A 240 FPS Xbox Console? Let’s Talk Next Gen CPU

Posted on December 26, 2018 by Brad Sams in Brad, Podcasts, Video Reviews with 22 Comments

Over the holiday break, the rumor-mill went a bit nuts with the idea that Anaconda, the next generation premium console from Microsoft, will have 240FPS running at 4k. It’s time for a reality check and let’s poke around the CPU the console is likely to include and frame it up appropriately.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “A 240 FPS Xbox Console? Let’s Talk Next Gen CPU”

  1. CaedenV

    Sure it will have 240fps at 4k... with a static image.

    I mean, TVs can barely take a 60fps input, so even if the console could output faster, it isn't going to help much. Much more likely that next gen consoles will push a solid 4k/30+ with a cap of 60, but with decent settings around the era of 2016 PC gaming, but for $5-700 instead of $2000+ like it cost for the PC a few short years ago. A welcome change to be sure, but let's not attribute miracles of silicon to the likes of MS and AMD.

    • truerock2

      In reply to CaedenV:

      nVidia's latest high-end video card supports HDMI 2.0b which will give you 4k at 60fps. And, yes - that is what your normal, consumer TV supports today.

      In the next year or so - consumer products will support HDMI 2.1 and 4k at 120fps. I don't think there will be much demand for resolutions higher than 4k for video games. I have to stand about 2 feet close to a 60 inch 4k TV to sometimes just make out the individual pixels.

      We might see 4k 10-bit 240fps in 2020 I'm guessing... that would be very cool.

      I haven't bought a 4k PC monitor. When I do I think it will probably be 40 inches to 50 inches.

  2. cadrethree

    Ultimately does anyone think Xcloud will be more important for Microsoft as whole rather than gaming like we think? It's kind of interesting what you could do with on the business side. Business with fiber or 5g phones deployed could run Windows on any device anywhere with a fast connection. I'm probably not scratching the tip of what this could do for every Microsoft hardware.

  3. SupaPete

    Some people are really totally missing the boat here.

    The only cases higher resolutions than 4k makes sense is if one has a huge tv or if one has a VR or AR headset on.

    And regarding super high framerates, that, too only is useful when using a AR or VR headset.

    For regular screen usage what is important is just having a reasonably high fps (60-120 for competitive gaming).

    If MS would jump on the misguided track of only pushing super high res and extremely high framerates as standout "features" for their next high end console i would find that pretty disappointing.

    What i want to see with the next gen of high end consoles is powerful tensor cores so one can have AI/machine learning used broadly which can improve games on so many aspects: visuals, physics, bigger and more unique game worlds, more in depth and more believable character animation/motion and AI behavior etc etc, just to name a few.

  4. Rob_Wade

    Okay, seriously, what would be the point of 240 fps? Even if at some point everyone supported the capability, what would I, as a consumer, actually appreciate about that? Not much.

  5. garyprusso

    A high frame rate is definitely in-line with their long-term cloud services strategy. As noted, it will be needed for GPU computing and AR/VR HoloLens frames.

    Keep in mind that, if all goes well, in around 10 years, Microsoft's quantum computing service could boost the cloud-based CPU horsepower by more than 1 million times.

  6. KingPCGeek

    If I wanted to watch a video that should have been a written article I would have gone to CNET.

  7. madthinus

    Someone was smoking something when they come up with that rumour.

  8. truerock2

    So, I hate it when this kind of issue comes up. It is complicated to explain and there is an inordinate amount of misleading information issued when Frames-Per-Second comes up.

    First, HDMI 2.0b can support 26 Giga-bits-per-second. HDMI 2.1 (which is not currently supported by any Samsung or nVidia retail consumer products) will eventually support 102 Giga-bits-per-second.

    DisplayPort and Thunderbolt have similar standards to HDMI.

    There are consumer televisions that can take 4k (3840 pixels × 2160 pixels) 60-frames-per-second HDMI 2.0 input and speed it up with circuitry inside the TV to 240 frames-per-second by interpolating between the 60-fps-frames.

    In today's world, I think you would want 10-bit-per-subpixel (3 subpixels per pixel) color-depth which is the new current standard supported by consumer TVs.

    Even if nVidia ever gets around to supporting HDMI 2.1 (or some other DisplayPort/Thunderbolt counter-part) that will not support a non-compressed (i.e. non-DSC) 10-bit, 240fps, 4k. I guess HDMI 2.1 has the bandwidth to support 4k, 10 bit, 240fps - but, it doesn't for some reason.

    In order to have 10-bit-per-subpixel-color, 240fps, 4k (with no DSC compression) will require a new currently-non-existent video-cable standard (HDMI 2.1a?)

    3840 pixels X 2160 pixels X 3 subpixels X 10 bits X 240 fps = 60 giga-bits-per-second. I don't think Netflix will be streaming that anytime within this century. And, yes - that NFL football game you are watching on digital "HD" cable TV uses a whole 9 mega-bits-per-second! So, that's why it looks like crap.

    • anodyne

      In reply to truerock2:

      Did HDMI 2.0 evolve? Last I checked 18 Gbps was the ceiling for 2.0 bit rate.

      • truerock2

        In reply to anodyne

        Good point. I tend to refer to HDMI 2.0, 2.0a and 2.0b as 2.0. I guess I shouldn't do that. My 7 year old nVidia Geforce GTX 690 supports HDMI 2.0b. I have kind of forgotten that 2.0a and 2.0 ever existed.

        My point is HDMI 2.0b is an example of the fastest available technology currently available and it supports up to 26Gb/s. It has been around for 7 years, it is what today's computer video games are designed for. So nobody is going to do anything faster than 4k/60fps because nobody owns a monitor or TV that could play it. And, as as far as I know - nobody plans to support anything faster than HDMI 2.0b anytime in the near few years. So talking about 4k/240fps is stupid because it is physically impossible for anything in the foreseeable future.

  9. evox81

    240fps @ 4k from an AMD GPU??? LOL

  10. hassan_timite

    Well that Microsoft would rather target 8K at 30FPS rather than 4K at 60FPS.

    This said, i think that what Brad say about Microsoft using XCloud for other tasks than just games streaming is very interesting. Especially if Microsoft intends to use Xbox Scarlett based blades in its datacenters. The opportunity to earn more money could lead to Microsoft using a way more powerful hardware than let say Sony. As Microsoft would have both the economy of scale but also potential additionnal revenue.

    • truerock2

      In reply to Hassan_Timite:

      When 4k TVs first came out, they wouldn't sell because consumers couldn't tell any difference between a 1080p TV and a 4k TV. They literally had to look at the price-tag-description to figure out what resolution they were looking at.

      I see very little demand for 8k unless it costs about the same as 4k - and which point it's just a so-what, whatever decision.

      • hassan_timite

        In reply to truerock2:

        Why people focus on the 4k 240 fps of Brad video or on my sarcastic comment about 8k 30 fps, when the most interesting part of the video is related to the potential use of Xbox based blades for other purpose than gaming ?

        As i said this could lead to extremly powerful hardware for xbox scarlett just through economy of scale and the potential to earn more money from enterprises.

  11. webdev511

    I know the team in the hardware division is working hard on the next version of XBox One, but 240FPS with no display today or forecast that can run at it makes me doubt this is going to happen. I lofty goal? Sure, but not something anyone should expect. How about 4k/60FPS with no tearing and high detail level? Reminds me I still need to get a 4k TV....

  12. Ian Wilson

    Michael Pachter's surname is pronounced 'Idiot' - I'm amazed anyone still gives him and his ridiculous 'predictions' any air time!

  13. JCerna

    Why do people care so much about frame rate, if it looks good and plays well I don't care. Invest on making the software and games better MSFT.

    • Mr_MDavis

      In reply to JCerna:

      In some game types, like side-scrollers or 2D “cartoonish” drawn games, the importance of frame rate can quickly drop off once a certain apperance drops off.

      However in First Person Shooter (FPS) games this is not the case. For these games, how the game actually plays (not just the display of it) is very dependent upon Frame Rate. In these games many of the calculations for the trajectory of objects and movement are based upon frame rate. The higher the frame rate, the more accurate the targeting, the smoother the game play and often the more action that can occur. This is why FPS players are often screaming for as high a frame rate that they can get. Now obviously there will come a time when frame rates will get high enough to satisfy the need for most FPS players but 60FPS is not there yet. Will 120 or 180 FPS be satisfying enough for FPS users? Maybe, but we are still in the exploration mode for this.

      • Ezzy Black

        In reply to Mr_MDavis:

        Well, one thing that Brad was trying to say (and not too well) was that most monitors won't allow frame rates that high. I don't know of any monitor today that will even display 240 FPS. I do believe there are some high-end 120FPS monitors out there. I know the fairly mainstream monitor I'm using right now isn't capable of more the 60FPS no matter what the computer wants to do.

        60FPS is just fine for the human eye (movies, for instance, are 24 FPS). The real discussion should be about minimum frames per second. If you could get 4k video that never drops below 60 FPS that, itself, would be a technical marvel. It's something that is very hard if not impossible today with most games even on purpose-built gaming PC's costing thousands of dollars.

  14. anodyne

    A couple things to consider.

    1) 240 FPS requires 4x the computing power compared to 60 FPS. Each frame adds 1/60th of the current compute power used to display compared to a smooth 60 FPS displayed video, one major reason why a lot of games give up frame rate for visual fidelity at 30 FPS - it basically costs twice as much to render. As Brad says in the video, 60 FPS isn't even supported widely on the One X because the 6 TFlop power output requires a ton of efficiency tuning for a game to even hit that 4k/60FPS benchmark in games like Forza.

    2) 240 FPS is a floating number from game to game. 60 FPS with tons of detail is what you want to be aiming for because you eyes can see 60 FPS whereas you eyes cannot see anything that refreshes more than 60 times per second on average (though it's alleged that some people can see beyond 60 FPS but usually never beyond 120 FPS). 240 FPS then would be significantly wasted since even the most advanced eye development would only relay half of the refresh rate to the gamer. Aim for 60 FPS with very high detail instead and build enough power into the console just in case 8K comes around and you want to do some upscaling. I doubt 8K will be standardized for another 5-6 years and will only be implemented on displays larger than 60" since the detail would be lost on anything considered "mid sized" for displays. Even then, 8K would probably render the same restraints 4K currently faces on less expensive hardware (reduced frame rate).

    Just throw out the 240 FPS number and focus on what the power output will be and what kind of features the Xbox can offer on top of just video output (like the secondary CPUs that handle audio decoding and output to handle Atmos standards, whether high-capacity SSDs will be made available, or multi-screen support for app & game offerings). I think everyone would agree that they'd prefer a smooth 60 FPS experience with rich 4K detail over what we currently get with some games (like PUBG). We'll be hitting the limit of what we can display before going to lifelike detail and that's really where the focus is going to be - the finer details that make a world pop on screen (or virtual reality).