I had a feeling that today would be a big day for Microsoft and hardware enthusiasts alike. That couldn't be closer to the truth.
Microsoft has fully revealed the specs of the upcoming Project Scorpio, and they are, simply put, impressive. Having recently fallen sharply in market positioning thanks to Sony's first-party execution, Microsoft has something here that is special and could assist greatly in making its Xbox brand highly competitive this holiday season.
Let's jump right into the comparison. To help visualize how large of a jump we're talking about with Microsoft's upcoming mid-generation console, look at the table below for how it compares to the PS4 Pro and original Xbox One.
|Project Scorpio||PS4 Pro||Xbox One|
|CPU||Eight cores at 2.3GHz||Eight cores at 2.1GHz||Eight cores at 1.75GHz|
|GPU||40 compute units at 1172MHz||37 compute units at 911MHz||12 compute units at 853MHz|
|Memory||12GB GDDR5||8GB GDDR5||8GB DDR3 ESRAM|
|Memory Bandwidth||326GB/s||68GB/s + ESRAM at 204GB/s||218GB/s|
|Floating Point||6 TFLOPS||4.2 TFLOPS||1.31 TFLOPS|
At initial inspection what's here is roughly what you'd expect from a console releasing one year after the PS4 Pro. But to do that would be undervaluing just how powerful the Project Scorpio really is.
This is a generational leap in terms of computational power. Its CPU is a 31% jump from what the original Xbox One was equipped with, while its AMD-built GPU is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything the Xbox family has ever seen before.
Even then, Project Scorpio will support all the same games as the original Xbox One, including backward compatibility titles like Red Dead Redemption and SKATE 3.
There are a lot of important details left out from the table above, but the best way to really understand how it compares is with its floating point performance. At 6 TFLOPS, it is comparable to the RX 480 (5.8 TFLOPS), a $200 PC graphics card. But even that's not quite doing it justice, as there's a whopping 12GB of global GDDR5 memory available for use by developers and an array of developer-oriented features that help them get the most out of the hardware.
And on the note of developers, how well the Project Scorpio is utilized will be highly dependent upon developer investment. Microsoft's first-party studios are certain to push the console to its limits, but most of the Xbox family's best-selling games are third-party, and there's no telling how much time third-party developers are going to put into optimizing their games for the Project Scorpio. If nothing else, they should be excited to have access to a level of horsepower never before seen in console gaming, even if it means now having to work on two Xbox ports instead of one.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you have a 4K television you're going to (hopefully) be able to utilize it in a way that's more impressive than what the PS4 Pro offers. Meanwhile, consumers with a 1080p television will enjoy the benefits of downsampling, a process that significantly increases the visual sharpness of the image.
Concerns still remain regarding Microsoft's first-party software. The plan is to lay to rest some of those worries at E3 with new game announcements and a full demonstration of how far Project Scorpio will push exclusives and third-party games alike. This will also arrive alongside a visual reveal of the console, game demonstrations, as well as a long-awaited unveiling of its widely debated price point.