Following months of anticipation, Microsoft finally took the lid off of Project Scorpio this week. Eurogamer had a chance to visit Microsoft’s Redmond campus in March for an exclusive preview of the new hardware, and came away with countless new details (and a full set of specifications) for the unnamed console.
First and foremost, Project Scorpio will be the most powerful home console in existence when it launches, and it won’t be close. According to Eurogamer’s report, Project Scorpio will feature eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz, 40 customized Radeon compute units running at 1172MHz, 12GB of GDDR5 memory, a 1TB hard drive, 4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive and a memory bandwidth of 326GB/s.
To put this into perspective, the PS4 Pro has 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 36 compute units running at 911MHz, eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz, a memory bandwidth of 218GB/s and it lacks a 4K optical drive. That’s not to say that the PS4 Pro is underpowered or that Sony did anything wrong — Microsoft is just on an entirely different level when it comes to specifications and performance for its own 4K console.
Speaking of performance, Eurogamer had a chance to see a Forza demonstration running on Project Scorpio hardware and came away very impressed. As Microsoft promised, the demo running at native 4K and was locked at 60 frames per second. But not only was the console able to run the power intensive demo without a hitch, GPU utilization was still under 70%. In other words, there was plenty of overhead for Microsoft to crank up the visuals even further if it wanted to without seriously taxing the system.
Of course, not every game is going to look like Forza. In fact, every Xbox One game currently available wasn’t designed with Project Scorpio in mind, so how will those games be affected by the new Xbox?
Eurogamer put together a list of five ways Xbox One and Xbox 360 games will be better on Scorpio, starting with frame rate. Microsoft’s Andrew Goossen says that “all 40 compute units and the full 1172MHz clock-speed” will be utilized to run Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on Scorpio, which means that games that struggle to run at a consistent frame rate on older Xbox consoles should be smoother.
In addition to smoother frame rates, Microsoft also claims that older titles will be able to hit “the maximum resolution the game supports,” that textures will be smoother (even on Xbox 360 games), that the GameDVR will capture footage in 4K 60FPS and that games will load faster on Project Scorpio.
“We’re going to be the ones that ensure that your games run as fast as they can in terms of all those five different features, the best that they possibly can,” Goossen tells Eurogamer. “There will be some cases where we have to dial down some of those attributes… in some games we potentially have to dial down the number of CUs, for example, to maintain compatibility with that title. But again these are all things that Microsoft does, we’ve always done, that’s true of all 360 titles on Xbox One. We just make sure it runs the best it possibly can on Scorpio and we’re very excited that Scorpio really will be the best place to run all your Xbox content.”
Eurogamer wasn’t able to squeeze any additional information from Microsoft about a price target, an official name or release date for the console, but based on what the reporters saw, they believe that Scorpio is on track — or possibly even ahead of schedule — for a holiday launch in 2017.