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Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture Explained

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Aug 25, 2020
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Xbox Series X's Velocity Architecture design should make for smaller game downloads, fewer loading bottlenecks and theoretically allows for the console to achieve performance beyond what's expected of its raw hardware. In a post on Xbox Newswire, Xbox Series X Director of Program Management Jason Ronald explained how the Velocity Architecture solutions work alongside the console's processor to offer huge improvements over current-gen technology, and even over what could origianlly have been expected of the base Series X components. As Ronald puts it: "If our custom designed processor is at the heart of the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul." Check out our exclusive interview with Jason Ronald about Velocity Architecture below: [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/07/14/microsoft-explains-the-xbox-series-xs-high-speed-secret-sauce"] Ronald points to four hardware and software innovations that make up Velocity Architecture as a whole:
  • Custom NVME SSD: The Series X SSD allows for 40 times the I/O throughput (essentially the amount of data transfer the console allows every second) of Xbox One, but has been designed not to drop in performance below a certain level. Essentially, developers can design their games without having to work around data transfer constraints (by, for instance, introducing the "loading tunnels" we've seen in open world games this generation).
  • Hardware Accelerated Decompression: Series X uses both an industry standard LZ decompressor, and a proprietary algorithm designed specifically for decompressing game texture data (typically the largest portion of over all game size). The result should be that storage size and download times per game are reduced.
  • DirectStorage API: This new addition to the DirectX family of APIs gives developers control over how they want to assign and prioritize I/O tasks in their game. According to Ronald, this should virtually eliminate loading times, and make fast travel systems actually fast.
  • Sampler Feedback Streaming: Games regularly use different qualities of texture depending on how far you are from them (you'll often notice that and open world game's trees are low-quality from a distance, and high quality up close, for instance). No matter how much of those textures are shown, current-gen games will need to load the entire texture in the background. SFS allows textures to be loaded in portions, meaning the I/O load is reduced, and can be used elsewhere to create more detail-packed worlds.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/07/14/xbox-series-x-velocity-architecture-trailer"] These four elements combined should, according to Ronald, allow the Series X to go beyond what's expected of its own hardware components, even enabling "entirely new scenarios never before considered possible in gaming." "The Xbox Velocity Architecture fundamentally rethinks how a developer can take advantage of the hardware provided by the Xbox Series X", continues Ronald. "From entirely new rendering techniques to the virtual elimination of loading times, to larger, more dynamic living worlds where, as a gamer, you can choose how you want to explore, we can’t be more excited by the early results we are already seeing." This explainer is the latest in a series of articles about the console's technical additions, including Smart Delivery, and its Optimized for Series X badging. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

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