Microsoft finally revealed more information on its upcoming Xbox One console, codenamed Project Scorpio. Digital Foundry was given the scoop on the new hardware and its features.
In several videos, director of Digital Foundry Richard Leadbetter reveals everything the new console will be capable of as well as saying it will release in Q4 of 2017.
The device will be the most “powerful console in 2017”, and Leadbetter says that the PlayStation 4 Pro was the most powerful console in 2016. In a video with Outside Xbox, Leadbetter also says that Microsoft is essentially creating the equivalent of a US$1000 gaming PC.
Leadbetter was shown the Forza engine running on the new hardware, which Microsoft says was ported over in two days, though they hadn’t perfected it yet.
The specifications of the Xbox One Project Scorpio
Scorpio has received a large bump in CPU power over the Xbox One and Xbox One S models. It will use similar Jaguar CPU on 16nm die, created by TSMC, which received a boost from 1.75GHz to 2.3GHz, though still using 4MB of L2 cache.
Microsoft has also integrated DirectX 12 directly into the processor at a hardware level. According to Leadbetter, this should drop CPU workloads on DX12 games by half, freeing up more of the system.
The GPU has been increased with 40 compute units and a core clock of 1172MHz.
The amount of RAM has also been increased to 12GB with 8GB available for games. This is a large addition over the Xbox One, which had 8GB of RAM with 5GB for games.
As the Scorpio is part of a mid-generational refresh, Microsoft was able to analyse all of its games and look for bottlenecks in the hardware. Because of this, the Scorpio is being created with 60 targeted customisations in the GPU pipeline.
This overall increase in performance allowed the demonstration Forza engine to run at 4K (3840 × 2160 pixels) and at 60 frames per second (fps). The engine only utilised 66.18% of the Scorpio’s GPU as well as 65% of its RAM, which is said to be standard for Xbox One games running at 1080p with 4K assets.
The system will come built-in with Dolby ATMOS surround sound technology as well.
|Project Scorpio||Xbox One S|
|CPU||Custom AMD (2.3GHz)||AMD Jaguar (1.75GHz)|
|RAM||12GB GDDR5||8GB DR3|
|Storage||1TB||500GB / 1TB / 2TB|
Xbox One and Xbox 360 games
According to Leadbetter, all Xbox One and Xbox 360 backwards compatible games will run on the Scorpio hardware. The additional power will allow Xbox One games to potentially load faster, with the screen tearing being removed from Xbox 360 titles.
Much like PS4 titles on the PS4 Pro, Xbox One games will not be able to take advantage of all of Scorpio’s benefits, such as running at a native 4K, without first being patched. This will be left up to the developer to decide.
Developers will also be able to use the same upscaling techniques that are implemented in the PS4 Pro, even though Scorpio will have “brute force” to accomplish these things.
All games that are released with native 4K resolutions will be downsampled in order to run on 1080p screens.
Additional boosts to the system
With the addition of 1GB of RAM allocated to the system, the dashboard will be able to now natively render at 4K, which it does not on the Xbox One S.
Video capture has also received a performance boost with the system now able to record 4K 60fps footage from games that support the resolution. Xbox 360 titles, and Xbox One games that don’t receive a Scorpio patch will only record in 1080p.
Microsoft is implementing a vapour chamber cooling system for the Scorpio. Leadbetter says he has never seen this being implemented in a production consumer product.
No price or name yet
Though the Digital Foundry videos revealed much about the upcoming Microsoft console, no official pricing or name has been given yet. Several rumours have circulated that the device will be called the Xbox One X and will retail for US$449 upon release.
Should consumers upgrade?
Microsoft has been struggling to bring out stellar first party titles in the past few months. Its largest offerings consisted of Dead Rising 4 and Halo Wars 2, which competed against Sony’s Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Yakuza 0, and more.
Those that own a 4K TV and will want a powerful gaming experience should consider the Xbox One Scorpio as an upgrade option, though it will more than likely come at a premium price. For everyone else, the Xbox One and Xbox One S will be good enough for your gaming needs.