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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  • Eden-K121D - Thursday, April 6, 2017 - link

    You're so freaking right
  • revanchrist - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Definitely a higher CU counts GPU. Overclocking too much out of a GPU generates unreasonable amount of power consumption. In a space conscious console, heat is a major issue.
  • taikamya - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    I agree heat is a major issue, but I don't think that an RX480 is too far behind the 6TFlops, the overclock I imagine is rather small.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    If that were true then they'd already be running the cards at those speeds as stock in the PC space. AMD have no reason to leave performance on the table there.

    I'd argue more CUs and a lower clock than the PC variant is more likely, with some spare CUs to sacrifice to keep yields nice and high..
  • Wolfpup - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Huh...crazy. That would be awesome if they're using AMD's full CPU...would be a huge upgrade, not to mention that it's apparently got piles more GPU hardware.

    This seems like it it might actually be a serious upgrade, worth thinking about as an Xbox 4.

    And yay for backwards compatibility.

    *cough* Hey, Nintendo? Remember how so far you've only matched the systems from 2005? Uh...
  • Morawka - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    there is a Jaguar on 14nm, it's being used in the new slim.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    I haven't seen any info on that and my Google searches aren't very enlightening - do you have a source?
  • Krysto - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    That makes sense. I do hope it works out that way. Zen needs a lot of love.
  • Phill49 - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Memory shown in the images was separate and almost certainly GDDR. Bandwith was quoted in the presentation as 320GB/s so I am guessing either 5Gbbs GDDR5 on a 512bit bus or 10Gbbs GDDR5X on a 256bit bus?

    Also I'm loving the fact that the supposed 10 year lifespan of the current consoles has been completely thrown out of the window at this point...
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Almost certainly the latter. A 512bit bus would be too expensive for a mass market part. 7.5GHz GDDR5 and a 384bit bus with an asymmetric mix of ram chip sizes to hit 8gb isn't totally impossible; but by next GDDR5X production should be in full swing, so there's little reason to use the older ram type anymore. Especially since plain GDDR5 will probably be starting to ramp down in volume; which means there won't be any future price/power cuts as the manufacturing processes are improved.

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