Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture is the 'soul' of the new Xbox - here's what it does

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture could reduce loading times and game file sizes, while boosting the new Xbox beyond the power of its raw specs, according to Microsoft.

In a recent Xbox Wire post, Xbox Series X director of program management, Jason Ronald, explained that Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture is "the ultimate solution for game asset streaming in the next-generation", working alongside the new Xbox's custom-design processor to "deliver next-gen gaming experiences unlike anything you have seen before".

"If our custom designed processor is at the heart of the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul, " Ronald wrote.

Made of of four key components, a custom NVME SSD, hardware accelerated decompression blocks, a brand new DirectStorage API layer and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS), Velocity Architecture will allow the Xbox Series X to deliver performance beyond its raw specs, virtually eliminating loading times, reducing game file sizes and allowing for the creation of bigger, more immersive, game worlds. 

In addition, it's the key to the Xbox Series X's Quick Resume feature, which allows players to seamlessly jump back into where they left off in a game.

"The Xbox Velocity Architecture fundamentally rethinks how a developer can take advantage of the hardware provided by the Xbox Series X," Ronald explained. "From entirely new rendering techniques to the virtual elimination of loading times, to larger,  more dynamic living worlds where, as a gamer, you can choose how you want to explore, we can’t be more excited by the early results we are already seeing." 

Those four components

(Image credit: Xbox)

So what are the four components driving Velocity Architecture?

Referred to as "the foundation of the Xbox Velocity Architecture", the Xbox Series X's custom, 1TB NVME SSD, allows for 40 times the I/O throughput of the Xbox One. This means the SSD of the Series X can read and write data much faster - resulting in drastically increased performance. 

However, according to Microsoft, this SSD is designed for consistent, sustained performance as opposed to peak performance - meaning developers have less constraints and barriers when designing their games. This sustained performance will also apply to the Seagate Expandable Storage Card meaning, whether your game is kept externally or internally, you will have the same experience/

Hardware Accelerated Decompression
The Xbox Series X's utilizes an industry standard LZ decompressor, while also making use of a new proprietary algorithm that specifically compresses game texture data (a meaty part of the overall game data). That means that we should be looking at shorter download times and smaller game file sizes.

New DirectStorage API
The Xbox Series X will come with a new addition to the DirectX family: DirectStorage API. DirectStorage API gives developers more control over their I/O operations, meaning they can take full advtage of raw I/O performance and resulting in the virtual elimination of load times.

Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS)
Game textures are often optimized at different levels of detail and resolution, with far away objects having poorer resolution than objects that are close. Currently games require entire textures to be loaded in the background, even if you can't really see them, which takes up a lot of memory. 

However, Sampler Feedback Streaming means only sub portions of these textures are loaded in - when they're needed. This sees the Xbox Series X technically going beyond the power of its raw specs, while also freeing up memory and allowing for more effective I/O throughput, resulting in richer and more immersive games.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.