Project Scorpio's Specs Will Blow the PS4 Pro Out of the Water

Project Scorpio has finally spilled its guts, but will it be enough to get the jump on Sony?

Six months removed from the launch of the PlayStation 4 Pro, Microsoft has been tight-lipped about its upcoming new console, code-named Scorpio. The only information that we have from the company so far is a promise that it will be the most powerful home system ever to exist, and a teased a holiday launch in 2017.

As we approach E3, Microsoft's internal team of Xbox developers met with the folks at Digital Foundry to reveal the confirmed hardware specifications for the new system, and the numbers certainly back up those bold claims made by the tech giant.

Project Scorpio set out to accomplish a specific set of goals for its processing and visual output, and is able to do so thanks to a custom CPU that can clock 2.3GHz of processing, backed by an impressive 12GB of GDDR5 RAM with a bandwith of 326 GB per second. This trounces the PS4 Pro’s bandwith of 218 GB per second.

The horsepower continues to impress with an Optical Drive that can deliver 4K, UHD, and Blu-ray resolutions, promising developers that the engine packed within the machine will be able to maintain consistent framerates with 4K fidelity -- using actual 4K assets instead of simply just scaling non-4K assets up the resolution.

In addition, the team behind the new console also promises improved performance for older Xbox titles that will be backwards-compatible with the Scorpio, much in the way that the PS4 Pro does for compatible PS4 software. Only they'll be able to do it with a significantly higher leap in performance than the PlayStation. The advancements include improved texture mapping, load times, and framerates for Xbox One software that’s capable of running on the new system.

Just look at the port of Forza Motorsport 6 running on the Scorpio setup if you need proof.  

The sleek, smooth, and state-of-the-art lighting and visuals that the team was able to push showcased a degree of fidelity that was never thought to be possible out of a home market system.

Forza Horizon 3’s presentation was already was some of the best that the Xbox One had to offer. And yet the team managed to take the engine that they developed for the sixth entry, optimize it to the standards of the Scorpio’s capabilities, and complete the port of the title within just two days.

The craziest thing about the development of this Microsoft-exclusive racing sequel is that even with the game running at its highest performance settings, it will only push the 88% of the GPU’s capabilities to deliver that kind of performance. 88% may not sound like much on paper, but that sort of resource management can make a significant difference towards the operation of a game and what it’s capable of.

Calling Digital Foundry’s impressions praiseworthy seems to be a bit of understatement, as they were eager to endorse the grand boasts Microsoft has made with Project Scorpio -- even backing the claim that it will be the most powerful home console ever released on the market at launch.

But is all this enough to trump the PS4 Pro?

Stronger, faster, and louder tech won’t necessarily guarantee Microsoft the largest market share of console gaming. We’ve seen the company edge out the competition with similar technological advantages before, only to be squandered from poor management, bad endorsement decisions, and a subpar lineup of exclusives. For every Gears of War 4 or Forza Horizon 3, there’s been a Project Spark or ReCore to shift the paradigm of Xbox exclusives firmly back into above average territory. The new system is going to need to really deliver game quality first, and performance second, if It hopes to capitalize where Sony has fumbled so far.

In addition, Scorpio’s messaging has been just as fuzzy as Sony’s intel was with the PS4 Pro. It was unclear as to whether or not this was a humble improvement on the current iteration of hardware, or a full-fledged upgrade to everything currently available. The new information released on the project puts that confusion to rest, and it would seem that Microsoft will be the first to deliver the new future of tech for console gaming later this year.

Published Apr. 8th 2017

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