Xbox One X Brings Next Gen to Current Gen
We knew it was coming a year ago: a brand new Xbox, more powerful than the last. 6 Teraflops? Heard it. 4K? Knew that, too. 12GB GDDR5 RAM? That came out awhile back. Now, it’s real: Xbox One X, Microsoft’s latest update to the Xbox One family of systems. Microsoft revealed more than just specs today, they showed us experiences. Or something. But what kind of nerds would we be if we didn’t jump right in with the specs and facts? Let’s skip the marketing talk and get down to brass tacks.
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GPU: Scorpio Engine, 6 TFlops, 1.172Ghz.
RAM: 12GB GDDR5 at 6.8Ghz with 326GB of bandwidth. 3GB reserved for the system, 9GB available for games.
Hard Drive: 1TB. Type and speed not given.
Optical Drive: 4K UHD Drive. No specs given, but claims of “Faster load times” suggest it’s a faster drive than on Xbox One S.
Network: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 1Gb Wired Ethernet
Ports: 2 Rear, 1 Front USB 3.0 5Gb. Optical SPDIF audio out. HDMI in, HDMI out. Infrared Receiver / Blaster.
Power Supply: Internal 245 Watts.
Size: Not detailed yet, but smaller than Xbox One S
In the Box: Xbox One X, Xbox Wireless Controller, Power cord, HDMI cable, 1 Month Xbox Game Pass, 2 Week Xbox Live Gold.
Launch Date: November 7th, 2017
Price: $499 US
Check out that teaser!
Xbox One X looks like a slam-dunk in the specs department. It has everything it needs to beat the bejesus out of everything but a gaming PC, and that’s pretty cool. But at the end of the day, it’s all about games. So how does Xbox One X stack up? Pretty well, actually! Here are the key points:
HDTV Gaming: Every game released for any Xbox One still works, but should look and play better. The Xbox One X will use its additional power to perform “Supersampling”. Basically, this means it’ll apply its 4K muscle to smooth jagged edges and generate a cleaner image from your games, and then render those “down” to 1080p on your normal HDTV. So the same game played on the same 1080p TV will look better from an Xbox One X than an Xbox One or Xbox One S.
4K Gaming: Xbox One X is the first console to support true, native 4K games rendering directly in the hardware at 60 frames per second. That means gameplay should be smooth and stutter-free most of the time. It also means the images you see will have smooth, clean edges without all the jaggies we’ve gotten used to in 20 years of 3D gaming.
HDR Gaming: But the biggest deal is, in my view, HDR, or High Dynamic Range color. This isn’t unique to the Xbox One X, though: PS4, PS4 Pro and Xbox One S all support HDR games, provided your TV also supports HDR. That means you’ll see more than 1 billion colors instead of just 16.7 million. In turn, that means you’ll see a wider range of color gradients, grays, blacks and more, revealing greater detail. Couple that with native 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) and we should really be in for a treat. Early on, 4K TV’s showed the same 16.7 million colors as an ordinary HDTV. That meant a lot of people saw little or no improvement. HDR is a very different story, and you will definitely see the difference when you play an HDR capable game on an HDR capable TV–especially if it’s an OLED 4K TV.
Will my old games work?: Good news: YES. All of your existing Xbox One games will work. And, as noted above, they should all look and work better, too. And as if that weren’t enough, more than 30 existing Xbox One games will be given a free upgrade to the 4K version if you move up to Xbox One X. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
If there’s one thing that’s traditionally sucked about most console generations, it’s that the jump usually leaves old controllers and other accessories in the dust. That can get expensive in a hurry! The good news? All of your existing Xbox One accessories will work just fine with Scorpio. Controllers, headsets and more will behave just like they always have.
This one might make you nervous, right? Well don’t let it. If you’ve invested heavily into the backward compatible Xbox 360 library, or you just have a ton of old games you still want to play, they’ll work on Xbox One X. And, Microsoft promises, those old games will be subject to the same treatment as Xbox One games from earlier this generation. That means they should look and play better on Xbox One X.
But wait, there’s more! In addition to backward compatibility with Xbox 360, Xbox One X (and earlier members of the Xbox One family), select titles from the original Xbox will become backward compatible later this year. We don’t have an exact timeframe, but hopefully by the time Xbox One X launches, at the latest. Fingers crossed.
As of publishing, preorders aren’t yet live, but these are the right links.
But here’s the question you really have: is it worth $500? The answer is: maybe.
If you own an original Xbox One or One S but not a 4K HDR TV, then you should probably wait. Although the Xbox One X will still help your games look and run better, it’s probably not worth it for you because to really get the most bang for your buck, you’d need a decent 4K UHDTV with HDR. And I don’t mean one of those crappy $499 models with an RGBW screen, either.
If you own a 4K HDR TV and an Xbox One S, you’re also probably good, but it’s a little murkier here. Compatible games already play in HDR on the Xbox One S, so really what you’re looking at is getting native 4K rendering for games that get updated. This might be desirable for some folks, but most of us will do fine with the Xbox One S.
If you own a 4K HDR TV but no Xbox One of any kind, and you’re interested in making the move into 4K gaming, then the Xbox One X is a no brainer. Go for it and don’t look back.
What do you think? Are you impressed by the Scorpio? Ready to dive into the world of 4K HDR gaming and be wowed, or will you wait for Xbox Two? Tell us what you think in the comments!