The name, the price, and the look are all still a mystery, but we do know one thing about Microsoft’s souped-up 4K Xbox with the cool “Project Scorpio” codename: It’s a beast of a machine.
A peek inside the upcoming console compliments of Digital Foundry reveals the down-and-dirty hardware specs that Microsoft’s been openly teasing since E3 2016. And in terms of raw power, Scorpio appears to exceed the industry’s current high-water mark: the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Here are the specs Digital Foundry provided, compared against the same internals you’d find in an Xbox One and PS4 Pro.
As you can see, Scorpio edges the Pro’s CPU and GPU in terms of raw numbers, and it has a commanding lead when it comes to memory capacity and bandwidth. But what does it all mean, really?
For now, it’s speculation. The bulk of Digital Foundry‘s reporting appears to be based on conversations with the Scorpio team and not the sort of side-by-side hardware comparisons the site is known for.
In the simplest terms, Scorpio’s souped up hardware should result in more consistent frame rates across all games including backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles as well as faster load times, an end to screen tearing, improved texture filtering (to make everything look smoother), and some manner of 4K support either native or upscaled in new games.
What it won’t necessarily do, however, is boost frame rates. A game that has a target of 30 frames-per-second should more consistently hit that target on a Scorpio, but it won’t suddenly jump up to 60 FPS. Not without a patch.
That’s a decision made on the development side. Some games lock at 30 FPS for creative reasons rather than technical ones. There are also concerns when it comes to online games, since differing frame rates can give some players an advantage over others.
Scorpio is also expected to improve the Xbox GameDVR experience, adding the ability to capture 4K at 60 FPS. The screen capture feature should get a boost as well thanks to something called “retroactive screen capture.” It eliminates the need to press the screenshot button at exactly the right moment by grabbing a group of screens from which you can then pick the best.
While 4K video capture is definitely a Scorpio-only feature, one wonders if retroactive screen capture will make its way to Xbox One/Xbox One S as well. It’s a clarification to look for from Microsoft as more Scorpio details are revealed in the months ahead.
One feature that will come to all current-gen Xbox consoles: spatial audio. Scorpio uses the same audio processor as its predecessors, so all Xbox users can expect added support for Dolby Atmos and overall performance improvements for 7.1 surround setups.
There are still plenty of unanswered questions about Scorpio, including the all-important release date/price/name/form factor details. Digital Foundry‘s occasionally breathless peek under the hood of the new console sounds promising, but we’ll likely have to wait for E3 for the kinds of answers and firsthand looks that the average consumer cares about.
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