In one of the more unconventional moves we’ve seen in the console space (something stressed by Digital Foundry themselves), Microsoft has handed over the duties of revealing the innards of their new 4K consoles to the most trusted voices in the industry. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry were invited to poke around the new hardware, which has curiously already been finalised months ahead of a suspected Q4 2017 release. There’s still no name, no price and no better word on games, but man if Scorpio isn’t a hardware marvel already.
To cut to the chase, yes – Project Scorpio is already capable of running Xbox One titles at native 4K and 60FPS. That holds true for at least Forza Motorsport 6, which Digital Foundry was shown as a demo. Running at the same settings as Xbox One but with 4K art assets, Forza ran perfectly on Scorpio – with only 60-70% of the GPU actually stressed. Bumping settings up to match Forza Apex’s settings at 4K on PC, and the performance held, with only 90% of the GPU working. That’s just crazy.
And there’s a lot of technical wizardry that’s going on. By all accounts the Scorpio is packing a ridiculously powerful GPU on top of an otherwise iterative step forward for the CPU (it’s not running on AMD’s Ryzen), but with the sorts of baked in features that only Microsoft could pull off. Like hardware implementations for DirectX 12, which reduced the CPU overhead of games like Battlefield 1 and Star Wars Battlefront by half.
You can gaze over the full system specifications below:
I’m not going to rehash the entire comprehensive report here (or the simplified version for less technically savvy Xbox fans), but the main take away is this. The Scorpio is hitting all of those lofty targets Microsoft set out last E3. Yes, it’s hitting 6 teraflops of processing power, just shy of 33% more than the PS4 Pro. Yes, it’s capable of running games at the sort of 4K/60FPS splendour that some PCs can only dream of. And yes, porting over Xbox One games is going to be streamlined thanks to their work in that area for years now (Forza Motorsport 6 took two days, as an example).
But that still doesn’t solve Microsoft’s software problem, and that’s where the road to E3 becomes extremely important. The Scorpio is the most impressive console on the market hardware-wise now by a quarter mile, but it still has its impact reduced without the software draw to it. Microsoft will likely ramp up their exclusives coverage and hopefully have a bunch of new games to show at their conference in just two months, so for now this is a great start to what is likely going to be Scorpio news heavy months.
For all intents and purposes, this is Microsoft getting back into a race that performance kicked them out of last time.