Microsoft and Sony are about to do battle (again), this time in the super-console arena. We delve into the specs of both gaming machines to see which will prove better for 4K gaming.
A lot of technology and gaming journalists (but not all) raved about the PS4 Pro, but it can hardly be called a true 4K gaming console as various teething problems have shown.
Admittedly, it is still early days for Sony’s latest flagship gaming box and it is possible the situation can and will be changed, but Microsoft is keen to make up for being second place in the current generation hardware race with a new console codenamed ‘Project Scorpio’.
The new Xbox has the benefit of hindsight, which is why it is a dramatically more powerful console, but just how much more powerful are we talking, how does it compare with the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro and what sort of graphical prowess can we expect?
We decided to delve into the specs of both consoles to find out ahead of Project Scorpio’s big reveal at the E3 2017 show.
Xbox Project Scorpio specs vs PS4 Pro
Project Scorpio has the Xbox One’s AMD CPU, but it has seen a jump in speed of 30 per cent from 1.75GHz to 2.3GHz. Meanwhile the memory has been boosted from 8GB of DDR3 RAM to 12GB of DDR5.
Memory bandwidth for the Xbox Project Scorpio is 326GB/s, compared with 218GB/s for the PS4 Pro. As for storage space, both have a 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive for storing games and other data.
The GPU has 40 compute units running at a clock speed of 1,172MHz, up from the Xbox One’s 853MHz. That gives it 6 terraflops (Tflops) of graphical performance, which is behind that of a top-end PC graphics card, but still better than any other console.
The PS4 Pro can muster 4.2 terraflops through 36 improved GCN compute units clocked at 911MHz.
To put that into perspective, the Xbox Project Scorpio’s graphical processing unit (GPU) is 4.6 times more powerful than the one in the original Xbox One.
Xbox Project Scorpio vs PS4 Pro: What does that mean?
Right now, it means Project Scorpio has the potential to offer more solid frame rates than any games console before it, which is essential in a first-person shooter and beat-’em-up where high speed reactions matter most.
It also means the potential to throw around the sort of pixel numbers required by a 4K ultra-high definition graphics (UHD), which is something the PS4 Pro has struggled with so far.
Besides offering gaming of higher detail, HDR will improve the quality of the image and even games that only run at 1080p (full HD) will see them bumped up to 4K.
A demo seen by Digital Foundry (the people who have seen Project Scorpio in action) saw a Forza game running in 4K while using a mere 65 per cent of full power, which bodes well.
If you own a 4K television, the Xbox Project Scorpio console will ask if you want it to run at a 4K resolution. For those still on 1080p, games will look better because of super-sampling – something the PS4 Pro can do but has struggled with to date.
Xbox Project Scorpio specs vs PS4 Pro: What about 4K video?
The PS4 Pro can claim to do 4K gaming, but the standard Blu-Ray player means it is limited to standard Blu-Rays. That is unlike Project Scorpio, which has a UHD Blu-Ray player.
The PS4 Pro can stream 4K content from the likes of Netflix, which makes it less of an issue, but it does give the new Xbox an advantage. Project Scorpio can also offer better audio, thanks to Dolby Atmos support.
Xbox Project Scorpio specs vs PS4 Pro: What about the games?
So far, we know Forza Motor 7 and at least eight other games have been tuned to make use of the extra hardware, but there is time for the list to be built on. The PS4 Pro’s earlier arrival gives it the edge here in terms of the volume of games that have been enhanced.
Xbox Project Scorpio specs vs PS4 Pro: The conclusion
It is pretty clear the new Xbox will be a gaming powerhouse, but with visuals already rather impressive it may not translate into that big a difference. But if it can manage true 4K gaming, it will be a step ahead of Sony and one step closer to the PC master race.