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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  • retrospooty - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Yup, that and if it's a ">6 TFLOPs" GPU that is a huge jump for only being 3 years later. NICE!
  • inighthawki - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    They probably learned their lesson when the devs complained about perf 6 months before it was even released - coupled with the explosive popularity of VR/4K gaming shortly after they ship consoles that are barely pushing 720p and 1080p. I think both Sony and MS missed their marks - Microsoft more so.
  • retrospooty - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Yup, both XB1 and PS4 were pretty small jumps from their predecessors when you figure the 7 year gap into it. If we have a 6 gflop console in 2017 that is kind of huge. I almost cant believe it.
  • SunnyNW - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Exactly. Many, Sony and Microsoft included, believed the console market had already peaked and would only shrink further with smartphones and tablets growing in popularity. Of course they were Completely wrong and Sony themselves admitted they weren't even sure why the PS4 was selling as quickly as it was (fastest selling console in history for them). So obviously both played it safe with relatively cheap hardware. In teh past they would usually lose money on the hardware and make it back with the software but the PS4 and XBone boxes where both profitable from day one.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    I also think they're making a mistake not waiting for 4k VR.
  • jjj - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    A bit small for 2017. At that point they should target 4k gaming and higher res than current headsets VR.
    Would be a bit tricky as this chip could already be 300-400mm2 on 16ff, depending on what cores they use but Scorpio might feel outdated by launch , even more so if Sony and Nintendo do similar or faster things before them.
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    4k gaming on console class hardware is probably another year or two out. Even the fastest current GPUs on the market struggle at the resolution. Next year will probably see top end PC GPUs capable of doing it at reasonable FPS/Quality levels; but the 1180TI and R590 (Fury 2?) will cost more than a gaming console itself. It'll be 2018/19 before a console size GPU has that much power, and I doubt MS will want to launch a new console that soon after the 2017 model. A 2020 launch would be more likely.
  • RussianSensation - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    4K should be viable on a > 6Tflops Polaris/Vega GPU with 320GB/sec memory bandwidth if they target Medium/High settings with 0xMSAA. They can also run the games at 30 fps. Another alternative is to scale existing Xbox One games from 720-900p to 4K @ 60Hz. That should be a peace of cake for the Scorpio given the specs outlined. While you are correct that 6Tflops isn't enough for 4K @ 60Hz with everything maxed out, this is not necessary for the console market just yet. 2018/2019 also seems completely of the question now if both Sony and MS are releasing Neo/Scorpio in 2017. In that case, I'd expect next generation consoles to come out in 2020/2021 then.
  • SunnyNW - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Actually during the presentation Phil Spencer stated that the Scorpio is being made to handle 4K gaming with high quality visuals (along with VR). The Xbox S (the slim) is supposed to be capable of up-scaling current games to 4K output according to a Microsoft official.
  • RiZad - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    The Xbox one S was never stated to upscale games.

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