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What the FLOP? Demystifying the Xbox One X specs

Don’t know your FLOPS from Compute Units? We’re here to demystify the specs of the most powerful video game console ever – the Xbox One X.

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Xbox One X specs

Don’t know your FLOPS from Compute Units? We’re here to demystify the specs of the most powerful video game console ever – the Xbox One X.

The announcement that everyone was expecting finally came at Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference: Project Scorpio is now Xbox One X, will be released on November 7, 2017, and will cost $499 US / £449 / 499 euro / 599 CAD / 649 AUS. There were also a slew of game announcements – be they new games, or existing titles that will be enhanced by their beefed up console – but the key thing everyone wanted to know Microsoft wanted to show off were the finalised Xbox One X specs.

So, without further ado, here they are:

Xbox One X specs

  • CPU: Custom AMD CPU, 8 cores @ 2.3GHz
  • GPU: Custom AMD GPU, including:
    • 40 Compute Units @ 1.172 GHz
    • AMD Polaris features
    • 6 TFLOPS of performance
  • RAM: 12GB GDDR5
  • Storage: 1TB storage (with 8GB flash)
  • Optical: 4K UHD BluRay player
  • Power supply: Internal 245W
  • Resolution: 2160p (4K) @ 60Hz, including:
    • AMD FreeSync
    • HDMI variable refresh rate
    • HDR10 support
  • Dimensions: 30 x 24 x 6 cm
  • Weight: 3.81kg

And a great looking thing it is, too.

The concern on our end was that to fit in the sorts of components Microsoft were talking about – capable of 4K, 60 frames per second playback – the Xbox One X would have to grow considerably bigger than the svelte and quite beautiful Xbox One S, towards the size of its ugly, living-under-a-bridge older brother, the original Xbox One. It is heavier than both the Xbox One S and the original Xbox One though, so it’s a good thing you don’t have to carry it around like a Switch.

We were almost certain that meant switching back to an external power brick, but no; they’ve even crammed a large internal PSU into the Xbox One X. It’s a bit of a result, all things considered.

We’ve also heard words bandied around like “Super Sampling” and “Vapour Chamber Cooling” as part of the presentation, to go with your Compute Units and TFLOPs, and all the other jargon from the specs. Microsoft – and lets be honest, large sections of the gaming press – seem to be taking it for granted that people will either know what these things mean, or at the very least will rest easy in the knowledge that the numbers are bigger than its predecessors (and the PS4 Pro).

But when Microsoft are asking five hundred dollars, making the Xbox One X the most expensive console ever (discounting adjustments for inflation) we feel it would be best if people knew what they were getting for their money.

Xbox One X

Xbox One X specs – Basic terminology

CPU

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is the beating heart at the middle of any computer. Designed for generalised tasks, the CPU is what does the bulk of the work on your PC or laptop – running the operating system and the applications – and the logical stuff behind games. Generally speaking, more cores and bigger clock frequencies (measured in GHz, or GigaHertz) are better.

GPU

The GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is a specialist type of processor specifically designed for visual tasks. Unlike the CPU which is very generalised, a GPU focuses its attention on specific mathematical tasks that translate into the visual effects we see when images from your game are rendered on screen. Like the CPU, more cores and bigger clock frequencies are better.

RAM

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the amount of operating memory available to your computer or console. Different from the memory types used in storage (see below) the amount or RAM determines how well your machine will run larger and more complex tasks. Quantity and speed of memory are considerations, but generally, larger numbers are better here, too.

Video RAM

This is just like regular RAM, but it’s assigned to the GPU to assist it with visual and rendering tasks. Typically dedicated video memory is better (as opposed to sharing the system RAM) but in consoles, RAM is often shared between both CPU and GPU; this has less of an impact because a console’s underlying operating system is less demanding than, say, Windows.

Storage

The amount of storage you have determines how much stuff – like games, movies, or saved content – on your console. Generally bigger numbers are better, but larger disks (still made in the traditional way with spinning magnetic platters) are much slower than SSDs, or Solid State Drives, which are built on similar technology to RAM.

Cache

A flash cache – a small amount of companion storage, similar in specs to RAM or SSDs – can be used to speed up a machine with spinning disks, to offer a compromise between storage capacity and speed.

OK, so that’s all the basic terminology covered; now let’s cover some of the specific jargon-tastic details from the Xbox One X specs reveal.

Xbox One X

Xbox One X specs – Jargon demystified

“6 TFLOPS”

What the hell are TFLOPS, you might be wondering? Well first, you need to know what a single FLOP is. A FLOP is, well, it’s maths. Very complex maths.

Specifically, it’s a measure of the number of Floating Point Operations Per Second, and that’s the unit of measurement by which we compare the relative raw performance of GPUs. So TFLOPS are the measurement of a a billion FLOPS, as in, Tera Floating Point Operations Per Second, or 102 FLOPS. The more you know.

Floating Point Operations Per Second, in real terms, are calculations including either very big numbers, or extremely small ones (with lots of decimal places). It’s a measure of how many calculations a chipset can achieve in a second, using these complex numbers. That’s literally it. It’s how good at maths your graphics card is, because the sort of work that graphics cards do in rendering complex visual environments is very similar to the sorts of sums being done in advanced mathematics and physics.

Why are GPUs measured in FLOPS, though? Surely it must be as straightforward as just looking at the specs – like the GPU clock speed – and seeing which one’s got the bigger numbers, right? Well, sort of, but not entirely.

You might find that an older GPU chip has a particularly high clock speed, but it may be less inefficient – and therefore, perform fewer FLOPS – than a newer chip with a lower, more efficient GPU. And because graphics card manufacturers use all sorts of different terminology for their own technologies, something neutral and set in mathematics – like FLOPS – becomes a good general comparison.

It’s also worth mentioning at this stage that the FLOPS figures – in terms of graphics cards at least – will always refer to the ‘single precision’ value, which is processing numbers up-to 32 bits. If you’re looking at ‘double precision’ then the numbers can be twice as complex, up to a maximum of 64 bits.

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“40 Compute Units”

Compute units are, in really simple terms, the AMD way of saying how many cores are available in your GPU. Where a CPU – for its general, light mathematical workload – might have two, four, or eight cores, a GPU will likely have thousands.

The 40 Compute Units referred to in Microsoft’s Xbox One X specs doesn’t mean the GPU has 40 cores; it has far more than that. You have to multiply that figure of 40 by 64, giving a total number of 2560, for the number of ‘cores’ or Streams in that GPU.

Without going into too much detail – because I like you and I don’t want to hurt your head – a Compute Unit is made up of a number of components. The most important of these for our purpose are the Stream Multiprocessors, or SIMD or Streams in AMD parlance.

And each of these Compute Units has 64 bytes of cache available to it, hence the multiplier of 64 above. So again, more is better, but now you know what the numbers actually mean.

“AMD Polaris Features”

Yeah, this isn’t particularly interesting. It basically tells you that the GPU inside the Xbox One X is a custom unit built upon the AMD Polaris platform – the technology behind their Radeon RX 500 series – and you’ll be granted with the same benefits (and burdens) as that generation of graphics cards.

“12GB GDDR5”

This refers to the quantity and type of memory in the Xbox One X.

Unlike the original Xbox One, which used desktop standard DDR3 and a RAM buffer to try and counter the slower speed, the Xbox One X is kitted out with faster GDDR5 memory. DDR, since you weren’t asking, stands for Double Data Rate. The ‘G’ at the beginning means its specifically designed for graphical purposes, and the ‘5’ is the generation of RAM technology.

This means, without a doubt, that the Xbox One X has better – and a greater amount – of memory than its predecessors. But in this configuration, the CPU and GPU are effectively part of one integrated unit, and are expected to share this 12GB of RAM.

So while you might be thinking the Xbox One X has way more RAM than desktop graphics cards, which usually top out around 8GB, it’s going to be a similar amount available for the graphical portion of rendering the game (with the rest required by the CPU and background operating processes).

“2160p (4K) @ 60Hz”

This is the display resolution that the Xbox One X will be able to drive (assuming you have a 4K screen to show it on).

4K – literally 4,000 – is the number of horizontal pixels on a 4K display, precisely 3840 pixels wide by 2160 high (at a widescreen ratio of 16:9). So, you know, it’s 4,000 wide, give or take a few pixels. Confusingly, display resolutions are generally named after their vertical axis, for example 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels), so we’re not entirely sure why it’s commonly referred to as 4K (and not 2160p like its predecessors).

The 60Hz bit refers to the refresh rate it can support. 60Hz is literally 60 complete frame refreshes within one second, which is a good number when combined with the industry-standard goal of 60 frames per second.

The human eye can perceive faster refresh rates than that, but the ability to perceive detail – rather than just general light and motion – is reduced as the refresh rate goes up. More frames and higher refresh rates are of course better, but there comes a point where you’re just chasing a white whale.

“Aficionados might be able to tell teeny tiny differences, but for the rest of us it’s like red wine is red wine,” explains Professor Thomas Busey, associate department chair at Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, in a primer on display and refresh rates on PC Gamer earlier this year.

“AMD FreeSync”

This is AMD’s name for their adaptive synchronisation technology, which is broadly equivalent to Nvidia’s G-Sync. It’s also free and without license, whereas the Nvidia equivalent is proprietary and often linked to specific hardware.

To cut a long story short, it’s designed to reduce or remove artefacts or tearing when frames are being updated or refreshed. It also does some other clever things like reducing battery usage on portable devices (by not updating pixels that haven’t changed) but that’s not really important to prospective Xbox One X owners.

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“HDMI Variable Refresh Rate”

This is a newly announced technology, in the HDMI 2.1 standard, which means that visuals are more fluid and less prone to tearing, similar to AMD FreeSync. Here’s the full details from the HDMI specification:

“Game Mode VRR features variable refresh rate, which enables a 3D graphics processor to display the image at the moment it is rendered for more fluid and better detailed gameplay, and for reducing or eliminating lag, stutter, and frame tearing.”
HDMI 2.1 specs, HDMI.org

“HDR10”

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a method of applying different brightness and contract levels to different parts of the image simultaneously. This is a dynamic effect, calculated on the fly, which typically results in darker blacks and brighter colours for a more exciting and stimulating image. Again, here are the details from the HDMI specs:

“Dynamic HDR ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider color gamuts—on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis.”
HDMI 2.1 specs, HDMI.org

“Super Sampling”

This is the technology that the Xbox One X will use to effectively upscale the resolution of older games not designed for the console’s increased power, so that all games benefit retroactively from the new hardware. Much like the way the PS4 Pro uses Checkboard Scaling to make games that aren’t actually 4K look like 4K on high-end displays, the Xbox One X will use Super Sampling to make older games – even backwards compatible ones – look shinier and better on modern displays.

Just for reference, by the way, the PS4 Pro kicks out around 4.2 TFLOPS, compared to the Xbox One X’s 6 TFLOPS. You can check out our earlier comparison between the Xbox One, PS4, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X (then known as Project Scorpio) which still largely holds up.

That Microsoft are promising full 4K and not just Super Sampling on all games with the Xbox One X, with a 42% bump in FLOPS over the PS4 Pro, is quite impressive.

“Vapour Chamber Cooling”

There are three ways of cooling the very hot silicon used in CPUs and GPUs for processing data and playing games:

  1. Air cooling
  2. Liquid cooling (sometimes known as water cooling)
  3. Induction cooling

That doesn’t mean you’re restricted to one and not the others, though.

Air cooling pulls fresh air into the chassis and evacuates it (out of the top, side or rear) using fans to cool down components, but it can’t do it alone. Induction cooling, most commonly used in the form of heat sinks – heat spreader blocks made of thermally conductive materials, engineered to effectively wick heat away from the precious components – has the aforementioned cold air blown across its surface to cool down the silicon. It’s a real team effort.

Liquid cooling works in much the same way, but instead of blowing air across the heat sink, a closed loop liquid system is used to pull the excess heat away from the heat sink towards a radiator – a liquid-tube grid with air blown through it, just like the radiator in your car – to cool the liquid before it returns to the hot spots.

And the Vapour Chamber Cooling specified in the Xbox One X? That’s just a really fancy induction cooling system, that actually uses tubes within the heat sink – often filled with a liquid or inert gas – to pull heat away from the CPU and GPU more efficiently than solid metal heat spreaders. Here’s a little primer from cooling technology manufacturer CoolerMaster on how their vapour chamber units work.

Xbox One X

Xbox One X Specs – Any conclusions?

There’s no doubting the Xbox One X is an expensive unit, as consoles go. That’s likely to put lots of people off, particularly when you include the cost of a 4K TV on top of that (if you don’t already own one).

Don’t forget that as gaming matures as a platform, so too does its audience, who were once scraping together paper round money to buy Mastertronic tapes from the bargain bin at the local newsagent. Nowadays those audiences might very well be buying houses and cars, so a console for five hundred bucks doesn’t seem that severe, does it?

But Microsoft are also taking a different tack in their competition with Sony, trying to position their new console between traditional console and PC gamers, as an interesting third road. We’ll see how well the Xbox One X stacks up against building your own PC in another article – check back later in the week for that – but the takeaway here is that, once you look past all the jargon, Microsoft’s new console is very impressive.

But most importantly, you now know what the FLOP Microsoft are talking about – and jargon-spouting games folk in general – when they’re talking about the number of Floating Point Operations Per Second. It’s the ability of a processing unit to do really hard maths, which as it happens, means it’s also really good at rendering beautiful video game graphics.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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What does the new title screen mean at the end of The Last of Us Part II?

Warning: This article will contain general location, character and story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.

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Naughty Dog / Thumbsticks

Warning: This article will contain general location, character and story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.

You’ll be familiar with the title screen of The Last of Us Part II, even if you’ve not played the game. Why? Because reviewers tweeted out the title screen weeks before the game even released. (A secondary embargo for when you can tell people you’ve got the game – and limiting the visual bits you can use on your social media to just the title screen – is now a thing. It’s weird, we know.)

But you know what the title screen looks like, that’s the important thing. It’s a small motorboat, bobbing around, in the fog. It’s simultaneously serene and ominous, something that The Last of Us does especially well as a series.

When you complete The Last of Us Part II, however, the title screen changes. There’s the obligatory New Game Plus mode, of course, but the visuals have changed, too.

It’s still a boat – a similar-looking one, at that – but it’s in a different setting. Gone is the fog and the gloom, replaced instead with waves, crashing on a sandy beach, and a circular white building in the distance.

Where is it, though?

Where is the location in the new title screen of The Last of Us Part II?

First up, the straightforward bit: It’s Santa Catalina Island in Southern California, or just Catalina for short.

You might be thinking it could be absolutely anywhere, but that round, white building is really distinctive. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Source (top): Flickr | Source (bottom): Naughty Dog

(It’s not exactly the same angle and the design is slightly stylised, but the building is the Catalina Island Casino Ballroom and Theater, in case you were wondering. It’s located in Avalon, the largest settlement on Catalina.)

Don’t worry if you thought you’d missed something on your playthrough, though. You don’t actually visit Catalina, the location of the new title screen, on a playthrough of The Last of Us Part II.

But it is somewhere that’s been mentioned in the game. Here come the spoilers. Seriously. Get out of here if you’ve not finished The Last of Us Part II yet.

What’s the significance of the new title screen in The Last of Us Part II?

So, you’ve nearly completed The Last of Us Part II. You’ve done the prologue, including the upsetting bit. You’ve completed the three days of Seattle as Ellie, then you’ve gone back and done it all again from Abby’s point of view. You’ve been to the farm with Ellie, Dina and the potato, and now you’re back in Abby’s shoes, in Santa Barbara.

Why? Because, before he died, Owen had been fixing up a sailboat and planned to make his way from Seattle to Santa Barbara, looking for the Fireflies.

Abby and her friends were all originally Fireflies. They were displaced and joined the WLF looking for a new cause after the Salt Lake City incident with Joel and Marlene, but Owen had been hearing rumours that the Fireflies were getting the band back together.

He had heard from multiple people that the Fireflies had a presence in Santa Barbara. Abby dismissed it all as rumour at the time, but with Owen now gone and no other focus for her and Lev, chasing down the Fireflies seems like as good a plan as any other.

So they heard to Santa Barbara and – after trading a pistol for some information – find themselves on Constance Avenue, looking for number 2425.

The house is empty but, hidden in the basement, they find a small barracks with beds, supplies, and a radio. Next to the radio, Lev finds a list:

  • San Diego KGFS183
  • Big Sur KBSG583
  • Catalina Island KZRQ639
  • Los Angeles KSPG374

The Last of Us Part II radio frequencies

They proceed to call what they presume to be Firefly bases and get nothing but static. Abby has all but given up hope when “Catalina” responds. She introduces herself as a former Firefly and asks to come in. They test her on who was in charge at her last post, at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. When Abby answers correctly – it was her father – she and Lev make to leave for Catalina, then get abducted by a group of human traffickers called the Rattlers on the driveway to the house.

And we all just assumed that it was the Rattlers on the radio, right? Messing with people, perhaps. Or, more likely, using whispers, the promise of a group of Fireflies to lure people to the house, and the radio as a notification that someone had stepped into the trap.

Fast forward right to the end of the game. Ellie has upped and left Dina and the potato to continue the search for Abby and vengeance, and found her strung up on “the pillars” by the Rattlers. She cuts Abby down, Abby grabs Lev, and they make their way to a pair of small motorboats, in the fog, on the beach. We catch a glimpse of the original title screen, from a different angle.

You think everything’s done, then Ellie has one more stab at revenge, an exercise in futility that sees Ellie lose two fingers, and the pair sitting in the shallow water, spent. There’s no fight left in either. They get in their separate boats and leave.

One final sequence plays, with Ellie returning to the farm to find Dina and baby potato have left, presumably to move back to Jackson. Then the credits roll, followed by the new title screen.

We know the boat on the beach isn’t Ellie’s. She’s back in Wyoming, an entirely landlocked state with no coastline. So by process of elimination, that means the boat on the new title screen must belong to Abby and Lev.

So what does it mean? What’s the significance of the new title screen after you complete The Last of Us Part II?

If you look closely at the digital recreation of the Catalina Island Casino you can see flags, flapping on its roof. That’s not unusual; the building sports flags year-round. But with a quarter of a century passed since the start of the outbreak, any flags that were left there after the apocalypse would surely have blown away or decayed by now. Which means someone must be maintaining the flags. Which means someone must be living at the Catalina Island Casino.

We can’t say for sure that it’s the Fireflies. We don’t know for sure that the person Abby spoke to is genuinely with the group. But what we can say for certain is that Abby and Lev have travelled to Catalina Island to check it out.

That’s definitely their boat, and that’s definitely Catalina.


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap.

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What is the apartment 302 safe code in The Last of Us Part II?

The apartment safe code in The Last of Us Part II isn’t actually written down, which makes it a bit trickier to find than the others.

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The Last of Us Part II apartment 302 safe code note
Naughty Dog

The apartment 302 safe code in The Last of Us Part II isn’t actually written down, which makes it a bit trickier to find than the others.

So you know the drill by now. You find a safe in The Last of Us Part II, then you need to find a code to open it and access the goodies inside. (Don’t get too excited. The goodies are usually two shotgun shells and a bottle of rubbing alcohol; it’s hardly the crown jewels.)

Often, the code is literally written down for you. There’s a note, left by a (presumably-no-longer-a) survivor, advising their friends or loved ones how to access their disappointing trove. Or as chance may have it, allowing the player to nab some supplies.

Sometimes, the code isn’t written down at all. Instead, the note maker has left a clue, a nod to the environment to find the code. That might be a winning lottery ticket or a suspiciously short wireless password. But in the case of the apartment 302 safe code, it’s not so obvious.

You’ll find reference to the safe on a note that’s been passed back and forth between two apartments. After the evacuation of downtown, by chance, next-door neighbours realise they’re not alone. Both apartments chose not to leave, for reasons their own. But far from the “humans are the real monsters” narrative pushed in The Last of Us Part II and its ilk, these neighbours, who probably never spoke in the before times, begin communicating. Getting to know one another. Helping each other out. Sharing freshly baked cornbread and vodka. It’s heartwarming stuff.

We can track their conversation, back and forth, on a scrap of paper passed under locked doors. Then tragedy strikes and apartment 302, following a death, readies to leave. They pass a note under next door advising them of the code to the safe, telling them to help themselves. Next door writes back a thank you but declines the offer, which means there’s still something in the safe for your grubby little mitts.

But what is the apartment 302 safe code? The clue to this one is in the apartment number:

“I’m leaving our door unlocked and some supplies in our safe. Combo is our apartment number then your apartment number.”

The apartment you’re standing in is 302. You can see that from the board in the room, and it’s also mentioned in the note. So you go to the safe and try 302-303 and nothing happens. Why? Because in some buildings, like houses on some streets, the apartment numbers are even one on side of the corridor and odd on the other.

That actually makes the apartment 302 safe code 302-204.


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap. Looking for more The Last of Us Part II safe codes? Head over to our guides section.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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What is the hotel gym safe code in The Last of Us Part II?

Another safe, another code to find. Unfortunately, the hotel gym safe code in The Last of Us Part II is a difficult one to find.

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The Last of Us Part II hotel gym safe code
Naughty Dog / Thumbsticks

Another safe, another code to find. Unfortunately, the hotel gym safe code in The Last of Us Part II is a difficult one to find.

Most of the safe codes you’ll find in The Last of Us Part II are fairly straightforward. You’ll discover a note in the environment, sometimes on a dead body, with some whatever their last thoughts were. Then at the bottom, there’ll be a note that says something like, “When I’m gone, if you want to use my stuff, the safe code is…”

It’s a strangely altruistic turn for a game that insists that, in the event of the end of the world, people would bash each other’s brains in for a can of beans. Maybe humans are the real monsters and all that.

But sometimes you have to do a bit more work to discern the code. One code, called “the big win”, is particularly difficult to find. (But oh so obvious when you see it.)

The hotel gym safe code in The Last of Us Part II is similarly obscured. You’ll find a note on the notice board in the gym’s coffee shop which says the safe code is the same as the wireless password. But what’s the wireless password?

The Last of Us Part II hotel gym safe code note

There’s nobody around to ask. No helpful barista in the coffee shop or trainer in the gym to give you the password. So how do you find the code to open it, then? Well, you could skip down a little bit and find the answer. We will supply it.

But if you want to know where to find it for yourself? Look out for the reception desk. It’s behind some glass doors labelled “Hotel BlacRay” in the room with the free weights and cardio equipment. (That’s the personal trainer’s reception desk in the gym itself, not in the hallway outside. And if you’re in the pool area, you need to go through the changing rooms to find it.)

Behind the desk, there’s a sign with the wireless passcode which is, coincidentally, a six-digit number. That’s not a very secure wireless passphrase. It would not take very long at all to crack that and isn’t particularly realistic. But the fact it’s a six-digit number should make you suspicious.

You guessed it. The wireless passcode is also the hotel gym safe code. You’ll find the safe in the cupboard across the corridor from the gym area, next to the stairwell. (And the code is 121879, if you can’t be bothered to look, but it’s mere metres away. That’s lazy.)


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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What is ‘the big win’ safe code in The Last of Us Part II?

One of the safe codes in The Last of Us Part II is more difficult to solve than the others. What is “the big win”, then?

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The Last of Us Part II The Big Win safe code
Naughty Dog / Thumbsticks

One of the safe codes in The Last of Us Part II is more difficult to solve than the others. What is “the big win”, then?

The Last of Us Part II does something interesting with its codes for doors, gates and safes. Where most games would have you simply learn the code, then once that’s ticked off in your quest log, will handle the mechanics of entering the code automatically. In Part II, you need to not only learn the codes but remember and enter them manually.

Sometimes, that’ll mean codes written down on a sheet of paper. You’ll find that in your inventory of collectables to refer back to. Other times, the code won’t be revealed directly in a note or letter, so much as hinted at.

Most of the time, that’s pretty obvious: “The code for this safe is the same as the code for the East Gate,” or something of that ilk. Or perhaps it will point you to something in the environment; one such instance has the code written on a drywipe board not 20 feet from the safe it opens. (Information security and environmental storytelling have forever been at odds, haven’t they?)

But there’s one safe code in The Last of Us Part II that’s a bit more cryptic, a bit less obvious:

PS. Still using “the big win” as the combination.

So what is “the big win”, then?

We racked our brains over this one for a while. Maybe it’s a date of something, a big victory for a sports team, perhaps? Given that this safe is found in Seattle, and the Seattle Seahawks have won the Super Bowl once, we wondered if that might be it? But the Seahawks won their only pennant on February 2, 2014 – 02/02/14 – which is after Cordyceps Brian Infection “outbreak day” on September 26, 2013. The world already ended just before the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. That’s sad.

Could it be some sort of puzzle or substitution, then? We thought about the position of the first letters of the three words in the alphabet – T = 20, B = 02, W = 23 – which didn’t work, either. There didn’t seem to be any obvious solutions.

So we went back to the building where we found the note to search for more clues and spotted the answer almost instantly. On the corkboard, near to where the note is found, is a lottery ticket. And on that lottery ticket, ringed in red, are three numbers. “The big win” refers to a winning lottery ticket that they’ve pinned up on the board for posterity.

It’s quite a small clue, so you can be forgiven for missing it. You’ll also need to squint a bit to see it, especially if you’re not put a scope on your rifle yet. So if you’re still struggling, “the big win” code in The Last of Us Part II is 17-38-07.

Inside “the big win” safe you’ll find a hunting pistol – a powerful, single-shot beast that can be upgraded with a scope – and a bunch of ammo. It’s worth busting that one open.


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What are the Death Stranding PC System Requirements?

Death Stranding is coming to PC in July, here are the game’s minimum and recommended PC system requirements.

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Death Stranding System Requirements
Kojima Productions

Death Stranding is released on PC in July. Here are the game’s minimum and recommended PC system requirements.

Kojima Productions and publisher 505 Games have revealed Death Stranding’s PC system requirements in advance of its release on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

The PC edition of Death Stranding will also include new Half-Life related content, including cosmetics and cross-over story content that features an encounter with Combine Strider. As per the press release: “A familiar face has crossed over into the world of Death Stranding, impersonating Bridges’ employees and sending request emails prompting Sam to locate and secure companion cubes throughout the world.”

Here are the PC specs you need to experience Sam Porter Bridges’ adventure in resolutions of up to 1080p. The game is out on July 14, 2020.

Death Stranding PC System Requirements

Minimum 30fps – 720p (1280×720)

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3470 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1050 3 GB or AMD Radeon RX 560 4 GB
  • Direct X: Version 12
  • HDD Space: 80GB
  • Sound Cards: DirectX compatible

Recommended 30fps – 1080p (1920×1080)

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB or Radeon RX 570 4 GB
  • Direct X: Version 12
  • HDD Space: 80GB
  • Sound Cards: DirectX compatible

Recommended 60fps – 1080p (1920×1080)

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB or AMD Radeon RX 590
  • Direct X: Version 12
  • HDD Space: 80GB
  • Sound Cards: DirectX compatible

Death Stranding System Requirements


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