The Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro mark a shift in console gaming. Sony and Microsoft have change the rules on console upgrades, and both companies are going in very different directions. Sony has been at pains to explain this is not the beginning of a new console generation, nor a "blurring of the lines" between generations. Whereas Microsoft has pretty much stated outright it sees Project Scorpio as the beginning of the end of console life cycles.
But which machine has more power under the hood? Michael Passingham takes a look.
Watch: What we know about Xbox Scorpio
The rise of virtual reality and 4K televisions have forced Sony and Microsoft into a strange position, leading them to develop new console iterations built for such technologies.
We’ve compiled everything we know so far about both systems including all the specs, prices and games confirmed thus far.
Project Scorpio isn’t expected until Winter 2017 while the PS4 Pro is out now.
Related: Video Game release dates 2017
Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro – Processor
Xbox Scorpio: 8-core, unkown clock speed
PS4 Pro: 8-core, 2.13GHz 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. The Pro now runs at an impressive 2.13GHz, a decent improvement over the original model's 1.6.
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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, 218 GB/s
Graphics memory is the one of only two places we can make direct comparisons for the time being.
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 has 8GB with an additional 1GB of ram set aside for background processes.
In terms of memory bandwidth, which is super important when it comes to 4K and VR, the Scorpio appears to dominate the PS4 Pro with 320GB/s of bandwidth against 218GB/S.
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.
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.
Watch: HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift
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.
PS4 Pro won't revolutionise the way we play game's on Sony's system, but it will ensure they look and perform far better than ever before. Xbox Scorpio, on other hand, promises to be an entirely new system that still remains faithful to the Xbox One. How this will come to pass, remains a mystery.
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If you’re waiting on a console to competently run virtual reality, however, it might be wiser to invest in a gaming PC.