Monday, June 13th 2016

Microsoft XBOX Scorpio SoC Powered by "Polaris" and "Zen"

It looks like Microsoft will overpower Sony in the next round of the console wars, with a more powerful SoC on paper. The new XBOX "Scorpio" 4K Ultra HD game console will feature a custom-design SoC by AMD, which will combine not just a GPU based on the "Polaris" architecture, but also a CPU based on the "Zen" microarchitecture. This is significant because it sees a departure from using 8 smaller "Jaguar" CPU cores, and upshifts to stronger "Zen" ones. The chip could be built on the 14 nm process.

The SoC powering the XBOX Scorpio could feature a CPU component with eight "Zen" CPU cores, with SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs, and a "Polaris" GPU with 6 TFLOP/s of compute power. The combined compute power is expected to be close to 10 TFLOP/s. The Radeon RX 480, for instance features 5.84 TFLOP/s of power at its given clock speed. The CPU and GPU will likely share a common memory interface, belting out a memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s. The silicon muscle of this console should power 4K Ultra HD, 1080p @ 60 Hz HDR, and "good VR" solutions such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Games for the console could leverage DirectX 12.
Source: TweakTown
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78 Comments on Microsoft XBOX Scorpio SoC Powered by "Polaris" and "Zen"

#26
Dethroy
While this might be a downer for some PS4 and Xbox One owners (even though I believe the majority of them may appreciate shorter hardware cycles), I think nothing better could've happened for the gaming industry as a whole. Current gen consoles moving to the x86 archtitecture was already a forerunner of things to come. I'm tired of cross platform titles that are developed for dinosaur tech. So I guess I should thank Sony and MS for quickening video games development.
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#27
atomicus
December 2017 and UPSCALED 4K... hardly anything worth getting excited about. PC performance will have moved on leaps and bounds by then. No way in a million years will the Scorpio be churning out a solid 60FPS at native 4K in all games. It's just impossible, even with heavy optimisation. There is so much crap coming from MS right now they should be re-designated a sewage company.
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#28
RejZoR
The more they brag about POWEEEEEER, the more consoles look like overpowered laptops. Or in other words, like PC.
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#29
rvalencia
esrever
The source only speculates it's Zen. If it is Zen then it would only be 4 cores 8 threads. A full 8 core Zen plus a 6TF GPU will not fit inside the power envelope of a console while remaining cost effective at all. 8 core zen is 95W, even the lower clocked low power version will probably be 65W, the GPU is easily over 100W. 200W APUs just don't make sense for consoles.
PS4 reached 151 watts with Killzone Shadow Fall. PS4 has ~230 power supply.

Laptop version for 8 core ZEN would fit within the TDP envelope.
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#30
AsRock
TPU addict
Ubersonic
Does anyone remember when console makers used to tout the fact they needed replacing less than PCs? Lol.

This is a farce, the XB1 is less than three years old, by comparison the Mega Drive, Master System and NES all had new official games coming out over a decade after release.




Me too, but when you think that it was the cheapest BR player on the market by a wide margin and was such a good media centre that it still stacks up today, it was worth it IMO.
Yeah if the power saving is there maybe, more worth while just plugging a bluray in to my ROKU3 which the ROKU takes a mere 3.1w max.
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#31
TheinsanegamerN
Ubersonic
Does anyone remember when console makers used to tout the fact they needed replacing less than PCs? Lol.

This is a farce, the XB1 is less than three years old, by comparison the Mega Drive, Master System and NES all had new official games coming out over a decade after release.
And the new consoles are not expected until the end of 2017, so the xbone will be 4 years old by then. Sooner then the old days, but considering the new system is 100% backwards compatible, I dont see the problem here. Games will continue to come out that work on both systems, as MS said that games would be both forward and backward compatible.

The ps2 had games coming out years after the ps3 released. The ps3 didnt to such an extent, but it was 7 years old when the ps4 came out. It had a good run.

Also, since when were consoles touted as being replaced less often? PCs are upgraded, yes, but people hang onto PCs for more then 5 years. My old gaming rig is 10 years old, still works fine. my 2600xt was used from 2006 to 2012, a year longer then most console lifespans. consoles have been touted as more covenient, which they are, and more power efficient, which they are, but replaced less often isnt something theyve been sold on, ever.
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#32
silentbogo
AsRock
Yeah if the power saving is there maybe, more worth while just plugging a bluray in to my ROKU3 which the ROKU takes a mere 3.1w max.
At the time of arrival the external BD-ROM cost more than PS3, and almost on par with a fully-functional BD-player with Netflix/Hulu support. There were no cheap chinese Android STBs, like we have today.
The cheapest thing on the market at the time was a WD player, which I also had since 2008.
It had a jumpy HD playback, and cost $150 without a hard drive (it had a special slot for 2.5" WD Passport). The coolest thing was that it ran on Linux, and you could install BusyBox, FTP, SSH and even a headless BitTorrent client (but the total space for OS and packages was very-very limited).
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#33
AsRock
TPU addict
silentbogo
At the time of arrival the external BD-ROM cost more than PS3, and almost on par with a fully-functional BD-player with Netflix/Hulu support. There were no cheap chinese Android STBs, like we have today.
The cheapest thing on the market at the time was a WD player, which I also had since 2008.
It had a jumpy HD playback, and cost $150 without a hard drive (it had a special slot for 2.5" WD Passport). The coolest thing was that it ran on Linux, and you could install BusyBox, FTP, SSH and even a headless BitTorrent client (but the total space for OS and packages was very-very limited).
Even with out a ROKU3 you can get a blyuray player $70 in the US 3-4+ years ago.

Not as this really matters anyways as IMO they just not worth it.
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#34
doxology
N3M3515
4K with a RX 480? hardly...
When you have a set group of specs to design for on consoles you can usually push them further than you could with PC because with a PC you have to program for a variety of hardware specs. This GPU is faster than an RX 480, though not by a lot. In conjunction with a Zen CPU and the ability of developers to use all the CPU cores and all the power of the GPU I could see it happening. Even now in the PC gaming world you wouldn't see many if any game companies use all the cores of a CPU for a game, on consoles however they will utilize it all. This has become the norm in console gaming because they are usually under powered and devs have to squeeze every last ounce of power out of the machine they can. If they are given legit hardware like this, I think they can probably do some pretty sweet things.

Remember this console doesn't have to run all the other stuff a PC does. And while Xbox is now running Windows 10 it is a tweaked version for Xbox that doesn't require the same resources because it isn't running all the other stuff a PC running Win 10 does.
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#35
Caring1
btarunr
It looks like Microsoft will overpower Sony in the next round of the console wars, with a more powerful SoC on paper.
Microsoft is releasing a refresh before they even start on any new Xbox, so by that time Sony will also have a new console ready to release.
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#36
doxology
Caring1
Microsoft is releasing a refresh before they even start on any new Xbox, so by that time Sony will also have a new console ready to release.
Sony already confirmed they are doing the same thing. It is called the Sony Neo. Supposed leaks from it have shown that it is slower than Scorpio though running at 4.19 Tflops I believe is the rumor.

http://www.polygon.com/2016/6/10/11902000/ps4-neo-confirmed-sony-4k

http://wccftech.com/sony-ps-neo-polaris-gpu-4-19-tflops/
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#37
N3M3515
RCoon
Basically what we should have got last gen.
That's what i was thinking lol
At least now consoles won't be so far behind and finally we'll start to see less of those shitty dx9 games xD
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#38
Slizzo
Caring1
Microsoft is releasing a refresh before they even start on any new Xbox, so by that time Sony will also have a new console ready to release.
From the outset both MS and Sony had said that the Xbox One and PS4 were going to be their last major console releases. They'll be focusing on updates to the consoles from now on.

Basically, they both just made media PCs for the home for everybody.
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#39
alucasa
Woah, woah, wait a sec. Next gen console already? I haven't bought PS4 because of lack of worthy games and it's still very young.

Hell, why bother with consoles then?
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#40
Caring1
Microsoft's idea of updating and a gamer's idea of updating might not be cohesive.
M.S. plan to make an entity of sorts so Xbox will be linked to PC, which in turn will be joined to the web etc, supposedly to improve the users experience and usability, but it also increases M.S's database of knowledge on everything the users are doing and where.
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#41
Steevo
@ 4K with hardware filtering built in so no need for AA, forcing devs to make better use of textures and the ability to grab only the parts of textures needed, a 40% IPC increase, and possibly using GDDRX or HBM.......

I could see it pushing 4K @ 60Hz with some precooked code and a few less pretties, or 1080P and upscaled with better textures. We keep forgetting about the 10-20% improvement in performance due to less overhead and more direct to metal coding, plus the ability to set a hardware standard and the optimizations that come from that.
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#42
BiggieShady
Steevo
I could see it pushing 4K @ 60Hz
Maybe the next Call of Duty, open world games may run 30fps locked at 4K
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#43
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
AsRock
Wow we would not of guessed that in a million years.


I just feel real sorry for those who got the the last Xbox\PS, so sad i would of been totally pissed at them. So glad i am not in to the dam things not many games on them that i will play.

I have a PS3 still and only got 4 games for it in it's whole life, now that's a total waste of money :P. PC gaming or GTFOOH.
Yep, im now looking to sell my Xbox One to help pay to upgrade to a GTX1070.
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#44
siluro818
It is more likely to use Jaguar + Vega, rather than Polaris + Zen. Check out the Digital Foundry analysis.
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#45
doxology
siluro818
It is more likely to use Jaguar + Vega, rather than Polaris + Zen. Check out the Digital Foundry analysis.
There analysis is speculation Not only that but other partners have said AMD is trying to eliminate all their old tech, Jaguar included because they want to stop producing on the old 28nm tech and have said it would cost to much to port the old tech to a smaller process. Making it look like even the Xbox One S could be running something new based on the 14nm fin fet tech possibly. Won't take long to know for sure once someone can take one apart hopefully once it is released.

Regardless I don't think Jaguar is up to the job to do what the Scorpio is going to do.
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#46
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
rvalencia
PS4 reached 151 watts with Killzone Shadow Fall. PS4 has ~230 power supply.

Laptop version for 8 core ZEN would fit within the TDP envelope.
This assumes there will be a laptop version of Zen. That being said there is no reason a binned low clocked Zen couldn't easily hit the 45w mark. The GPU I have a harder time believing will hit the power mark.
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#47
Grings
All this 2 versions of each console lark both manufacturers are doing will just fragment the market more, and game devs wont want to put all the effort in for whatever small percentage of the userbase get the better console.

Reminds me of the Sega Mega CD (and 32x) and Amiga CD32

I like the fact all this is going on as it is helping revive PC gaming:)
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#48
dozenfury
Even the article says that it will be a custom soc *based on* Polaris and Zen rolled into 1 chip. So it's probably off-base to assume the same as full Zen and/or Polaris power requirements, since this custom chip will require quite a bit less power (and have less performance) than both individually.

Also, this isn't a reflection on consoles overall including PS4, as much as an admission by MSFT that the XB1 was underpowered. They tried to market the XB1 being as fast as PS4 and close to current PCs, but anyone who played a PS4 and XB1 could easily tell the XB1 was a good 20% slower. And current XB1 really isn't feasible at all for VR, which is why we saw almost nothing-VR related in E3 from Microsoft and tons from Sony. Sony's got loads of VR games (over 50) coming this fall, so they'll have a massive head start on Microsoft. I still think the PS4 is just borderline for VR whereas XB1 couldn't do it at all, so it's a big gamble by Sony that people will prefer entry-level VR now for $399 vs. probably much better but more expensive and a year or two behind VR with Xbox and Scorpio, or dropping $1000+ on PC VR rig components between the video card and headset. Some will, but the masses won't be able to afford PC VR imo for a couple years until the prices get more sane. $400 for PS VR this xmas then starts to look a lot more appealing.
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#49
JJJJJamesSZH
Now I feel lucky I got rid of my XOne and PS4 earlier this year and I think I will stick to my dual Fury X PC for the rest of the year:)
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#50
ZoneDymo
JJJJJamesSZH
Now I feel lucky I got rid of my XOne and PS4 earlier this year and I think I will stick to my dual Fury X PC for the rest of the year:)
Xbox ok, but PS4? you are missing the exclusives son!
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