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.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Cygni - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    Are we sure they aren't using the classic marketing move of combining the memory bandwidth numbers to make them bigger, even though that's not how it works in the real world?
  • h4rm0ny - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    Vega will probably also be "GCN4". So whilst Polaris is GCN4, GCN4 is not Polaris.
  • Meteor2 - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    You can stop saying 'GCN 4'. The architecture is Polaris.
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    AMD quite confusingly refers to their new architecture as both GCN4 and Polaris in press releases and presentations. I guess they can be used interchangeably, but I find the terminology used by anandtech and other tech sites makes more sense. GCN4 is the architecture and Polaris refers to specific GPUs based on GCN4, Polaris 10 and 11.
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    I've only seen presentations from AMD explaining the star naming system -- they want the same recognition as the likes of Maxwell and Pascal for their architectures. Polaris is one, Vega is the next.
  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    AMD has referred to it as "4th gen GCN" or GCN 4 in slides:

    It sounds like GCN4 refers to the shader architecture, the CUs, geometry (tessellator), scheduler, etc, while Polaris encompasses GCN4 and other technologies integrated on die such as the display and multimedia engines.
  • T1beriu - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    If the die render is corect then it can't be 8 Zen + RX 480 because the die it's too small for 14nm. I think it has to be 400+ mm2 - a very expensive die for a console.

    It might be 10nm, but I think it's too early for a 10nm die shrink of Zen (expecially for GloFlo) and too expensive for a console.

    Unless Microsoft is willing to throw money away (see LinkedIn) to gain back the console market at any cost.
  • T1beriu - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    So 8 x Jaguar + Polaris 10 (RX 480) on 14 nm.

    Jaguar has already been ported to 14nm in XBOX One S.

    It seems both Scorpio and Neo will have the same SoC but Microsoft will want more powah - higher clocked, thus bulkier than Neo (a repeat of what happened this current gen).
  • jagadiesel1 - Monday, June 13, 2016 - link

    T1beriu - do you have a link that Jaguar has been ported to 14nm for the Xbox One S? I haven't seen anything that suggests that, and some articles that suggest otherwise (that neither Sony nor Microsoft wanted to pay for Jaguar to be ported to FinFET).

    Though I suppose iit would be a huge tip-off if that is the case that Xbox One S has 14nm Jaguar - also suggesting that the PS4 Neo could also be a shrunk Jaguar plus Polaris on a single APU. Seems odd that it would be worth it to do that for Jaguar. Better to just wait a few months, save your $100M, and get Zen in there.
  • haukionkannel - Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - link

    Well, smaller Jaguar would be backward compatible to previous generation, while Seon would not be. If this would really be a new consoles, zen would be wice, but because this is just power upgrade, the beefier Jaguar make it much easier to do.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now