Microsoft surprised everyone a few weeks ago by releasing the specs for their latest console, Project Scorpio. Since then the company has announced small pockets of information here and there, gradually giving us a bigger picture as to what to expect from its new system. Whilst there are still some key questions that need answering, a huge bulk of details are known about, importantly, what will be going on inside of the console. To help you understand things a little bit better, we’ve got everything you need to know about Scorpio here.
What matters most is what’s underneath the exterior, and luckily for us Microsoft revealed some pretty important details through Digital Foundry. Among the specs were:
- CPU – eight-core 2.3GHz Processor
- GPU – 40 compute units at 1172MHz
- RAM – 12GB GDDR5
- Bandwidth – 326 GB/s
- Storage – 1TB
- Disc – UHD Blu-Ray player
- Sound – Dolby Atmos
A lot of this might not make much sense, but it essentially makes Project Scorpio the most powerful console of all time: certainly the closest we’ve seen one get to a PC’s capabilities. In terms of its graphical potential it packs in 6 teraflops of power, which is still less than the 9 teraflops of high-end PC cards, but very high for a compact console. This is measured by the system’s GPU, of which Scorpio has 40 AMD Radeon compute units running at 1172MHz. Xbox One runs off of 12 GCN compute units, making Microsoft’s new console 4.6 times more powerful.
The Xbox One CPU had eight Jaguar cores running at 1.7GHz compared to Scorpio’s custom x86 cores at 2.3GHz. To those who aren’t tech-savvy, the Central Processing Unit is the brains behind most things going on in your console, allowing for those 6 teraflops of graphics potential to become reality, and making the system faster and more capable of bigger tasks. The fact that the x86 is over 30% faster than Xbox One’s Jaguar core highlights this potential.
4GB RAM will be used for the operating system and the rest shared between the CPU and GPU, although more is reserved for the latter. The GDDR5 is a huge upgrade from Xbox One’s GDDR3. The 326 GB/s bandwidth will help increase the number of pixels you can see on screen, as well as make sure frame rate stays at a steady constant.
The 1TB hard drive is an improvement on what the Xbox One launched with, but will probably be necessary considering Scorpio’s files should be bigger in size. The Ultra HD Blu-Ray player isn’t a surprise either, and will allow users to watch DVDs in 4K. Dolby Atmos support will allow for spatial surround sound that can even be noticed with headphones in.
Scorpio will be the first console that supports adaptive frame-rate technology called FreeSync. Current consoles use V-Sync in an attempt to prevent screen tears when frame rates drop from 60 to 30, but this can often lead to lag. FreeSync is a new technology which will eliminate any issues with frame rate, however it won’t be available just yet: the technology requires HDMI 2.1 which the majority of people don’t have access to.
If you’re excited about Scorpio but don’t yet have a 4K television then don’t fret. The console will come with customisable graphics settings for all displays, meaning it can downscale to 1080p. This won’t even be to the detriment of the visuals, in fact quite the opposite: Project Scorpio downscaling will look better than 1080p on your Xbox One.
All in all the Project Scorpio specs are painting the picture of an extremely powerful console.
It looks almost certain that you’ll be able to play every one of your Xbox One titles on Project Scorpio; Forza Motorsport 6 even demonstrated the system’s capabilities in front of the eagle-eyed Digital Foundry team. When it did so it showed it in stunning 4K resolution, but didn’t even break a sweat at just over 60% power usage. It could be likely, then, that previous Xbox One titles can be scaled to 4K on your Scorpio, an exciting prospect.
At the moment Microsoft has said that there won’t be any Scorpio exclusives, but at the same time hasn’t ruled out any third-party developers deciding to take matters into their own hands. It seems unlikely that anyone would narrow their audience down to just Scorpio owners, so it’s looking all-inclusive for the Xbox family at the moment.
In terms of games we can expect to showcase the system early on, here’s a list of confirmed titles:
- Forza Motorsport 7
- Crackdown 3
- State of Decay 2
- Call of Duty
- Battlefront 2
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
- Red Dead Redemption 2
The idea of seeing these games in 4K is mouth-watering, and if the non-native 4K Forza 6 looked that good, these games should look unbelievable.
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