Microsoft recently announced that since the initial E3 reveal of the Xbox One, the console has since then been tweaked to include a 53mhz increase to the GPU speed along with a new graphics driver. The GPU originally ran at 800mhz which means that on launch day Xbox One will contain a 853mhz GPU. Rumors also seem to be suggesting the fact that the Xbox One will also have its RAM increased to 12GB, however I personally feel this is untrue as this rumor originated from the fact that an Xbox One development kit had more ram (12GB) – and as I am involved in the development industry (however not game development directly) I know for a fact that the extra ram found in the dev kits are used for development purposes such as debugging and so on.
Why are Microsoft tweaking the Xbox One so close to release?
As Microsoft are making these last second tweaks this suggests to me that they potentially feel threatened by the PS4 and would have received some direct feedback from developers forcing Microsoft to make sudden changes to the console. The PS4 in comparison to its predecessor PS3 is not only more powerful but is also built to be developer friendly. Microsoft seem to have gone a similar route in terms of making the console developer friendly but doesn’t match up to the PS4 in terms of raw power.
Last second Xbox One tweaks a bad decision for Microsoft?
Making changes like this in the late stages of the console development cycle could either help Microsoft create a better console in the long run or cause Microsoft problems later down the line due to problems with the actual build of the console.
If the changes work out well for Microsoft they would have a more capable system to offer than previously to developers and of course the gamers. These tweaks could help push the Xbox One to its limits – in particularly to help increase the console’s frame rate etc. However I feel that the slight tweaks even though will of course help – may not be worth the risk going by the Xbox One’s predecessor Xbox 360.
My explanation for this is that firstly 53mhz isn’t really that much of an upgrade to begin with – but then again maybe the drivers could be more of a beneficial tweak for the console. But since the 53mhz upgrade isn’t exactly mind-blowing it does in fact create a threat: for example the GPU speed increase of 53mhz was of course achieved by overclocking the GPU – (as in telling the GPU to run faster than it should – thus the GPU works harder and produces more heat). Even a slight change like this could spell disaster for Microsoft as the consoles could run into problems where they start failing prematurely (think the Xbox 360 RROD).
The problem with the original Xbox 360 console was in fact caused by overheating and since Microsoft decided to use lead-free solder to hold components such as the GPU and heatsink to the motherboard the constant overheating would in time cause components such as the GPU or heatsink to lose connection with the motherboard thus causing the RROD error. Do you see the similarity?
If the Xbox One also starts to overheat constantly because of these late tweaks there may be a case where the Xbox One consoles also start to fail prematurely like its predecessor did. Of course this could perhaps be prevented by using leaded solder this time around as they are known to hold a better join in comparison to unleaded solder under certain conditions but even then it could still pose a risk to Microsoft with or without the leaded solder.
Testing late tweaks for Xbox One
Also as these changes are very late in the console development cycle, I’m pretty sure Microsoft will not have enough time to test the console thoroughly – as the Xbox One is due for launch this coming November which is only a few months away and there won’t be many games released to push the console to its limits just yet. I’m sure they have certain testing procedures and environments set in place but then again I’m sure they did with the Xbox 360 and we all know how that ended up!
So what do you guys think? Are these late changes to the console worth the risk? Or do you see these changes working against Microsoft? Let us know in the comments section below!