With the PS4 Pro out in the wild for a while now, Microsoft has had some time to work on its 4K successor to the Xbox One – Project Scorpio. With the specs out in the open now, and some idea of what the console is all about, let’s take a look at how Project Scorpio will fit into the Xbox family, and integrate into the current generation of consoles.
Project Scorpio boasts quite a powerful set of specs. All the specs will be the power behind the console’s so-called “true 4K” output. The power behind Project Scorpio indeed puts it ahead of the PS4 Pro, but it is not enough to push the console into a “next generation” model. So, in a way, Microsoft has created a console that will benefit those who want to play current and future Xbox One games at higher resolutions, and more stable frame rates. At the same time, Project Scorpio might give us a glimpse at what is possible for the future of gaming.
It is the higher clock speed, extra RAM, and of course the memory bandwidth that will give Project Scorpio the performance boost into 4K territory. In theory, these specs put Project Scorpio on par with a mid-range PC.
Instead of opting for a general boost to all games, like the PS4 Pro does with its Boost Mode, Project Scorpio will have to be tweaked for every single Xbox title to date. Project Scorpio will enhance older games in five different ways.
- Closer to target frame rate: A serious issue that Xbox gamers have faced, which should not be an issue. Certain games fail to produce a solid frame rate. Project Scorpio will make sure that it is as stable, and close to the capped rate as possible. Keep in mind that this will not allow games to run at a higher frame rate than they are designed to, but rather what they are meant to.
- Dynamic Resolution: Many Xbox One games adjust the resolution depending on the scene in the game. A more cluttered scene would result in a lower resolution until things calm down. All this will change on Project Scorpio, as the console will always opt for the highest resolution possible, and perhaps keep it there throughout the game
- Texture Rendering: The draw distance for textures will be greatly improved on with Project Scorpio, and will allow all current games to look crisper without any blurry textures being so close in view
- Game DVR: Project Scorpio will let you record gameplay in full 4K, with the least amount of quality compression possible. This means you will be able to save all your clips from your 4K games, in true 4K using an optimized HEVC encoder.
- Loading Times: Project Scorpio will have an improved load time across all old games. With the console’s 31% increase in speed, it will result in an up to 31% increase in load times too.
While we do not know much about the design of the console, Xbox.com’s page has been changed to give us a slight peek at what could be in store, especially inside Project Scorpio. Powered by what Microsoft is calling the Scorpio Engine, here is the breakdown of the console’s internals:
- Scorpio Engine: With 6 Teraflops, 326GB/s of Memory Bandwidth and advanced, custom silicon, the Scorpio Engine is the most powerful console gaming processor ever created.
- Vapor Chamber: A first for home consoles, Project Scorpio’s Vapor Chamber uses advanced liquid cooling to ensure the Scorpio Engine stays cool.
- Centrifugal Fan: A supercharger-style Centrifugal Fan rapidly pulls in and compresses air to deliver maximum cooling with minimum noise.
- Hovis Method: To maximize performance and minimize power consumption, Project Scorpio uses the Hovis Method, a cutting edge digital power delivery system that custom tunes each console’s voltage.
What Project Scorpio looks like on the outside is still a secret, and we will probably learn more at E3 2017.
The main objective for Project Scorpio is to bring 4K gaming to the console owner, and so far the console seems to be achieving this. Games releasing from the launch of Project Scorpio will be optimized for the console’s 4K capabilities, but the question remains if it will be able to deliver “true” 4K or upscaled 4K.
Upscaled 4K is what the PS4 Pro uses to deliver a higher resolution on many games. Sure, the console can also deliver true 4K, but not on every title to date. Horizon Zero Dawn, for example, is a checkerboard 4K game, in other words – it is upscaled. While the differences between true 4K and upscaled 4K are barely noticeable by the naked eye, true 4K really shows the “true” power of the graphical hardware.
Microsoft’s stance with Project Scorpio is that it will deliver 4K that does not cut corners at all. We will have to wait and see how this statement holds up during and after the console launches.
Merging Console Generations
Microsoft has stated that the Scorpio will live alongside the Xbox One and Xbox One S, but the issue here is that there will be quite a large gap between the original console and the 4K version. What this means is that we might get to a point where a game might be exclusive to Project Scorpio, and can only be accomplished if it is being built for that hardware itself. Project Scorpio could also be a sign of what’s to come, and perhaps lead us into the next generation of consoles.
Project Scorpio is releasing at the end of 2017, and Microsoft is in dire need of a powerful console that can play games without compromising on the resolution. Will Project Scorpio be able to deliver that, and will gamers be able to afford it?
Drop us a comment with your thoughts on Project Scorpio.