Sunday, June 9th 2019

Xbox "Project Scarlett" to be 8K and Ray-tracing Ready, AMD-powered, Coming 2020

Microsoft at its E3 2019 keynote dropped a huge teaser of its next-generation gaming console development, codenamed "Project Scarlett." The console is expected to pack some serious hardware that powers gaming at 8K resolution (that's four times 4K, sixteen times Full HD). That's not all, it will also feature real-time ray-tracing. Microsoft's performance target for the console is to be 4 times higher than that of the Xbox One X. The company is also giving the console its first major storage sub-system performance update in years.

At its heart is a new 7 nm semi-custom SoC by AMD and a high degree of customization by Microsoft. This chip features CPU cores based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, which provide a massive leap in CPU performance over the current Scorpio Engine SoC that uses low-power "Jaguar Enhanced" cores. At the helm of graphics is a new iGPU based on the RDNA architecture that powers AMD's upcoming Radeon RX 5000 "Navi" graphics cards. It's interesting here to note that Microsoft talks about real-time ray-tracing while we're yet to see evidence of any specialized ray-tracing hardware on "Navi." In its teaser, however, Microsoft stressed on the ray-tracing feature being "hardware-accelerated."
Microsoft is deploying fast GDDR6 memory on "Project Scarlett." AMD is probably implementing hUMA (heterogeneous unified memory architecture), which allows a common physical memory pool to be used as both graphics- and system-memory. That brings us to the next big innovation, storage. With NAND flash prices in free-fall, Microsoft recons the time has come for SSD to be standard-equipment in an Xbox. These consoles will come in various sizes of SSDs, and the console's OS will use SSD for virtual memory. With Microsoft emphasizing on these being "a new generation of SSDs," we speculate these drives could implement NVMe as opposed to SATA/AHCI.


The introduction of "Project Scarlett" and its competing PlayStation, holds tremendous implications for PC gamers. For one, it raises the bar of what is considered "mainstream" for gaming graphics and technology. This allows game studios to invest in increasing visual fidelity for PC games. 4K could finally become the mainstream gaming PC resolution, as could real-time ray-tracing. GPU manufacturers could dial up their compute and real-time ray-tracing hardware development in the upcoming generations. We could finally see the next "Crysis" like game that roasts our machines but rewards fast hardware with unbelievable eye-candy.
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38 Comments on Xbox "Project Scarlett" to be 8K and Ray-tracing Ready, AMD-powered, Coming 2020

#1
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Performance wise it sounds like it has to be Arcturus but looking at that GPU picture, that has to be Navi. 8K from Navi? Oh my!
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#2
EzioAs
I'm pretty sure what they meant by 8K ready is that it can support 8K content (video playback or such) because I don't think anyone with base knowledge of current gen graphics technology would even think it can render games at 8K AND get half decent framerate.

I really hope the CPU would be significantly faster than what current gen consoles have because I really think that's the main bottleneck right now. Well, that and the HDD but any decent SSD they equip the box with should be plentiful for modern games loading times.

I think they also state that the console would have backwards compatibility support all the way back to the original Xbox games, similar to the back-compat the Xbox One family has right now. That is a real nice touch and a must have in my book.
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#3
biffzinker
I'm more interested in hearing about the hardware accelerated real-time ray tracing that Microsoft hinted at on Navi. Guess AMD was saving that as a surprise closer to release?
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#4
Darmok N Jalad
Seems 8k would not be possible. I’d take 4K at 60FPS first. How big of a HDTV do you need to distinguish 8K from 4K? Seems like diminishing returns for that investment.
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#5
moproblems99
FordGT90Concept, post: 4061774, member: 60463"
Performance wise it sounds like it has to be Arcturus but looking at that GPU picture, that has to be Navi. 8K from Navi? Oh my!
Aren't they just getting a handle on 4k60 this generation? Without graphics turned down to low that is.
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#6
biffzinker
moproblems99, post: 4061792, member: 155919"
Aren't they just getting a handle on 4k60 this generation? Without graphics turned down to low that is.
Could be a scaler chip on board up-scaling to 4K/8K while the GPU renders at a lower resolution.
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#7
xkm1948
So they finally added SSD, man consoles are lame.
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#8
Fatalfury
So its coming on Holiday 2020??
i hope Nvidia 7nm releases before that to keep the crown..
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#10
xkm1948
biffzinker, post: 4061815, member: 163731"
But the Playstation 5 will have a NVMe drive on-board.
Both are late to the party
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#11
biffzinker
xkm1948, post: 4061827, member: 50521"
Both are late to the party
The cost of SSDs on the down swing only recently might've had an influence on the SSD now showing up on next gen consoles. The only other way it would of worked for the current consoles would been as a cache to the hdd. Seagate SSHD?
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#12
Octopuss
biffzinker, post: 4061832, member: 163731"
may of
Don't you feel ashamed of yourself?
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#13
Prima.Vera
Just a thought.
If the hardware specs are almost identical with the ones of the PS5, why oh why are they not making the games multiplatform compatible? Meaning same game can be played on both Pee-eS5 and xBone. Why not joining the platforms?
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#14
Vayra86
8K?

Why?

And... how?

I also struggle to understand how this will make gaming or games better in any way. On PC, we're slowly concluding 4K isn't all that after all. I wonder what that'll be like a few years from now; so far I'm not seeing capable GPUs dropping in price left and right to make it worth the minor improvement it offers.

And of course, we're talking console 4K/8K, which really means its probably around 1440p native equivalent by then if you remove all the temporal upscale blur.

Honestly this focus on more bigger higher numbers is silly when it comes to gaming. In the end, its about the content, and there is much to be won on that front - just a lot harder to grasp than selling fantasy specs.
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#16
Live OR Die
I'll buy 10 if there $50 otherwise no deal.
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#17
dirtyferret
Vayra86, post: 4061931, member: 152404"
8K?

Why?

And... how?

I also struggle to understand how this will make gaming or games better in any way. On PC, we're slowly concluding 4K isn't all that after all. I wonder what that'll be like a few years from now; so far I'm not seeing capable GPUs dropping in price left and right to make it worth the minor improvement it offers.

And of course, we're talking console 4K/8K, which really means its probably around 1440p native equivalent by then if you remove all the temporal upscale blur.

Honestly this focus on more bigger higher numbers is silly when it comes to gaming. In the end, its about the content, and there is much to be won on that front - just a lot harder to grasp than selling fantasy specs.
They are not marketing to PC Gamers but rather to the general market who still think their TVs upscale 720p images to "4k" resolution. 30fps @ 1440p would the most likely game plan for these new consoles.
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#18
64K
I wonder what the MSRP will be? Can they do all of this and keep the price at $500?
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#19
Darmok N Jalad
xkm1948, post: 4061804, member: 50521"
So they finally added SSD, man consoles are lame.
I’ve had an SSD in my PS4 Pro for a long time.
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#20
Hardware Geek
Assuming the 8k support isn't dropped, I could see the potential for 8k game streaming or even a possible hybrid system where some of the processing is onboard and is cloud augmented for 8k gaming. Honestly though, I'm far more interested in VR/AR support. The next console generation should have more than enough power for much higher quality VR than what is currently available on consoles.
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#21
jmcosta
What are those high current cables doing welded on the socket?

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#22
BluesFanUK
Not a chance, and 8K is OTT, at least for the next decade.

Getting solid 4K@60 would be a remarkable achievement for consoles and 99.99% of Playstation and Xbox gamers would be beyond satisfied with that.
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#23
kapone32
8K rendering? Definitely not. There is no GPU that can render 4K at even 100 FPS. When you are gaming and turn 4K down to 1440P there is more than a 100% increase in frames. If the console can do it and a $1000+ GPU can't 8K will definitely be some form of super sampling, It is a moot point anyway as there are no consumer based (affordable) displays at that resolution currently. I thought the next big resolution innovation was 4K 120Hz
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#25
moproblems99
Fatalfury, post: 4061812, member: 177174"
So its coming on Holiday 2020??
i hope Nvidia 7nm releases before that to keep the crown..
LOL, what the hell does that have to do with consoles?

Vayra86, post: 4061931, member: 152404"
Honestly this focus on more bigger higher numbers is silly when it comes to gaming. In the end, its about the content, and there is much to be won on that front - just a lot harder to grasp than selling fantasy specs.
Maybe 8k is actually the storage required for the average shit story that will be accompany the comparatively poor graphics.
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