Here at TR we like to think we're pretty authoritative when it comes to PC hardware, but game consoles—even as close to PCs as they are these days—are a bit out of our wheelhouse. Thankfully, the guys over at Eurogamer's Digital Foundry are doing solid work on that front. The site got an exclusive look at Microsoft's upcoming Xbox, codenamed Project Scorpio, and it seems to be a pretty serious piece of kit.
First, the numbers that most gerbils will care about. The Scorpio SoC has eight custom x86 CPU cores running at 2.3 GHz. That CPU shares a die with a customized Radeon GPU boasting 40 GCN compute units clocked at 1172 MHz. The entire SoC shares 12 GB of GDDR5 memory running at 6.8 GT/s on a 384-bit bus. In total, that gives the CPU and GPU 326 GB/s of shared memory bandwidth to play with. Primary storage consists of a 1TB 2.5" hard drive, same as the Xbox One S.
Microsoft says "a lot of really specific custom work" went into the Project Scorpio's SoC. Much of that work seems to have gone into the unique x86-64 CPU cores the new machine uses. The cores are still derived from the AMD Jaguar low-power design (just like the Xbox One), but they apparently have seen "extensive customization" to reduce latency and improve CPU-to-GPU coherency. Digital Foundry says the new cores ought to be 31% faster than those found in the Xbox One, although that number happens to be the same as the clock rate uplift from the old machine to the new one.
The Xbox One's GPU was often compared to the Bonaire chip aboard the Radeon R7 260. They're both similar GPUs in terms of core configuration and potency, although the unit inside the Xbox One was hampered somewhat by the machine's use of relatively slow DDR3 memory. The GPU in Project Scorpio appears to be similar to the Polaris 10 chip in the Radeon RX 480, except it's even larger. It has 40 GCN compute units versus Polaris 10's 36 CUs, and the memory bus—now connected to GDDR5 memory—is half-again as wide. Both of those changes should help the chip accommodate Microsoft's aim of running games at native 4K resolution.
Digital Foundry got to play a tech demo based on Microsoft's lauded Forza Motorsport series running in 4K resolution and at 60 FPS, and came away reasonably impressed. Check out the whole story over at Eurogamer if you're curious what Microsoft's been up to with the Xbox.
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