Xbox Series X boosts old games to 120FPS with unlocked GPU, CPU power

Backward compatible games will get huge boosts on the Xbox Series X, including doubling frame rates, HDR, and native 4K support.

3 minutes & 3 seconds read time

The Xbox Series X will play thousands of backwards compatible games across three generations, and all of them will harness the full native power of the system's 12TFLOP GPU and 3.8GHz Zen 2 CPU.

Xbox Series X boosts old games to 120FPS with unlocked GPU, CPU power 3

The new next-gen Xbox Series X also has serious next-gen backwards compatibility boosts that can significantly improve in-game performance. The Xbox Series X will natively enhance all backwards compatible games to massive levels, doubling frame rates (if a game runs at 30FPS base, it'll run at 60FPS on XSX, and up to 120FPS for games that normally hit 60FPS), simulating HDR visuals, tapping the built-in 2.5GB/sec PCIe 4.0 SSD for ultra-fast load times, and raising fidelity up to native 4K.

Microsoft previously confirmed Gears of War 4 Ultimate hits native 4K on the XSX without any upgrades from developers.

We originally thought the Xbox Series X would have two ways to handle backwards compatibility upgrades: A legacy mode that moderately raises perf of old-school games by emulating console hardware, and manual patches that developers have to roll out to unlocks the GPU and CPU for older games. It turns out Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games will all natively use the full unlocked power of the Xbox Series X's higher-end SoC specs.

Devs don't have to lift a finger or roll out any updates--the console and Microsoft's robust backwards compatible architecture does all the work. So essentially every single backwards compatible game gets the new Xbox Series X Enhanced designation by default.

Here's what Xbox director Jason Ronald had to say about the Xbox Series X's flexible and powerful backwards compatibility enhancements:

Backwards compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and the SSD.

No boost mode, no downclocking, the full power of the Xbox Series X for each and every backward compatible game.

This means that all titles run at the peak performance that they were originally designed for, many times even higher performance than the games saw on their original launch platform, resulting in higher and more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality.

Backwards compatible titles also see significant reductions in in-game load times from the massive leap in performance from our custom NVME SSD which powers the Xbox Velocity Architecture. As I play through my personal backlog as part of our internal testing, all of the incredible games from Xbox One and earlier play best on Xbox Series X.

Newer games will obviously run better on the Xbox Series X, but it all comes down to an individual case-by-case basis. Older Xbox games likely won't get the huge perf raises found in newer titles. The Xbox One game Gears 5, for example, runs at 100FPS+ at Ultra PC graphics settings equivalent to RTX 2080 performance on the Xbox Series X. And that's with ray tracing enabled.

The Xbox Series X will release in Holiday 2020. Check below for specs and more info on the console:

Xbox Series X Specifications

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • 12.15 TFLOP Navi GPU on RDNA 2 architecture
  • 7nm+ AMD SoC
  • 16GB 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

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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