"The SSD will still be slower than the GDDR6 RAM that sits directly on top of the die," Spencer conceded.
The Xbox Series X SSD — or solid state drive — can be used by the console as virtual RAM, Phil Spencer confirmed way back at E3 2019.
If you’re scratching your head wondering why the news has only come out this week, it’s because Spencer’s interview was translated into German before being rediscovered and translated (back) into English.
“Thanks to their speed, developers can now use the SSD practically as virtual RAM,” Spencer told German outlet PC Games Hardware back at E3. “The SSD access times come close to the memory access times of the current console generation. Of course, the OS must allow developers access that goes beyond that of a pure storage medium. Then we will see how the address space will increase immensely – comparable to the change from Win16 to Win32 or in some cases Win64.”
Spencer conceded that “the SSD will still be slower than the GDDR6 RAM that sits directly on top of the die,” but added that “the ability to directly supply data to the CPU and GPU via the SSD will enable game worlds to be created that will not only be richer, but also more seamless.”
Spencer also tipped his hat to Mark Cerny and his team at Sony for including an SSD in the upcoming PS5.
“The engines and tools can implement corresponding functions,” Spencer said. “Together we will ensure a larger installed base – and developers will do everything possible to master and support the programming of these hardware capabilities.”
We’ll have more on the Xbox Series X and the PS5 as news becomes available; while you wait, though, check out some alleged specs here.