How Xbox One Works

By: Bernadette Johnson

Technical Specs

The Xbox One has a Microsoft-customized 8-core AMD Jaguar x86 central processing unit (CPU) with 8 gigabytes (GB) of 2133MHz DDR3 random access memory (RAM) as well as 32 megabytes (MB) of very fast ESRAM integrated into the processor chip. This is a pretty big leap from the Xbox 360's custom Power-PC with 512MB of RAM.

The console also has an 853 MHz AMD Radeon graphics processing unit (GPU) with 12 compute units (CUs) running at an estimated 1.31 teraFLOPS. Around 10 percent of the GPU time will be reserved for system-related tasks such as running Kinect functions and background apps and processes, although Microsoft may free some of that up for use by developers in the future. Similarly, 3GB of the RAM will be reserved for running the operating system (OS).


A Blu-ray drive with 720p and 1080p high-resolution capabilities is built into the console, a step up from the previous console's standard DVD player. For storage, the device has a 500GB non-removable hard drive. Microsoft warns that the system software uses up a bit of storage, so not all of the 500GB will be available for saving your games and other media. The console sports three USB 3.0 super speed ports, and there was talk of the ability to attach external storage devices via USB, but as of late 2013, that's been delayed and will be rolled out at an unspecified time after the launch.

The console itself is sleek and black, except for a few rumored, special edition white consoles. The dimensions are around 13.1 by 10.8 by 3.1 inches (33.3 by 27.4 by 7.9centimeters). Aside from USB, the unit has HDMI-out and HDMI-in ports, an S/PDIF optical audio-out interface, an IR-out port and a Kensington Security Slot, as well as the Kinect connection port. For Internet connectivity, the device includes 802.11 b/g/n dual-band WiFi as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Xbox One comes with the Kinect 2.0 (the new version of the Kinect sensor), one wireless controller, a mono headset, a Category 2 4K-rated HDMI cable, a power brick and a power cord.

The controller has the same button, stick and trigger placement as the previous model, but it has undergone more than 40 changes to improve comfort and control. The new Impulse Triggers are more sensitive and have additional tiny rumble motors to provide better, more sensitive directional feedback. For power, the controller requires AA standard or rechargeable batteries, or a special Xbox One play and charge kit (sold separately). The battery area is now nestled into a U-shaped circuit board inside the controller, thinning the device to allow for easier grip and more thumb motion. The D-pad shape and sensitivity have been improved, the thumb sticks were made smaller and given a texture to improve feel and functionality and the A, B, X and Y buttons were moved slightly closer together.

The controllers are now all wireless and have infrared (IR) LEDs that allow you to bind them to the device with a button press whenever they're in view of the Kinect. Users who prefer to be wired up can plug the controllers in via micro USB. Micro USB will also power the controller or charge the play and charge kit. You can have up to eight controllers attached simultaneously.

Read on to find out more about the advances in Kinect 2.0, and the SmartGlass app.