Last month, Microsoft revealed some more details about its upcoming Xbox Series X console, including important spec information. We now know the device sports 12 TERAFLOPS of graphics power.

As we head into the ninth generation of home consoles, Microsoft and Sony will once again be competing, with the PS5 expected to have the same power capabilities.

One of the biggest benefits from the evolution of console gaming in the Xbox Series X will be a vastly improved graphics experience. This will be enhanced by ray tracing, a technology that allows hardware acceleration on the new consoles.

With ray tracing, the Series X will be better at showing dynamic shadows, physics-based lighting effects, and dynamic shadows. Back in December, Nvidia showed the vast improvement ray-tracing makes on Minecraft.

Positive Signs

Early results from developers show ray tracing combined with RTX chips are very positive. Speaking to IGN, Bruce Straley, former creative director for Naughty Dog explained how graphics will be improved. He points to photo realism combining with ray tracing to make more dynamic visuals.

“Smoke, water, wind – things like that are great for GPU processing. […] It’s always been really difficult to make really good hair. And then hair responding to different environments – hair and water, hair and wind, hair and hair gel, are all reactions that can be processed.”

“If you wanted to make something rendered like [Pixar’s] The Incredibles, where you have light coming through the earlobes of your character – we faked it at Naughty Dog. We had all sorts of ways to simulate it, but it wasn’t real. If now I can write a shader that has subsurface scattering on it and hook into the ray tracing system, then more people are going to be able to do that.”

Xbox Series X Details

Microsoft says the console will have a CPU and GPU pairing based on AMD’s Zen2 and RDNA 2 architecture. Redmond has also confirmed there’s a solid state drive (SSD) in the Xbox Series X, marking its first console departure from HDDs.

Later, Microsoft returned to confirm the Series X will also allow gamers to pick up where they left off. The console will support the tool across multiple games when the console is rebooted.