Spencer: We’ve Been Surprised of Performance Gains with Scorpio, They’re Beyond our Expectations

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Apr 12, 2017
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Gamasutra had announced exclusive coverage for Project Scorpio and it just delivered. There’s a first look at the devkit with some comments from various developers and a very long Q&A session with Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer.

The latter article is particularly interesting as it provides more information on how Microsoft designed the console and what they were targeting specifically. According to Spencer, Scorpio actually surpassed the team’s expectations so far when it comes to performance gains and porting time.

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I think what they’re going to see in Scorpio is the best version of the game that they’ve seen on console. And that’s a little bit of ego speaking, but I’ll say, as we designed the console we picked a certain GPU, we picked a certain CPU frequency we wanted to hit, an amount of RAM we wanted, an amount of memory bandwidth we wanted, and I kind of talked about it more as a balanced system.

It’s easier to stand on stage with a 6 teraflop t-shirt, and people kind of focus on one thing, but the platform is obviously much more complex than a single number. I think it’s fair to say we’ve been, um, surprised by the performance gains that Scorpio is giving us. Beyond our expectation when we designed the hardware. The engines that we’ve been bringing through and porting over, one, they’ve ported over fairly quickly, as third-parties have been coming in. And our own first-parties. The porting has been fast.

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And this comes from, so many of these games have PC equivalents that if you say hey, can you set a 4K render target for your engine, you can often just say like sure, I just change this .ini setting right here. Boom! The engine knows how to go do this.

Project Scorpio is set to release at some point during the Holiday season. It will have an eight-core CPU clocked at 2.3Ghz, 40 Compute Units clocked at 1172Mhz for 6 teraflops of computing power, 12GB of DDR5 RAM, a memory bandwidth of 326 GB/s, a 4K UHD Bluray drive, 4K@60 Hz Game DVR recording via HEVC and support for FreeSync 2 variable refresh rate displays.

We can expect Microsoft to reveal a lot more and showcase some games running on Scorpio at E3 2017, set to begin in a couple months from now.

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