Microsoft previously revealed some Project Scorpio specifications, but today the company is unveiling a lot more, thanks to Digital Foundry. Eurogamer's separate vertical, that focuses analysis on the speeds-and-feeds of gaming PCs and consoles, has published a big overview of the graphical power of Microsoft's next Xbox console.
So far, we've known that Project Scorpio will run at 6 teraflops, ahead of its main competitor the PlayStation 4 Pro with 4.2 teraflops of graphical power. Microsoft also plans to replace its 8GB of DDR3 RAM / 32MB of ESRAM with 12GB of GDDR5 memory on Project Scorpio. While many had hoped Microsoft would transition to AMD’s latest Ryzen CPU architecture, Digital Foundry has revealed that the company is sticking with a custom Jaguar-based processor.
AMD first released Jaguar processors back in 2013, and Microsoft’s original Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro both use chips based on the Jaguar microarchitecture. Even so, the new x86 cores in Scorpio are 31 percent faster than the Xbox One's, and Microsoft’s reluctance to move to Ryzen might not actually mean much. Digital Foundry reveals that Microsoft's custom GPU engine on Project Scorpio runs at an impressive 1172MHz, that's a big increase over both the Xbox One's 853MHz and the PS4 Pro's 911MHz.
Microsoft is promising to do a lot with this power, and the company believes 900p and 1080p Xbox One games should be able to run at native 4K on Project Scorpio. According to the report, all Xbox One and Xbox 360 games will see a noticeable performance boost. This stands in contrast with the PS4 Pro, which recently received a Boost Mode that added minor improvements to some PS4 games, and requires custom patches for significant upgrades to each game.
Digital Foundry wasn't able to test this fully, but Microsoft did provide a ForzaTech demonstration with the Xbox One engine operating at native 4K, and locked at 60 fps. The GPU utilization remained between 60 and 70 percent during the demo, suggesting the console has power to spare.
While Microsoft isn't revealing what Project Scorpio looks like, or its name or price, Digital Foundry has provided some information on the ports. The rear of the console is based on the Xbox One S, so there's no dedicated Kinect port, but HDMI input is still present. Microsoft is also sticking to a 4K Blu-ray drive for the optical drive.
Scorpio also features vapor-chamber cooling inside, a technology that's used on high-end PC gaming cards like the GTX 1080. All of this is packed into hardware that's described as "compact," complete with an integrated power supply unit. Microsoft is also unlocking a new spatial surround sound option on Scorpio, and even existing Xbox One consoles will be able to take advantage of this. Spatial surround will help in 7.1 setups, but Microsoft is also adding a proprietary format called HRTF, developed by the HoloLens team. This suggests the Windows Mixed Reality headset support for Scorpio will be comprehensive when it's available next year.
Digital Foundry says the final form factor for Project Scorpio will be revealed at E3, suggesting that Microsoft isn't planning to showcase its hardware at an event before its E3 press conference. All eyes will now firmly be on June to see what Microsoft has in terms of exclusive games titles, and just how competitive it can be in design and pricing.