Xbox Series X's custom SoC built with backward compatibility in mind

The Xbox SX's customized Zen 2 and Navi SoC was built specifically with backward compatibility in mind.

7 minutes & 42 seconds read time

Microsoft designed the Xbox Series X's SoC specifically with backward compatibility support in mind,

Xbox Series X's custom SoC built with backward compatibility in mind |

Microsoft confirms its new next-gen Xbox Series X console will natively support four generations worth of Xbox games when it launches in Holiday 2020. The system will play thousands of games from original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and new titles optimized specifically for the Xbox SX.

As it turns out, the Xbox SX was built from the ground up to support last-gen games all the way at the silicon level. Backward compatibility was never off the table and a major feature at the start (MS nor Sony want to displace games libraries and fracture user experiences). Even with the existing Xbox One BC games this task is a massive undertaking of incredibly tough work, but Microsoft's foresight and planning will make bringing older games to the new Zen 2- and Navi-powered behemoth a lot easier.

"It is a new chip architecture. At the same time, we did design the silicon with compatibility in mind, so we did make certain decisions to try to lessen that work," Xbox director of program management told Gamespot.

"But I don't want to trivialize how much work the team's actually doing because there is a tremendous amount of work."

Read Also: Next-gen Xbox plays four generations of Xbox games

The entire idea of backwards compatibility is "bringing your legacy with you" users jump to the new console. It's not a new ecosystem, just a new console, and all of the games and services are preserved. Microsoft isn't resetting the switch any time soon.

Microsoft has a long history of supporting older systems well past their due date. The Xbox 360 and its library were revitalized thanks to Xbox One's extensive BC support (the same goes for the old-school Xbox) and we shouldn't expect the company to retire the Xbox One family of systems for a long, long time.

Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we've heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • Navi GPU on RDNA architecture
  • Highly customized 7nm SoC from AMD
  • GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X's 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Lockhart (Unconfirmed lower-end Xbox Series hardware)

  • 1440p 60FPS
  • No disc drive
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ scaled-down 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHZ and Navi GPU
  • Lower GDDR6 memory pool (Possibly 12GB)
  • ~6-8 TFLOPs of power?
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X/Project Scarlett

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz and Navi GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 2x GPU power as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP

Xbox Series X coverage:

Buy at Amazon

Xbox One X 1TB Console - Gears 5 Bundle (CYV-00321)

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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