Microsoft has finally revealed the specifications of this forthcoming Xbox Project Scorpio console, and the figures largely confirm that which has been floated by the analyst community previously. Delivering 6 Tflops of computing power, the Xbox Project Scorpio will be an immensely powerful machine.
However, Sony and Nintendo already have a head start over at Microsoft, with the Switch and PS4 Pro already available. Can Microsoft catch up with its two rivals, and how does the Xbox Project Scorpio matchup against the two existing consoles? Let’s take a look at the specifics.
Xbox Project Scorpio vs. Nintendo Switch vs. PS4 Pro – CPU
The Project Scorpio is immediately clocked at a higher speed than the PS4 Pro, indicating that the machine has more processing power. The octa-core processor in the yet to be released Microsoft console is clocked at 2.3 GHz, compared to the 2.1 GHz clock speed of the PS4 Pro. Nintendo has never attempted to match the other competitors in the console marketplace in pure spec terms, and thus the Nintendo Switch’s octa-core processor is clocked at only 1.02 GHz.
The graphical processing unit included in a console is critically related to its ability to deliver quality gaming. And it is thus notable that the Xbox Project Scorpio outperforms the PS4 Pro here as well. The Xbox Project Scorpio features 40 compute units clocked at 1,172 Mhz, while the PS4 Pro only possesses 36 compute units clocked at 911 MHz.
This is one area in which the Nintendo Switch is fairly competitive with the powerhouses of Microsoft and Sony, with the GPU speed of the Japanese console being 768 MHz.
There is nothing to choose between the two major players in the console battle here, with both the Xbox Project Scorpio and PS4 Pro relying on 8GB of RAM memory. Nintendo’s less powerful machine naturally requires somewhat less memory, and thus the Japanese video games giant has only included 4GB of memory in the Switch.
Memory bandwidth is the rate at which data can be read from, or stored into, memory by a processor. This is another spec category that can have a serious influence over performance. So Microsoft fans will be excited that the Xbox Project Scorpio is 50 per cent more powerful than the PS4 Pro in this area. The 326GB/s of the Xbox Project Scorpio compares very favorably to the 218GB/s of the PS4 Pro.
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t really compete particularly well in this department, with the console only delivering memory bandwidth of 25.6GB/s.
With video games taking up an increasing quantity of memory, storage is becoming ever more important in this niche. But this is one area in which Microsoft has chosen not to arm the Xbox Project Scorpio with great power. Both the Scorpio and the PS4 Pro feature 1TB of native storage.
It is rather difficult to compare the Nintendo Switch to either of the Sony and Microsoft consoles in this area, as it simply works completely differently. The cartridge-based system, with micro SD built in to the console, means that the Switch features only 32GB of native storage. But, of course, significantly less is needed.
The optical drive included with a video game console has been a vital component of previous console generations. The inclusion of a DVD drive with the PS2 was a massive selling point of the hugely successful console, while Sony’s PS3 also saw off HD-DVD in the last generation format wars.
However, although consumers still commonly use physical media, the desire for Blu-ray drives in the era of streaming is becoming considerably diminished. Thus, Sony has decided to veer away from its previous policy of delivering the best optical drive possible in its console range, offering PS4 Pro consumers a standard Blu-ray drive.
Microsoft has already made a big deal out of this omission, promoting the fact that it includes a 4K Blu-ray drive in the Xbox Project Scorpio. Meanwhile, Nintendo has done the complete opposite! There is, quite simply, no optical drive included in the Nintendo Switch.
The fact that the Nintendo Switch can be docked with a television, and also removed for portable gaming, is a massive selling point of the console. The performance of the Nintendo Switch even when being carried around in the real world is extremely respectable, and this feature of the console has already received a great deal of plaudits.
It is also a unique feature in the current console generation, with Sony’s PS4 Pro unable to deliver portable gaming, and no plans for this feature to be included in the Xbox Project Scorpio either.
Microsoft has yet to officially announce the price of the Xbox Project Scorpio, but early estimates suggest that it could be price in the $500 to $600 range. Some estimates have even been even higher than this, based on its powerful specs, but Microsoft must surely ensure that the console is priced at $600 at the absolute maximum.
A much more realistic price point for the Xbox Project Scorpio would be $500, as Sony is sure to cut the price of the PS4 Pro ahead of its release. The Sony console already retails at less than $500, but if Microsoft is to achieve market penetration then it must price the Xbox Project Scorpio competitively.
However, this is going to be extremely challenging considering the advanced peripherals and components included in the Xbox Project Scorpio, and the overall specs of the console. This will probably be the biggest conundrum for Microsoft; how to balance the demands of performance and affordability.
These three console contenders can be summed up quite simply. The Xbox Project Scorpio is the most powerful of the three, but Microsoft faces a massive challenge to deliver an affordable unit into a marketplace in which Sony is already established as the dominant player.
The PS4 Pro enhances the Sony brand, and provides the market-leading corporation with flexibility and consumer choice.
And the Nintendo Switch continues to plow a loan and idiosyncratic furrow, priding itself on delivering a unique gaming experience rather than being a technological powerhouse.