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Thursday, April 06, 2017
Microsoft's 'Project Scorpio' Packs Some Serious Power

Microosft's Project Scorpio game console, coming in the fourth quarter of 2017, seems to be ready to bring gaming to a whole new level, leaving behind both the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One S according to its specs disclosed today.

A series of specs released by Eurogamer and Digital Foundry have listed the full specs for the living room console.

Project Scorpio hits the 6 TFlop target by using a custom GPU that has been designed from the ground up for optimal performance on today's game engines. The CPU (AMD) features eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz (4MB of L2 cache) and it is paired with 12GB of GDDR5 memory (384-bit GDDR5 interface, 12 32bit channels, 326GBps of bandwidth), all housed in a compact body with integrated power supply (245W) and the essential cooling, based on a vapour chamber heat sink. It consists of a copper vessel that forms its basis, inside of which is ionised distilled water under vacuum. Heat is absorbed into the water, where it vapourises. The steam convects away from the hot spots and condenses on the heat sink fins.

In addition, the conole is based on a custom GPU with 40 Radeon customised compute units clocked at 1172MHz - - a huge increase over Xbox One's 853MHz, and indeed PS4 Pro's 911MHz. The device also features 1TB, 2.5-inch hard drive along with a 4K UHD Blue-ray Drive.

Microsoft says that the new x86 cores in Scorpio are 31 per cent faster than Xbox One's, with customisation to reduce latency in order to keep the processor occupied more fully, while CPU/GPU coherency also gets a performance uplift.

The audio processor in Xbox One is fully transplanted across to Scorpio and gains new functionality - spatial surround, effectively adding to the existing 7.1 set-up. Scorpio is set to receive support for Dolby Atmos for gaming, Dolby Atmos for headphones plus a Microsoft proprietary format called HRTF, developed by the Hololens team.

On the display output there is HDMI 2.0 in order to provide additional frame-rate for 4K and also HDR and the wide colour gamut.

Performance modes should be accessible to 4K users, while ultra HD rendering should super-sample down for those 1080p displays.

According to the reports, a Forza Motorsport demo running on the machine at native 4K and Xbox One equivalent settings hit 60 frames per second with a substantial performance overhead. And while 4K is the target, Microsoft is paying attention to 1080p users, promising that all modes will be available to them.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer says that Project Scorpio will be released this fall.

'You pay for what you get' and Project Scorpio justifies this claim. For sure, it's going to be more expensive than the PS4 Pro. The PlayStation 4 launched in November 2016 at $399.

Xbox One gets support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio

Microsoft also today said that the Xbox One finally has support for next-generation audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Of course, this is interesting to you only if you have a recent home theater receiver that supports the new formats. What you need to do is flip on the "bitstream passthrough" feature in the console's Blu-ray settings to get things going.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X go beyond the traditional 5.1/7.1 speaker philosophy. Instead of sending sound to discrete channels, they're "object-based" formats that expand the sound field across all of your speakers.

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