Xbox Scorpio: Microsoft Engineer Explains CPU Improvements And eSRAM Removal

Balancing the need for performance and compatibility.

Posted By | On 06th, Apr. 2017 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


The Xbox One Scorpio makes some dramatic changes to the memory pool and distribution in the Xbox One, going from a split 8GB DDR3/32MB eSRAM to a unified 12GB GDDR5 RAM pool. When Microsoft made the decision to remove eSRAM, were they not worried about breaking compatibility with the existing Xbox One?

“The memory system we’ve got, we’ve got enough bandwidth to more than cover what we got from eSRAM,” Microsoft’s Nick Baker told Eurogamer. “We simply go and use our virtual memory system to map the 32MB of physical address that the old games thought they got into 32MB in the GDDR5. So latency is higher, but in terms of aggregate performance, the improved bandwidth and improved GPU performance means we don’t hit any issues.”

On the other hand, while the memory has seen the most thorough improvements, the CPU looks to be the big bottleneck for the Scorpio- at least in relative terms. People were hoping for a more sophisticated CPU in the Scorpio than is in the PS4, PS4 Pro, or Xbox One- however, it looks like we are stuck with the Jaguar, albeit slightly configured to keep up with the rest of the machine’s improvements.

“So, eight cores, organized as two clusters with a total of 4MB of L2 cache. These are unique customized CPUs for Scorpio running at 2.3GHz. Alluding back to the goals, we wanted to maintain 100 per cent backwards compatibility with Xbox One and Xbox One S while also pushing the performance envelope,” said Nick Baker.

It makes sense- the Scorpio is not a next generation machine, it is meant to be a more enhanced Xbox One. Compatibility with the existing machines was ultimately still a paramount concern. The Scorpio launches later this year.


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  • Triton

    In B4 Mr Xrat comes here for his daily meltdown.

    • quantum

      Lmao. Too late, he has been having full on meltdowns on the other scorpio articles.

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    • Mr Xrat

      Sorry, F*T Toni, I’ve been too busy laughing at that Jaguar CPU and specs not much better than the Pro’s.

    • Triton

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4b572c7d1124972115b16d988b1513825b6a6c9a01220edea0375c5da372fac7.jpg
      Im also enjoying these numbers.
      Well if there is “only” a custom jaguar, it means there are much to improve on, the year after PS5 releases.
      I will be enjoying the win for now…you are now even more irrelevant.

    • Mr Xrat

      Cute source, F*t Toni

      Only 200MHz faster Jaguar CPU (So much for Zen)
      Four more compute units on the GPU (So much for Vega)
      Only 4GBs of the 12GBs reserved for the OS

      It’s a glorified upscaler, just like we all knew it was.

    • Triton

      Yet it matched the desired goals and outperforms the next best option with a whopping 43% with the GPU only.

    • Mr Xrat

      By making the necessary shortcuts (all that overclocking) so they can hit that $499 price tag.

      So much for that monster. You only had to wait a whole year for it.

    • GHost Box

      It’s looks like they spent that additional year doing heavy customization to Scorpio Engine’s silicone for some very impressive efficiency. And the other things they did are just as impressive as features for a console..

      DX12 not an API but as a built in hardware implementation
      Auto Super Sampling and Forced 16xAF
      CPU overhead cut in half
      Unoptimzed code had Forza 6 running at 4k/60fps, only using 66% of the GPU

      Games are going to look and play great on this thing.

    • Mr Xrat

      DX12 has been

      They spent a year developing a cooling system for all the overclocking they had to do.

      DX12 has already been “implemented into the system” and that Forza screenshot with its low-quality shadows, poor background textures, no AA and nothing happening means ultra textures are a pipe dream.

      RIP the beast.

    • Gamez Rule

      Now all we need are new IP’s, some full exclusives and some AAA first party games, just like Sony have showed us with PS4.

  • Cenk Algu

    Where is this RAD dev? I guess he missed this part of the tech by the way I will be missing Mr.XRat.

    • Triton

      RIP

  • Tactical Lag-fighting tips

    Just a 980Ti bottle-necked by a Netbook CPU.

    Praising that 30fps

    • Tomaterrrx

      Lol its a better CPU than the Pro, fool. Does that mean the Pro has the CPU of the iPhone 3GS?

  • Tactical Lag-fighting tips

    Mistercteams have the insider news on the hidden Ryzen and Vega layer to be unlocked later at E3

  • Luke Skywalker

    so pretty much Brad Wardell’s “concern” is not a concern at all, correct? the esram removal does nothing to hinder xbox one game compatibility on scorpio.

    • Mark

      Yep, he’s just out of the loop. But he does know graphics. Things is, nobody expected Microsoft to engineer this thing so ingeniusly, so all people had in their minds was to compare old tech to new tech, but MS just revolutionized console design

  • Mark

    Hmmm, no mention of the fact that the CPU has alot more headroom because of its massive draw call efficiency?

    • Tactical Lag-fighting tips

      Still just a salty netbook CPU

    • Mark

      And yet, according to Digital Foundry, Scorpio “poses a serious threat to the GTX 1070”. They even compared it to a GTX 1080…..it ain’t about the TFLOPs, it’s what Microsoft has done to the ENTIRE SYSTEM, the motherboard voltage, cooling unit, GPU overclock, DX12 implementation into the GPU block. All this combines for a super efficient system, that means, it doesn’t waste energy and resources, and that’s how it’s seeing massive performance to the likes of high end NVIDIA cards. No disrespect, but you’re arguing specs instead of performance…read the article again man. U missed what it’s emphasizing

    • Tactical Lag-fighting tips

      Heard that before with the xbox one “Balanced”
      “Custom Move Engines” “No way we are giving up 50% performance difference on paper to the PS4”

      all that talk ended with 720-900p sub 30s

      Just the same all over again.

    • Mark

      Well we aren’t listening to Microsoft’s PR about Scorpio, we’re reading about what Digital Foundry saw…

    • C. Hoffer

      Agreed but to be fair poorly designed game engines will still be the bain of any hardware. Look at the frostbite engine on Andromeda and the engine Nioh uses. Perfect examples of how to do game engines that are such weak performers the end customer blames the hardware rather then the developer.

    • Mark

      Well then let’s just hope there’s a bunch of well designed game engines for the Scorpio’s sake!

    • Gamez Rule

      We’ve been waiting for those game engines to come too Xbone as well.

    • Hiyperion

      “Processing draw calls – effectively telling the graphics hardware what
      to draw – is one of the most important tasks the CPU carries out. It can
      suck up a lot of processor resources, a pipeline that traditionally
      takes thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – of CPU instructions.
      With Scorpio’s hardware offload, any draw call can be executed with just
      11 instructions, and just nine for a state change.”

    • Mark

      Most people still aren’t paying attention to that. Microsoft found a way to exploit an inexpensive CPU, by giving developers direct access to the GPU thru the API…..ahaha, dam if that ain’t creative

    • C. Hoffer

      They did some other behind the scenes stuff like this for the 360 too. It was one of the things that made that system great. 🙂

    • Mark

      Dude I still don’t know what Power PC architecture is! Ahaha….I just started reading about hardware this gen

    • GHost Box

      That’s some serious customization right there.

    • Hiyperion

      Even if this is Jag/Polaris based the customization done on the HW is amazing to say the least.

  • crazy_black_man-
  • Rasta4

    Errr the CPU is the most powerful CPU ever put in a console. The highest frequency ever in console at 2.3 ghz and DX12 is applied directly on it.
    “Microsoft has included Direct3D 12 technology on the chip itself which reduces API overhead by up to 50%, making that 30% cpu boost even more significant”

  • Mr Xrat

    More spin just like 2013.

    • Rasta4

      Shhh mental boy…back to Niho at 720p.

    • Triton

      They should port it to Scorpio so people (even you can get one Mr Xrat) can play it in 4K.

    • Rasta4

      Exactly…
      4k makes you a better gamer since yoshida said 1080p makes you a better gamer.

    • Mark

      ♏️

    • Mr Xrat

      F*t Toni port-begging because he has no games to play, what a surprise.

      Square-Enix announces more support for Switch than for Shitpio, so much for that Japan visit.

    • Triton

      I only want the best for you.
      You deserve it after after such a shocking prestige loss.

    • Mr Xrat

      Still jealous of games, retarded woodpecker? It’s OK, set up a petition so you can beg for it. Afterwards you can set up a petition to get rid of the Jaguar CPU in the Shitpio.

    • Rasta4

      Errrr jealous of single player hack n slash trade ins and Japanese anime weirdness. They are coming to PSnow gimp.

      45% raw compute advantage Scorpio has over “pro” 720. That is funny.

    • Mr Xrat

      CPU a mere 200MHz faster
      Just four more compute units, better hope the cooling can handle the overclocking
      4GB of the 12GB of RAM reserved for the OS

      So much for that “beast.” Now that’s funny.


 

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