Now that Microsoft has officially outed the specs for its forthcoming powerhouse, the Xbox Scorpio, to some publications, denizens of the internet are rapt up imagining how this could play out in the long run. It's inevitable: the oft-stringent console wars that'll surely pit the Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro and the Scorpio against each other is beginning.
A Look At The Xbox Scorpio's Specs
Let's look at a rundown of the specs, first: the Scorpio's CPU has eight custom x86 cores which are clocked at 2.3 GHz. The GPU, on the other hand, has 40 customized compute units which are clocked at 1,172 MHz — quite a high speed for a console, achieving, sans any hiccups, Microsoft's six-teraflop promise in terms of performance.
Under the hood is 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM with a 326 GB/s memory bandwidth. There's also a 1 TB 2.5-inch hard drive and an Ultra HD Blu-ray optical drive. Much like the Xbox One S before it, the Scorpio has an integrated power supply, so users won't have to fumble with a bulky external power brick. Finally, the Scorpio is similar to the Xbox One S in terms of ports, which means there's no Kinect port.
What Xbox Scorpio's Specs Mean
But of course, for the common folk, numbers are a part of jargon best served somewhere else, and what we all want to know is what this all means. First off, to be a bit more specific, the Scorpio's CPU is about 30 percent faster than the Xbox One's; the GPU, on the other hand, is 4.6 times more powerful. But the easily understandable concept here is that Microsoft wants to offer true 4K gaming at 60 fps, and what these specs mean is that it'll be able to handle exactly that.
Digital Foundry was only able to demo one game on the system, but it proved impressive. It ran, with nary a hiccup, at 4K in 60 fps, and with plenty of processing power left to spare. All this means is that Xbox gamers would never have to worry about power and performance. The Xbox Scorpio will deliver at all costs.
So Is Xbox Scorpio More Powerful Than The PS4 Pro?
Yes, the Scorpio is indeed more powerful than Sony's PS4 Pro, but the important discussion should be by how much? Right off the bat, Scorpio's 2.3 GHz clock speed beats the PS4 Pro's 2.1 GHz clock speed, but this is only a small gain. What gives Scorpio an edge over the competition, however, is its GPU, system memory, and how its system-on-a-chip works. Also, Microsoft has integrated Direct3D 12 technology on the Scorpio's chip, which should reduce API overload by up to 50 percent.
But what does this all mean? It means that the Scorpio is indeed more powerful than the already powerful PS4 Pro, but not by much, although the Scorpio should prove more efficient overall in terms of sending information regarding what the GPU needs to draw.
Speaking of GPU, the Scorpio's own is most comparable to the RX 480 GPU by AMD, although heavily customized. As previously mentioned, the Scorpio hits Microsoft's previously stated performance of six teraflops, with 40 customized compute units at 1,172 MHz, as stated above. The PS4 Pro, by contrast, only has 36 GCN compute units at 911 MHz, which means that the Scorpio delivers more wallop hands down.
At present, however, the PS4 Pro already delivers quite a punch, performing clever maneuvers with its GPU to render non-native games in 4K. How much better Scorpio's true 4K gaming remains to be seen.
But then there's also the aspect of memory, which the Scorpio wins at by leaps and bounds. The PS4 Pro only has 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM while the Scorpio has 12 GB of the same kind. This translates to huge gains in terms of bandwidth, which is especially important for the Scorpio if it wants to deliver true 4K gaming without kinks.
Xbox Scorpio: The Unknowns
It's clear that the Scorpio easily beats the PS4 out of the park, but power isn't everything in the console wars. There are also important aspects to consider such as whether Xbox Scorpio will get any stellar exclusives, like how the PS4's Horizon Zero Dawn situation. There's also demand, of course, which is especially tricky to predict. Do gamers really want a brand-new Xbox amid the increasing effort by Microsoft to merge Xbox and PC together? It's hard to tell.
But probably the most important thing to consider is the price. With those specs, one can expect that the Scorpio is bound to cost a pretty penny. It's easy to imagine that the more affluent, power hungry consumers will readily buy into the system when it's released, but what about the other parts of the market? Are they willing to shell out steep amounts of money at this point, especially with Nintendo's Switch in the picture?
The Switch is, of course, a whole new discussion for another day, and while it can't hold a candle to the Scorpio in terms of power alone, there's no denying that its appeal and low price point may take away from those eyeing the Scorpio but might balk on it if the price is too high.
If you're looking for a verdict, here it is: the Scorpio is more powerful than the PS4 Pro, much more powerful than the Xbox One, and certainly leaps and bounds more powerful than the Switch. But its success remains to be seen. If Microsoft throws a fair price point and irresistible exclusives, then it might be onto something.