What's inside Scorpio's SoC?

  • Jaguar CPU Cores + Polaris Based (GFX8) GPU

    Votes: 42 30.2%
  • Jaguar CPU Cores + Vega Based (GFX9) GPU

    Votes: 43 30.9%
  • Zen CPU Cores + Polaris Based (GFX8) GPU

    Votes: 16 11.5%
  • Zen CPU Cores + Vega Based (GFX9) GPU

    Votes: 38 27.3%

  • Total voters
    139
  • Poll closed .

Sweepr

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May 12, 2006
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April 6, 2017 Update

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Original Thread:


New interview with Albert Penello sheds some light on their plans for the console.

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What we Know (E3 2016 Info)

''Project Scorpio''
8 Core CPU
6 TFLOPS of computing capability (SoC) / 6 TFLOPS of GPU power
>320 GB/s Bandwidth*
Backwards Compatible
Built for 4K and VR
2017 Launch

*384 GB/s according to the latest interview (below).

Some Speculation (Eurogamer)

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September 2016 Interview

Albert Penello said:
To go back to your original point about salting the competition or trying to be aggressive against them. I think there are a lot of caveats they're giving customers right now around 4K. They're talking about checkerboard rendering and up-scaling and things like that. There are just a lot of asterisks in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting because when we thought about what spec we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and render them in native, true 4K. That was why we picked the number, that's why we have the memory bandwidth we have, that's why we have the teraflops we have, because it's what we heard from game developers was required to achieve native 4K.

Now, similarly to what Sony said, that doesn't mean I'm going to require developers to do this. They're going to be able to decide to take that six teraflops of power and do what they think is best for their game. But I know that 4.2 teraflops is not enough to do true 4K. So, I feel like our product aspired a little bit higher, and we will have fewer asterisks around the 4K experiences we deliver on our box.

Albert Penello said:
Yeah. We had to pick a number. Why did you choose six teraflops? Why did you choose 384Gb/s in memory bandwidth? What's the point of those numbers? The point of those numbers was to deliver Xbox One-quality games in 4K. That's the point of those numbers. But we're not going to dictate to developers that that's how they have to use that power.

I'm going to start our predictions with a poll. We know it's an AMD design that includes 8-core CPU + 6 TFLOPs GPU, but which CPU + GPU combination do you expect?
 
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imported_bman

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Vega 11 derivative for graphics, 12GB 384bit 1.7GHz GDDR5, and upclocked Jaguars. I think a 4 core Zen is a possibility but I question if AMD is ready to produce an APU with Zen cores for the Scorpio's launch in Q3/Q4 2017. I hope for Zen as it would make a big difference to the overall experience given how sluggish the Xbox One UI is and it would be a great boost to Xbox 360 emulation which works well now and would be excellent with a more powerful CPU.

MS could really make a great box given the available tech but being MS they will probably mess it up. They need to do something about storage this time around, either offer a SSD version or make the HDD easily replaceable like the PS4. Also if they are going to stick HDDs by default they should up the eMMC chip to 64GB (MS can probably mass buy these chips for around $15) and partition it in half so that the OS and a select number of apps can install on one half and the other half is used as a general cache. A basic KB+M desktop mode that would allow the user to install desktop style apps from a walled garden type marketplace could make the Scorpio an option for people who want a basic PC and gaming machine (average college kid who uses PC for web browsing, email, gaming, and word processing). Also allowing the selling of older PC games through this walled garden would be interesting as developers would have a fixed target to make sure their games run well (the mode would allow for KB+M only games), this would actually bring users to the MS store. MS would just need to add a basic stereo out and few extra USB ports to make this a possibility. Given the hardware available this time around MS could have a do (nearly) everything media box that is actually viable.
 

EXCellR8

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Numbers, numbers, numbers. No vote because until I see some promising upcoming titles there is almost nothing to be excited about... except maybe the main menu in 4k?
 

Triloby

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Mar 18, 2016
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I will probably never understand why Sony and Microsoft went with the 8 Jaguar CPU cores for their consoles. They were a horrible CPU choice back then, and the issues with Jaguar have only gotten worse since then. Even a small OC to 2.1 GHz isn't going to alleviate their CPU bottleneck issues for either PS4 Pro or Scorpio.
 

Zstream

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I will probably never understand why Sony and Microsoft went with the 8 Jaguar CPU cores for their consoles. They were a horrible CPU choice back then, and the issues with Jaguar have only gotten worse since then. Even a small OC to 2.1 GHz isn't going to alleviate their CPU bottleneck issues for either PS4 Pro or Scorpio.
May I ask why you think it's terrible? While it might not be fast from a typical PC standpoint, getting close the the metal is or should be what matters. I have multiple 5350, 5370's and it's far from a slouch.
 

Enigmoid

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May I ask why you think it's terrible? While it might not be fast from a typical PC standpoint, getting close the the metal is or should be what matters. I have multiple 5350, 5370's and it's far from a slouch.

Because a lot of game calculations are pretty hard bound by the absolute bounds of the hardware. AI, physics calculations, etc.

Also, getting close to the metal only goes so far. There is a reason why almost all console games tend to have vastly reduced draw distances or weaker shadows.
 

NTMBK

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Anything more powerful than a Jaguar is eating into power budget that they'll need for that gigantic GPU. No way they would fit in such a big GPU and 8 Zen cores. An 8 core Zen SoC is meant to be 65-95W! Unless they count 4 Zen cores with SMT as 8 cores... which seems unlikely.
 

Blitzvogel

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Oct 17, 2010
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Because a lot of game calculations are pretty hard bound by the absolute bounds of the hardware. AI, physics calculations, etc.

Also, getting close to the metal only goes so far. There is a reason why almost all console games tend to have vastly reduced draw distances or weaker shadows.

It made sense for the late 2013 timeframe. Jaguar was small in footprint, relatively power efficient, and supports alot of modern ISAs. In totality, the 8 cores in either the PS4 or Xbone are at least as capable as a Sandy Bridge i3 and GPGPU was a hyped up capability, especially with the PS4's much bigger GPU. The only other option at the time from AMD (AFAIK) would've been a dual-module part that would've required the same amount of die space, but 3.0 GHz like clock speeds to achieve a comparable amount of processing capability. That of course would've eaten into the TDP budget.

I'm not a console shill, but I think the PS4 is a decent gaming box. I AM disappointed by the lack of physics GPGPU use on it though. Both systems are HSA compatible no? And of course the PS4 has many more ACEs too.
 

Enigmoid

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Anything more powerful than a Jaguar is eating into power budget that they'll need for that gigantic GPU. No way they would fit in such a big GPU and 8 Zen cores. An 8 core Zen SoC is meant to be 65-95W! Unless they count 4 Zen cores with SMT as 8 cores... which seems unlikely.

It has a TDP of over 300W. There really is no sense to quibble over 20 or 30W more or less.
Zen, running at lower clockspeeds would hopefully be just as efficient (if 14nm Zen can't be competitive with 28nm jaguar in terms of efficiency then Zen is a failure). 4 Zen cores with SMT at 2.x ghz clocks would hopefully consume <40W.

Please also note that that gigantic GPU is pretty useless if you can't keep it fed. The consoles currently only give around 5.5 cores to a game. Also, as currently implemented, the consoles do not contain 8 cohesive cores - they have two 4 core clusters connected by an extremely high latency bus (~80 cycles). Games effectively have 4 cores for the 'meat and potatoes' and 1.5 cores for lower priority game threads.

It made sense for the late 2013 timeframe. Jaguar was small in footprint, relatively power efficient, and supports alot of modern ISAs. In totality, the 8 cores in either the PS4 or Xbone are at least as capable as a Sandy Bridge i3 and GPGPU was a hyped up capability, especially with the PS4's much bigger GPU. The only other option at the time from AMD (AFAIK) would've been a dual-module part that would've required the same amount of die space, but 3.0 GHz like clock speeds to achieve a comparable amount of processing capability. That of course would've eaten into the TDP budget.

I'm not a console shill, but I think the PS4 is a decent gaming box. I AM disappointed by the lack of physics GPGPU use on it though. Both systems are HSA compatible no? And of course the PS4 has many more ACEs too.

Jaguar was the best choice at the time. Now however, with the GPU power growing by more than a factor of two it may be better to wait for Zen.
 

dogen1

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Oct 14, 2014
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I will probably never understand why Sony and Microsoft went with the 8 Jaguar CPU cores for their consoles. They were a horrible CPU choice back then, and the issues with Jaguar have only gotten worse since then. Even a small OC to 2.1 GHz isn't going to alleviate their CPU bottleneck issues for either PS4 Pro or Scorpio.

What would have been a better choice back then?
Seems to me to have been a good pick when you consider all factors(price, performance, power, apu vs resultant gpu choice).

I also don't really agree with your second point. I think the bottleneck is avoidable with the given API features on console. For example, using a small number of indirect draws instead of massive amounts of draw calls.
 
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nathanddrews

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The thinking at the time - a trend I hope will eventually die off - was for a "cinematic gaming experience". 30fps (if you're lucky), quicktime events, frequent and overly long cutscenes. The need for 60fps, and thus the need for high CPU clocks, was diminished by the nature of the games and gameplay that everyone (publishers) was demanding (selling).

For games where 60fps was desired, they simply reduced resolutions and upscaled using GPU resources to compensate for Jag's lack of fill rate.

Inexpensive multi-core performance is more important for a fixed multipurpose machine (gaming, media, overlay, stream broadcasting) than fast single core performance (moar fps). Their decision made complete sense, I just don't like it.
 

Sweepr

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Have to agree that they need to figure out the right CPU+GPU combination in terms of performance, die space and power budget. There's already quite a few examples of CPU bottlenecks in PS4/X1:

Our penultimate test is a bust. Fallout 4 could surely use some of that extra refinement offered by the Xbox One S's GPU boost, but the end result is an uncanny match between the two iterations of Xbox One hardware. In some cases, the frame-drops are literally identical, suggesting a memory or CPU bottleneck - something the additional GPU power is not going to address.

Returning to Hitman, the Paris stage is NPC heavy and all of those characters, simulated AI and animation don't come cheap. The performance limitation here is CPU-based, and watching the footage unfold it's interesting to see the fits and starts with One S as it pulls ahead of Xbox One, then returns to parity in a fascinating battle of the bottlenecks.

Assassin's Creed Unity: In terms of single-player performance, both consoles manage to achieve a near locked 30fps for extended periods of time during gameplay in more linear environments or scenes that aren't filled with expansive detail - even when there are copious amounts of particles and post-processing effects on display - suggesting that large numbers of NPCs and a CPU bottleneck are the causes of the major drops in smoothness we see elsewhere. However, when it comes down to general exploration of Paris and wading through large crowds of NPCs, performance is significantly impacted across both consoles, with frequent judder and heavy controls occurring as frame-rates drop.

Just Cause 3: Large explosions and heavy deployment of alpha transparencies clearly have a tangible impact on performance across both consoles, with sub-30fps metrics rolling out when the engine is put under stress in intense firefights. CPU-driven physics also seem to be a bottleneck in some scenarios.

GTA V: But once we venture on to later missions, certain buckling points start appearing on each console. For the PS4, this often manifests during speed races through busy downtown junctions, where a drop to 24fps constitutes our biggest performance dip. In running a time-lapse comparison of these grid-locked areas, it's interesting to learn traffic patterns are indeed identical for both platforms - the density of active vehicles is matched for both PS4 and Xbox One, so the Microsoft console's advantage here is probably down to its faster CPU cores. Xbox One, meanwhile, suffers from drops around heavier traffic, but typically to a lesser extent than its PS4 stablemate.
 
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imported_bman

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Anything more powerful than a Jaguar is eating into power budget that they'll need for that gigantic GPU. No way they would fit in such a big GPU and 8 Zen cores. An 8 core Zen SoC is meant to be 65-95W! Unless they count 4 Zen cores with SMT as 8 cores... which seems unlikely.

A 4 core low frequency Zen would be around 33W and 4 core Jaguars are usually in 15W range meaning that the 8 cores on the Xbox One draw around 30W. Also the Zen core is supposed to be 4.9mm^2 at 14nm and Jaguar is 3.1mm^2 at 28nm, which means 20mm^2 vs 24mm^2. So I could see a 4 core Zen with SMT being a possibility in terms of power and die area, question is will it be ready for next year.
 
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leoneazzurro

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Why do you think Scorpio will be on 28nm? My guess is that we'll se it on 14nm, at least to keep power consumption down not only on the CPU side but especially on the GPU.
 

imported_bman

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It will be 14nm, I was just comparing it to the specs of the non-S Xbox One to show that Zen can fit into a similar power/die space envelope.
 

leoneazzurro

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OK, but then a Jaguar core on 14nm wil be quite smaller and less power hungry. Anyway, a low-clocked zen 8-core derivative (maybe with a smaller L2/L3) could be also possible. At little less than 2 GHz it could consume even less than the prospected 30W (it depends how low it can be undervolted).
 

podspi

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If Zen does end up in Scorpio, it'll be clocked low enough that it isn't significantly faster than the X1's SoC anyway.


Remember, Microsoft has promised that this is not the start of a new generation, and that all titles (except VR) will be compatible with the original X1. Graphics are easier to scale up and down, CPU is much harder.
 
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If Zen does end up in Scorpio, it'll be clocked low enough that it isn't significantly faster than the X1's SoC anyway.


Remember, Microsoft has promised that this is not the start of a new generation, and that all titles (except VR) will be compatible with the original X1. Graphics are easier to scale up and down, CPU is much harder.

Zen is unlikely to be in Scorpio.
 

podspi

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Zen is unlikely to be in Scorpio.
I agree, but even if it were, it'd be because it is expedient, or more efficient (8 threads via hyperthreading), not because it's faster

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