Here Are All The Technical Details You Should Know On Project Scorpio

Here Are All The Technical Details You Should Know On Project Scorpio

Recently, Digital Foundry was invited by Microsoft for an exclusive preview on the technical details of the next Xbox console, Project Scorpio. The technical specs revealed are just expected numbers to be delivered at the console’s launch and doesn’t represent the final product. The reason behind it, is Microsoft’s aim is not just about performance, but also to push the quality of the console design to the next level.

The Highlights

Microsoft set a design target for Project Scorpio at last year’s E3 event and has achieved it by combining smart design with horsepower, to result in a performance that boasts six tera-flops. This was achieved by pairing the GPU with 12GB of GDDR5 memory and a custom eight-core CPU and entire setup is housed in a compact body with integrated power supply.

Performance-wise, they did a remarkable job when Forza Motorsport demo was able to run at an easy 60FPS in native 4K and also at Xbox One equivalent settings. This will only lead to prove, that Scorpio will have some power left to focus on more visual improvments, while it still hits the native 4K target. Microsoft is also addressing the 1080p users, to make sure all game modes are available to them.

The Technical Specs Of Project Scorpio

Let’s compare the specs between Scorpop, Xbox One and PS4 Pro.

  Project Scorpio Xbox One PS4 Pro
CPU Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz Eight custom Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75GHz Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz
GPU 40 customised compute units at 1172MHz 12 GCN compute units at 853MHz (Xbox One S: 914MHz) 36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz
Memory 12GB GDDR5 8GB DDR3/32MB ESRAM 8GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 326GB/s DDR3: 68GB/s, ESRAM at max 204GB/s (Xbox One S: 219GB/s) 218GB/s
Hard Drive 1TB 2.5-inch 500GB/1TB/2TB 2.5-inch 1TB 2.5-inch
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Blu-ray (Xbox One S: 4K UHD) Blu-ray

As you can see, Scorpio tops in every aspect of the game. The amount of deep research put behind it is overwhelming.

Hardware Aspects – How And Why

Bandwidth

For 4K resolution, textures will be larger and subsequently, the render targets will be larger as well. Hence, more space and bandwidth are requried. For this purpose, Microsoft implemented the SoC design with AMD architecture.

The core of the Scorpio console comprises of the new System On Chip (SoC) design, which involves all the hardware components integrated on to a single chip. The SoC is the state-of-art of micro and nano technology today, and has already been implemented in the Scorpio. This architecture will allow more space to house more chips, and hence multiple GPUs and memory components. The result of that is improved frame rates, increased memory, bandwidth and higher clock speed. Scorpio has a 384-bit GDDR5 interface, that uses 12 32-bit channels, allowing the frequency to run at 6.8GHz and offering a amazingly high bandwidth of 326GB/s, thereby achieving the 4K.

Backwards Compatibility

Aside from the bandwidth, Scorpio comprises of eight cores, organised as two clusters with a total of 4MB of L2 cache. This will enable the Scorpio’s CPU to run at 2.3GHz, which is an ultimate attempt to still maintain the backwards comaptibility with Xbox One and Xbox One S while pushing up the performance limits.

scorpio

Hardware Off-load

While there is a significant hardware off-loading due to the SoC, the audio processor in Xbox One is fully transplanted across to Scorpio and is set to receive support for Dolby Atmos for gaming, Dolby Atmos for headphones plus a Microsoft proprietary format called HRTF. Another advantage of hardware off-loading is the speed of instructions, that are executed. Generally, the GPU consumes thousands of instructions from the CPU on what has to be drawn on screen. With Scorpio’s hardware offload, any draw call can be executed with just 11 instructions, and just nine for a state change. This will cut the CPU render to half of its original amount. The result due to this, is greater communication between CPU and the graphics unit, enabling a smoother visual experience.

Form Factor And Cooling

scorpio2

The voltages of each of the chips are tuned to optimise them to reach the goals of cooling efficiencies. Adjusting the voltage would mean to get rid of the power wastage in the form of heat loss. Your system heats up due to this reason and Microsoft has found a way to cut short this problem. The technique used is called Horvis method where each chip will have a specific power profile. The usual configurations will involve adopting a single chip size for the entire circuit board. But this method involves resizing the board to match the profiles of the chips. This will reduce the dissipation of power in the form of heat and will keep the system cool.

Games Upscaling

A developer tool called PIX (Performance Inspector for Xbox) was used to run analysis on Scorpio’s GPU.  The analysis data provided by PIX was fed into a hardware emulator, which later revealed the least specifications a game requires to run on Scorpio. These results proved that games, that can run at 900p and above, can easily run at 4K. The most amazing factor behind this information, is that Scorpio’s SoC design and AMD architecture helps the existing titles to scale up to 4K performance. This means, all hardwares which fall under this category, such as CU, clock speed, bandwidth, renders, shader engines and cache size, can be tweaked and configured to meet the 4K performance.

Hence, Microsoft will be able to configure the exisiting Xbox One games to make them playable at 4K on Scorpio.

That being said, it’ll be exciting and interesting to see the stats of the final product. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft will not stop from improvising the specs until the console’s final launch.

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GameStop Forecast Suggests Nintendo Switch Shortage Throughout This Year

GameStop Forecast Suggests Nintendo Switch Shortage Throughout This Year

Because of the extreme popularity of the new home/handheld Nintendo Switch console, it’s getting sold to an extent where the demand is becoming more than the production. Due to this fact, the video game retailer GameStop is expecting to run short of stock for the entire year.

In a post-earning conference call with the investors, GameStop chief operating officer Tony Bartel, stated that the Switch has made the best sales in many years and the demand for it is always on the rise. It seems they get sold out within a few hours from their arrival to the stores. Even after Nintendo, doubled the production of the Switch, it still doesn’t match the demands and is running short of supplies.

As a result, many gamers tried to import the console from abroad, making the global shortage even more. Neither the investors nor the retailers saw this coming. It was thought that the Switch would not have features, that would make it a good selling console like the Wii-U. Hence, lesser units were produced for the Switch. What turned out later, totally flabbergasted both parties.

Following this massive success, developers are trying to make games for the Switch, or make a handheld version of their previous games. Sooner or later, the Nintendo fans will up for a delight, with many unexpected games coming their way to this console.

 

Xbox One S Minecraft Favourites Bundle Is Available For $249

Xbox One S Minecraft Favourites Bundle Is Available For $249

If you are looking for a new Xbox One S, this week is the right time to buy it.

The Xbox One S minecraft bundle is out just for $250. The offer stands only till March 18.

So, here is what the bundle is going to include,

  • 500 GB white Xbox One S
  • digital copies of Minecraft for Xbox One and Windows 10
  • 13 “Favorite” packs featuring more than 230 skins in all based on all manner of things, including Halo characters and Greek mythology.

This discount stays true with the retailers like Amazon, Gamestop, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and the Microsoft Store.

Go grab it, while you still have the chance!

Nintendo Switch Sales Hits 1.5 Million Units In The First Week

Nintendo Switch Sales Hits 1.5 Million Units In The First Week

The Nintendo Switch Console has sold over 1.5 million units worldwide by the first week of March. This number isn’t far off from the 2 million sales mark, that Nintendo expects to reach by the end of March.

A report showed that around 500,000 units were sold in the U.S, while around 350,000 were bought in Japan. The sales in Europe is considerably lesser, but isn’t far behind. France saw 110,000 in sales and the UK sold 85,000 units.

With around 1.5 million sold within the first week of March, 2 million is an easy target for Nintendo, which would be reach before the end of the month itself. However, this big sales run might slow down because of the shortage in the console’s biggest launch game, Zelda : Breath Of The Wild.

The Switch console is being bought for just for this game, in particular. With the game having limited availability, it is more likely that the sales in the Switch console might drop sooner or later.

Reports by the end of March should suggest how it turned out, considering Breath Of The Wild’s limited availability.

Sony’s Update 4.50 Has Arrived With A “Boost”

Sony’s Update 4.50 Has Arrived With A “Boost”

Today, Sony has launched a major software update for Playstation 4. PS4 update 4.50 is now live with PS4 Pro Boost Mode and external hard drive support.

PS4 Pro Boost Mode

playstation-4-boost-mode

PS4 games needed to have updates to boost their performance on the PS4 pro. While some of the PS4 games had this option, many others didn’t. Once the update 4.50 is installed, the Boost Mode can be enabled in Settings>System. With this option, older games can achieve higher or more stable framerates and potentially even load faster on the PS4 Pro. Sony quoted,

This can provide a noticeable frame rate boost to some games with variable frame rates, and can provide frame rate stability for games that are programmed to run at 30 Hz or 60 Hz. Depending on the game, the increased CPU speed may also result in shorter load times.

PS4 external hard drive support

Any game or application can be installed on the external hard drive, with its storage capacity being 8TB. There a lot of models for the external hard drive, to choose from.

Apart from these two updates, voice chat via Remote Play on PC, Mac, and Xperia devices are available now.

This Week’s Game Deals For All Playstation Platforms

This Week’s Game Deals For All Playstation Platforms

It has been sometime, since we had Playstation deals. But, this week they are back for you.

So, I’ll just write it down for you to make things easy.

PS2 on PS4

  • Red Dead Revolver for $7.49
  • Metal Slug Anthology for $10
  • Bully $7.49
  • GTA:Trilogy at $17.49

PS4

  • GTA 5 at $30 (for all PSN members)
  • Terraria for $6
  • Abzu at $8
  • Defence Grid at $1.49
  • Adrift for $5
  • Sniper Elite 3 at $10.49

PS3

  • Terraria at $3.47
  • Odin Sphere Leifthrasir for $30
  • Demon’s Souls at $10

PS Vita

  • Person 4 Golden at $15
  • Odin Sphere Leifthrasir for $24

You can claim these games for the stated rates at the Playstation store.

Here is the list of games, set to launch on the Nintendo Switch

Here is the list of games, set to launch on the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is getting its big list of games, that are to be launched on the Nintendo Switch. Though the final list isn’t ready yet, this is the current list they have, updated as of February 23.

The list is split into 4 parts: The launch titles, Spring, Summer, Beyong/TBD. So, here is the list.

Nintendo Switch Games:

Launch (March 3):

  • 1-2-Switch
  • Fast RMX
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Human Resource Machine
  • I Am Setsuna
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Little Inferno
  • Shovel Knight
  • Skylanders: Imaginators
  • Super Bomberman R
  • World of Goo

March/Spring:

  • Arms (Spring 2017)
  • Has-Been Heroes (March 2017)
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28)
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris (Spring 2017)
  • Snipperclips, Cut It Out Together (March 2017)

Summer:

  • Rime
  • Splatoon 2

Beyond/TBD:

  • Disgaea 5 Complete (TBD)
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (2017)
  • FIFA (2017)
  • Fire Emblem Warriors (TBD)
  • Minecraft (2017)
  • Minecraft: Story Mode (TBD)
  • Rayman Legends (TBD)
  • NBA 2K (2017)
  • New Shin Megami Tensei (TBD)
  • Skyrim (Fall 2017)
  • Sonic Mania (2017)
  • Steep (2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
  • Syberia 3 (TBD)
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (TBD)
  • Ultra Street Fighter II (2017)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)

In due course of time, other games would be added to the list.

Waiting For a Price Slash On The PS4 Games? The Wait Is Over

Waiting For a Price Slash On The PS4 Games? The Wait Is Over

Playstation players who await the price cuts on the PS4 games, have got some good news. Sony will be holding a variety of sales on the Playstation store, discounting several games.

In the U.S, Sony will slash the prices for games that had critical acclaim. The sale will be held this sunday, February 26. Here is the list of games, that go for sale in the U.S.

Title Sale Price PS Plus Price Original Price
Batman: Return to Arkham $34.99 $29.99 $49.99
Darkest Dungeon $12.49 $9.99 $24.99
DEAR ESTHER: LANDMARK EDITION $5.99 $4.99 $9.99
DESTINY – THE COLLECTION $44.39 $39.59 $59.99
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED $26.99 $20.99 $59.99
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED – DIGITAL DELUXE EDITION $40.49 $31.49 $89.99
DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS – ULTIMATE EVIL EDITION $29.39 $19.79 $59.99
DIRT RALLY $29.99 $23.99 $59.99
DIRT RALLY PLUS PLAYSTATION VR BUNDLE $43.39 $37.09 $69.99
DISHONORED 2 $44.99 $40.19 $59.99
DOOM $35.99 $29.99 $59.99
DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION – GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION $19.99 $15.99 $39.99
DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION DELUXE EDITION $7.99 $5.99 $19.99
F1 2016 $38.99 $32.99 $59.99
FALLOUT 4 $35.99 $29.99 $59.99
FALLOUT 4 DIGITAL DELUXE BUNDLE $65.99 $54.99 $109.99
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE DEFINITIVE EXPERIENCE $29.99 $24.99 $49.99
MORTAL KOMBAT XL $23.99 $19.99 $39.99
OVERWATCH: ORIGINS EDITION $53.99 $49.79 $59.99
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2017 $35.99 $29.99 $59.99
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER: 20 YEAR CELEBRATION $35.99 $29.99 $59.99
ROCKET LEAGUE $15.99 $13.99 $19.99
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT $11.99 $9.99 $19.99
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT DELUXE EDITION $17.99 $14.99 $29.99
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT ULTIMATE EDITION $23.99 $19.99 $39.99
STREET FIGHTER V – 2017 DELUXE EDITION $47.99 $39.99 $79.99
STREET FIGHTER V $23.99 $19.99 $39.99
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT COMPLETE EDITION $29.99 $24.99 $49.99
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT – BLOOD AND WINE $13.99 $11.99 $19.99
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT – HEARTS OF STONE $6.99 $5.99 $9.99
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT EXPANSION PASS $17.49 $14.99 $24.99
TITANFALL 2 STANDARD EDITION $29.99 $23.99 $59.99
TITANFALL 2 DELUXE EDITION $39.99 $31.99 $79.99
DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS – ULTIMATE EVIL EDITION $19.79 $14.69 $29.99

Now, is the chance for the players, to buy two or three games for the price of one.

Xbox Games With Gold For March 2017 Announced

Xbox Games With Gold For March 2017 Announced

The month of March is drawing closer and Microsoft has announced the list of free games for the Xbox. Xbox Live Gold members can download them next week.

It’s been only a week, since Layers of Fear was released and it has already been made free-to-play on the Xbox One. It’ll be joined by the co-op shooter Evolve, later that month. Evolve became a free game for PC last year, and in March of this year, it’ll become free for Xbox too.

xboxfree

Xbox 360 players can play Borderlands for free, from the beginning of March and can play Heavy Weapon towards the end. These games are also both playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility.

Xbox One

  • Layers of Fear (March 1-31)
  • Evolve (March 16 – April 15)

Xbox 360

  • Borderlands 2 (March 1-15)
  • Heavy Weapon (March 16-31)

AMD’s RYZEN is here, competing against Intel and it promises a lot

AMD’s RYZEN is here, competing against Intel and it promises a lot

RYZEN has arrived

AMD is going to do a ‘hard launch’ of its first three processors on March 2. They are said to outperform Intel’s high end chips, while undercutting their prices by a massive 54%.

AMD’s Ryzen consists of three classes under it: the premium Ryzen 7, the midrange Ryzen 5, and the cheapest Ryzen 3. The premium chips are going to be rolled out first to the public and they will include: Ryzen 7 1800X costing at $499, the Ryzen 7 1700X at $399 and Ryzen 7 1700 $329. The Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 will be launched later this year, but, AMD didn’t mention the date.

We will now see, what these three chips are made of.

Ryzen 7 1800x

ryzen1

Titled as the top-tier chip of the premium class, the 1800x powers at 95 watts while boasting 8 cores and 16 threads. It runs at 3.6GHz and will boost to 4GHz. When 1800x is compared with the $1089 priced Intel Core i7-6900K, the 1800X recorded an identical single-thread score of 162 on the Cinebench benchmark. But, when all of its cores were turned on, the 1800X outperformed the 6900K by 9 percent, recording a score of 1,601.

Ryzen 7 1700x

ryzen2

The 1700x comprises of a 8-core, 16-thread chip, runs at 3.4GHz and boosts to 3.8GHz. On the multicore Cinebench benchmark, the 1700X scored 1,537, 4 percent faster than the Core i7 6900K chip. AMD said, the 1700x is aimed at gamers and content creators.

Ryzen 7 1700

ryzen3

The Ryzen 1700 powers at 65 watts, runs at 3GHz and boosts to 3.7GHz. It also comprises of 8 cores and 16 threads. It scored 1,410 on the multicore Cinebench test, a massive 46 percent better than the Intel Core i7 7700K.  During the Handbrake video-encoding test, the R7 1700 finished in 61.8 seconds, while the 7700K did it in 71.8.

Strategy and purpose behind the launch of Ryzen? I’ll tell you that.

AMD did a research on Intel and figured out that they have been delivering minor improvements every year. AMD had analyzed these improvements from Intel and charted out a plan of delivering the opposite. Reduced price and improved performance is what every person who owns a PC would look forward too. This is the point of leverage, that AMD has taken up against Intel. Ryzen could easily slow down Intel’s business, making the latter give up most of its market shares.

ryzen4

These might be the way Intel would respond

As far as I can see, Intel have three options up their sleeve. The first will be, instant reduction in their prices. If this happens, AMD will have a lot to lose while Intel will have less to gain. This is an option of sacrificing something to gain something else.

The second option could be, pushing single-threaded chips like the Core i3, while adding additional cores to its existing lineup.

The third option will be Intel’s Optane, a high-end storage technology which Intel could use to boost CPU performance and improve the system.

I’m not sure, to which option Intel will resort to. All I can say now is, the anticipation for AMD’s Ryzen is pretty high. This might be one of the fierce competitions Intel has ever faced.

What are your opinions or thoughts on this?