PS4 Pro vs Xbox Scorpio: Everything we know about the specs PS4 Pro vs Xbox Scorpio: Everything we know about the specs
Sony and Microsoft have changed the console industry, perhaps irreversibly. The PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio represent a fascinating shift in hardware strategy for... PS4 Pro vs Xbox Scorpio: Everything we know about the specs

Sony and Microsoft have changed the console industry, perhaps irreversibly. The PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio represent a fascinating shift in hardware strategy for the companies.

At this stage it certainly appears as though both fit into the “upgrade” category based on the specs. We can confirm about Xbox Scorpio is that it will act as an incremental update without game exclusives, at least not initially. That means it’ll be marketed and sold alongside the Xbox One, but that might just be to keep current Xbox One owners at bay while the Scorpio establishes a foothold in the market. Irrespective of the direction both Sony and Microsoft intend on taking, it doesn’t at this stage seem like either will offer categorically different experiences to what we’re already getting on Xbox One and PS4, even if the Scorpio is set to cost significantly more than both the Xbox One.

As for the PS4 Pro, Sony calls it an “upgraded” PS4 for the “higher-tier” player. So what’s under the hood? Let’s take a look, and compare it with the Scorpio.

PS4 Pro CPU

x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores

One thing we know about both the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio is that neither appear to offer the CPU gain that match the GPU gains. The PS4 Pro’s CPU will have an up-clocked variant of the Jaguar cores that are in the PS4, with a boost to 2.1 GHz, up from 1.6 GHz.

 

Xbox Scorpio CPU

Rumoured: Eight Jaguar cores up-clocked

Microsoft hasn’t spoken about the Xbox CPU yet, but it appears as though we’ll get eight cores, probably up-clocked Jaguar or equivalent.

 

PS4 Pro CPU vs Xbox Scorpio CPU

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft didn’t talk about the CPU tech in Scorpio, and it’s probably for the same reason Sony wasn’t all that upfront about it, either: it’s because it isn’t all that major an increase over the PS4 and Xbox One, and the eight CPU cores would balance it out next to both current consoles, as well as the PS4 Pro.

If Microsoft were to go with anything other than what’s been rumoured, they probably would have made a song and dance about it at E3. That’s because if the Xbox Scorpio’s CPU core were to be anything other than the Jaguar architecture — which leaves AMD’s eight-core ZEN tech — then Scorpio would be much more than just an “upgrade”.

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Based on what we know, it seems doubtful that the experiences we’ll get on Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro will be all that different from Xbox One and PS4. They’ll be prettier, sure, but we shouldn’t expect the same sort of jump in quality that we saw from, say, PS2 to PS3. There hasn’t been massive CPU-gains this generation, which explains the consistency in experiences, but we have seen nice improvements in everything except gameplay. Some games have tried to challenge the lack of CPU-gains, the Assassin’s Creed franchise being one, and Ubisoft has been vocal in how inadequate CPU power has limited the functionality and consistency of performances, particularly with AI NPCs.

PS4 Pro GPU

4.20 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon-based graphics engine

The expectation was that Sony’s PS4 Pro would utilise the AMD Polaris 10 graphics core, with 36 next-gen GCN compute unit clocks at 911 MHz.

The PS4 Pro GPU is a down-clocked version of AMD’s upcoming Radeon RX 480 graphics card, which is being released to meet launch-day VR offerings.

 

Xbox One Scorpio GPU

Rumoured: 56/60 GCN compute units at 800-850MHz

Microsoft certainly hasn’t been shy here. It confirmed six teraflops of processing power, which beats out the rumoured 4.2 teraflops of the PS4 Pro by quite a bit.

Interestingly, this would put the Scorpio at around 40 percent faster than the Pro, which is about the speed difference the PS4 had over Xbox One. Microsoft is clearly looking to reestablish itself in the hardware stakes.

 

PS4 Pro GPU vs Xbox Scorpio GPU

There’s a substantial leap over PS4 Pro here for Microsoft. It appears likely that Scorpio will feature a down-clocked version of AMD’s Vega, which features 64 compute units. Cutting this down to the 56-60, the Scorpio’s clock speed should be around 850 MHz. There’s a bit of variation that could happen there, but whatever the figures are, Scorpio offers an increase in power unmatched by PS4 Pro, and obviously by PS4 and Xbox One.

 

PS4 Pro Memory

8GB GDDR5 at 218GB/s

The PS4 Pro offers an additional 512MB of RAM over the PS4. What this means is that developers actually have limited extra space for higher resolution textures. The question remains if the 8GB of memory is enough to utilise 4K displays, but word out of the industry and E3 is that some developers are questioning whether it’s enough.

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Xbox Scorpio Memory

Rumoured: 12GB of GDDR5, more than 320GB/s bandwidth

Microsoft revealed that Scorpio will have more than 320 GB/s bandwidth throughout, which puts it ahead of the PS4 Pro in those stakes. The company seems incredibly likely to take the Sony approach of utilising a single, unified pool of memory based on PC RAM technology. We don’t know what technology this will be, but signs point to it being the GDDR5.

Scorpio also seems to offer an additional 4GB of onboard RAM over Pro. The rumoured 320GB/s could be reached using a 384-bit interface alongside 12GB of GDDR5, which is what we’ve predicted.

 

PS4 Pro Memory vs Xbox Scorpio Memory

Xbox Scorpio appears to be able to achieve not only higher resolutions over Pro, but with significantly more space for higher detail textures. We mentioned above that developers have questioned the PS4 Pro’s ability to utilise 4K displays, but Scorpio seems far more in line to be able to achieve the benchmark Microsoft is hoping to reach.

 

4K compatibility

While the Scorpio seems more convincing than Pro in its ability to run games in true 4K, 6TF of GPU power still probably isn’t enough. Moving to the GCN architecture may also not be enough. Upscaling seems far more likely for Scorpio, unless the GCN architecture can power a CPU to 8.4 teraflops territory.

In regards to the PS4 Pro, some believed Sony was going to take the time to match Microsoft’s Scorpio, but that obviously wasn’t the case, and Sony would have needed to start from scratch with a completely different processor. Sony will need to overclock the processor to match Scorpio, which is ironic because that’s exactly what the Xbox One had to do to get close to the PS4. It’s clear now that the PS4 Pro won’t get close to Scorpio’s 6 teraflops benchmark.

Overall, we’re sure both consoles will be able to offer “true” 4K gaming, but it might be a year or so before we start seeing a steady stream of games that do. Initially, they’ll probably be upscaled.

We’ll update this article weekly as new information arises.

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Daniel Soul

I eat souls for breakfast and play Dark Souls for a living. Starting my second playthrough as Deprived class. I am better than you. At Dark Souls. And probably also life.

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    Barters81

    June 27, 2016 #1 Author

    I’d like to get a Scorpio, but am going to wait and see just how developers utilize the extra grunt.

    If it is to have the same game run on 4K (I don’t have a 4K TV and no intention any time soon), or to run slightly smoother, then I may opt for a Xbox slim down the line instead.

    Though I must admit, that with my PC starting to show signs of age, the idea of tossing it entirely and have an Xbox Scorpio plugged in…..with a keyboard and mouse on my coffee table seems intriguing.

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      Barters81

      September 9, 2016 #2 Author

      Replaying to my own comment….but whatever. :)

       

      Was waiting to see the capabilities of the PS4 Pro.  Just bought a Xbox One S.

       

      Bottom line, I’ve never owned a Xbox before and I wanted 4K bluray.  I know everyone says streaming is now the go with 4K content but my internet isn’t quite good enough for that.  Plus, I’m guessing a bluray will always look better than a stream even if you can stream 4k without issue.  I didn’t drop 3k on a TV to not see the true benefits.

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        Master Fenix

        September 12, 2016 #3 Author

        @Barters81 It’s truly bizarre that they didn’t include a 4K Blu-Ray player.

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          Barters81

          September 13, 2016 #4 Author

          Now as the original PS4 will be displaying HDR, it gives less reason to upgrade.  Of course, this is assuming games coming out next year don’t run like crapola on the original PS4, and silky smooth on the Pro.

          I’m happy with the Xbox One S, never played Halo, Forza or Gears before…….

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            Master Fenix

            September 13, 2016 #5 Author

            @Barters81 Forza Horizon 3 will be one of the games of the year, bookmark it.