We’re going to have two new entries in our console families in the next 14 months, with both the PS4 Pro and Xbox Project Scorpio confirmed.
The rise of virtual reality and 4K televisions have forced Sony and Microsoft into a strange position, leading them to develop new console iterations perfect for such technologies.
We’ve compiled everything we know so far about both systems including confirmed details and spicy rumours that should be taken with a grain of salt for the time being.
Project Scorpio isn’t expected until Winter 2017 while the PS4 Pro will launch on November 10th.
Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro – Processor
Xbox Scorpio: 8-core, unkown clock speed
PS4 Pro: 8-core, unknown clock speed
Because we don't know much about the Xbox Scorpio, it's hard to know the two will compare, aside from the fact that the Scorpio, coming a year after the Pro, will end up with a newer, more powerful chip.
From the sounds of it, Sony's PS4 Pro is using the same or a very similar chip found in the standard PS4 with a slight boost to clock speed, but the actual number hasn't been confirmed.
Related: PlayStation VR Review
Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro – GPU & Memory Bandwidth
Xbox Scorpio: 6 TFLOPS, 320GBGB/s, unknown amount and type
PS4 Pro: 4.12 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR5, unknown bandwidth
Graphics memory is the one of only two places we can make direct comparisons, assuming the figures for the Pro are accurate.
The Xbox Scorpio will likely have 8GB of graphics memory (we don’t know this for a fact, but it’s the bare minimum we’d expect) while the Pro will also have 8GB.
In terms of memory bandwidth, which is super important when it comes to 4K and VR, the Scorpio appears to dominate the PS4 Neo with 320GB/s of bandwidth against 218GB/S. That Pro figure isn't confirmed though, and merely comes from a rumour that surfaced months prior to the PS4 Pro's launch.
That 320GB/s figure on the Scorpio is intriguing: it's the same bandwidth as Nvidia’s top-end GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card for PCs, which uses GDDR5X memory instead of GDDR5.
It’s quite possible there will be a gulf in memory tech between the two consoles, with the Scorpio getting faster GDDR5X with the Pro stuck on GDDR5. Of course, this is all subject to change, and Sony could likely give Neo a cheeky upgrade before it launches.
Watch: Nvidia GTX 1080 review
The other specification we can make direct comparisons with is the GPU’s floating point operations per second (TFLOPS). This is the most basic way of measuring pure performance but, as we’ll see, it won’t tell the whole story.
The Xbox Scorpio will be capable of 6TFLOPs while the Pro is will get 4.2TFLOPS. For the tech-savvy among us, that’s roughly the difference between a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and a previous-generation GTX 970. We’ll know more once the final specs are revealed, and how much of a difference there really is between the PS4 Pro and Scorpio.
For VR, it helps that the PSVR has just one screen, reducing the processing requirements compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with their two, high resolution screens. If, as some have speculated, the Xbox supports Oculus for VR, the Scorpio's extra power will help immensely.
No matter which way you slice it, PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio are poised to be vastly different systems. Sony and Microsoft are keen to tackle 4K and VR as both mediums move into the limelight in the coming months.
How each console will change the way we play and the games we buy remains to be seen, as it appears all games will work on all available systems regardless if you decide to upgrade.
If you’re waiting on a console to competently run virtual reality, however, it might be wiser to invest in a gaming PC.