Xbox Series X|S Are the Only Next-Gen Consoles with AMD’s Full RDNA 2 Architecture

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Image: Microsoft

In a potential blow to Sony fans, Microsoft has shared a story confirming that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are the only next-gen consoles that fully leverage AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, which brings massive gains in both performance and efficiency.

We saw the potential for what RDNA 2 can bring to the table during red team’s Radeon RX 6000 Series announcement yesterday, but while the PlayStation 5 also features a GPU based on that architecture, the implication here is that Sony’s console won’t be able to reap RDNA 2’s full benefits.

“Xbox Series X|S are the only next-generation consoles with full hardware support for all the RDNA 2 capabilities AMD showcased today,” Microsoft wrote.

“AMD’s latest RDNA 2 architecture delivers a significant increase in performance and efficiency over previous architectures, as well as adding new hardware acceleration capabilities including hardware accelerated DirectX Raytracing, Mesh Shaders, Sampler Feedback and Variable Rate Shading.”

Image: AMD

While a deeper dive is definitely required, the popular assumption is that the PlayStation 5 doesn’t support one or more of these features. That’s especially disappointing from a developer’s standpoint, as some of these techniques could be a boon for performance.

Variable Rate Shading, for instance, has reportedly allowed The Coalition to improve Gears 5’s performance by up to 15 percent without sacrificing image quality. This is a rendering technique that can be used to limit GPU resources to specific parts of the frame, maximizing quality where it matters.

“In our quest to put gamers and developers first we chose to wait for the most advanced technology from our partners at AMD before finalizing our architecture,” Microsoft noted later in the article.

This statement seems to suggest that Sony may have rushed the design of its console and ended up with a half-baked GPU, which has presumably been customized with unique implementations that mirror DirectX 12 Ultimate’s feature set.

The story will become clearer when Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen consoles debut in November, but it seems safe to assume that the Xbox Series X|S has much closer ties to AMD’s original vision for RDNA 2. DirectX 12 Ultimate techniques will also inevitably get better as adoption grows, so the Xbox consoles are sure to evolve gracefully.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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