Xbox Project Scorpio Uses GTX 1080-Like Vapor Chamber Cooling & Custom Centrifugal Fan For Heat Dissipation

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Apr 7, 2017
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Microsoft’s enhanced Xbox console, Project Scorpio, uses vapor-chamber cooling as seen in high-end GPU’s and a custom designed adapted centrifugal fan to dissipate the generated heat inside the console.

The final specifications for Microsoft’s Scorpio project were revealed by Eurogamer yesterday, and from the looks of it, the enhanced Xbox will be a powerful console indeed. The Scorpio sports a custom eight-core evolved AMD Jaguar CPU clocked at 2.3Ghz, a GPU with 40 customized compute units at 1172MHz, 12GB of fast GDDR5 memory, and more than 320GB/s of memory bandwidth.

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While some might have hoped for AMD’s new Ryzen technology, the Scorpio uses evolved custom Jaguar cores to maintain backward compatibility with the current Xbox One console. “So, eight cores, organized as two clusters with a total of 4MB of L2 cache. These are unique customized CPUs for Scorpio running at 2.3GHz”, Microsoft’s general manager of Xbox console architecture, Nick Baker, told Eurogamer.

To maximize performance and optimize power consumption, Microsoft uses a technique called the ‘Hovis Method’. The technique, named after the engineer who developed it, custom tunes and optimizes the voltages for every single Scorpio engine processor. “We basically fine tune the voltages for each of the chips and optimize them so the chips are getting exactly what they need to get the job done…”, Microsoft’s general manager of Xbox hardware design, Leo Del Castillo, explained to Eurogamer. “That drives a much higher degree of efficiency into the system and allows us to get rid of a lot of wasted power that would otherwise come out as heat.”

The unconventional high clock-speed of Scorpio’s GPU still generates a lot of heat that needs to be cooled and expelled from the console. To achieve this, Microsoft has opted for a copper vapor chamber cooling as seen in high-end GPU’s like NVIDIA’s GTX 1080, which uses advanced liquid cooling to keep the Scorpio engine cool.  To remove the generated condensed heat from inside the console, the Scorpio features a centrifugal fan instead of standard axial fans.

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“We went to a custom designed adapted centrifugal fan for this design,” Del Castillo said. “It kind of looks like a supercharger on a car, it looks like an intercooler almost. Every part about this is custom designed for the application.”

Eurogamer’s exclusive look at the Scorpio is rather interesting, and we highly suggest you read their full Scorpio articles.

Microsoft will likely use its E3 briefing this year to fully unveil the Scorpio and showcase its games. What are your thoughts about the upcoming enhanced Xbox console?

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