Hot Chips is an annual event that invites silicon manufacturers and product manufacturers to talk about the latest technologies. Whether it’s FPGA systems, servers, mobile SoCs, or consoles, the symposium aims at providing an in-depth briefing on architectures.

Like back in 2013, Microsoft will once again attend Hot Chips to discuss the inner workings of its next Xbox. According to Hot Chips’ schedule, the presentation will be delivered by Jeff Andrews from Microsoft on August 17, 2020 between 5:30 – 7:00 PM Pacific Time. The presentation will talk about the “system architecture” of the Xbox Series X.

Much of the details about Xbox Series X have been known for a while now. Microsoft revealed that the console uses an 8-core Ryzen CPU running at up to 3.8GHz and is based on the Zen 2 architecture. The GPU is based on AMD’s upcoming RDNA 2 and features 52 Compute Units running at 1.825GHz to achieve a maximum of 12TF.

The system is being paired with 16GB GDDR6, which is split into 10GB (560Gb/s) and 6GB (336GB/s) pools.

But the most interesting aspect of next-generation is the inclusion of an SSD. Microsoft has built its “Xbox Velocity Architecture” to minimize game loading. A dedicated decompression block frees CPU resources, and DirectStorage further alleviates the burden on the CPU by bringing down I/O operations from what would typically require two Zen 2 cores down to just a fraction of one core. Moreover, thanks to the increase in speed, the SSD allows game developers to leverage the bandwidth to stream assets from the SSD when needed, leaving the system memory to work on more critical assets.

Microsoft talked about its new BCPack compression system but has not revealed how it fares in handling GPU textures, especially compared to the PlayStation 5’s Kraken compression system.

It is likely that we’ll get in-depth information on those fronts at Hot Chips after the impending first-party games showcase in July.

Jawwad Iqbal