Earlier today, Microsoft announced the specs behind their upcoming Project Scorpio console. This follow-up of sorts to the Xbox One and Xbox One S has been speculated about for years, with the company officially announcing the device was in the works months ago at E3. Project Scorpio easily beats out the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One consoles – and Microsoft is hoping that it competes with higher-end gaming rigs for PC users.
The console features eight custom x86 cores with a 2.3GHz clock speed along with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. 8GB of that RAM will be available for games, while the original Xbox One only allocated 5GB to games. Its memory bandwidth is incredible, at 326GB/s versus the Xbox One S’s 219 GB/s and the PS4 Pro’s 218GB/s. Sony’s smart GP design is used here as well – but with far more horsepower. The PS4 Pro has 36 improved GCN units at 911MHz, while the Scorpio features 40 units at 1172MHz.
This mid-generation refresh allowed Microsoft’s engineers to look at the existing hardware and see where bottlenecks were to fix them. They found that by essentially emulating a higher-end Xbox One, they could figure out exactly what would be needed to properly optimize existing games while also making sure that the console is as future-proof as possible. The console uses AMD hardware, and they have heavily-customized things – so this console won’t just be a matter of off-the-shelf parts being slapped together in a compact case. Microsoft is ensuring the best possible gaming experience, and their promise of 4K Xbox gaming will be a reality with Project Scorpio.
It’s been Microsoft’s goal for years to do this, and now, they will be able to do that. First-party games like the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series have shown that even the comparably limited Xbox One hardware could produce impressive results – but recent releases that also hit PC, like Killer Instinct and Forza Horizon 3 gave players an idea of just how good these games could look.
With Play Anywhere, owners of many recent first-party games could enjoy them across both platforms at no additional charge. Now, with only one other type of console hardware to aim for, development teams can really optimize everything for console-only players as well. PC users should continue to see the games scale upwards as long as they are properly optimized.
While Microsoft announced a lot regarding the core hardware, everything else was left a bit of a mystery. A final name wasn’t announced, and neither was a release date. Holiday 2017 is what they were aiming for before, and they didn’t announce a change – so that should be holding steady.
The price point is probably the biggest sticking point to general consumers, because anything over $600 would be a hard sell. The PlayStation 3 couldn’t sell at that price point. Fortunately, Scorpio is aided by already having a built-in library of Xbox One games, but that may not be enough.
Microsoft is betting a lot on Scorpio and it’s clear that with years of work going into it, they will do whatever it takes to create the best experience possible for users. There are a lot of unknowns with this device, but it’s exciting, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for Project Scorpio.
Source: Digital Foundry