Leaked Xbox One SDK Points To CPU Performance Boost

Leaked Xbox One SDK Points To CPU Performance Boost

While modern consoles have multi-core designs, not all of those cores are available to developers. The PS3, for example, reserved a core for security and encryption and the latest offerings from Sony and Microsoft both have restricted cores dedicated to the operating system. In the case of the Xbox One, however, it appears Microsoft is now allowing games to use some of that cordoned power.

Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter poked around the documentation for the Xbox One software development kit (SDK) leaked last month and discovered that while two of the console’s eight cores are reserved for system purposes, in November Microsoft changed things around so that as long as a developer is willing to forgo Kinect functionality, it can access “50 to 80 per cent of a seventh processing core”.

There’s another catch though — the load on this core can change based on what the Xbox is doing at that time. From the Eurogamer piece:

…the amount of CPU time available to developers varies at any given moment — system-related voice commands (“Xbox record that”, “Xbox go to friends”) automatically see CPU usage for the seventh core rise to 50 per cent. At the moment, the operating system does not inform the developer how much CPU time is available, so scheduling tasks will be troublesome.

This means you can’t rely on the core for anything that’s performance-critical, however, for less demanding tasks, this extra power could be used and result in a general, across-the-board boost. Of course, it is very dependent on what those less important tasks are. The Eurogamer article notes that improvements related to this change should come in a “future SDK update”.

I’m not familiar with how much control developers have over assigning specifics tasks or threads to particular cores on the Xbox One, but in order to get the most benefit from this change, they will need a way to prioritise and control which CPU cores do what.

Microsoft gives more CPU power to Xbox One developers [Eurogamer]


  • Interesting read. So does that mean we are given the ability to tweek the cpu usage through settings on xboxone through this sdk update?

    • No, it means developers can code their games to take advantage of this extra bit of power. Not terribly sure what you can use it for if sometimes it’s available and other times in use.

      • More importantly, what good is it if the developer is unable to even see whats being used and when?

  • So if you have 8 cores running at around 1.6ghz you have around 12.8ghz in total in the system so if you have access to 6 of the 8 cores this boost should take you from about 9.6ghz to around 10.5ghz which is around a 10% speed boost.

    As far as im aware the Xbone wasnt lacking in CPU but Sony’s GPU was 50% faster.

  • Hey look, developers can disable Kinect to get some more CPU power. See? Our games aren’t worse than PS4’s.
    Hey look, we are freeing up a bit of one of the cores. You can squeeze a fraction more CPU power out now.
    Dont need the disc drive now. Squeeze a little more power out of the CPU.
    Check it out! Developers can turn off the light on the front of the console. That should let games hit a solid 47fps!

    What are MS going to strip back next to try and make it last seven years?

    • so let me get this right…… many many people (im guessing including yourself) whinge and put microsoft down because on paper specs of the xbox arent as good as the ps4…… so they come up with a solution to alleviate this somewhat and you put them down again.

      What should they do? nothing at all? congrats to them for listening to the whinging and doing something about it…. or perphaps they should not alter the machine from the day it is released right?

      • No, they shouldn’t have so heavily focused on Kinect and “tv tv tv” for their console which took funds away from other areas. . . such as beefing up the raw horsepower of the console.
        The backpedaling on Kinect is proof of this.
        Stupid business decisions were made and the console is suffering as a result.

        • yeah i agree, mistakes were made….. but here they are making steps to try and rectify it. And you are busy putting them down for it.

  • Squeeze every little bit you can as far as I’m concerned. Hell I’ll unplug my kinect right now if you could re-write the os to not give any power to the kinect.

    All I every use the kinect for is “xbox pause” which I can (and have) easily do(ne) with the controller.

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