.Microsoft unleashed their “monster” in November of 2017. And while the build-up to the Xbox One X was a bit confusing, it’s safe to say owners of Microsofts’newest console are enjoying their purchases. If you look around forums you will see many gamers are loving the power and experience the One X is bringing to the table. The lead up the Xbox One X felt a lot different in the past. The amount of detail that Microsoft gave to Digital Foundry about the architecture was basically unheard of. After doing a lot of reading up on the One X, I found a lot of interesting facts I thought I would share.
The Xbox One X concept was first conceived before the Xbox One released.
Believe it or not, the idea of a mid-generation refresh was thought about before Microsoft even shipped the original Xbox One. IGN sat down with the marketing director of Xbox, Albert Penello. He went into detail about how the idea of originated from the concept of an upgradable console similar to PC’s. The idea was actually being thrown around in 2012. A full year before Microsoft had shipped the Xbox One. Eventually, the higher-ups at Microsoft did green light the project.
The Motherboard of the Xbox One X is Upside Down in the case.
If you line up the Xbox One S and the XBox One X side by side, clearly the designs are very similar. If you look closely though you might notice something odd. The disc drive on the One S is closer towards the top of the system while the One X disc drive is near the bottom. This is because the motherboard on the Xbox One X is upside down inside the case. This was a design choice by the Xbox team in an attempt to free up space in the case. This was one of a few design choices that lead to the Xbox One X being able to be slightly smaller than the S.
4K Gaming was not originally the focal point of the Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X has been touted as the “most powerful console ever.” The marketing campaign was entirely built around power and 4K gaming. But that was not the goal when the One X was first being designed. The original idea behind the Xbox One X was to make a new console but everything from the previous box be 100 percent compatible. Not just backwards compatibility but true interoperability. Where going from one experience to the next felt like a natural evolution. As opposed to a new console requiring the consumer to “start over.”
Think of something along the lines of the Sega 32X. Where gamers could extend the life of their system without having to go and buy all new hardware and accessories. Obviously, that ended up not happening and the Xbox One X ended up being a mid-generation refresh similar to the PS4 Pro. The Xbox Team also thought they were the only ones even thinking about the idea of a mid-generation refresh. The team no idea the PS4 Pro was a thing until it was announced.
After time had passed and the Xbox team was able to see what hardware would be available from AMD, the Xbox team developed custom software to see how much GPU power would be needed to push current engines on the Xbox One platform to 4K. After th.ese tests occurred Phil Spencer and his team pushed for the 6 teraflops and 4K initiative.
The Xbox One X lacks a 4K dashboard so Developers can utilize more RAM.
Ram is a resource that every developer loves and needs. The more RAM a developer has, the more things they can add to the experience like higher resolution textures to make games look better. But the makers of consoles want some of that RAM for their fancy dashboards and apps. Originally, the Xbox One X was going to have a 4K dashboard to go with the 4K games. Sometime during development that changed.
Microsoft decided to increase the amount of RAM that developers has access to by 1 GB. Sacrificing the 4K dashboard in the process. This gives developers a whopping 9 gigs of RAM vs the 5 gigs available in the standard Xbox One and Xbox One S. The One X also switched from an ESRAM and DDR3 RAM. Which some gamers argued was a mistake and a carryover from the 360 design. The One X switched to a GDDR5 setup similar to the PlayStation 4 RAM pool.