Microsoft Says Xbox One’s ESRAM is a “Huge Win” – Explains How it Allows Reaching 1080p/60 FPS

Fahad Arif
Posted 3 years ago

In the next-gen battle, Xbox One has taken quite a large amount of criticism from gamers and consumers. After Microsoft’s DRM policies, the Xbox One’s ESRAM has played a pivotal role in keeping the console in the path of constant criticism. Although, Microsoft keeps telling the developers and consumers that Xbox One’s ESRAM is for the best good of the console. However, It might take some time before developers know how helping ESRAM can be.

Microsoft Explains the Effectiveness of Xbox One’s ESRAM – Tells How it is Perfectly Capable of Handling the Bandwidth Challenge

It is quite well known that Microsoft’s latest video game console is suffering with resolution-gate issue. Developers are facing adversities in reaching 1080p/60FPS with Xbox One during development of new next-gen games. A number of next-gen games that have already been released are performing better on PlayStation 4 than on Xbox One. Because of these issues, more and more gamers are expressing their frustrations.

To buff the misunderstandings and clarify the true potential and effectiveness of Xbox One’s ESRAM, Xbox One Team Partner Development Lead Frank Savage tried to explain how useful Xbox One’s ESRAM can prove to be when console bandwidth has really started to matter. During a livestream presentation at Build, Savage explained how beneficial Xbox One’s ESRAM can be to developers to help reach 60FPS at native 1080p resolution during next-gen games’ development.

The presentation was titled “Understanding the Xbox One Game Platform Built on Windows.” Speaking about the console’s architecture, the presentation highlighted the advantages that developers can opt for while working on a project with Xbox One.

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Savage stated that Xbox One has 32 MB of high speed ESRAM, that is placed right next to the GPU and GPU alone can see the Xbox One’s ESRAM. This helps GPU in giving a “very very high bandwidth output”. In this era of next-gen, applications demand a high amount of bandwidth to render scenes, that is why Savage says that “regular system memory is gonna be a huge win”. Below is the complete explanation that Savage gave during the presentation.


“ESRAM is dedicated RAM, it’s 32 megabytes, it sits right next to the GPU, in fact it’s on the other side of the GPU from the buses that talk to the rest of the system, so the GPU is the only thing that can see this memory.
And what it does is that it gives you very very high bandwidth output, and read capability from the GPU as well. This is useful because in a lot of cases, especially when we have as large content as we have today and five gigabytes that could potentially be touched to render something, anything that we can move to memory that has a bandwidth that’s on the order of 2 to 10 x faster than the regular system memory is gonna be a huge win.

So this is where you put things that you gonna read a lot like a shadow map, put things that you draw to a lot, like your back buffer… We have resource creation settings that allow you to put things into there, and don’t have to all reside in the ESRAM, there can be pieces of it that can reside in regular memory as well. So for example if I’m a racing game, and I know that the top third of my screen is usually sky and that sky doesn’t get touched very much, great, let’s leave that in regular memory, but with the fast memory down here we’re gonna draw the cars. This works practically for any D3D resource there is, buffers, textures of any flavors… There’s no CPU access here, because the CPU can’t see it, and it’s gotta get through the GPU to get to it, and we didn’t enable that.

So the last thing you have to do to get it all composited up is to get it copied over to main memory. That copy over to main memory is really fatst, and it doesn’t use any CPU or GPU time either, because we have DNA engines that actually do that for you in the console. This is how you get to 1080p, this is how you run at 60 frames per second… period, if you’re bottlenecked by graphics.”

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