PlayStation Neo vs. Xbox One S and Xbox Scorpio: comparison of the 4K consoles
Stephan Jukic – August 10, 2016
The Microsoft Xbox One S is now here and on sale, or at least its priciest, most powerful 2TB version and from what we’ve reliably heard to-date, the Sony PlayStation Neo is coming very soon, in September in fact. What’s more, in so many ways, both gaming consoles are extremely similar in their core capabilities and even their appearance to some degree.
Representing moderate updates to their older versions the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One S and PlayStation Neo are not entirely new next-generation successors to their respective cousins. For these we have Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, slated for 2017, which does indeed promise to be a much more powerful new console and from Sony’s part, we speculate that there will also presumably be a 2017 release of a new console, though the company has made no mention of this at all to our knowledge.
At least in Microsoft’s case, the Xbox Scorpio for 2017 will reportedly be a true 4K UHD native resolution gaming platform, unlike the Xbox One S, which only manages to handle 1080p console games and upscale some of them with HDR and pseudo-4K resolution. The PlayStation Neo is also being claimed by Sony as true 4K gaming console, capable even of delivering 2160p gameplay at 60 frames per second but this is something we’re still taking with a grain of salt since simulated tests of the console’s expected processing power don’t indicate anything close to robust 4K gaming capacity. In other words, we’ll have to wait and see on this count.
Before we go further, we should also mention that we consider the fairer comparison among Scoprio, Xbox One S and Neo to be between the Neo and the Xbox One S. After all, both consoles seem to be more closely matched and more importantly, both are coming out within the same year. The Scorpio expected to be more powerful by a wide margin than either One S or Neo considering the technological advances we’re expecting in the next several months, we suspect that whatever the Neo delivers upon its 2016 release will be superseded by Microsoft’s 2017 console. Sony might by then even have also released something even more robust than the Neo, though we’re just speculating on that last bit.
Now, down to the core of this piece, how the Xbox One S, Xbox Scorpio and Sony PlayStation Neo stack up against each other, because while both brands have their dedicated, loyal fans, both also have plenty of potential customers who are sitting on the fence based on what’s best for them. Let’s take a look.
Processing Power and other Performance Specs
First of all, discussing the specs of the Scorpio or even the Neo for that matter is a bit tricky since these details are hazy at best for both of these yet unreleased consoles. Thus we’re left more with rumors than hard fact here.
That said, what’s being described so far indicates that the Scorpio will definitely be a more powerful console than the Neo in several key areas. Sony’s Neo is expected to output about 2.1 GHz and offer an 8-core processer that has been developed by AMD and offers power similar to that of the GPU makers Polaris architecture, which is also found in their latest RX 480 graphics card. This alone takes a lot away from Sony’s claims of 4K gaming capacity at high (55+ FPS) frame rate gaming in native 2160p resolution. Even the AMD RX 480 itself can’t manage this and unless the Neo comes with some additional punch we don’t yet know about, it likely won’t be able to do so as well.
As for the Scorpio, things get even more speculative but Microsoft is also promising native 4K gaming and VR support and furthermore claims that the processing power needed for both of these things will definitively be packed into the Scorpio console. Since Microsoft is waiting until next year to actually release the console, we can likely expect chipset and processor advances that happen during the next several months to give the Microsoft console a wider margin of power at a more reasonable price. What we do consider to be a valid rumor is that the Scorpio will have an 8-Core CPU just like the Neo.
Both Neo and Scorpio are going to come with an 8GB graphics memory according to reports but it’s currently indicated that the Scorpio will offer the superior memory bandwidth at 320GB/s as opposed to the rumored 218GB/s for the Neo. Currently, Only Nvidia’s top GPUs, the GTX 1080 and Titan X 2016 graphics card deliver 320GB(s or better memory bandwidth performance, and given their massive size, we doubt Sony will match that performance in a 2016 Neo console. Microsoft however might manage it in time for a 2017 Neo console.
Finally, comparing both Neo and Scorpio only here, the Scorpio is expected to manage a whopping 6 teraflops while the expectations for the Neo are only 4.14 TFLOPS. Thus again, we see that all specs rumors indicate a more powerful 4K gaming console in the Scorpio. On the other hand, there are analysts who still doubt Microsoft’s claims about this kind of 4K gaming power, just as other analysts we mentioned above doubt the 4K chops of the PS Neo. However, again, Microsoft is giving itself more time to deliver their console and this gives us reason to hope for truth in the 4K gaming claims around the console.
As for the Xbox One S, it is very definitely the weaker player among the three when the above specs are considered. The console, which has now already been released to consumers in its 2TB storage version, offers up a mere tweaking on the processing power of the classic Xbox One consol. This means that it offers a mere quad-core processing chip with a somewhat higher clock speed and a RAM that’s marginally faster than the Xbox One’s RAM. On the other hand, with these less than stunning specs, Microsoft has given the One S some awesome new features that we’re quite impressed with, even if they don’t include the supposed native 4K gaming of the Xbox Scorpio and Neo.
4K Blu-ray and 4K Video
All three gaming consoles will without a doubt support 4K UHD Blu-ray disc media and 4K video streaming. The Xbox One S definitely does as per its specs and recent release and we’ve seen these features in action with the review of the One S we recently did. In effect, the console works as a powerful 4K HDR Blu-ray platform with full support for the HDR10 high dynamic range format in streaming internet app media from sources like Netflix and all currently existing 4K Blu-ray discs on sale. The same is confirmed for the PlayStation Neo, along with HDR support for both streaming and Blu-ray discs movies. In other words, both consoles are Blu-ray players and 4K set-top boxes in addition to powerful gaming consoles.
As for the Scorpio, since the One S offers all of the above, the 2017 Microsoft console without a doubt will too. Microsoft has confirmed as much and it would be absolutely expected in a 4K gaming device of the Scorpio’s caliber. We should also note that the Xbox One S comes with HDMI 2.0a connectivity and the Neo and Scorpio undoubtedly will deliver the same thing when they come out. The Scorpio might even deliver a higher HDMI standard given its later release date.
4K and HDR Gaming
The PlayStation Neo will definitely be a 4K gaming console. This is something that Sony PlayStation boss Andrew House has confirmed and furthermore he has claimed that the console will definitely have the chops for processing 2160p graphics in native resolution (instead of simply upscaled Full HD 1080p) at as many as 60 frames per second.
The same is definitely slated for the Xbox Scorpio. Microsoft has confirmed this for their 2017 gaming console and they’re promising to pack in the processing power necessary for high-level 4K gaming delivery.
On the other hand, the Xbox One S is NOT a native resolution 4K gaming console. Instead, what it can do is offer 4K video playback support and has the rather surprising capacity to also upscale 1080p games to simulated 4K resolution through pixel splicing technology. This is not of course the same as real native 4K gaming but since the Xbox One S was never promised as a 4K gameplay console, it’s a nice bonus feature that surprised us when we noted it in the newly released device.
All three consoles offer or will offer HDR gaming and this too is a fine addition to the console gaming landscape which considerably ups the power of the gameplay experience even if it doesn’t apply to all available games for the devices. (The matter of HDR data inclusion is in the hands of game developers, if they want to match the abilities of the PS Neo or Xbox One S or Scorpio consoles.
What we do have our considerable doubts about is how well the PlayStation 4K Neo and Xbox Scorpio deliver native resolution 4K gaming. With the Scorpio these doubts are smaller and more vague due to its far-off release date but for the soon-to-arrive Neo, which is in many ways similar to the Xbox One S, we frankly have a hard time buying the idea of delivering high-end games in native 4K graphics at high frame-rates. Since the console is reportedly going to feature an AMD GPU with power similar to that of AMD’s Polaris architecture as found in the new RX480 GPU from the company, high frame rate 4K gaming simply doesn’t sound too plausible. For one thing, even the RX 480 isn’t quite capable of this feat (it’s more of a high performance 1440p graphics card) and secondly, the expectation is that the PlayStation Neo’s graphics processor will in fact be a bit weaker than that of the Polaris chipset in the 480 GPU, with a lower clock speed at least.
We’ll have to wait and see on this last count.
Pricing and Release Dates
The PlayStation Neo is widely expected to hit stores as of September 7th 2016, in a little less than a month. The Xbox One S 2TB version is already here and has been on sale since August 2nd, with the 1TB and 500GB models coming “soon”. As for the Scorpio, we only know that its supposed to be released at some point during the Holidays in late 2017, giving Microsof more than enough time to pack their 4K gaming device with some seriously, powerfully advanced processing and video rendering specs. This more than anything gives us reason to believe that the Scorpio will be the more powerful and more genuinely 4K gaming-capable console instead of the PS Neo
Story by 4k.com