Microsoft Project Scorpio: What’s Inside the New Xbox

Microsoft just dropped the bomb on all of us, this E3 2016, by announcing the Project Scorpio. The new console will feature a vastly improved hardware that will be theoretically capable of 6 TFlops (approximately). That is a huge jump from the 1.3 TFLops, the Xbox One is capable of.

Why is it awesome?

So how can this be possible? How can Microsoft pull off this feat under 500 dollars when even an inexpensive consumer grade card like the AMD Radeon Rx-480  costs around 200 USD. Not to mention the fact that to pull out enough performance from an AMD RX-480, you need a CPU that is roughly along the lines of at least a Haswell i5 Quad-core.

To further complicate this situation, even the RX-480 tops out at around 5 TFlops, so what exactly is Microsoft doing over here? How is it promising 6 TFlops? Read on to find out what we

Read on to find out what we think.

Project Scorpio 2

The Complications!

Whatever GPU Microsoft is planting inside the Project Scorpio, it is still going to demand a good CPU to feed it with enough data. Unless Microsoft found a way to fit the right balance of price to performance CPU, it wouldn’t be possible to squeeze out the maximum performance out of the GPU.

What we think could be inside the Project Scorpio:

1) Microsoft could potentially be using a similar yet better 8+core AMD APU like the one used in Xbox One.
2) Microsoft would pair it up with its custom GPU, possibly a customised RX-480, since it would work well with an AMD APU.
3) The APU and GPU will be set to a cross-fires like configuration.
4) Microsoft will hope to use the advanced features of DirectX12 which lets them pair different types of GPUs. In this case, an internal GPU of the APU along with the external GPU.
5) Microsoft will probably rely on using the DirectX12’s ability to leverage the multiple cores of a CPU to be involved in sending data to the GPU, as opposed to the older API where single core performance of a CPU took the centre stage.
6) Microsoft will probably go with an 8GB GDDR5 memory for the customised APU to go hand in hand with the one on the GPU (the RX-480 has an 8GB frame buffer).

Assumptions and Opinions:

The theoretical output of 6TFlops which Microsoft quoted could be the value of a combined peak output of both, the APU and GPU. Project Scorpio aims at gaming in 4K resolution as well as being Virtual Reality capabilities to the Xbox lineup.

To be absolutely honest, we are very sceptical about the 6 TFlops. This is because the Xbox One was quoted to have a peak output of 1.3 TFlops, but when pitted against the Nvidia GTX 950m which has a similar output. We could see the GTX 950m playing most games in 1080p medium settings and some games like the GTA V in 1080p High settings which just isn’t the case with the Xbox One, in spite of having a similar peak output.

We still feel that a PC built with the AMD RX-480 would be able to outperform the Project Scorpio despite having less theoretical output.

Microsoft may also plan on taking full advantage if the DirecrX12 by using the iGPU (the one in APU) to render the particles and special effects in the frame while the dGPU (dedicated GPU) takes care of the heavy lifting by rendering more mainstream objects in 4K resolution.

Of course, all these are just speculations at this point of time. We will continue to bring you more details in the near future. So, what do you think about Project Scorpio? Do you think it will be of a better value than building a PC for the same price? Let us know in the comments section below!