Microsoft is just a few short months away from releasing the Xbox One, but that’s not stopping the company from making some last-minute improvements to the next-gen hardware.
In an interview with Microsoft spokesperson Larry Hyrb, Xbox One chief architect Marc Whitten confirmed that his team was able to squeeze a bit of extra speed out of the Xbox One’s graphics card. The GPU now runs at 853 MHz instead of 800 MHz. This means that the newly improved GPUs can execute instructions just a bit faster than before.
Whitten said that his team was a bit conservative with its estimations for the Xbox One’s final performance and that enabled them to beef up the speed.
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“It’s all good news,” said Whitten. “It’s a superexciting time; this is when we’ve gone from all the specs and these arguments over the last several years to having the product and really starting to try the product internally,” said Whitten. “We’re running our internal beta and using it at home and starting to see the product really come together.”
Hyrb and Whitten confirmed that they both have the final console in their homes, which is currently running an early beta version of the Xbox One operating system. Developers also have the final dev kits. Whitten said that the developers are working closely with Microsoft to help them perfect the system before launch.
The hardware architect also confirmed that Microsoft has dropped in the Xbox One’s “mono driver,” which is a specialized graphics driver built specifically for the Xbox One.
“It’s really 100 percent optimized for the Xbox One hardware,” said Whitten. “You sorta start with the base DirectX driver, and you take out all of the parts that don’t work with Xbox One and you add in all of the things that really optimize that experience. Almost all of our content partners have picked it up, and it’s made a lot of improvements.”
These optimized drivers should help studios get the best visuals out of the Xbox One with less work.
The mono driver, the GPU, and the internal beta test all mean that Microsoft is finalizing the Xbox One for consumers. Hyrb and Whitten both talked about living with the new box in their homes. Whitten described a situation where he could come home and say “hello, Xbox” and watch as his profile and his content automatically loaded onto the television.
Whitten also promised that the company would talk in further detail about its plans to turn the Xbox One into a development box for anyone who wants to make games.
Microsoft still hasn’t provided a final launch date for the console, but it did strongly suggest a launch is due in November. The box will retail for $500 and will come bundled with the Kinect 3D camera.