Wednesday January 25, 2017

Xbox Scorpio Spec Leak: ESRAM Gone, GPU Features Revealed

While the CPU architecture is still a mystery, we now know that the Scorpio will be dumping the Xbox One’s ESRAM configuration for GDDR5X or HBM2. Beyond the performance improvement, this decision will probably result in a much smaller die size, allowing for cheaper production and better yields (the accompanying photo shows just how much space ESRAM occupied in the original system). Also (re)confirmed is a six-teraflop GPU that makes Scorpio 4.5 times more powerful than the Xbox One. The whitepaper, however, would suggest that the new console is no different than the PS4 Pro, at least in terms of approachآ—while Forza is rumored to be a native 4K title, there is a lot of focus on various rendering and scaling tricks, which implies that hitting the UHD target, as you might have guessed, will be a typical struggle for developers. In fact, there are passages that strongly advocate the use of GPU power elsewhere.

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آ…the in-depth discussion of techniquesآ…may be suggesting that Scorpio isn't the 'true 4K' console that Microsoft marketed it as at E3 2016. But the practical reality is that the document confirms that at least one first-party 1080p title has transitioned relatively easily to native 4K (our best guess would be the Forza Motorsport engine is the technology in question here), and accepts the reality that GPU resources aren't always best spent on precision pixel-work at ultra HD resolutions. Of course, the reality is that the techniques outlined in the whitepaper have been battle-tested by PlayStation 4 Pro. Titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone have validated sparse/checkerboard rendering up to 2160p, while Call of Duty Infinite Warfare employs virtually all the techniques Microsoft discusses in some way, shape or form. Scorpio's additional horsepower - combined with more developer experience by the time it launches - should also lead to fewer of the basic 1440p ports we've seen on PS4 Pro.