This news piece contains speculation, and suggests silicon implementation based on released products and roadmaps.The only elements confirmed for Project Scorpio are the eight cores, >6 TFLOPs, 320 GB/s, it's built by AMD, and it is coming in 2017. If anyone wants to officially correct any speculation, please get in touch. 

Here’s an announcement at E3 for you. Microsoft just announced Project Scorpio, an internal project to develop the next generation Xbox set to be released in 2017. Project Scorpio is to be backwards compatible with Xbox One, and seems to be directly in line to compete with whatever Sony are supposedly releasing in the near future. But here’s some specifications for you that has my mind in a twist.

In the presentation, Microsoft states that the Project Scorpio SoC will have eight cores, up to 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth, and over 6 TeraFLOPs of power. To put this into context, this is more processing power than the recently announced AMD RX 480 GPU using a GCN 4 based architecture, set to be launched later this month. Microsoft specifically announced that Project Scorpio is to be launched next year, which puts a few things together worth mentioning.

By this time next year, we expect AMD’s Zen microarchitecture to be in full swing, and AMD has already showcased a silicon sample of an 8-core Zen processor. However, the current Xbox line relies on AMD’s ‘cat’ core architecture, which according to current AMD roadmaps doesn’t seem to feature anywhere for 2017. Without a direct confirmation, it’s hard to tell if Project Scorpio is the same Jaguar cores as the Xbox One, or the newer Zen microarchitecture. I would assume we won’t find out until later next year.

Microsoft Console Specification Comparison
  Xbox 360 Xbox One Project Scorpio
CPU Cores/Threads 3/6 8/8 8 / ?
CPU Frequency 3.2GHz 1.6GHz (est) ?
CPU µArch IBM PowerPC AMD Jaguar ?
Shared L2 Cache 1MB 2 x 2MB ?
GPU Cores   768 ?
Peak Shader Throughput 0.24 TFLOPS 1.23 TFLOPS >6 TFLOPs
Embedded Memory 10MB eDRAM 32MB eSRAM ?
Embedded Memory Bandwidth 32GB/s 102GB/s ?
System Memory 512MB 1400MHz GDDR3 8GB 2133MHz DDR3 ?
System Memory Bus 128-bits 256-bits ?
System Memory Bandwidth 22.4 GB/s 68.3 GB/s 320 GB/s
Manufacturing Process   28nm ?

On the GPU side, the current Xbox One uses a 16 CU implementation in the SoC, with two disabled giving 14 CUs. We already know that AMD’s RX 480, running at 5 TFLOPs and built on Global Foundries 14nm FinFET process, runs in at 36 CUs. So Project Scorpio will have easily have more CUs than Xbox One, and judging by the shots in the video, the die size is relatively small. The Xbox One was built on TSMC’s 28nm HP process. At this point it’s still not confirmed if this is an AMD win, however judging by the comments towards backwards compatibility and SoC integration (where CPU and GPU are on the same silicon (or package)), all fingers would point in that direction.

AMD Radeon GPU Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon RX 480 AMD Radeon R9 390X AMD Radeon R9 390 AMD Radeon R9 380
Stream Processors 2304
(36 CUs)
(44 CUs)
(40 CUs)
(28 CUs)
Texture Units (Many) 176 160 112
ROPs (A Positive Integer) 64 64 32
Boost Clock >1.08GHz 1050MHz 1000MHz 970MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5 5.5Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 512-bit 512-bit 256-bit
Transistor Count ? 6.2B 6.2B 5.0B
Typical Board Power 150W 275W 275W 190W
Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm FinFET TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 4 GCN 1.1 GCN 1.1 GCN 1.2
GPU Polaris 10? Hawaii Hawaii Tonga
Launch Date 06/29/16 06/18/15 06/18/15 06/18/15
Launch Price $199 $429 $329 $199

The memory bandwidth of Project Scorpio, 320 GB/s, is also relatively interesting given the current rates of the RX 480 topping out at 256 GB/s. The 320 GB/s number seems round enough to be a GPU only figure, but given previous embedded memory designs is likely to include some form of embedded memory. How much is impossible to say at this point.

AMD has stated that the RX 480 is a VR Gaming capable card, so given what we've said about the Xbox One S tackling VR, it's clear that Project Scorpio is right on the money. AMD's business plan as of late is to expand its custom SoC business, and thus sticking Zen and a GCN 4 based architecture on a combined package or die for Microsoft makes a lot of sense. At the RX 480 announcement, it was stated that AMD wants to power the first 100 million VR users, and this would help towards that goal.

It's worth noting that this news piece contains a decent amount of speculation based on knowledge of the market, and the only elements confirmed for Project Scorpio are the eight cores, >6 TFLOPs, 320 GB/s, and it is coming in 2017. If anyone wants to officially correct any speculation, please get in touch. 

Sources: Ars Technica (Carousel Image), Verge Live Blog (Video Screen Capture)

Additional: We can confirm that Scorpio will be an AMD based design, as expected.

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  • Krysto - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    I wish the new consoles used HBM2 memory, but they probably won't. However, I do believe they MUST use Zen CPUs. Using small cores again would be disappointing. Quad-core Zen with 8 threads would make for a great easy transition for console developers as well, even if it has something like 1.2GHz clock speed.
  • RiZad - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Lets hope its Zen
  • da_asmodai - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    I don't think there is a Jaguar on 14nm FinFET. My understanding is that no one wanted to pay to reengineer 28nm planar Jaguar to 12nm FinFET as it's not just a simple die shrink. As such PS4k "NEO" isn't Jaguar and neither is Scorpio. I've seen "Neo" referred to as "Zen-lite" and if Scorpio isn't coming out until next Christmas it may well be full Zen. That said my sources aren't the greatest so if Ananadtech says otherwise I'd believe you over them any day.
  • taikamya - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    This makes sense. I think they both will be Zen featured, but PS4Neo will have an underclocked RX480 while the Scorpio will have an overclocked one.
    The RX480 hints at >5TFlops, which can easily mean around 5.5TFlops. That said, an overclock can easily push it to 6TFlops.
  • Morawka - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    dude they use fully custom designs on these consoles nowadays.. it's gonna definitely have more CU's than a RX480. they dont take cookie cutter cpu designs and slap them in a console, it is tailor made now.
  • T1beriu - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Do they? Last time I heard AMD had a SEMI-custom division.

    XBOX One has a Radeon 7790 and PS4 has a 7870 and both had Jaguar cores.

    So both future consoles will have already made AMD bits inside them.

    Remember, SEMI-custom. Dude.
  • Morawka - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    not they don't, they dont use those GPU's. they might be comparable, but its not a 7790 and 7870. 7790 used 1gb of gddr5, xbox one uses ddr3. It's called semi-custom because of the Cores both CPU and GPU are within a particular architecture. full custom would be a RISC cpu and totally different GPU cores or something like that.
  • ishould - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    I would say that, compared to previous consoles, these are MUCH less custom than earlier versions. Cell processor anyone? This console generation uses AMD CPU and GPU IP, just re-arranged efficiently on-die with respect to the memory system
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    The PS4 was comparable to the 7790, the XBox One had fewer CUs but was also GCN 1.1.
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Never mind, the PS4 had more CUs than Bonaire, but I'm pretty sure its GPU was also based on GCN 1.1.

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