Microsoft on Scorpio’s Unique D3D12 Benefits & Significantly Faster Loading Times

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Apr 6, 2017
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Project Scorpio’s technical specifications have been just unveiled, but there’s much more that Microsoft revealed in a chat with Eurogamer.

For instance, Andrew Goossen (Technical Fellow at Microsoft) explained how Scorpio will have unique Direct3D 12 benefits due to the hardware design.

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We essentially moved Direct3D 12. We built that into the command processor of the GPU and what that means is that, for all the high-frequency API invocations that the games do, they’ll all natively implemented in the logic of the command processor – and what this means is that our communication from the game to the GPU is super-efficient.

It’s a massive win for us and for the developers who’ve adopted D3D12 on Xbox, they’ve told us they’ve been able to cut their CPU rendering overhead by half, which is pretty amazing because now the driver portion of that is such a tiny fraction.

Another major selling point for Project Scorpio might very well be having way faster loading times. Here’s how it’s possible, in Goossen’s own words:

We’re able to say that game loads will be fundamentally faster. There are three ways we say that – one of which is the CPU boost. The 31 percent CPU boost in terms of clock will help games that are CPU-bound in terms of their IO.

The second one is that we’ve improved the hard disk speed. We’re actually promising developers a 50 percent improvement in overall bandwidth for the purposes of driving 4K textures, but this also helps us in this situation where you’re running existing Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles. They will also benefit from the faster hard disk.

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If Xbox One games take five gigs, we have three gigs left over. We do a file system cache on that. Any repeated IOs… if you go into a race and come out or if you go into a fight and come out, we’ve got a nice boost right there for load times as well.

Finally, Goossen mentioned that games will get full anisotropic filtering by default on Scorpio, which is unprecedented for consoles.

We built into the hardware the capability of overwriting all bilinear and all trilinear fetches to be anisotropic. And then we’ve dialled up the anisotropic all the way up to max. All of our titles by default when you’re running on Scorpio, they’ll be full anisotropic.

What do you think of the hardware and do you plan to get the console when it launches in Holiday 2017? Tell us in the comments.

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