Xbox One: Let’s Talk Hardware

During the Xbox Reveal livestream today, Microsoft confirmed most of the Xbox One’s hardware specifications.

The Xbox One has an 8-core CPU (based on AMD’s Jaguar design), a DirectX 11-compatible AMD GPU, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 500 GB of internal storage, USB 3.0, HDMI in, HDMI out, and a Blu-ray disc drive. The hard drive and connectivity is par for the course, but let’s break down what we know about the components below…

CPU/GPU: According to Wired’s exclusive first look at the Xbox One, the new console uses an SoC (system on a chip) design, something you’ll find in today’s smartphones and tablets. A 40nm piece of silicon contains the 8-core Jaguar-based AMD CPU, the DirectX 11-friendly GPU (details are TBA), and the rest of the SoC houses “…the memory, the controller logic, the DRAM, and the audio processors…” This SoC uses one heatsink — similar to the design found in the Xbox 360, although the older console had two 90nm chips under one cooling solution. There is no official confirmation, but this APU/SoC design (the CPU and GPU part, at least) seems to be very similar to what’s in the PS4. The five billion transistor count has to refer to the total number found in the system, or at least the number shared between the CPU and GPU. To put that five billion figure in perspective: AMD’s FX-8350 eight-core desktop CPU has roughly 1.2 billion transistors, and the AMD Radeon 7970 desktop GPU has about 4.3 billion transistors.

RAM: The Xbox One has 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. It matches the quantity found in the PlayStation 4, but not the speed — the PS4 uses faster GDDR5 memory. While the latter is certainly faster, DDR3 is significantly less expensive, so it will be interesting to see if the cheaper memory hits the Xbox price in any meaningful way.

Storage: 500 GB is at your disposal with the Xbox One, although most of it will be used to store game files as they are automatically copied from an inserted game disc. Drive speed is TBA.

I/O: Because the Xbox One has heavy TV/cable integration, there are two HDMI ports, both of which are 1.4. The input is for your cable box/TV feed, and the output goes to your TV, per usual. USB 3.0 is also included, the speed of which should make transferring media and game files less of a chore. Lastly we have the Blu-ray drive, which is really just for copying BD disc game files to the hard drive, although watching that Blu-ray copy of The Fifth Element for the 600th time on your new Xbox is obviously a plus.

WiFi: Gigabit Ethernet aside, three 802.11n radios are housed in the Xbox One, and they’re used to connect to services as well as the new Xbox controller. The controller and console talk to each other via WiFi Direct, and the radios will also talk to other devices (SmartGlass), while any unused radios go to Internet connectivity.

Software experiences aside (be sure to check out our additional Xbox One coverage here), Microsoft’s latest console seems hit all the same points as the recently announced PlayStation 4. Both have an 8-core CPU, 500 GB hard drive (both have hard drives, but the size of the PS4 drive is TBA), Blu-ray disc drives, HDMI, and USB 3.0. Both partnered with AMD, too, so the specs are going to be in lockstep. We will keep you updated as more spec info comes in — hopefully we get some additional info on the GPU sooner rather than later.

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14 Comments on Xbox One: Let’s Talk Hardware


On May 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

so what’s the big deal about having 5 billion transistors?


On May 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

No optical audio out? That’s a lot of people who will need to buy an AV receiver…

Jeff Mills

On May 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Ted, we asked the same question. I think they wanted to say a big number to impress folks who weren’t tech savvy enough to understand that it’s not really important for most folks to know that number.


On May 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

All technobabble for virgins and nerds. As long as it has Mass Effect 4, I’ll be buying it on day one. Screw the entitled babies who think they can have a say on a financial gamble. lololol


On May 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm


You are one of the biggest pretentious douchebags I’ve seen on the internet. Not only in this comment, but in general. I hope you sit on an upside down stool or something.


On May 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm

lol may be pretentious person, but he is also one of the most saddest things on the earth, apparently he has nothing better to do then troll people on the internet. This lack of life is truly pitiable. I have no sympathy for him.


On May 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm


Agreed, I’d buy you a beer & drink to that. After how bad this presentation & news is I might just have to.

Devin Connors

On May 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm


There is an optical audio out. Sorry for not including that earlier!


On May 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Wow this thing is more powerfull than a 2000 buck pc. 8 processor cores of ram and a radeon 7850 is freaken fast. 5 billion transisters wowowowow. Your talking power there..ps4 dosnt have as many. Xbox one will live to its name as the only gaming system you need. Cant wait


On May 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Skip to 53 minutes.


On May 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm

@jay & @folklore – let’s form a lol hating club! Lol won’t be allowed in :D :D


On May 22, 2013 at 4:48 am

Somehow not impressed by the specs, that a good gamer PC would easily match or surpass. I’m sticking to my PC, no console for me (and Sony I hate you, i won’t buy the PS4 just to play exclusive games, no matter how good they are. I’d buy a console to get rendering and features that my PC would never be able to match)

And lol, you need a life, far from here if possible


On May 22, 2013 at 5:01 am

Where did it say Microsoft is using ddr3 for RAM?


On May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

@wow LOLOLOL u think this crap is more powerfull then a 2000$ buck pc ? i have some thing more powerfull for 1000$+250$video card, so for 2000$ buck u can double if not triple pass this little Crap Box piece of .