Comparing the Xbox Scorpio to the PS4 Neo

A report by Trusted Reviews compares the Xbox Scorpio (to be released in 2017) to the rumored PlayStation 4 Neo. The report says the PS4 and Xbox One will be getting “half-generation” upgrades in the coming 18 months, with both the PS4 Neo (PS4.5) and Xbox Project Scorpio confirmed.

With the rise of both VR (virtual reality) and 4K TV, both Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation) are racing to take the lead. As the two companies gear up to release their new consoles, we are witnessing the prospect of two powerful consoles “battling it out” for market dominance.

To compare the PS4 Neo with the Xbox Scorpio, Trusted Reviews had to rely on leaked reports and a Microsoft announcement video. This makes for a difficult comparison, in addition to the fact that the Scorpio is expected to be released a year from now, while the Neo is expected later this year.

In terms of processing power, the Neo is rumored to have a 2.1Ghz 8-core processor. It will probably be made by AMD, while the Scorpio is also said to get an 8-core CPU with an unknown clock speed. The review points out that, more important to worry about than CPU, is actually GPU and graphics memory which will benefit VR and 4K performance down the line.

Assuming the figures (some rumored) about the Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Neo are accurate to go by, comparing the two at this early stage might not result in 100% accuracy. So far it’s said that the Xbox Scorpio will come equipped with 8GB of graphics memory which is the same as the Neo’s rumored 8GB.

But in terms of memory bandwidth, which some consider to be the most important figure when it comes to VR and 4K performance, the Scorpio appears to be the better option to choose from with 320GB/s bandwidth compared with the Neo’s rumored 218GB/s bandwidth.

Another direct specification that the Trusted Reviews makes is the GPU’s floating point operations per second. This is the most basic way of measuring pure performance, except it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. The Xbox Scorpio is said to be capable of 6TFLOPs (trillion floating point operations per second) while the Neo is rumoured to be capable of 4.14TFLOPs. For PC gamers, that’s roughly the difference between a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and a previous-generation GTX 970. But until the official specs for the PS4 Neo are released, there’s no certainty how big the difference will be.
Regarding VR, the PSVR will have the advantage that it 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 or Vive for VR, the Scorpio's extra power will help immensely, says the report. However, these are just ‘ifs’ and gamers need to wait for more information before clear comparisons can be made.

The review finished with this summary: “By the time these consoles come to market, they’ll represent the equivalent of year-old, upper-mid-range gaming PCs in terms of performance. With today’s graphics cards only just able to start tackling 4K and VR effectively, this might leave you concerned.”
But consider this: “Games consoles are much more efficient than their PC counterparts; they’re designed for one thing and one thing only: gaming. This means the graphics APIs are tuned to perfection, with low overheads and plenty of room for extra performance in the future.”