Earlier this month the specs of the upcoming Xbox Scorpio project console was revealed, I take a look as what upgrades it has taken over the Xbox One and how it matches off against the PS4 Pro.
The final specs of the Xbox Scorpio put it down as the most powerful console outclassing and performing the current Xbox One and the updated PS4 Pro. Below you can see the raw technical specifications and how it stacks up against the current line up.
|Xbox Scorpio||Xbox One||PS4 Pro|
|CPU||Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz||Eight custom Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75GHz||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz|
|GPU||40 customised compute units at 1172MHz||12 GCN compute units at 853MHz||36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz|
|Memory||12GB GDDR5||8GB DDR3/32MB ESRAM||8GB GDDR5|
|Memory Bandwidth||326GB/s||DDR3: 68GB/s, ESRAM at max 204GB/s||218GB/s|
|Hard Drive||1TB 2.5-inch||500GB/1TB/2TB 2.5-inch||1TB 2.5-inch|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray||Blu-ray||Blu-ray|
Last year at E3 the Xbox team set itself a target to achieve 6 Teraflop console via Project Scorpio, a year later Microsoft has stuck to that target and the Xbox Scorpio does truly push out the raw power. The Xbox Scorpio come Christmas season this year will be the most powerful console on the market, more than 4 times that of the Xbox one and 1.5times more than the updated PS4 Pro.
How was this achieved?, well Scorpio boosted the current CPU in Xbox One to 8 custom x86 cores each clocking at 2.3GHz more than that of the 2.1GHz jaguar cores in the PS4 Pro. The team knew it couldn’t just boost the power without memory supporting it, so for that reason, the CPU is now supported with 12GB GDDR5 which is split 4GB for User Interface and the remaining 8GB dedicated to gaming. Power and memory dealt with project Scorpio moved on to looking at its graphical output to utilise its new power, for that it increased from 12 compute units to 40 customised GPU units clocking in at 1172MHz making this a graphical powerhouse.
All this power will mean lower load times, high detailed graphics and silky smooth gameplay at 60fps at 4K resolution.
One of the main aspects both PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio focused on was 4k Gaming. PS4 Pro looked to set up its console to support future games developed for 4K, Scorpio, on the other hand, took it a step further and made it possible to bring current games to 4K level even on lower resolution output screens. Xbox made this possible by developing a new SoC (system on chip) alongside AMD and combining it with PIX (Performance Investigator for Xbox) which allowed GPU trace capture across the whole portfolio of Xbox games. PIX provided the needed data for the new chip to upscale to 4K. The new chip allows games rendered at 900p and 1080p to have native 4K support with Scorpio. This gives gamers the opportunity to see their beloved Xbox One games run at a 4K level which wouldn’t be possible in the PS4 Pro which requires developers to use the new hardware to push out 4K gaming.
Cooling & Build
All the power the Xbox Scorpio will be producing the temperature of the console was sure to increase and a solution to keep it cool was required. Microsoft decided to use a vapour chamber heat sink. This is built of copper vessels that form a base containing deionized water under vacuum. Any heat that is produced is absorbed into the water and vaporised. The steam convects away from the hot spots and condenses on the heat sink fins. The final part of the system is the addition of a custom designed and adapted centrifugal fans which expel the heat from the console out through a familiar vent seen on current Xbox Ones.
The addition of this new cooling system one would expect the size of the console to increase, but no, Xbox Scorpio maintains the same dimensions as that of the Xbox One S while also adding an Ultra HD Blu-Ray Drive, the same ports seen on the Xbox One and retaining an internal power supply.
Xbox Scorpio is truly going to be a beast on its release. It is expected to be announced and revealed at this year’s E3 convention with it being on sale in time for Christmas. Developers will have dev kits sent to them to produce games that take advantage of this powerhouse in time for release. There are still a couple of concerns, Xbox Scorpio price point will be a sticking point as its specs are top notch, the general view is that starting price will be around $500 which is steep for a casual gamer, coupled with the fact the PS4 Pro is already on sale and giving gamers 4K gaming along with VR, what is going to tempt people to purchase the Scorpio over that? I believe that’s down to Microsoft’s marketing team and a slate of exclusive titles that so far has been yet to be seen.
One thing is clear Microsoft and the Project Scorpio team have set the bar high for high-quality gaming and I can’t wait to see it in reality.