uses a dedicated custom hardware, to almost completely eliminate the load on the CPU.

From the point of view of connectivity and ports, Xbox Series X does not support WiFi 6, Bluetooth and quits the optical output. In total, Xbox Series X consists of three USB A 3.2 ports, one located in the front, just below the button for synchronizing controllers and various accessories, and the remaining in the back, where there are also the power ports. HDMI 2.1 and, as already mentioned, the SSD expansion slot.

After the seventh generation, we finally return to having a performing and innovative console, capable of guaranteeing excellent and sometimes even surprising performances. In short, the conditions are certainly of a completely different level than in the past and this is not only good for Xbox but also for the entire video game market, where developers will have a more solid foundation to work on, without necessarily having to go down. to compromise due to hardware aging too prematurely. For sure we are dealing with a console that, from a performance point of view, really promises great things and that shows how much Microsoft has done a truly incredible job from a technical point of view.


As far as design is concerned, there are two considerations, one subjective and one objective. The subjective part concerns the aesthetics, Xbox Series X is a machine that comes very close to the idea of ​​ITX PC cases, therefore it is a type of design that you may like or not and everything remains a mere personal opinion. Vertically the platform is solid and statuesque, in the living room it is elegant while in a bedroom it loses some of its presence.

The platform can be positioned both vertically - its original position - and in horizontal, by means of rubber feet placed on the four sides of the side inside. We must admit that in the latter arrangement, Xbox Series X has not fully convinced us, also due to a non-removable base pedestal and an aesthetic designed to stand clearly vertically. It must also be said that the strong matte black color leaves not a few fingerprints on the body, but it is a relative problem since, normally, a console is touched relatively little once installed.

What we can speak objectively, however, are its dimensions. Xbox Series X is very compact, with dimensions 30.1 x 15.1 x 15.1 cm and weight of about 4.5 KG. We are talking about a minimal game machine, a black monolith designed to become invisible in every living room, with some aesthetic devices, such as the beautiful perforated upper grill where each hole has a small green stripe, to create a visual contrast in line with the colors. of the Xbox theme.

Microsoft has worked hard to make the machine easy to repair - accessing the hardware has never been easier - and above all avoiding problems in connecting the various cables. Each door, in fact, is tactile. What does it mean? In short, Microsoft has made the rear ports in such a way as to be easy to identify with your fingers, as well as having imprinted the name in Braille, without having to turn the console to insert the cables, a very useful way to not struggle during installation. and show Microsoft's commitment to accessibility again.

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