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Thread: Inside the next Xbox: Project Scorpio tech revealed

  1. #1

    Default Inside the next Xbox: Project Scorpio tech revealed

    Last week, Digital Foundry was invited to Microsoft's Redmond campus for an exclusive preview of the technology in the next Xbox, codenamed Project Scorpio. As specs reveals go, this one is unprecedented: it's a first in terms of early access to key system architects, and one of a kind in terms of timing. Scorpio is seemingly running ahead of schedule, to the point where we're likely six months away from release at least, and we've already seen impressive software running beautifully on production silicon.

    There'll be all the specs you'll need in this piece, but the reason Microsoft flew us out to talk to those involved was straightforward: the numbers, as impressive as they are, don't fully represent what the final product aims to deliver. Nor can the number of compute units and teraflops represent the passion the Xbox team has injected into this project. Microsoft has a point to prove. It's not just about performance, it's about pushing the quality of console design to a new level - in all areas.

    The headlines? Combining smart design with sheer horsepower, Project Scorpio hits the six-teraflop target set for it as E3 last year, thanks to a custom GPU that has been designed from the ground up for optimal performance on today's game engines - and that runs at an unprecedentedly high clock speed for a console. The GPU is paired with 12GB of fast GDDR5 memory and a custom eight-core CPU, and the whole thing is housed in a compact body with integrated power supply and, for a console, state-of-the-art cooling.

    Performance is remarkable. We saw a Forza Motorsport demo running on the machine at native 4K and Xbox One equivalent settings, and it hit 60 frames per second with a substantial performance overhead - suggesting Scorpio will hit its native 4K target across a range of content, with power to spare to spend on other visual improvements. And while 4K is the target, Microsoft is paying attention to 1080p users, promising that all modes will be available to them.


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    Traditionally, games creators have to work to the characteristics of the console platform, but because Scorpio's design brief was to scale up existing titles to 4K, the hardware team could profile actual, shipping games and customise the design to fit common characteristics. PIX provided the data that was then fed into a hardware emulator, where the Microsoft team could then see how those titles would run on prospective Scorpio hardware. Multiple configurations could be tested in order to get the best balance.

    Unlocking the power: memory, CPU and audio

    The maths work out: Microsoft has indeed delivered on its 6.0-teraflop performance target for the GPU, but a significant bump to other areas of the console's architecture is required in order to maximise the effectiveness of the hardware. As we've noted in our graphics card reviews, GPUs require lots of bandwidth to really push ultra HD pixel counts.

    "For 4K assets, textures get larger and render targets get larger as well. This means a couple of things - you need more space, you need more bandwidth. The question, though, was how much?" asks Nick Baker, Distinguished Engineer, Silicon. "We'd hate to build this GPU and then end up having to be memory-starved. So all the analysis that Andrew was talking about, we were able to look at the effect of different memory bandwidths, and it quickly led us to needing more than 300GB/s memory bandwidth. So in the end we ended up choosing 326GB/s. On Scorpio we are using a 384-bit GDDR5 interface - that is 12 channels. Each channel is 32 bits."

    Scorpio runs its GDDR5 modules across a 384-bit GDDR5 interface ("So you were right!" laughs Goossen) that uses 12 32-bit channels. The modules themselves run at 6.8GHz, offering a final bandwidth figure of 326GB/s - on top of which, Microsoft gets the benefit of AMD's delta colour compression (DCC) system, an element that wasn't present on Xbox One. And yes, Scorpio does indeed feature 12GB of memory, as indicated on Microsoft's E3 motherboard render, 8GB of which is available to developers, with 4GB reserved for the system. That's an additional 1GB of reservation compared to Xbox One, required in order to run the dashboard at native 4K. Titles still receive an impressive 60 per cent bump to overall memory though, and to ensure loading times consistent with full HD Xbox One games, Scorpio ships with a 1TB hard drive with a 50 per cent increase in bandwidth.

    Full Article @ Digital Foundry

    Source: Digital Fouindry

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    Oh wow!! So much power!!! Nice to see MS finally picking up their slack, and hopefully this will be a beast of a console. Either way, I do believe this is a day-one buy yet again for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieGrootHammer View Post
    Oh wow!! So much power!!! Nice to see MS finally picking up their slack, and hopefully this will be a beast of a console. Either way, I do believe this is a day-one buy yet again for me.
    In South Africa that means 6 months later. But yes, I will also get it if all goes well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solitude View Post
    In South Africa that means 6 months later. But yes, I will also get it if all goes well!
    Jis I hope not. I really hope we get it at least in a reasonable time frame. But probably yes we will only get it a few months later. Look at what happened to the Xbox One S, and the Xbox One itself. Urgh didn't even thing about that. Hopefully I'll be stationed in a country then that gets the launch, lol

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    What will it cost though?

    If its close to R10K I'd rather go pc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PythonFSi View Post
    What will it cost though?

    If its close to R10K I'd rather go pc.
    Cost not known yet, but Phil Spencer did state in some earlier interviews that it would be a premium product, but not out of proportion compared to the other SKU's. I'd be surprised if we see a price much higher than $450. I would probably see it close to R7000 to R8000 retail in SA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieGrootHammer View Post
    Cost not known yet, but Phil Spencer did state in some earlier interviews that it would be a premium product, but not out of proportion compared to the other SKU's. I'd be surprised if we see a price much higher than $450. I would probably see it close to R7000 to R8000 retail in SA.
    only if the rand stays stable where it currently is

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieGrootHammer View Post
    Cost not known yet, but Phil Spencer did state in some earlier interviews that it would be a premium product, but not out of proportion compared to the other SKU's. I'd be surprised if we see a price much higher than $450. I would probably see it close to R7000 to R8000 retail in SA.
    I came across this article. Not sure how true it is though

    Microsoft’s Xbox Project Scorpio could be ‘a $700’ console with 4K Specs to rival PS4 Pro


    Microsoft's next big gaming console is the Xbox Project Scorpio, due for release this coming holiday and likely to be unveiled fully at this year's E3 convention.which Head of Xbox Phil Spencer will be the most powerful console ever made.

    Already Head of Xbox Phil Spencer is touting Scorpio as the most powerful console ever made.

    Last year's Microsoft E3 press conference gave a glimpse of what the new console is capable of, with a short video of Microsoft employees and excited third party developers discussing the potential of the machine.

    In a more official capacity, Microsoft has said that the machine would feature "6 Teraflops of graphical processing power, true 4K gaming and high-fidelity VR".

    Though nothing has been officially announced, Spencer has said previously that this is still a console and not a PC machine and as such the Xbox Project Scorpio price was believed to be around the £350-400 price mark, providing ample competition for Sony's PS4 Pro.

    However, recent leaks have lead to some suggestions that Scorpio's price could be much higher than first believed, possibly closer to the £550 mark.
    More:

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tech/gami...-Specs-PS4-Pro

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by PythonFSi View Post
    I came across this article. Not sure how true it is though

    Microsoft’s Xbox Project Scorpio could be ‘a $700’ console with 4K Specs to rival PS4 Pro


    More:

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tech/gami...-Specs-PS4-Pro
    Yeah I'm pretty sure if that was the case the internet would've already been up in arms. There has never been any indication of price by Phil Spencer, but from articles and interviews on IGN and Polygon the stance is that it will be premium product, but prices in line with console pricing.

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