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Xbox Project Scorpio: It Might Not Be As Good As Microsoft Touts It [VIDEO]

It looks like that in the middle of the current console generation; the stronger Xbox won’t provide a significant performance boost.

Eurogamer got a hold of some new information about the upcoming, stronger Xbox console, which will be having some different hardware in comparison to the basic Xbox One.

The Scorpio won’t have ESRAM – small, but fast memory -, and despite the PC not having that form of RAM (remember, all exclusives launch on Windows 10 as well), the developers still have to consider optimizing performance on the ESRAM. There’s no Scorpio-only development, similar to Sony’s approach. The whitepaper, called „Reaching 4K and GPU Scaling Across Multiple Xbox Devices”, available on the development portal, doesn’t mention the latency advantage of the ESRAM. 12 GB GDDR5 RAM?

The whitepaper also mentions Scorpio’s 6 TFLOPS GPU, which about 4.5 times more computing power than the basic Xbox One’s performance. There is four times more L2 cache (another form of small-but-fast memory) in the Scorpio, and the GPU architecture will be as recent as AMD’s Polaris line. However, it seems unlikely that the box will have AMD’s new hope, the Zen. As most Xbox One game renders on 900p natively, the improved performance (partially because of the eight-core, possibly the same, but higher clock speed CPU) could help rendering games on 4K with HDR. However, there are 5.76 times more pixels on 4K than on 900p resolution!

Microsoft also mentions that developers don’t have to spend the Scorpio‘s extra grunt on a higher resolution; instead, they can go for higher fidelity shadows, better reflections, texture filtering or a smaller draw distance… or even upscaling the frame rate. Graphics could run on 60 Hz, but the CPU would go for 30, and the animations would be interpolated. Microsoft recommends running GPU elements at twice the speed, while CPU-bound elements are interpolated. The reason behind this advice is that the games fixed on 30 fps would not be able to run on 60 on the Scorpio (similar to how the PlayStation 4 Pro-supported games got issues with it).

Microsoft might be fiddling around with half resolution: they believe that an effect rendered that way on 1080p but upscaled to 4K would look better than what a regular Xbox One would show. Another trick could be the dynamic resolution.

Still, scaling up to 4K (checkerboard) seems to be their solution, similar to the PlayStation 4 Pro, which means technologically the Scorpio won’t be a large jump. It might be sold for 400 bucks, but then Sony could slash their console to 350, making the green team pushed a step behind yet again…

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