Microsoft reveals more information about Xbox One S internals

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Microsoft today started selling their new Xbox One S in the US and select other markets. Apart from the compact size, the other key improvement included in Xbox One S is its 4K and HDR video support. Since its announcement few months back, gamers were eager to know about the new console’s internals to know how Microsoft added support for 4K and HDR content. Albert Penello, senior director of product marketing and planning spoke with Eurogamer to reveal all about the Xbox One S internals. Here are the highlights from the interview,

  • Regarding the SoC: The SoC in the Xbox One S is designed in the 16nm Fin FET process, which results in a die that is 240mm2; 33 per cent smaller and consumes less power than the 28nm SoC in the original Xbox One. [Original Xbox One was using 28nm processor]
  • About how they added 4K UHD video support: There are several components required to support the 4K UHD video playback that result in a combination of changes in the new console. First, we added a 4K HEVC decoder to the SoC to render the compressed video streams efficiently in hardware. Next, we updated the video output to HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.  The interface revisions are all integrated into the SoC and enable outputting video at the higher bandwidths required for 4K UHD and HDR formats, as well as the copy protection tech required for protected content. And of course, we updated the optical drive to support the BD-UHD disc format.
  • On scaling algorithm used to take 1080p to 4K: We use the same hardware block and algorithms to scale directly from the game’s render resolution to 4K as we do with the current Xbox One when scaling to the TV’s input resolution.
  • Regarding cooling mechanism: The cooling solution uses an aluminum heat sink with two heat pipes and a single 120mm axial fan to draw air through the whole system.
  • Whether Xbox One S offers better performance for games over Xbox One? As we discussed, we did make some refinements for 4K support and to fit in the new chassis. We also used this opportunity to increase the GPU frequency from 853 MHz to 914 MHz. Our ESRAM bandwidth scales proportionately with the GPU clock speed increase. That means our peak goes from 204 GB/s to 219GB/s. By making this change, developers creating HDR titles do not have to incur any performance hit. We also decided to make the extra six per cent available to all titles. So some games (ones that utilise dynamic resolution and/or unlocked framerates) may see a very minor performance improvement.
  • Regarding colour gamut support for HDR: We are not supporting WCG for games in Xbox One S. We are supporting the wider Bt.2020 color gamut in Xbox One S for media, however.

Read the full interview from the link below.