New rumors regarding Xbox Scorpio teraflops and memory are floating around the Internet. Reportedly, Microsoft’s next-gen console will feature 9 TFLOPS of power and 10GB RAM for games. In this post, we discuss how likely is it for Scorpio to boast these specs, so let’s get started straight away. I’ll start with the memory rumor first, then move on to the alleged 9 TFLOPS GPU that will be powering the console.
Rumors of Xbox Scorpio using 10GB RAM for Games Debunked
The only thing that Microsoft has revealed about the Project Scorpio’s memory to date, is the memory bandwidth which is apparently going to be 320GB/s or slightly above. We don’t really know how much memory the new console will come with, but the CGI teaser of the Scorpio motherboard does give some hint as we can count 12 memory chips on the board. That may suggest we could see 12GB of GDDR5 memory, but again that has not been confirmed by the firm yet.
Let’s just assume that Xbox Scorpio comes with 12GB of the main memory. If you don’t know, main memory is the only type of memory that is available on the consoles right now. PCs come with the main and a separate graphics card memory. Main memory is where operating system, processors and drivers etc., are being loaded, while the graphics memory is usually much faster and used solely for the GPU kind of tasks.
In consoles, the memory is shared which means you load everything to the main memory. According to the rumor, the Project Scorpio will have 10GB of memory available for games alone. To compare, the Xbox Scorpio has 8GB of memory out of which game developers can utilize only 5GB, while the other 3GB is reserved for operating system and other applications running in the background.
I don’t really see a situation where the operating system will take less than 3GB on the console. In fact, it could take more space on Scorpio considering it is expected to come with a new and shiny dashboard which may actually require a little bit of more graphical memory.
Let’s say the OS on Scorpio takes around 3.5GB up to 4GB of memory, then the developers will have around 8GB RAM available for games. It’s still going to be a significant step-up from what is available on the Xbox One, as it gives an extra 3GB of memory to game developers.
Even if Microsoft manages to fit the Scorpio system into 3GB RAM as the Xbox One – which I doubt – still then, it will have 9GB RAM max available for games.
That being said, 10GB for games alone, is not an option because that would mean they will actually have to shrink the OS file. Which is unlikely to happen especially with the VR support, and reports of Scorpio emulating the ESRAM from the Xbox One so that it could run the games that are not patched.
Obviously, these things will take space in the memory and Microsoft will want to keep a small reserve for other upcoming applications as well. So I would say that Xbox Scorpio will likely use only 8GB of memory for games.
Xbox Scorpio to Stick with 6 TFLOPS of Power
There’s another rumor which suggests the Xbox Scorpio GPU will be upgraded to 9 teraflops although Microsoft confirmed 6 teraflops at the last year’s E3. If true, the upcoming console will be a super-powerful machine, but from technical point of view, I would say 9 TFLOPS for consoles would be overkill; I mean 6 TFLOPS GPU is already pretty powerful. Furthermore, AMD doesn’t have any such GPU available right now, even to start with.
Currently, the most powerful GPU from AMD is the Polaris 10 which delivers around 5.5 TFLOPS of compute. AMD’s next-gen Vega architecture is also just around the corner, and the most powerful variant of it, is apparently going to be 12.5 TFLOPS GPU. This will be Vega 10, which is set to rival Nvidia’s new flagship card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
But, using Vega 10 inside Xbox Scorpio doesn’t make sense, as the GPU will be expensive and could inflate Xbox Scorpio price. There will also be a less powerful variant called the Vega 11. This chip may actually make it to the consoles because it will have no issues performing up to 6 teraflops of raw performance.
Even if Microsoft plans to upgrade from 6 TFLOPS, I don’t think it will do in a big way because that would require them to redesign the chip. At the most, we could see the raw performance going up to 6.3 TFLOPS depending on the clock speeds of the retail version of the Xbox Scorpio.
To sum it up, 9 TFLOPS isn’t going to happen, at least this year. We should be happy about 6 TFLOPS anyway, because it will be a significant increase in raw performance over what any other console in the market right now has to offer.
On CPU side of things, Microsoft has already confirmed that Scorpio will sport an 8-core, 16-thread chip. There is a very good chance that the console will leverage a scaled version of AMD’s latest and greatest Ryzen CPU. With both Vega and Ryzen on board, Project Scorpio will indeed be capable of delivering the native 4K gaming, along with support for VR, as Microsoft promised.
The console is slated to launch this holiday, but Redmond is expected to showcase it before at this year’s E3.