Xbox unrolls Series X specifications to emphasize visuals, speed, and convenience

Ray Tracing means that 'Minecraft' can show a higher degree of light reflection and diffusion

"Minecraft" looks super-nice on an 8-core, 3.8GHz CPU and a 12 teraflop GPU, as Xbox details some of the architecture underpinning its upcoming console.

Getting the jump on Sony and its PlayStation 5, Microsoft has published a slate of hardware specifications for Holiday 2020's Xbox Series X.

While Sony already announced plans to stay quiet for the time being, Xbox is taking advantage with its latest statement of intent, outlining the Series X's technical platform.

The Series X consists of an AMD Zen 2 CPU chip running 8 cores at a speed of 3.8 Ghz, an AMD RDNA 2 GPU capable of producing 12 teraflops (a measure of computational power) from 52 Compute Units running at 1.825 GHz.

For comparison, the 2017 Xbox One X -- an upgraded model of the Xbox One -- has an 8 core CPU running at 2.3 GHz, and a GPU producing 6 teraflops from 40 Compute Units at 1.172 GHz.

The original Xbox One had a 1.75 GHz 8-core CPU and a 1.31 teraflop GPU.

At this stage, there's no price given ahead of release at the end of 2020.

In addition, the Series X will contain 16GB of GDDR6 memory, double that of the original XBO, and a 1TB solid state drive for onboard storage.

There'll be an expansion slot for an extra 1TB card (again, no price), and a USB 3.2 port for an external hard disk drive, plus an internal 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive.

Just as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were fairly similar in terms of hardware architecture, so the PS5 and XBO are currently expected to hit the same sort of specifications.

One of the ways they are likely to differentiate is in terms of proprietary technologies built on top of those baseline standards.

Xbox is showing its flex in this regard by naming a number of those developments, and Hardware Accelerated DirectX Raytracing is most notable among them, its spin on a vastly improved graphics and audio modelling technique that will be part of the shared XSX and PS5 landscape.

It's brought to bear on the otherwise purposely blocky "Minecraft" as well as 2019 action game "Gears 5."

"Raytraced visuals fundamentally change the way 'Minecraft' feels, drawing the player in and immersing them in a much more realistic world," Xbox's own announcement reads, though gameplay videos weren't made available.

Touting the Series X's ability to embrace new levels of graphical fidelity, speed, and convenience, it further outlines the advantages of Xbox Velocity Architecture, Quick Resume, Dynamic Latency Input, and its partnership with unnamed TV manufacturers on HDMI 2.1's Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode features.