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Xbox One: technical specifications and what do they mean.

Updated on November 25, 2013

Xbox One - Tokyo Game Show 2013

Xbox One at Tokyo Game Show 2013
Xbox One at Tokyo Game Show 2013 | Source

Every time a new gaming console arrives we are flooded with technical information and other data that, let's face it, until you get your hands on the actual product, don't mean a thing.

Of course, I'm not that naive to think that the producers will ever present their products in an objective way, but this constant bombardment with technical information and different features, more or less useful, that are presented as being life-saving, tends to get a bit annoying after a while.

This trend is very obvious in the video game consoles department. To me, after the launch of the highly anticipated Xbox One gaming console, it was clear that the real capabilities of the new console will be revealed only by the public and by private testers.

So let's find out together what the Xbox One is really capable of.

Firstly, let's start with the theory, or what the producer actually says about it's "baby".

Xbox One - Gamescom 2013

The Xbox One at Gamescom 2013
The Xbox One at Gamescom 2013 | Source

Technical specifications.

As you all probably know by now, the Xbox One is the third console proudly wearing the Xbox logo. The successor of the Xbox 360 directly competes with the Nintendo Wii U and Sony's Playstation 4 for the title of the best gaming console out there.

Under it's "liquid black" exterior casing lies the heart of the Xbox One, the AMD Jaguar APU with two quad-core modules resulting in a total of eight 64 bit cores clocked at 1.75 GHz. "What is an APU?" I hear you ask, well, APU is short for "Accelerated Processing Unit" and is the name that AMD decided to give to a type of microprocessors that are designed to act both as a CPU ( central processing unit ) and as a GPU ( graphics processing unit ) solution on a single chip. Now, the concept is not that new and these types of microprocessors are being produced for some time now, but with the producers of the Xbox One and Playstatin 4 shouting this initials with every chance they get, I thought it's a good time to explain what they actually mean.

To return to the actual Xbox One hardware specifications, I have to add that the video game console has 8 GB of DDR3 RAM memory, 3 of which are used for the operating system, or the Xbox OS, and other applications, while the remaining 5 GB of RAM are used for games.

It has a storage capacity of 500 GB on an internal hard drive and a Blu-ray Disc optical drive.

The GPU is based on an AMD Radeon GCN architecture with 12 compute units, totaling 768 cores, running at 853 MHz, and, as I've said earlier, integrated into the APU. It is capable of 1080p, 1080i and 720p resolutions, and the One supports HDMI 1.4 for input as well as output.

It also supports 7.1 surround sound and, for networking, the Xbox One supports Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, and Wi-Fi Direct.

It also has the Kinect 2.0 system for motion tracking and voice recognition, a system that uses a 1080p wide-angle camera for features like tracking up to 6 skeletons at once, performing heart rate tracking, tracking gestures performed with an Xbox One controller, and scanning QR codes to redeem Xbox Live gift cards. The Kinect also has a microphone always ready to hear your commands.

Now that's the theory anyway, let's see what the numbers translate to into the real world, or shall I say into the gaming world.

Xbox One displayed at Gamescom 2013

The Xbox One on display at Gamescom 2013
The Xbox One on display at Gamescom 2013 | Source

What the numbers actually mean.

As you'd expect with any new product in the gaming / mobile / computer industry, these days, the backward compatibility is at an all time low. Meaning there is no backward compatibility with the Xbox 360 and older, which basically means that you can not play your old Xbox 360 games directly on the One, you have to purchase their Xbox One compatible versions, and as nobody likes buying the same game twice it's better if you just buy new games instead.

Technically speaking, it has a faster CPU, more RAM memory, a bigger hard drive, a better video card, better sound, networking and so on, let's face it, nobody expected it to be slower than the 360 anyway. But what all of this actually means?

Well according to "reviews.cnet.com", the games also available on the Xbox 360, only look marginally better, the same problem being encountered by Playstation ( when comparing the same game on PS3 and PS4, of course ) as well, and I agree with them that this problem will be fixed with time, as the game developers will learn how to fully use the improved performances of the systems ( Xbox One and Playstation 4 ).This also confirms what I was saying all along, that it's better to buy newer games that can take advantage of the console's improved hardware than just buying your old games all over again just to see some minute improvements in terms of graphics and performances.

You can also watch live TV on the Xbox One and switch between a game and the console's operating system to "see what's on" or just to open some apps. Now, if you're a PC user, that's not that impressive, it's called multitasking, but it is an interesting feature for a console.

According to "reviews.cnet.com", the snap function, that is basically multitasking for consoles as I was pointing out earlier, can be disorienting at times and, of course, not all applications have that feature, but they also say that the Xbox One they tested was running on a beta environment, and that Microsoft has informed the testers that there will be significant improvements after the public release.

Continuing our quest to better understand the new Xbox One, we stumble upon the Kinect 2.0. With the help of the Kinect system and the Xbox One interface, the gaming console is nearly completely controllable while relying only on this system and your voice. While that sounds good in theory, in practice can lead to some frustrating times, but it has to be said that the Kinect is also one of the features that will be improved in the future. That being said, I don't think all of its problems will be fixed, as I haven't came across a speech recognizing system that doesn't require a great deal of calm from its user.

Another thing that I haven't seen the logic behind, is the 60$-a-year Xbox Live Gold membership, which is required to unlock basic functionality. I mean, if the membership would have been required for additional features, it would have been alright, but to unlock basic features, especially when you take into consideration the One's base price which is quite high to start with, is just not OK.

In the end, although technically the Xbox One it is outstanding, and the new systems and features it brings to the table are impressive, the big initial price and ulterior fees, lead me to think that you should stick with your old 360 or PS3 for now, and wait until more games that can take advantage of it's improved hardware will appear, and the system's applications, OS, and functions will be improved so that the big asking price will become a bit more realistic.

In fact, that's the advice I normally give about any gaming console or mobile device, don't jump to buy it based on what the producer tells you, wait until it gets some proper revives from people that have nothing to gain from an eventual popularity of that product. Also, always check for the reviews of the individuals who already bought the device / console, because that's the only way to find out about how or if a product works in the real world.

Gaming consoles poll:

What gaming console would you buy?

See results

You can vote your favorite new generation video game console in the poll, also leave a comment below if you want to have your say about the Xbox One, and why not, it's rivals.

Which console is the best? Why?

Is the Xbox One's high price justified?

Answer these questions in the comments area below, or just say your own opinion, or talk about your experience involving Xbox products or other gaming consoles.

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      Sidy 2 years ago

      I'd really like to see more naarutl environments in multiplayer. ====== Forest Map ====== TONS OF TREES: Some large, small, some that have fort-like structures on them, some with tunnels that go through the base of the tree, some fallen trees that can be used to get to higher places. (A sort of rich thick forest you would find in Skyrim but tailored for Halo FPS gameplay) FOLIAGE: Tall weeds in some parts, short grass in others, hanging moss or vines. DIRT TUNNELS: Log or wooden beams to support the tunnels inside. TREE FORTS: Ground forts or forts spanning across trees with bridges or zip-lines connecting them. CAVES: Built into a rock formation of some sorts. FIRE?: Fire can spread around the map for a little while before going out severely damaging . could really change dynamic gameplay during objective based game types cutting off certain routes. Return of flame thrower? Addition of flame grenade/torch? (Something similar to what you would see in Far Cry)====== Desert Map ====== FLOWING SAND DUNES: (sand could also possibly be shifted around by explosion, driving, running, ect? Not sure if that is possible on the technical side of things) ROCK/SAND STRUCTURES: Building of some sorts for bases or structures that players can go through. QUICK SAND: Some sort of quick sand element that could be located in key spots of maps. Quick sand either kills you, where you can still shoot and throw grenades as your being sucked down. **A teammate could possibly attempt to pull you out but leaving you both vulnerable to an attack. OR it could just drastically slow you down while trying to move through it. DESERT PLANTS: Cactus or thorny like plant life. Tumbleweeds that blow across the map during gameplay. Maybe a couple spotted oasis's around a watering hole with some palm trees near the water. SAND STORMS: Randomly throughout gameplay, sand will blow through/around to make sight difficult or near impossible. Outside structures could be more severe where inside structures could be only hazy and gloomy. (Gears of War 3 Multiplayer Map: Trenches is a good example. During matches on that map, sand will sweep through and create interesting gameplay.)====== Snow/Ice Map ====== FLOWING SNOW HILLS/DRIFTS: They could have unique shapes and could change form (kind of like I mentioned with the sand map dunes) by explosions, vehicles, or foot traffic that can change the dynamic flow of the map. (Again technical limitation may not make this possible) TUNNELS: Snow tunnels that connect certain points of the map. FROZEN LAKE/POND: There could be some sort of frozen water at a key spot in the middle of the map that can be a risk/reward element. The more traffic damage (person/vehicle more so) or weapon damage the ice takes it will break apart leading to anything on top falling through to die in the freezing deep water. Over time the water can freeze and strengthen up if not disturbed. Must be very risky as most would rather choose to venture around the ice unless it's an absolute dire situation. SNOW VEHICLE: Have a snowmobile that can shoot out the front and have at least one passenger or have a Warthog that has snow tracks instead of wheels. (I believe Halo 2 had some concept Snow Warthog with tracks but never saw that in-game.)Those are what I would really like to see and I think the Halo community would enjoy it as well.Now I'm not sure how they could balance destructible environments since Halo multiplayer puts a very high emphases on flow, consistency, and balance. It's just that having fully destructible environments can make the game become more alive. When environments are destructible, it constantly feels fresh, changes the flow of gameplay as the match goes on, and it gives a sense of the chaos by seeing all the damage by the end of the match. Battlefield 3 comes to mind so exactly how 343 could find that balance I am not sure but I feel like I am not alone when I say that.Also, I understand that Battlefield 3 is an entirely different game but I would really like to see some concepts that Battlefield incorporates into their multiplayer experience. It's such a ridiculously very engaging game with it's scale-able maps, destructible environments, beautiful maps . so many others points that I won't cover but if you've played Battlefield 3 multiplayer you know what I speak of .. now imagine that mixed with Halo! I understand somethings just wouldn't fit but whenever I play Battlefield I cannot help to think how amazing some of those maps would be with Halo mixed in.Final thoughts:The customized armor should be over the top. You can customize your spartan now but it's still fairly easy to see another player that looks similar. I hope 343 can find a way to make spartan armor customization soooo deep that your spartan looks like no other out there.Forge world should have a lot more naarutl objects. An absolutely large forge world should be out there or at least several fairly large maps all that are strikingly unique. Just something where not every forge map looks like a bunch of bland UNSC, forerunner, steel-like structures . something that can be created that looks more naarutl. Bottom line, I wish the map creator was something similar to Far Cry . I couldn't imagine what the Halo community could come up with if they had that sort of map creator/editor. I'm sure I'll add more as time goes by but for now the details I listed above are what I'd really like to see in the next HALO game.

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      Herbet 2 years ago

      One of the things 343 shuold do for HALO 5 is what Bungie did for HALO 3: ODST and make it a two disk pack. One can be used for the Campaign, Firefight, and Spartan Ops, the second however shuold only contain Forge and Multiplayer. The reason I say this is because I'm a Computer software tech and know a few things about how software works if you split the game into 2 different disks the more space you have to make longer campaigns bigger maps and the system will only need to focus a few primary issues. take forge for instance the community wants bigger maps and unlimited forge options it only makes since that its going to use a lot of space for data to be processed and if HALO 5 will come out the XBOX 720 the we don't have to worry about how the system will freeze or crash because they going give the system new tech and build off the 360 model. Same goes for campaign firefight and other game modes that 343 will put in. Next they shuold have skins for forge objects so people who make machininmas will be able to make epic videos with scenery like Forunner Covennet or UNSC. another idea would be to make theater mode for all game modes and not just multiplayer and they really shuoldn't botch the weapon lowering manuver by it going back being aimed when walking around after you just lowered it. and one other thing they shuold not do is have the second disk be an instillation disk. one last thing they shuold do is bring back all weapons, all vehicles, dual wielding, and all game modes from the previous HALO games.

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