XBOX PROJECT SCARLETT

Microsoft at its E3 2019 keynote dropped a huge teaser of its next-generation gaming console development, codenamed “Project Scarlett.” 

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 by offering a high performance SSD.

The new console is also designed to be 100% backwards compatible with the Xbox One system games. This will allow existing collections of games to be playable on the new console immediately. Hardware like the original Xbox Elite Controller and the new Series 2 Elite Controller will also work fine.

The new console is being designed to support the new 8K displays now slowly entering the market. Current 4K displays are now becoming very affordable but new 8K panels are also falling in price.

The CPU is a new 7 nm semi-custom SoC by AMD with 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.

GDDR6 is faster as well which is now becoming more mainstream with new graphics cards. Most likely the new console will have at least 16GB of memory so that games have some more room to load into.

Indications are that the CPU and GPU will be discrete to allow easier thermal management. The memory chips will flesh out the logic board. The USB and Wi-Fi / Bluetooth are integrated into the CPU die.

The is good news for AMD and it remains to be seen how well the new Xbox will fair against the PS5 which is targetting 4K120 performance.

  • AMD Zen CPU 8/16 2.3 GHz
  • AMD Navi GPU 40 CU
  • GDDR 6 memory 12GB
  • SSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth

The AMD Navi supposedly outperforms the already-powerful nVidia RTX 2070 card by roughly ten percent. AMD said RX 5700 will compete with the RTX 2070 when it launches in July. AMD will most likely have more Navi cards as the year progresses.

There is a good ray tracing shader available and this was recently demonstrated on a Vega 56 card so a standard high performance GPU should be capable of executing it fine at most resolutions.

The new console is expected to be available for the fall of 2020. Halo: Infinite is expected to be delivered with the new console. Microsoft suggested the MSRP will be around $180 when it launches which is close to the bill of materials for the machine. Microsoft will earn its money from publishing.

The operating system will be largely the same as the existing Xbox One with the improvements that better hardware brings. One of the biggest new features is the DX12 DXR API which will help developers build better shaders in time. The more powerful CPU and GPU will help developers make better games.

XBOX COMPANION APP

Microsoft has also quietly changed the name of the Windows 10 Xbox App to Xbox Companion. This makes more obvious for users who have an Xbox console plugged into the home LAN.

Microsoft and Sony have both quietly made their respective consoles more suitable as part of the complete home entertainment system. Modern televisions have multiple HDMI inputs so adding console is very simple for consumers to deploy.

The television remote control can select the cable box or gaming console easily and many modern televisions have much to offer themselves. The range of options for consumers has become extraordinary in recent years.

PC COMPETITION

Looking at the gaming box now, it needs a better video card as the GTX 1060 works hard and probably a better motherboard at some time down the road mostly to move to a full ATX format. The R5 2400G is adequate for games at present but faster processors are available should it be necessary.

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