After months of secrecy since its reveal back in E3 2016, Microsoft has decided to reveal a few details about their upcoming Xbox console, codenamed ‘Scorpio’.
So here’s what we already knew before this: Scorpio is a mid-generation spec bump to the Xbox One platform (never mind the Xbox One S, which was also a minor spec bump) and not a whole new generation of console. The main goal here was to have native 4K gaming on all titles, unlike the upscaling or checkerboard rendering trick used by Sony on the PS4 Pro. It has 6 TFLOPs of performance on offer, making it the fastest console ever made, ahead of the 4.12 TFLOPs of performance possible on the PS4 Pro.
Now, this is where the new information comes in. Project Scorpio is based on an evolved version of the same x86 custom AMD Jaguar SoC, with the same 8-core CPU with 4MB L2 cache but clocked to 2.3GHz from the 1.75GHz on the original Xbox One, which makes it roughly 30% more powerful. The GPU gets an even bigger bump, with 40 compute units, up from 12 on the Xbox One and 36 on the PS4 Pro with a massive 1172MHz clock speed on top, up from the 853MHz on the Xbox One and 911MHz on the PS4 Pro. This makes it 4.6x more powerful than the Xbox One GPU. Looking back at the compute power, the Scorpio manages 6 TFLOPs while the Xbox One could achieve only 1.31 TFLOPs. This is a huge boost by any stretch of imagination.
Working alongside all that horsepower is faster and increased memory. While the Xbox One had 8GB DDR3 memory with additional faster but smaller ESRAM, the Scorpio goes for standard GDDR5 like the PS4 Pro, except instead of 8GB like the Pro it has 12GB of it. Out of the 12GB, the OS takes about 4GB but that still leaves 8GB for all your games, 3GB more than the Xbox One and PS4 Pro.
Some of the other details revealed include a vapor chamber cooler, faster 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive, UHD Blu-ray drive, DirectX built directly into the hardware, Dolby Atmos support for games, integrated power supply, and the same set of connectors as the Xbox One.
Microsoft did demo one game, but it was the two-year old Forza Motorsport 6. It's a game which runs at 1080p60 on the Xbox One, but runs at a full 4K60 on the Scorpio. It was running with increased visual quality, along the lines of the Ultra settings on the PC, and it was doing this with about 50-60% GPU load. Granted, this is not the most demanding game out there (the fact that Xbox One runs it at 1080p60 proves that) and we would like to see more demos in the future. At any rate, it’s still a fairly impressive showcase of the hardware’s power.
With regards to backwards compatibility, Scorpio will run all existing Xbox One games and run them better. Even without a patch from the developer, games that previously struggled to hit their target frame rates should work better now, and games with an unlocked framerate should be hitting 60fps with ease. Games with dynamic resolution should be should be spending more, or rather, all their time running at their highest resolution. All of this is also true of the Xbox 360 titles compatible with the Xbox One.
As for gamers who don’t have a 4K display, Microsoft has promised that either all games will have a high performance mode while running in native 1080p, or it will downsample a 4K image down to 1080p for improved visual quality.
So far that’s all that has been revealed so far. Microsoft will announce further details at E3 this year in June, and the console is expected to go on sale by the end of the year. You can read more about it in the link below.
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