Microsoft offers up more details about the Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture to counter the Sony PS5
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There have been plenty of shots fired in the next-generation console war ahead of their impending launches this year. Microsoft has certainly won the mindshare when it comes to the raw performance of its Xbox Series X, but Sony appears to be winning the mindshare when it comes to the speed of its PS5 SSD solution. Capable of transferring data at ultrafast speeds of up to 5.5 GB/s (uncompressed), it seemingly throws a little shade over Microsoft’s more conventional SSD speeds of up to 2.4 GB/s (uncompressed).
Apparently a bit miffed by the attention this aspect of Sony’s console is receiving, Microsoft has published a blog highlighting just how its Velocity Architecture will perform in the real world. This includes highlighting once again that the Xbox Series X will deliver 40x the performance of the Xbox One just for starters. It also says that the custom NVME SSD in the Xbox Series X is designed for sustained performance at these speeds, which is unlike standard comparable PC systems it argues.
Microsoft says that, also unlike traditional I/O APIs that were developed over 30 years ago, it has developed a new DirectStorage API to the DirectX family to deliver improved low-level access for developers to eke out even more performance from the system bandwidth. The company also highlights what it is calling hardware accelerated decompression that also uses a custom algorithm that works alongside the industry standard LZ decompressor to further boost speed. This is combined with another new technique that it calls sampler feedback streaming to reduce memory loading times due to inefficient I/O bandwidth utilization.
Overall, Microsoft claims that its architectural and firmware enhancements deliver 2.5x the effective I/O throughput and memory usage above the raw hardware capabilities on average. This includes SSD speeds that, when combined with compressed data and its hardware accelerated decompression, that delivers an “effective 4.8 GBs/” transfer speeds. This is well above the 2.4 GB/s transfer speeds the system can deliver in terms of its raw specs. However, what Microsoft doesn’t mention (as you might expect) is that the PS5 can deliver transfer speeds of between 8-9 GB/s using its own compression and decompression techniques.
The whole blog is worth a read which is at the link below. Undoubtedly Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is using completely state-of-the-art technology, however this remains an area in system architecture that Sony still maintains an edge. Whether that translates into anything especially tangible for end users given the high system bandwidth of both systems generally will remain to be seen when we get our hands on the consoles later this year. Either way, both consoles are leveling things up substantially over current generation consoles and even some of the best gaming PCs in many regards.