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Microsoft pulls back the veil on its massively powerful Project Scorpio

Why it matters to you

Project Scorpio offers extremely impressive specifications, and it could leave PlayStation 4 Pro in the dust.

Microsoft’s next Xbox, code-named Project Scorpio, is being touted as the most powerful game console ever made. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry has seen it in action, and it appears that those claims are not only accurate, but could be underselling just how technically impressive the next Xbox One console really is.

Project Scorpio ditches the slower 8GB of DDR3 RAM that both the original Xbox One and the Xbox One S used, and replaces it with 12GB of superfast GDDR5 RAM with a 326GB/s memory bandwidth — 4GB more than what is available on the PlayStation 4 Pro. An 8GB portion of this memory will be made available to developers, while 4GB are reserved for the system software in order to run the main dashboard at native 4K resolution.

It’s also equipped with “40 customized compute units” in its GPU running at 1172MHz with 6 teraflopsĀ of performance — more than 200MHz more than the PlayStation 4 Pro — and a CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, which is a modest improvement over both the Pro and the original Xbox One.

To cut down on heat and allow the power supply to remain internal this time around, Microsoft is making use of a “vapor chamber heat sink,” which absorbs heat into ionized distilled water and vaporizes it.

Though native 4K resolution is the console’s main selling point, Project Scorpio will also support super-sampling to 1080p displays, and mandates that developers support the feature and run games at “the same frame rate or higher” on Project Scorpio when compared to the original Xbox One. With a 4K television, however, the results are unheard of for a console: a Forza Motorsport demo was seen running at 60 frames per second. Scorpio also supports GameDVR recording at the same resolution and frame rate without an impact on performance.

Curiously, the hard drive size remains unchanged when compared to the higher-end Xbox One bundles — it’s just 1TB, which can fill up quickly given games’ ballooning file sizes, though its bandwidth is 50 percent higher than the original Xbox One’s drive.

Microsoft is expected to show off the final design for Project Scorpio at this year’s E3, where it will also presumably give the machine an official name.