Microsoft has been pushing DirectX 12 for a few years now- with the Scorpio, the benefits of all of that will finally make themselves manifest. Andrew Goossen (Technical Fellow at Microsoft) explained how Scorpio will have unique DirectX 12 benefits due to the hardware design in a chat with Eurogamer, following their extensive coverage of the Scorpio this morning.
“We essentially moved Direct3D 12,” he said. Direct3D is the graphical component of DirectX, which is a bundle of multiple APIs. “We built that into the command processor of the GPU and what that means is that, for all the high-frequency API invocations that the games do, they’ll all natively implemented in the logic of the command processor – and what this means is that our communication from the game to the GPU is super-efficient.
“It’s a massive win for us and for the developers who’ve adopted D3D12 on Xbox, they’ve told us they’ve been able to cut their CPU rendering overhead by half, which is pretty amazing because now the driver portion of that is such a tiny fraction.”
Goossen also pointed out that the loading times on Scorpio will be greatly improved, thanks to a variety of factors. “We’re able to say that game loads will be fundamentally faster. There are three ways we say that – one of which is the CPU boost. The 31 percent CPU boost in terms of clock will help games that are CPU-bound in terms of their IO.
“The second one is that we’ve improved the hard disk speed. We’re actually promising developers a 50 percent improvement in overall bandwidth for the purposes of driving 4K textures, but this also helps us in this situation where you’re running existing Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles. They will also benefit from the faster hard disk.
“If Xbox One games take five gigs, we have three gigs left over. We do a file system cache on that. Any repeated IOs… if you go into a race and come out or if you go into a fight and come out, we’ve got a nice boost right there for load times as well.”
It sounds like Microsoft thought this through carefully- and as a result, we have one of the most well designed consoles ever. The hope is just that it has some actual games to back the hardware up, too.