Microsoft is prepping a revision of the Xbox One for later this year, and all signs point to it being more than a simple remodel. Xbox Scorpio, as it’s currently known, is set to be an upgrade that improves upon the base hardware in every possible way.
Microsoft says the system’s running tech that will do more than directly compete with the similar PlayStation 4 Pro — it’ll surpass it. New details from Digital Foundry, Eurogamer’s tech-focused arm, suggest just how the company plans to make that happen. We’ve rounded up these promised specs below, along with everything else we’ve already learned about the upcoming Scorpio.
What is Xbox Scorpio?
It’s the upcoming, revamped version of the Xbox One. Scorpio will essentially take the base console and soup it up in every possible way. An official name hasn’t been revealed quite yet, so we’re still calling this thing Scorpio.
Microsoft first unveiled the heavily rumored hardware at E3 2016, offering just a handful of details.
What does it do?
As Microsoft first said last June at E3, the console will play games at a native 4K resolution. It will also have VR support right out of the box. To make this happen, the console comes with 6 teraflops of processing power and more than 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Can it still play Xbox One games?
Yes! Xbox One games will run on Scorpio, as will backward-compatible Xbox 360 games. We haven’t seen any in action yet — much to many Xbox One owners’ dismay — although Digital Foundry did have a glimpse at one title running on the system.
Will there be Xbox Scorpio-exclusive games?
Nope. Microsoft said they’re not allowed, as the company doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. This isn’t a new hardware generation, after all; Xbox Scorpio is a mid-cycle refresh.
Will games run faster?
They will. All upcoming Xbox One games will benefit from the Scorpio’s improved tech. Older games on the newer hardware will get a major performance boost as well. Microsoft told Digital Foundry that this applies to all games across the board; in short, Xbox One games will be overall better on Scorpio.
Oh, hey — what about Kinect?
Digital Foundry said there’s no Kinect port on Scorpio. The console is based on the port arrangement of the Xbox One S, which was the first to omit a dedicated input for the peripheral. Microsoft no longer gives out free USB adapters for Kinect owners, though, suggesting that the Kinect is going the way of the dodo.
Sad. OK, let’s talk hardware specs: Give me the nitty-gritty.
Sure. The console’s CPU has eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz, while the GPU features 40 Radeon compute units at 1172 MHz. The system also has 12 GB of GDDR5 memory, and contains a 1 TB 2.5-inch hard drive and a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive.
So ... basically it’s a really high-powered Xbox One.
Correct! Speaking of the Xbox One, though, Digital Foundry reports that Scorpio will include support for Dolby Atmos — and all existing Xbox One consoles will be upgraded with that feature.
But how does Xbox Scorpio compare to the PS4 Pro?
Microsoft has reiterated just how much better it believes Project Scorpio to be than the PS4 Pro since Sony released its console last fall. Microsoft has consistently referred to PS4 Pro’s 4K capabilities and increased core processing power as “caveats” or “obvious” downgrades from the Project Scorpio’s feature set.
This was all talk before, though; now we have a sense of just what improvements Scorpio has over PS4 Pro. Check out this chart from Digital Foundry for the detailed breakdown:
Xbox Scorpio hardware comparison
|Hardware||Project Scorpio||PlayStation 4 Pro||Xbox One|
|Hardware||Project Scorpio||PlayStation 4 Pro||Xbox One|
|CPU||Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1 GHz||Eight custom Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75 GHz|
|GPU||40 customized compute units at 1172 MHz||36 improved GCN compute units at 911 MHz||12 GCN compute units at 853 MHz (Xbox One S: 914 MHz)|
|Memory||12 GB GDDR5||8 GB GDDR5||8 GB DDR3/32 MB ESRAM|
|Memory Bandwidth||326 GB/s||218 GB/s||DDR3: 68 GB/s, ESRAM at max 204 GB/s (Xbox One S: 219 GB/s)|
|Hard Drive||1 TB 2.5-inch||1 TB 2.5-inch||500 GB/1 TB/2 TB 2.5-inch|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray||Blu-ray||Blu-ray (Xbox One S: 4K UHD)|
So, to recap: Scorpio will have a faster CPU, better GPU, more memory, more bandwidth and a 4K-ready optical drive. The one thing the PS4 Pro appears to match it on is hard drive size.
Is there anything the PS4 Pro does have going for it over Xbox Scorpio?
Well ... we don’t know this yet for sure, but ask us how much Scorpio will cost.
How much will Scorpio cost?
Microsoft wouldn’t say — but stay with us here. Based on everything it learned about Scorpio’s guts, Digital Foundry made its best guess as to how much the console will cost. $499 sounds like a very reasonable price for Xbox Scorpio, Digital Foundry explained — and it will “surely be more expensive” than the PS4 Pro.
The PS4 Pro currently costs $100 less than that. It’s $399, and now that Microsoft has given Sony a big heads-up about what its competition will look like, the company can play up the cost differential to its advantage.
$499? That sure is pricey.
This is pure speculation, to be clear. But, yeah, expect Xbox Scorpio to cost more than the average console. That makes sense, after all — it’s more powerful than the average console. We’re not convinced it will be more expensive than PS4 Pro, necessarily, but we’d suggest squirreling money away now, just in case.
When will we find out the price — or, heck, the real name of Xbox Scorpio?
E3 2017, baby. We’ll be keeping your ear to the ground until then, but we’re expecting a news blowout during Microsoft’s press conference in mid-June.
And when is Scorpio coming out?
Digital Foundry expects the console to be at least six months away. We’re betting on a holiday 2017 release.