Xbox Series X SSD natively drops load times by 4x without code changes

Games don't have to be super optimized to use the Xbox Series X's SSD.

2 minutes & 30 seconds read time

The Xbox Series X may not require intense optimizations to tap the powerful SSD tech, and some games were natively boosted four-fold by the PCIe 4.0 storage.

The Xbox Series X's SSD is revolutionary. It's a customized PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD that hits up blazing fast 2.4GB/sec transfers with a potent software stack to massively accelerate data flow. And now we have evidence that games will be natively boosted by the hardware without any code changes needed, similar to how the Xbox Series X will natively boost current-gen games to 4K resolution. The boost mode isn't just limited to graphics and extends to storage too; devs don't have to lift a finger to take advantage of the tech.

"With the Xbox Series X, out of the gate, we reduced our load-times by more than 4x without any code changes," The Coalition's technical director Mike Rayner told Windows Central.

Xbox Series X SSD natively drops load times by 4x without code changes 7

Rayner goes on to highlight everything we've talked about in our video explainer. The Xbox Series X's SSD is just one part of the puzzle, and the hardware is just as important as the software. The storage tech uses a new DX12 DirectStorage API as part of the new Velocity Architecture to synergize hardware and software, making things faster and more efficient.

The Xbox Series X is built on one simple goal: To arm developers with efficient power. Everything from the custom I/O chip on the SoC to the decompression system have been designed to feed data and assets at precise, ultra-fast rates to other parts of the system.

"With the new DirectStorage APIs and new hardware decompression, we can further improve I/O performance and reduce CPU overhead, both of which are essential to achieve fast loading. As we look to the future, the Xbox Series X's Sampler Feedback for Streaming (SFS) is a game-changer for how we think about world streaming and visual level of detail.

"We will be exploring how we can use it in future titles to both increase the texture detail in our game beyond what we can fit into memory, as well as reduce load times further by increasing on-demand loading to just before we need it, instead of pre-loading everything up-front as we would use a more traditional 'level loading' approach."

Bear in mind this is from a first-party studio whose games are designed from the ground up with forward-compatibility in mind. Expect all of Microsoft's first-party games to look, play, and run best on the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X SSD specs

  • Speed: 2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec uncompressed
  • Form factor/protocol: PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe
  • Capacity: 1TB
  • Expandable storage: Proprietary 1TB SSD memory cards (uses CFExpress housing, drive is exact copy of internal SSD)
  • Notable features: New Velocity Architecture synergizes hardware with OS, software, and data sets, DX12 DirectStorage API makes storage processing more efficient
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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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