New Xbox Console Preview: The E3 Primer
Specs And Capabilities
With the caveat that all of this may indeed turn out to be wrong come May 21, the most reliable information about the Xbox’s specifications comes courtesy of VG Leaks, which previously earned the trust of the Internet when most of the PS4 information the site reported prior to Sony’s official unveiling last February turned out to be accurate. In January, the site posted what it claims are the new Xbox console’s specs along with the official-seeming image at the top of this section.
As VG Leaks’ reported specs have not been superseded by subsequent leaks, we will quote them in full.
* x64 Architecture
* 8 CPU cores running at 1.6 gigahertz (GHz)
* each CPU thread has its own 32 KB L1 instruction cache and 32 KB L1 data cache
* each module of four CPU cores has a 2 MB L2 cache resulting in a total of 4 MB of L2 cache
* each core has one fully independent hardware thread with no shared execution resources
* each hardware thread can issue two instructions per clock
* custom D3D11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor
* 12 shader cores providing a total of 768 threads
* each thread can perform one scalar multiplication and addition operation (MADD) per clock cycle
* at peak performance, the GPU can effectively issue 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second
Storage and Memory:
* 8 gigabyte (GB) of RAM DDR3 (68 GB/s)
* 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM (ESRAM) (102 GB/s)
* from the GPU’s perspective the bandwidths of system memory and ESRAM are parallel providing combined peak bandwidth of 170 GB/sec.
* Hard drive is always present
* 50 GB 6x Blu-ray Disc drive
* Gigabit Ethernet
* Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct
* Move engines
* Image, video, and audio codecs
* Kinect multichannel echo cancellation (MEC) hardware
* Cryptography engines for encryption and decryption, and hashing
Other leaks have revealed further details. Supposedly, the Move Engines mentioned above perform “common game tasks like compression and decompression,” the audio will be digital-7.1 discrete PCM output, via HDMI and S/PD0F, and the GPU will support Direct3D 11. Meanwhile, though reports are consistent that the hard drive’s size has not been chosen, it is supposedly intended to hold a lot of games (more on that in the next section).
Meanwhile, each unit will have a “new high-fidelity Kinect Sensor” built into the machine. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, the new Kinect comes with some improvements over the current-gen original. According to a leaked internal overview, the new Kinect comes with “new depth sensor technology” that gives improved resolution, and includes active infrared illumination. Further, it has a wider field of vision, it no longer needs the tilt function, it can handle “High-quality monochrome images even in low light conditions”, and includes the API software required to enable Natural User Interface. Finally, the Xbox controller contains several improvements over the current model, though the Xbox dashboard interface is supposedly being simplified for ease of use by “noncore gamers”. And all of this doesn’t cover experimental features like IllumiRoom, which are not planned for launch but are part of the console’s development.
If these details prove to be accurate, Xbox is going to be a monster that looks as though your gaming PC from 2010 vomited all over your living room entertainment system. But as cool as it sounds, the new machine has apparently been designed with several troubling features that will likely make the experience of using it terrible for anyone expecting to use Xbox the way they did Xbox 360.