Digital Foundry Microsoft Xbox Scorpio Reveal [2017: 04-06, 04-11, 04-15, 04-16]

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by iroboto, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. egoless

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    As easy as GeForce FX partial precision hints everywhere?

    Excellent phrasing. :-D
     
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  2. Rootax

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    Maybe loading time are faster because of a cpu speed bump, and not hdd related ? (so decompression, shader compilation, etc, are faster ?)
     
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  3. Allandor

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    My theory is still, that the long loading times came from the encryption, because on the HDDs everything is encrypted and must be decrypted before usage. You can see this, e.g. when using an SSD but the loading times are only a bit faster. If the fixed function units for decrypting the data are now operating faster, you automatically get better loading times.
     
  4. goonergaz

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    True, all Pro games load faster
     
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  5. Rock_Lee

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    Course, cpu clock bump improves load times, they say so in digital foundry interview. But they also say they have had the chance for customizing the hard drive itself.

    From Major Nelson podcast:

    "Albert Penello: So when we ... the first thing is, we have a, um, a hard drive in Scorpio that provides about 50% more throughput than the hard drive in the existing Xbox, and that's because we didn't want load times to be terrible when you're loading these big 4K textures. So we did a lot of work on-on a custom hard drive in our console. The nice thing about that is when I'm loading 1080p textures, the load times are much faster. So just by putting an Xbox One, uh, game in the Scorpio, your games are gonna load faster. Now, I think everybody knows today, load times vary from game to game, but all your load times are gonna be a lot faster on Scorpio for the existing games.
    The second thing is as people might remember when we launched Xbox One S, that we upped the GPU clock just a little bit for HDR."
     
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  6. function

    function None functional
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    I can see the mounting and perhaps even the firmware of the HDD being customised, but the platter, head, servos, enclosure? That would seem like a lot of extra expense ...
     
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  7. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
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    Maybe they upped the cache on the hdds, perhaps all the way up to 128Meg? That seems to be what new desktop models use like the newer model 4TB HGSTs. The older model used 64Meg but about a month ago they released models with 128Meg.
     
  8. Allandor

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    Having more cache is always nice, but doesn't bring up much performance on the table.
    Just like SSDs on current consoles, they reduce load times, but not by the margin you could expect of an ssd. the bottleneck is not on the side of the hard-drive or the interface.
     
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  9. Silent_Buddha

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    SSDs don't and have never reduced load times as much as people expect considering the specifications of SSDs on PC. Concoles aren't going to magically get a larger benefit from SSDs than PCs. It's nice, it's appreciable, but it's not nearly what the difference in actual transfer rates and random access seek times would indicate.

    You can enable full drive software encryption on PC's for years now, and the performance impact is never significant. File compression will have a larger effect, but even there decompression has only a very small relation to CPU speed as it's far more limited by your storage subsystem. Compressing and encrypting files is only CPU intensive when compressing or encrypting the files. Decrypting and decompressing files are much less CPU intensive and there are no CPUs on the market that will be significantly slowed by decrypting or decompressing files to such an extent that the CPU becomes the bottleneck and not the storage medium. Of course, this is assuming some level of data encryption support in the CPU (most modern CPUs have some level of encryption support).

    This is why, when you see benchmarks for various data encryption or compression schemes, you almost never see benchmarks for decrypting or decompression as those don't generally impact storage subsystem speeds significantly.

    Comparisons between HDD and SSD are further complicated on PS4 due to the storage device going through a USB interface versus a native SATA interface for the internal drive. Again that will be far more limiting than the CPU when decrypting or decompressing files.

    Some data.

    AES encryption speeds without AES-NI enabled in CPU
    https://us.hardware.info/reviews/60...sor-megatest-benchmarks-igpu-truecrypt-71-aes

    AES encryption speeds with AES-NI enabled in CPU (The Pentium CPUs don't support AES-NI so it can't be enabled on those CPUs)
    https://us.hardware.info/reviews/60...est-benchmarks-igpu-truecrypt-71-aes-+-aes-ni

    Even without AES-NI support, the slowest CPU tested there wouldn't be impacted at all by data encryption with the base HDD included in either console. SSDs, however would have their performance impacted with data encryption.

    With AES-NI support even SATA based SSDs wouldn't be impacted. You'd have to move up to PCIE based SSDs in order to see a performance impact in benchmarks, they'd still be virtually imperceptible outside of benchmarks.

    The Jaguar CPU cores in both the PS4 and XBO support AES-NI.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #649 Silent_Buddha, Apr 18, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  10. rokkerkory

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    Do we know if this is based on the 2nd gen Polaris iteration? Basically a slightly tweaked and optimized Polaris.
     
  11. bgroovy

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    Based on Penello's track record, I'd guess the customizations they made to the HDD for Scorpio include renaming the platters "Super-Spinners" and calling the cache "Burst Storage". They may have also checked the "1 TB" box on their order form.
     
  12. 3dilettante

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    I'm not certain it's based on the first gen of Polaris, or Tonga. It's more complicated since individual features can be picked out of many different stages of the architecture, but there are some fundamental elements to the CUs that might not be able to be changed as long as full compatibility is maintained with the GCN2 architecture.
     
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  13. mosen

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    http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/rendering-low-lod-cars-at-lightning-speed-in-forza-motorsport-6

    Could this be related to what DF mentioned in their article?

     
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  14. Cyan

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    Well, some developers are using it on the PS4 Pro, though the benefits are more related to performance rather than resolution.

    Interview with The Surge developers.

    http://wccftech.com/the-surge-not-close-maxing-ps4-pro/


     
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  15. Jay

    Jay
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    I'm amazed that DF hasn't either got hold off / or done any articles yet on the document that the devs got as part of the ms demonstration.
    It seems to be out there, it's what Jez on windows central used as basis for the image comparisons article. Although, the article kind of mis-represents what it was really demonstrating by the looks of it.
    As usual it's about unpicking his take and interpretation.

    Hopefully it may get leaked onto net for us all to see.
    Wouldn't surprise me if some DF articles are on route though. It's been a bit too quite :lol:

    From what I've seen RPM can have some easy wins, but to really make full use of it, it's probably a lot of work involved.

    So I fully expect it to be used, even though not supported by Scorpio, guess the question is will it be used past the easy quick wins, where a lot of work is involved?
     
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  16. Davros

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    The Scorpio supports 4k
    let me guess, devs will write games that support 4k instead of thinking ahead and writing the game to support any resolution
    that the display reports because tv's may support higher resolutions and there could be a Scorpio successor that supports higher resolutions.
     
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  17. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    This is the likely scenario. Developers will give up future resolution for spending time to optimize 4K which is coming to play now.

    I think the saying is "we'll cross that bridge when we get there"
     
  18. Jay

    Jay
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    MS seems to be pushing for scalable games/engines, so yea they will have target platforms (inc res & frame rate), but I wouldn't be surprised if engines start to become more inherently scalable.

    It will help for current games, and future ones also.
    Be harder for some games than others though, as you don't get the same level of options that you do on pc.
    I believe forza apex has implemented a pretty good automatic options though, maybe more games will also be able to do something similar, internal setting more for the future consoles than the targets they already know?
     
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  19. Jay

    Jay
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    I do wonder how games are going to implement their graphical options though.

    Even in the current generation of x1 machines (including Scorpio), got multiple resolutions, possibly 30, 60, unlocked frame rates, freesync.

    So yea, you got performance modes, high graphical mode, but is a toggle good enough?
    Sure it's dependant on games, but this is something that they will have to tackle, so unlocking for future hardware doesn't sound so crazy after having taken all this into account.
     
  20. Kaotik

    Kaotik Drunk Member
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    Seriously why does this myth of Scorpio not supporting 2xFP16/packed math still float around and is feeded to people?
    MS hasn't said a single damn word about FP16 support and any dev interview couldn't confirm or deny it even if they knew whether it supports packed math or not.
     
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