After game developers complained about the Xbox Series S memory limitations, Microsoft has started distributing an update to the game console’s software development kit that can improve graphics performance by allowing developers to access more memory on the console.
Microsoft has released a video for the June 2022 GDK for the Xbox Series S, which frees up “several hundred MB” of RAM on the console — which can then be used for games.
With more memory accessible to games, graphics performance could improve in games that have previously been hitting the console’s memory limits.
The Xbox Series S has 10 GB of DRAM, which is physically divided — the main memory is segmented into 8+2 GB (224+56 GB/s), with the graphics unit using the faster area. So far, around 7.5 GB are effectively available for developers — the operating system and apps occupy the slower rest.
Because the GDK (Game Development Kit) update adds a few hundred MB, Microsoft says GPU performance improves in memory-limited scenarios. In such, relevant data also ends up in the 2 GB block, which the RDNA2 graphics unit of the Xbox Series S chip can access at a lower speed, which can consequently reduce the frame rate.
Microsoft is targeting 1440p gaming at up to 120 FPS with the Xbox Series S, while the Xbox Series X is designed for 4K gaming. In practice, however, many games on the Xbox Series S do not achieve the desired resolution of 2560 × 1440 but are only playable in Full HD with 1920 × 1080 and sometimes only 60 frames per second.