Xbox One graphics speed increased by 6.62 per cent

GPU receives post-E3 53MHz speed boost.

Update: This story is now official, and the Major Nelson podcast mentioned in the original report is now online.

Original story: Microsoft appears to have confirmed that the final production silicon of the Xbox One hardware features a 6.62 per cent speed boost to its graphics architecture, with an original 800MHz clock-speed bumped up to 853MHz in the shipping console.

Comments from corporate vice president Marc Whitten appear to have leaked online in a now-pulled GameSpot news story, apparently transcribing comments made in a podcast featuring Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb.

According to the report, Whitten tells Hryb that we should expect to see significant progress on Xbox One titles at Gamescom compared to their E3 counterparts.

"This is the time, and this is the thing I think people are going to see as we get into Gamescom and people get their first look at new things since E3. This is the time where developers have the final dev kits in their hands, they're really working closely with us on how things have come together. There's some things that have really started to come together quite well."

He then goes on to describe the behind-the-scenes improvements to the Xbox One graphics driver - something we have described in-depth before - and the speed boost to the GPU itself.

"Since E3, an example is that we've dropped in what we internally call our mono driver. It's our graphics driver that really is 100 percent optimised for the Xbox One hardware. You start with the base [DirectX] driver, and then you take out all parts that don't look like Xbox One and you add in everything that really optimises that experience. Almost all of our content partners have really picked it up now, and I think it's made a really nice improvement," Whitten reportedly says.

"This is the time where we've gone from the theory of how the hardware works - what do we think the yield is going to look like, what is the thermal envelope, how do things come together - to really having them in our hands. That's the time where you start tweaking the knobs. Either your theory was right dead on, or you were a little too conservative, or you were a little too aggressive. It's actually been really good news for us, and an example of that is we've tweaked up the clock speed on our GPU from 800MHz to 853MHz."

Various sources have reported a GPU speed boost being in the pipeline, but no specific figure has yet emerged - until now. A source close to Microsoft would only tell us that the increase is "slight" - and a 6.62 per cent boost is pretty much exactly that: hardly a revelatory boost to performance but obviously something worth having if it effectively comes free of charge, with no production issues.

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.


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