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Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox: 8K graphics, SSD storage, and ray tracing for 2020

Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox: 8K graphics, SSD storage, and ray tracing for 2020


Project Scarlett arrives in fall 2020

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Microsoft is revealing the first details about its next-generation Xbox hardware today. Rumors suggested Microsoft would launch two new Xbox consoles in 2020, with one designed to be the equivalent of the current Xbox One X and the other, the Xbox One S. We’re now starting to get more information on the next high-end Xbox console, codenamed “Project Scarlett.”

Microsoft is including a custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture, and it’s promising this new console will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Microsoft is also using fast GDDR6 RAM, that it claims will “usher in resolution and framerates we’ve never seen before.”

Project Scarlett test board
Project Scarlett test board

Scarlett will go up against Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Google’s Stadia service

This new Project Scarlett console will support 8K gaming, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate support. Microsoft is also using an SSD on Project Scarlett. “We’ve created a new generation of SSDs. We’re using the SSD as virtual RAM,” says an Xbox spokesperson in an unveiling video. This should boost performance by 40x over the current generation according to Microsoft, and that will mean games load a lot faster.

Sony is also promising that the PS5 will support up to 8K graphics, 3D audio, SSD storage, and backwards compatibility with existing PlayStation 4 titles. The PS5 will also use an eight-core CPU based on AMD’s third-gen Ryzen line, and ship with a GPU that supports ray-tracing graphics. Sony is also teasing 4K graphics at a 120Hz refresh rate support.

Halo Infinite is also launching alongside Microsoft’s new Project Scarlett Xbox console, setting the stage for the next generation of Microsoft’s console gaming. Microsoft isn’t showing exactly what Project Scarlett looks like, and the unveiling feels very similar to what the company did with “Project Scorpio.” That console eventually became the Xbox One X, and we’ll now likely see a lot more about Project Scarlett at next year’s E3.