Microsoft Upgrades The Xbox One GPU And Drops In ‘Mono’ Driver
Microsoft seems to be doing all the right things after a rocky start with the Xbox One. They’ve updated policies that keep the used game experience in-line with current gen philosophies. Back on July 24th they announced that Indies could self-publish on the X1 and now Microsoft seems to be making eleventh hour efforts to upgrade and optimize it’s hardware during the Beta period.
Major Nelson’s newest podcast features Xbox chief product officer, Marc Whitten. Whitten had some meaty details to share about the current state of the hardware. First off, the company has upgraded the Xbox One GPU from 800MHz to a custom AMD GPU that clocks 853MHz, which sounds like a small improvement, but it does promote higher performance. Whitten goes on to describe another, possibly more important addition to the Xbox One. A new graphics driver internally referred to a “Mono” is said to be 100% optimized for the Xbox One hardware. Whitten explains the updated driver in layman’s terms,
“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.”
The Mono driver improvement reportedly allows developers to “write to the metal” meaning they’ll have more direct access to the hardware and theoretically be able to improve graphics performance. However, the presence of a driver alone means that devs aren’t actually “writing to the metal”. There’s no question that Microsoft is painstakingly working on the Xbox One prior to it’s release. Some reports state that the hardware is being tweaking on nearly a daily basis at this point. With Sony‘s PlayStation 4 already delighting the FCC and being greenlit for import, it’s our hope that Microsoft can nail down it’s final submission soon.
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