Microsoft levels up the Xbox One's graphics capabilities with a GPU clock boost

As the Xbox One gets closer to mass production, Microsoft has discovered that it can make the console a little more powerful than expected.

Microsoft will boost the clock speed of the Xbox One's AMD graphics processor from 800 MHz to 853 MHz, Marc Whitten, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Xbox, said during the Major Nelson podcast. He also noted that game makers are now working with final Xbox One development kits.

In real world terms, the extra 53 MHz won't make a huge difference—prior to the change, Sony's Playstation 4 was estimated to pack 50 percent more raw power than the Xbox One—but Whitten said it's an example of “tweaking the knobs” as the console's November launch approaches.

“This is the time where we've gone from the theory of how the hardware works—what do we think the yield is going to look like, what is the thermal envelope, how do things come together—to really having them in our hands,” Whitten said.

If anything, Microsoft's ability to boost GPU power at this point in development is a sign that the console won't be plagued by the same yield issues as the Xbox 360. In other words, the “red ring of death” fiasco that haunted Microsoft for years after launch probably won't be coming back with the Xbox One.

Linley Group analyst Kevin Krewell told VentureBeat that the same type of overheating issues are “considerably less likely” this time around, and that yields must be “better than anticipated” if Microsoft is able to increase clock speeds now. If the higher clock speed results in slightly better-looking games, great; if it means the Xbox One won't die on you for no good reason, even better.

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