Microsoft has revealed that it has freed up more memory for Project Scorpio game developers. The machine ships with 12GB of GDDR5 memory - and now 9GB of the total is available for titles, with the remaining 3GB used for system-level operations and other applications, including a native 4K dashboard. The news comes via a tweet from Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of the Xbox and Windows gaming platform.
During our trip to Microsoft's Redmond campus a few months back, the Xbox hardware team told us that the split was 8GB for titles and 4GB for the system. This still represents a large increase over the memory available on the standard Xbox One, where 5GB of memory is free for developer use. For Scorpio though, 9GB is now on tap for game-makers, the extra memory used for the larger render targets required for a 4K framebuffer, as well as higher resolution art.
More memory for games is obviously a good thing, and Microsoft's work in this area now sees Scorpio's system reservation achieve parity with Xbox One's - no mean feat bearing in mind that move to a native 4K dash. Based on a further Ybarra tweet, it seems that titles that don't use the extra memory can utilise whatever's left as a caching system, to help speed up loading times. Ybarra says this can applies to all software, whereas previously, we understood that only Xbox One titles running on Scorpio would get the upgrade. We've asked Microsoft for clarification. [UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed that Ybarra is talking about the existing Xbox games library here.]
|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|
Project Scorpio's full reveal, including its final form factor, price-point and final name is expected to be revealed at Microsoft's E3 media briefing, scheduled for this Sunday at 10pm UK time, 2pm Pacific.
We don't expect to see too much more - if anything - revealed about the technical specification for the hardware (Microsoft was excessively thorough during our visit, with deep dives on the Scorpio Engine and the physical construction of the unit) but do expect to see a big bunch of Scorpio-enhanced software. We've already seen prototype Forza Motorsport code running on pre-production hardware, but we fully expect to see much, much more on Sunday.
Digital Foundry's John Linneman will be eyes-on at the media briefing and hands-on during E3 itself, so expect to see plenty of analysis, video and other Project Scorpio media, starting next week.