Microsoft has packed everything they can into a new Xbox designed for ultimate performance on the latest 4K HDR Smart TVs with no input lag for gaming on 4K HDR modes (see websites like rtings.com for lists of compatible TVs and the latest deals). Xbox Scorpio was originally announced as a power-house machine that will dramatically push the Xbox console specs and gaming performance as well as further progress the ubiquity of Microsoft’s approach to Xbox Anywhere, Xbox Early Access, Xbox 360 / Xbox One backwards-compatibility, and other new digital ways to play games at high level.
Performance is where Xbox Scorpio focuses, but is not the only place the system lands. It also finds time to provide the luxury features to make the new Xbox more durable.
- Liquid Cooling with Silent Super-Speed Fan designed together for Vacuum Cooling.
- Digital Voltage Regulator. Minimal Power Consumption and Built-In Power Protection.
- 1TB 2.5″ HDD, UHD Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Drive, 12GB GDDR5X (326GBps).
- 8 “custom-x86 cores” @ 2.3GHZ Each, 40 Radeon “compute units” @ 1172MHZ
The Xbox Scorpio’s goal is to provide a uniform experience in upgraded performance for all Xbox games including existing Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, without the need for a patch. This is made possible by providing a generational leap in hardware between each unit. By blurring the line between a revision and a totally next-gen hardware, Microsoft has made a machine powerful enough to simply render the entire Xbox dashboard environment at a 4K HDR resolution and sample games up from 900P, 1080P, 1440P, and etc. into one standard resolution in which performance can be maximized using existing code without the need for patches and updates. We await the unit’s release to evaluate the success of these claims, but analysts are pleased to see the specs of the Xbox Scorpio thus far in relation to these claims including experts such as Digital Foundry.
The Real Question: Native 4K?
There’s been a lot of buzz-words going around with the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro and announcement of the Xbox Scorpio pertaining to 4K Gaming on a console and while it’s exciting that these affordably priced machines (compared to mid-to-high-tier 4K PC Gaming rigs) are offering 4K visuals we have to set our expectations realistically. As it stands PC Gaming is still adapting 4K as a standard and currently running games in that resolution requires a lot of power. Forza Motorsport 7 is said to be running native 4K at 60 frames per second on the Xbox Scorpio in private, behind-closed-doors showings between Microsoft Studios and Digital Foundry – but will this translate to other games?
What the PlayStation 4 Pro was intended to produce for games is more similar to what the Xbox Scorpio explains itself as for existing games as well. That is, a uniform resolution boost – like running your old PC games on a better PC and Monitor a few years down the line. This is a way console gaming has learned from PC Gaming over the years. Xbox Scorpio may be able to even better perfect this concept, given the higher amount of processing power packed into every unit.
But the real question is, will the Xbox Scorpio really be able to pull off native 4K Gaming? It remains to be seen, but it’s the most powerful home console currently in plans and Microsoft has seemingly done everything possible to pack the punch the player needs – perhaps a risky move for a giant corporation to take, but one gamers will appreciate if it pays off big and wins the affection of the high-spending but niche and hardcore demographic.
Xbox One Vs Xbox Scorpio – Performance Breakdown
Xbox Scorpio performs around 4.5 times faster than Xbox One when rendering data for graphics and virtual game world environment simulations (notorious for requiring significant amounts of equations to be solved rapidly in succession). This is also significantly more powerful than Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro and begins to make a value proposition challenge to the realm of PC Gaming again – something we haven’t seen in a long time from consoles. It remains to be seen if Sony will later respond with another hardware update, and we know that NVIDIA is planning to launch a new line of graphics cards this year – so Xbox Scorpio certainly has no shortage of competition.
Xbox One should be expected to be replaced by Xbox One S as the Scorpio model hits the market. This will shift the pricing of the Xbox One S to be more in line with the holiday bundle deals seen for Xbox One during last winter. $249 – $299 for the Xbox One S with or without a game / special color and skin (depending on the current promotions going on at the time of each model’s release) is a safe expectation to have for the base hardware which will still be able to play all of the games that Xbox Scorpio leads development for – just not at the same performance level.
$499 would be an acceptable launch price for the first units of the Xbox Scorpio with a free game included, maybe a special color / skin, and once the unit has had time for mass production a bare bones model with no special color / skin and no game should be made available to gamers for $449 so that they may get into the luxury experience and begin buying tons of Microsoft’s software offerings in the Xbox Store. This particular suggestion may be in line with what Microsoft has planned, or it may not, but at this point I’m just voicing my own opinion on the price point for Xbox Scorpio – so take it as a grain of salt and be on the look out for official confirmation when Microsoft decides to tell us their plans.
Xbox Exclusives – The Final Puzzle Piece
If Microsoft expects the Xbox Scorpio to take off in the way that the gaming industry needs, 4K Gaming out of the box in high-spec at a low-price will mean nothing without heavy-hitting software to showcase its strength. There is a high likelihood that Microsoft Studios has been preparing for the Xbox Scorpio launch for quite some time, and has put aside enough surprise projects to shock the market with the launch of the HDR Xbox. Gamers expect E3 2017 to reveal the final puzzle piece to Xbox Scorpio’s offerings.