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"

#51
D007
btarunr
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
Cracks me up how hard people hated on 4k and swore it was useless, yet here it is.. And it's awesome..
HDR coming soon. ;)
Posted on Reply
#52
doxology
D007
Cracks me up how hard people hated on 4k and swore it was useless, yet here it is.. And it's awesome..
HDR coming soon. ;)
I haven't been a huge fan of 4k gaming on PC, but that is because I am an ultrawide fan and personally prefer 3440x1440 over 4k. Consoles don't have that option so 4k will have to do. I will say from what I have seen of HDR is that it is pretty sweet. Unfortunately most early adopters of 4k tv's don't have hdr and it usually cost more to get an hdr tv. But it seems worth it. granted if Scorpio only does 4k gaming at 30 frames that could be an issue, but for now they are saying 60 so I guess we will see how that plays out down the line.
Posted on Reply
#53
Caring1
siluro818
It is more likely to use Jaguar + Vega, rather than Polaris + Zen. Check out the Digital Foundry analysis.
Same speculation on Arstechnica.
I would hazard to guess it is a cut down version of the rx480.
If the Jaguar core has graphics cores it could utilise them also.
Posted on Reply
#54
Prima.Vera
What's the point oh HDR right now when all the current media content is 8-bit encoded, including thee Games...
Posted on Reply
#55
Xzibit
Prima.Vera
What's the point oh HDR right now when all the current media content is 8-bit encoded, including thee Games...
Amazon & Netflix have 4K HDR content.
Posted on Reply
#56
Dethroy
Xzibit
Amazon & Netflix have 4K HDR content.
And I'm sure there is more to come. Some games in development already promise HDR. And since HDR is the new boss in town and hence drawing a lot of attention to it, I'm pretty sure everyone is gonna jump on the bandwagon.

Edit: I for one cannot await HDR. Waiting for a good 3.440 x 1.440 panel that does 100+ fps and supports HDR myself. This will also be the time when I upgrade the GPU.
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#57
siluro818
doxology
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.
Of course it's speculation, but it makes a lot of sense. Also while GPU requirements are increasing more or less constantly and are now supposed to deal with VR and 4K, CPU-wise things have been very different and you can easily have a 5+ year old CPU taking care of everything necessary. MS will want to keep costs as low as possible AND have the better hardware, and there's simply no point whatsoever in going for an yet unreleased CPU architecture.
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#58
Caring1
I just checked pre order price here in Australia for the Xbone S, they're asking $549.
I hate to think how much they are going to sting us for the Scorpio when it comes out.
Posted on Reply
#59
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
A source of mine seems to indicate that this Xbox is slated for holiday season of 2017. 5.6TFlops won't feel like much in 1 1/2 years as that's about how much compute my lowly 390 has.

Better? Yes. Comparable to computers released at the same time? Don't know but, I suspect not.
Posted on Reply
#60
Marecki_CLF
10 TFLOPS combined performance, out of which ~6 TFLOPS would be the GPU.
That leaves ~4 TFLOPS for 8 Zen cores, so... ~500 GFLOPS per one Zen core in a console APU? As much as I would like that to happen (healthy competition should bring prices down for everyone), I find it hard to believe.
Posted on Reply
#61
Caring1
Marecki_CLF
10 TFLOPS combined performance, out of which ~6 TFLOPS would be the GPU.
That leaves ~4 TFLOPS for 8 Zen cores, so... ~500 GFLOPS per one Zen core in a console APU? As much as I would like that to happen (healthy competition should bring prices down for everyone), I find it hard to believe.
I heard it was up to 9 Teraflops.
Posted on Reply
#62
medi01
CPU having TFLOPs number comparable to GPU, whah?

Note that Zen is just speculation, not something MS or AMD has announced. (although reasonable one)

PS
I love how console upgrades are now backward compatible. Thank you Sony, Microsoft and, of course, AMD. :)
Posted on Reply
#63
Scrizz
silentbogo
People just got a misconception, that only because XB360 and PS3 lasted for 7-8 years, then all newer generations will be supported for no less than that.
the same thing that happened with Windows XP
Posted on Reply
#64
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
D007
Cracks me up how hard people hated on 4k and swore it was useless, yet here it is.. And it's awesome..
HDR coming soon. ;)
Time moves on. Personally, I don't really care about visuals (down to a point anyway). I have seen good 4k setups and marveled at good tv sets, but I still don't find it that appealing. Sound though... Now there's a thing I can dig.

Scrizz
the same thing that happened with Windows XP
Ten years, actually. Windows 7 has support to 2020, 8 to 2023. Which is what I have liked about MS. Win10 is good to 2025, if you install all the updates.
Posted on Reply
#65
D007
Frick
Time moves on. Personally, I don't really care about visuals (down to a point anyway). I have seen good 4k setups and marveled at good tv sets, but I still don't find it that appealing. Sound though... Now there's a thing I can dig.
You use a projector though? That would look awesome in 4k if it's really big. Huuuge difference..lol. But yea, to each their own..

If you're just using that 22" Samsung though, yea, no difference at all..lol
Posted on Reply
#66
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
D007
You use a projector though? That would look awesome in 4k if it's really big. Huuuge difference..lol. But yea, to each their own..

If you're just using that 22" Samsung though, yea, no difference at all..lol
A friend sell high end TV and stereo equipment. He has some candy. ;)
Posted on Reply
#67
psi01
looking forward to the scorpio.....glad gave us a 1yr and a half heads up so we can start saving
Posted on Reply
#68
sweet
doxology
I haven't been a huge fan of 4k gaming on PC, but that is because I am an ultrawide fan and personally prefer 3440x1440 over 4k. Consoles don't have that option so 4k will have to do. I will say from what I have seen of HDR is that it is pretty sweet. Unfortunately most early adopters of 4k tv's don't have hdr and it usually cost more to get an hdr tv. But it seems worth it. granted if Scorpio only does 4k gaming at 30 frames that could be an issue, but for now they are saying 60 so I guess we will see how that plays out down the line.
They said "(4K) and (1080@60Hz)". Don't know why ppl try to interpret these words in other way. Not even a flagship desktop Gpu can offer 4k@60, why put the hope into a weaker console chip.
Posted on Reply
#69
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
medi01
CPU having TFLOPs number comparable to GPU, whah?
It is if the only thing you care about is how quickly individual execution units can do floating point math. It's all really meaningless unless you're including things like how many execution units there are, how parallel the workloads are, how much throughput a single execution unit can do which is really important for a dev to know. As a developer (talking about CPUs,) there are only a few things I care about when it comes to performance:
  1. How much throughput do I get with any particular serial workload for whatever I'm doing (single core/execution unit performance, what can I do in lock-step)?
  2. How many cores do I have (how many times can I do the things above in a purely parallel manor)?
  3. What kind of latency am I introducing by using multiple cores?
I don't really care about what the full aggregate compute power is because in this day and age, that doesn't tend to be the bottleneck, your serial workloads tend to limit how parallel your applications can be. The things you have to do one after another on a single core to ensure that things happen properly is always what slows applications down from this standpoint and we can only use multiple when we're not adding so much overhead from using multiple cores that you end up getting nowhere (or even degrade performance.)

That's my rant about how FLOPS are a terrible gauge of aggregate performance and (in my opinion,) means very little. You could have two very different machines with the same "FLOPS" capability but, with very real differences in performance when it comes to real world applications. Aside from that, it's not like I spend my entire day doing floating point operations, integer operations are kind of an important thing too but, once again per core or EU.
</rant>

medi01
I love how console upgrades are now backward compatible. Thank you Sony, Microsoft and, of course, AMD. :)
You can thank Intel too, x86 and DirectX are what makes it backwards compatible. It's a PC, didn't you know this? :p
sweet
They said "(4K) and (1080@60Hz)". Don't know why ppl try to interpret these words in other way. Not even a flagship desktop Gpu can offer 4k@60, why put the hope into a weaker console chip.
It matters if the person is thinking about video playback and not gaming. If the iGPU is going to be as powerful as something like my 390, I doubt it will play games well at 4k by itself but, probably would have aboslutely no problem playing back 4k content or even playing some select games in 4k that might not be as graphically demanding as others.

For example, on the Xbox 360 a lot of games ran at 720P and upscaled to 1080p but, there were some games like Geometry Wars 2, which was an arcade game, which was simple enough where 1080p was more than realistic. I wouldn't be surprised if this new Xbox worked the same way, where if games were not graphically demanding enough to overload the GPU, that they could be run at a higher resolution. To me, that makes sense. It would be like me grabbing an old game (that somehow supported 4k,) and running it at that resolution. The game isn't demanding, so running it at 4k might be realistic.
Posted on Reply
#70
medi01
Aquinus
You can thank Intel too, x86 and DirectX are what makes it backwards compatible
No, it's great out of the box APU package, produced by AMD what makes it backwards compatible.
Intel can't make them (suck on GPU side, deadly for consoles), nVidia can't make them (suck on CPU side) and if you buy separate GPU and CPU it's too expensive for a viable console.

Aquinus
It is if the only thing you care about is how quickly individual execution units can do floating point math.
That's what FLOPS are. That's what GPUs do most of the time. It's pretty objective measure, although it doesn't necessarily translate 1:1 into gaming performance.

And back to the topic, Last time I've checked i7 965 had 0,07 TFlops.
Posted on Reply
#71
Dethroy
medi01
No, it's great out of the box APU package, produced by AMD what makes it backwards compatible.
Intel can't make them (suck on GPU side, deadly for consoles), nVidia can't make them (suck on CPU side) and if you buy separate GPU and CPU it's too expensive for a viable console.
Aquinus very clearly stated that we have to thank Intel for backwards compatibility because of x86 - without Intel we wouldn't have that "great out of the box APU package [that] makes it backwards compatible" :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#72
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
medi01
No, it's great out of the box APU package, produced by AMD what makes it backwards compatible.
Intel can't make them (suck on GPU side, deadly for consoles), nVidia can't make them (suck on CPU side) and if you buy separate GPU and CPU it's too expensive for a viable console.
Intel is the reason why x86 is a thing, so yeah, as @Dethroy said, we wouldn't have any of these APUs as we know them without Intel.
medi01
That's what FLOPS are. That's what GPUs do most of the time. It's pretty objective measure, although it doesn't necessarily translate 1:1 into gaming performance.
No, FLOPS are usually an aggregate measure of total throughput, not per execution unit.
Posted on Reply
#73
Dethroy
Phil Spencer talks about the future of Xbox (The Verge)

Seems like consoles will be nothing more but custom designed PCs in the near future. If that means PC gamers won't miss out on exclusives anymore (hopefully Nintendo's as well) I'm all for it.
Posted on Reply
#74
medi01
Dethroy
Aquinus very clearly stated that we have to thank Intel for backwards compatibility because of x86 - without Intel we wouldn't have that "great out of the box APU package [that] makes it backwards compatible
Aquinus
Intel is the reason why x86 is a thing.
Jeez, people posting on tech review site, when does history of those companies start for you? Sigh.

IBM willingness to do PC and Jobs' greediness is the reason why x86 is a thing.
Oh, and IBM would not have picked up lolwhatwhohaveheardaboutthiscompany Intel, if not AMD (that's why both co-existed in x86 space in the first place).

Instruction set doesn't matter at all, it's about sticking with one architecture,, whatever it is.

ARM isn't quite there yet (good luck, Nintendo, to me your decisions look idiotic) and we have no other major actively developed CPU architectures out there. CELL was a major disaster for Sony, weirdo CPU (1 normal core, 8 vector cores, go multi-platform for it) for R&D of which Sony alone spent 4 billion $. Now they pay like a hundred or two millions for new "semi-custom", when (if) they need it.

Aquinus
No, FLOPS are usually an aggregate measure of total throughput, not per execution unit.
Floating Point Operations Per Second (which GPUs can crunch plenty, unlike CPUs), which "per execution unit" did you read between which lines?

Dethroy
Seems like consoles will be nothing more but custom designed PCs in the near future. If that means PC gamers won't miss out on exclusives anymore.
That's Microsoft's view, not Sony's.
Posted on Reply
#75
efikkan
Prima.Vera
What's the point oh HDR right now when all the current media content is 8-bit encoded, including thee Games...
A significant portion of current games already utilizes HDR internally, and does have HDR content. Currently all such games use a type of tone mapping called "bloom" to convert the picture into 8-bit. These games will only need a minor update in order to support a full HDR chain.
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