Microsoft details next-gen Xbox Project Scarlett – coming Holiday 2020

Microsoft have dropped a huge amount of details over the next generation of Xbox console hardware, reeling off a list of impressive sounding specs. Not only that, but they’ve put a date on it: Xbox Project Scarlett will be coming out in Holiday 2020.


Here’s what we now know about the console currently known by its codename Project Scarlett:

  • CPU – AMD Zen 2 architecture
  • GPU – AMD Radeon Navi with dedicated hardware ray-tracing
  • RAM – GDDR6
  • Storage – SSD

All told, it’s four times more powerful than the Xbox One X in pure processing power. The console will be able to hit up to 120fps, as well as output at up to 8K resolutions, though obviously we shouldn’t expect it to do so for every game out there. Part of the next step for the console will be how they use the next-gen SSD storage that’s up to 40 times faster than a spinning drive as found in the current generation. They explain that they’re using it as a kind of virtual RAM buffer, implying that games won’t be installed to the SSD itself, but rather held there temporarily and still live on spinning drives.

If all of that sounds like an echo of what Sony announced a couple months ago, but it seems like Microsoft might be going just that little bit further. Certainly they’ve mentioned the hardware-based ray-tracing tech, and their step up over the Xbox One X seems insane, if we heard them correctly.

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  1. Great to have confirmation of when the next-gen will start. It sounds like both consoles are going to be monstrous!

    • When is Holiday 2020? Easter? Summer Xmas? Bloody Americans :)

  2. Only four times more powerful than this gen sounds I could quite easily skip one gen. Ok, it’s compared to their pro model, which is gen 4.5, but it still is a marketing message that utterly fails to impress.
    If I look for a PC after so many years and I’m told a new one would have 4 times the power of my old one it would make laugh out loud, am I missing something here?

    • Technology has been strange for the last decade. It’s only now, and then only when pushing for higher resolutions and frame rates, that CPUs from 2012 are being made obsolete for gaming. The reason for that is AMD coming back on song and pushing for more, and more powerful CPU cores at seriously competitive prices.

      And a 4x jump in 3 years is very impressive. It makes 8K or 120Hz sound feasible in certain cases, when the One X was a 4.5x jump over the Xbox One and can hit 4K pretty well.

      To put it in other perspectives (assuming they’re counting teraflops), it’s 18x the Xbox One, 13.3x the PlayStation 4 and 5.7x the PS4 Pro.

      • Over ten times the power of this gen sounds much better, they just seem not to have checked with their marketing department first and end up with messages that don’t sound as good. Didn’t know XBox One X is that powerful… what a waste of resources…

      • Why is the Xbox One X a waste of resources? It’s markedly more capable than the PlayStation 4 Pro. There’s countless examples where it gets closer to 4K than the Pro, which has to rely on checkerboarding at the best of times and, at worst, ends up closer to 1080p than 4K.

  3. But I’m glad, of course, Microsoft is staying in the game, and they offer another console, their show was their best I’ve seen over the years in my view.
    So many great games..! Not any I’ll miss out on PlayStation, though, but still very good.

    • *not any that interest me* I’ll miss out…

  4. What they say in the video is basically what Sony said about the PS5, even the SSD is very similar.

    I was thinking Sony might be using a M.2 drive with the new PCI4 bus (Zen 2 CPU is the first to use PCI4) but it was said last week that it is a all new custom SSD designed especially for the PS5. So PCI4 more than likely, M.2 ?

    • All SSDs have got the same fundamental components, so what Sony mean is that they’re not taking an off-the-shelf SSD, just as they haven’t taken an off-the-shelf CPU and GPU, but have customised it. The SSD in the PS5 and Scarlett will almost certainly use PCIe 4, but could be an M.2 design or simply soldered onto the board. What’s more important is the NAND memory that they can source and the controller chip, which can have a bespoke design and firmware to handle data in a different way compared to a regular PC.

      • Yeah your dead right.
        It’s looking like it’s going to be pretty close between the two next gen consoles and I’m eager to see how MS are going to counter Sony’s “special sauce”.

      • I don’t read too much into the “special sauce” comment, it’s just a part of the semi-custom design that AMD offer. It’s pretty certain at this point that both Microsoft and Sony are featuring dedicated hardware for ray tracing in the GPU. Considering that this is beyond what AMD have built into the standard Navi GPU design, I’d say that counts as special sauce.

  5. I see Microsoft is trying to 1-up Sony to get the lead of the next gen race. I really hope if this is cloud connected they will allow some sort of device connectivity to play anywhere with an internet connection. I don’t know if i can justify spending a huge amount of money to just play top-end games at home. I guess time will tell if cloud-gaming will be properly implemented since portable connectivity will need to play a role in this for it to be successful. Can’t take away physical games and not give something in return.

  6. It’s almost as if both MS and Sony know they’ll have something just as powerful as the other and are trying to hold off on announcing any details as long as possible. Both hoping the other will the one who blinks first and announces something they can react to.

    What’s the latest they can change anything and still get machines in the shops in October/November 2020? At what point are they both manufacturing the new consoles and it’s too late to react to any real announcements? I suspect we won’t hear any real details until E3 next year and they’ll both end up being very similar. I suppose price could change at any point between then and launch, if they want to react to the other’s price and make less profit or take a loss on each one sold.

    MS screwed up the XBone launch and never really recovered, and I suspect they’ll avoid that again. Sony took some risks with the PS4 and got lucky (after going a bit wrong with the PS3 launch price but eventually recovering). They could play it safe with the PS5 after doing so well with the PS4, but I’ve a feeling they’ll try something slightly risky and get a bit of an advantage over MS, while trying to keep the price reasonably sensible.

    E3 next year will be too very similar announcements with all the impressive numbers. Maybe a cheaper XBox (with less power), and the full version matching the PS5 power for a very similar price. Possibly more than the PS5. (Got to add enough to the price to make it seem like it’s the premium version)

    Can’t see there being enough price difference to affect sales, and Sony have a big advantage with the existing PS4 owners. And the previous history of beating MS every single time.

    It’ll be a very unsurprising E3 next year, and a not very exciting launch for both consoles. But that’s probably great for gamers.

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