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Xbox's new tech explained

If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine what most Microsoft console reveals look like. The company puts employees in front of a camera, everyone talks about what a monster the new machine is, and then we all wait until the console is out to get any real details on specifications.

That has not been the case with the Xbox Series X. Microsoft — eager to recapture the lead in the next generation — has been incredibly generous with news about its upcoming system. The company today published a blog post highlighting the tech of the Xbox Series X, and in the process, revealed some things that hadn't previously been confirmed.

To start, we know exactly what the Xbox Series X is packing in terms of hardware, because Microsoft listed out every single spec imaginable about the tech you'll find inside of it. The Zen 2 CPU will far surpass anything we've seen in a console to date, with eight cores running at 3.8 GHz. That'll enable the Series X to hit those higher frame rates, which were limited in past systems by weaker CPUs.

For comparison's sake, the Xbox One X ran an eight-core Jaguar CPU at 2.3 GHz. An upgrade from the start of the generation, but not good enough to handle 4K at 60 frames-per-second.

The GPU is getting a major bump, as well. The Xbox One X was able to hit native 4K in a lot of games, with 4K and 30 frames-per-second being the norm. The Series X will blow that out of the water. While the One X touted its six teraflops as a huge deal, the Series X takes that number up to 12, and bumps the GPU's clock speed up significantly in the process. 4K visuals should be the baseline standard for games on the Series X, though the console is capable of handling 8K graphics, as well.

And it's clear this generation will finally be the one that brings solid state storage to console. Microsoft has long talked about eliminating load times, and how the Series X will make use of an NVMe solid state drive to all but cut loading screens out of the equation. What we weren't sure about, however, was how large the drive would be, and whether or not Microsoft would allow for expandable storage.

Today we got those details. The Xbox Series X will come packing a 1 TB solid state drive at launch, which some may find a little small given the way games are increasing in size. Never fear, though — the company also confirmed the mystery port on the back of the Series X is, in fact, a slot for storage expansion. The company will allow for a 1 TB expansion card that, according to today's post, "matches internal storage exactly." We'll never have to ride on those Mass Effect elevators again, and thank goodness.

Microsoft dropped a lot of geeky news bits in its post, but also had some things to share for those who aren't so technically inclined. You may not know much about ray-tracing, but news that Gears 5 is getting an "Xbox Series X Optimized" version of the game might cause your ears to perk up a little. Quick Resume was talked about in more detail, with Microsoft confirming that your console can download an update, reboot, and still let you pick up your game right where you left off. And Microsoft plans to continue its great work with the Backward Compatibility program, offering "improved boot and load times, more stable frame rates, higher resolutions, and improved image quality" for Xbox and Xbox 360 games played on Series X.

By the way, that Quick Resume video shows the Xbox Series X could utilize the same dashboard as the Xbox One. Given the amount of work Microsoft has put into backward and forward compatibility in both software and hardware, that makes a lot of sense.

You're likely aware at this point that E3 2020 has officially been cancelled. Microsoft was set to headline that event, and the Xbox Series X figured to play a prominent role in the company's presentation. While spec sheets are nice, we'd really love to see the Series X in action, and we're not sure when that's going to happen. Microsoft is reportedly toying with the idea of a digital event, though, so maybe we'll still get the company's E3 show even though E3 isn't going to happen.

And there's still one major detail Microsoft hasn't revealed about the Xbox Series X: its price. The Series X, for the first time, sounds like a console that a PC purist wouldn't be entirely ashamed to own. But those impressive specs have to come with a pretty hefty price tag. How much will the Series X cost when it arrives? How jam-packed will our piggy banks have to be to afford this new machine? That's a pretty important piece of information we don't have, but we're hoping to get it very soon.

As of now, the Xbox Series X is still set to launch in the Holiday 2020 window, though there have been rumblings that both the Series X and PS5 could be delayed. Should we hear any more news about Microsoft's new console, we'll fill you in.