Earlier today, Microsoft revealed the tech behind its next console, codenamed Project Scorpio. The reveal came in the form of a lengthy profile from Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, and there’s a lot of information to dig through. You should absolutely read through the whole thing if you have the time, but if you don’t, here are six key takeaways from today’s reveal.
1. Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console ever
It might seem like hyperbole to say that, but looking at the specifications for this console, it most certainly isn’t. Project Scorpio represents a significant jump ahead in power over the Xbox One, and it even manages to come out ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro. A lot of its power lies in its GPU, which features 40 custom compute cores clocked at 1172MHz. Digital Foundry estimates that Project Scorpio’s CPU will be 30% more powerful than that of the Xbox One, while the GPU will be a jaw-dropping 4.6 times more powerful.
With this console comes a boost in available RAM, too. Project Scoprio will ship with 12GB of RAM, though 4GB of that will be reserved for the console. Still, that means 8GB for games to use as they need it – another first for a console. Many PC gamers might scoff at that amount as they point to their rigs with 16GB or even 32GB of RAM, but 8GB will be more than enough for most console games, even those running at 4K resolution.
2. Microsoft’s Forza demo ran at 4K/60fps
The prospect of ultra HD gaming is an exciting one, but high resolution doesn’t matter if frame rate isn’t up to snuff. Microsoft seems to have taken this under consideration, as the Forza demo it showed to Digital Foundry ran at UHD with its frame rate locked to 60fps. That’s very encouraging, because Forza games have always had great frame rates despite being graphically demanding.
Even better is the fact that the GPU only experienced 60-70% load during this demo, meaning there’s still plenty of room for other things, like improved textures. If Microsoft can get Forza to run at a steady 60 frames per second at 4K resolution, then we’ll probably see some very pretty games for Project Scorpio.
3. Project Scorpio doesn’t use AMD’s Ryzen CPU
It hasn’t exactly been a secret that AMD is the go-to silicon manufacturer for the Xbox brand, and speculation ahead of this tech reveal suggested that Microsoft may use AMD’s new Ryzen CPU as the brains of Scorpio. We know now that this isn’t true, and that Scorpio will use a custom AMD SoC that offers eight x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz.
Given how recently Ryzen was announced and how long Microsoft has been working on Scorpio, that isn’t a very shocking announcement. However, for the sake of putting rumors to rest once and for all: No, Scorpio will not use Ryzen CPUs.
4. There’s still reason to buy Scorpio even if you don’t have a 4K TV
Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, you can still gets some benefits from buying a Scorpio. That extra power means that your games will run better even if you’re limited to 1080p, making frame rates more stable across the board. Scorpio will also downsample 4K games to 1080p, resulting in an image quality better than games at full HD resolution. That alone may not justify the purchase price for a lot of people, but if you’re the type who needs to have all the newest tech, you’ll at least get some benefits while playing Scorpio at 1080p.
5. We still don’t know how much Scorpio will cost
Unfortunately, this tech reveal wasn’t accompanied by a price for Project Scorpio, which will ultimately make or break the console. We can make an educated guess, though: with the PS4 Pro at $400 and Scorpio topping it in terms of power, we can expect Scorpio to cost at least $500. Don’t be surprised to see Microsoft take a loss on each console sold as a way of making up for lost ground during this console generation.
6. We can safely expect more big details at E3 2017
Microsoft plans to launch Scorpio at an undetermined point later this year, which makes E3 2017 the perfect place for a release date reveal. Just as well, we’ll likely get pricing details then too, along with details about a few launch titles for the Scorpio. Assuming Microsoft doesn’t spill the beans before June, then E3 should be a big show for Scorpio.
So, there you have it: some must-know things about Project Scorpio, along with a little speculation sprinkled in for good measure. It’s certainly an exciting time for gamers, and Scorpio will be a big product for Microsoft since it represents a shot a redemption after a lackluster console generation. As always, we’ll have more Scorpio coverage as it’s announced here at SlashGear, but for now, head down to the comments section and let us know what you think of Microsoft’s latest machine.