We don’t know very much about the next generation of Xbox machines. We know that Microsoft is taking a double-pronged approach with its Project Scarlett family of Xbox devices. Anaconda will be the more powerful of the two, a beastly machine that’ll make the Xbox One X seem silly by comparison, and Lockheart, a possibly disc-less, less powerful machine with more palatable pricing.
Yesterday, the usually reliable Windows Central offered a suggestion from “several sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans,” of the target specs for both machines, giving us a look at what we might expect.
The report says that Anaconda will run on an eight-core CPU clocked at around 3.5GHz. The current Xbox One X runs on an eight-core CPU already, but is still based on AMD’s architecturally ancient 16nm Jaguar SoC, running at 2.3GHz. Anaconda will be running on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture based on AMD’s Flute SoC instead, offering incredible gains. According to the report, the Anaconda system’s Navi-based GPU will target 12 TFLOPs of computational power, but because of hardware advances, could be more than 4 times as powerful as the Xbox One’s X’s 6 TFLOPs.
The system will reportedly have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, with 13GB of that allocated to games, and the rest to the Game Core OS that’ll run the system. Like the PlayStation 5, it’ll also have a proprietary SSD solution to reduce, or even remove load times. We don’t know very much about the PS5’s SSD, but according to the Windows Central Report the next Xbox will use an NVMe SSD. As opposed to SATA interfaces, NVMe connect directly through the motherboards PCIe channels and offers more than can offer up to six times faster transfer. On the new Xbox, it can also apparently be used as virtual memory.
According to the report, existing Xbox One games will run perfectly well on the new system, enhancing them without the need for specific patches, as we saw with the mid-gen upgrades, the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The cheaper Lockheart will reportedly have the same general CPU structure but offer lower performance per core. It’ll have significantly less RAM (the specifics aren’t detailed), and it’s GPU performance will come in at around 4 TFLOPs. That’s lower than the Xbox One X, but again, with advances in SDK and architecture, means the thing should still be faster than the X. The Lockheart system is reportedly targeting 1440p gaming at 60fps.
The two prongs aside, this all sounds very similar to the PlayStation 5. As with this generation, they’ll almost be identical systems, and the differences will come through software and services. For now, PlayStation is easily winning the “better games” battle, while Microsoft has the leg up with services, thanks to features like xCloud, Play Anywhere and Game Pass. Microsoft has, however, started gobbling up studios to improve its first party output.
Both next-generation systems sound powerful, but they also sound like they’ll be frightfully expensive – and possibly beyond the reach of the average gamer. That makes Microsoft’s approach perhaps the smarter one; a cheaper system that lets gamers enter the next generation early, but lets them save up over time to upgrade to the more powerful machine.
Last Updated: December 10, 2019