Why Microsoft needs an Xbox gaming laptop
It’s been a significant few months for Microsoft’s hardware efforts. Last year, the company unveiled the Surface Book 3, a unique mix of laptops and tablets that Microsoft calls “the ultimate laptop,” followed by the incredibly powerful Surface Laptop 4 in 2021. The Xbox Series X console The long-awaited release also launched on November 10, and that probably puts your PC to shame (especially since you can’t buy a GPU just yet). But what I want is something that straddles these two worlds and strengthens Microsoft’s position as the driving force behind gaming – and yes, that includes PC gaming.
I want an Xbox gaming laptop, built with the same attention to detail as the Surface line, but focused on showcasing the best of Microsoft’s gaming innovations and what’s possible on the PC.
PC enthusiasts might scoff – it’s hard to look past the epic failure of Games for Windows Live – but listen to me.
Why Xbox is Important for PC Gaming
Under Phil Spencer’s leadership, Microsoft’s Xbox division has doubled its PC gaming offering, introducing new features that improve the lives of PC gamers even if they aren’t aware of them. Many of these benefits are intrinsically linked to the underlying DirectX 12 graphics technology shared between Windows 10 and Xbox, but there’s more than DX12 at play as Microsoft strives to improve the gaming experience for everyone.
Before real-time ray tracing could make its debut in modern graphics cards, Microsoft added DirectX Raytracing to Windows. DirectX 12 Ultimate incorporates other cutting-edge technologies (mostly Nvidia innovations) into Windows and the upcoming Xbox Series X for the benefit of all gamers, including Radeon owners. Microsoft’s forward-thinking Xbox Play Anywhere initiative lets you buy a game once, then play it on PCs or consoles, and it’s been bolstered by the company’s impressive support for features cross play. Xbox Games Pass for PC is the best value in gaming today, offering well over 100 games for $ 10 per month. Even the Windows 10 game bar is kicking ass now.
To pave the way for Xbox Series X ray tracing support, a recent beta has been made. Minecraft the new gold standard in ray tracing. Seriously: it is superb.
Xbox is no longer just for the living room. This is the brand for all Microsoft’s gaming ambitions, uniting PC and consoles. But sadly, Microsoft’s most innovative gaming technology isn’t featured in recent versions of Surface, although some could be used as gaming devices.
Surface Book 3 gets ray tracing, sort of
The Surface Book 3 was a serious improvement over an already glorious hybrid. The latest version upped the ante with the latest 10th Gen Intel processors, modern Nvidia GPUs, massive storage and memory upgrades, and even a more powerful power brick to avoid power consumption issues. energy which were the only glaring drawback of the last model. That’s all we could have asked for in an update.
But while the Xbox Series X has really helped bring real-time ray tracing into the mainstream, the consumer-focused versions of the Surface Book 3 don’t support real-time ray tracing.
There are many Surface Book 3 configurations available, and all but two are based on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti GPUs. These are great gaming options, especially the GTX 1660 Ti, but Nvidia’s GTX 16 series graphics don’t include the dedicated hardware required to speed up ray tracing in real time. Two versions of the Surface Book 3 include Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 3000 GPUs, which do supports ray tracing, but these workstation-class cards cannot run Nvidia’s Game Ready GeForce drivers. GeForce drivers are frequently updated to include optimizations for the latest games. Quadro cards should use either Quadro drivers or the creative focused Nvidia Studio drivers, which revolve around more professional use cases.
The decision makes sense for the high-end Surface Book 3! Microsoft has always touted its detachable laptop as a high-performance laptop for business, a more versatile alternative to Apple’s MacBook Pro. Quadro fits perfectly. But the Surface Book doesn’t get updated very often, and with Microsoft’s gaming divisions insisting so heavily on real-time ray tracing, it’s a shame that you can’t fully enjoy games that support it. load technology on the one. Surface device with discrete graphics.
The new Surface Laptop 4 lacks discrete graphics options, so you won’t be able to return ray tracing to it either.
Showcasing the best of Microsoft
Microsoft created Surface to showcase the best of Windows, to show what is possible when you tightly integrate the capabilities of the operating system with hardware designed to fully utilize those powers. That’s why Microsoft also needs an Xbox gaming laptop – a sleek, powerful device built with the same loving care as Surface, but dedicated to showcasing the best of what is possible with PC gaming. Of Xbox the game, beyond the console.
An Xbox gaming laptop could be clad in black, reflecting the Xbox Series X branding while standing out against the traditional silver hues of Surface. Load it up with Nvidia’s ray-tracing compatible GeForce RTX graphics, of course, or AMD’s beastly Radeon RX 6000 GPUs when these hit laptops. Integrate Xbox Wireless Controller connectivity. Microsoft’s advanced Surface camera and dual far-field mics would work wonders for Twitch streaming. I just get hot and bothered thought about the idea of Microsoft’s lavish PixelSense displays amplified to the more gaming-ready 120Hz refresh rates now common in modern RTX 30 series gaming laptops.
If Microsoft really wanted to go crazy, it could even (maybe?) make an Xbox gaming laptop stand out from the hordes of gaming laptops by incorporating support for the blazingly fast add-on SSDs “Xbox Velocity Architecture” debuting in the Xbox Series X. The company’s DirectStorage API brings the underlying technology to PCs to help reduce game load times – why not double that?
There’s no shortage of gaming laptops, and Microsoft’s PC partners probably wouldn’t appreciate it if the creator of Windows encroached on their territory even more. Done well, however, a dedicated Microsoft gaming laptop would leave no doubt that the Xbox is important for PC gamers as well. Add a free Xbox Game Pass for PC membership for a few months, and that would make quite a statement as a forefront of Microsoft’s PC gaming ambitions.
You know, like Surface does for Windows.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2020, but updated after the announcement of Nvidia’s RTX 30 series, AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series, Xbox Series X, and Surface Laptop 4.