The Xbox Scorpio's specs (opens in new tab) were laid bare last week but Microsoft specifically held back on what the console itself will look like. Now an in-depth discussion of Project Scorpio dev kits by Gamasutra (opens in new tab) may provide the best indication yet of the system's final form - with a few caveats, of course. Here are some conclusions we can draw about the Xbox Scorpio hardware that will hit stores in time for the holidays this year.
It's extra-powerful so devs really go after 4K
Xbox Scorpio is quite powerful, and its dev kits even moreso: the GPU has 44 compute units instead of 40, it has twice as much GDDR5 RAM at 24GB, and an extra 1TB solid-state drive offers extra-fast storage in addition to the regular 1TB hard drive. Microsoft is giving developers that extra headroom to make it as easy as possible to shoot for high, steady frame rates with 4K-worthy visuals. “At a high level, it's much easier for a game developer to come in higher and tune down, than come in lower and tune up," Xbox Core Platform group program manager Kevin Gammill explained to Gamasutra.
It looks (relatively) small
The perspective in this photo is tricky, but it appears that the dev kit for Xbox Scorpio is smaller than the dev kit for the original Xbox One and perhaps only slightly taller than Xbox One S' kit. The version built for consumers will look at least a little different (don't get used to that cute screen on the front), but dev kits are typically either the same size or larger than their consumer counterparts. Ergo, we're probably looking at a powerful new Xbox console that doesn't dwarf everything else in your entertainment center.
You can still convert your own kit
You need to be an official Microsoft partner (either through third-party arrangements or the ID@Xbox indies program) to get a dedicated Xbox Scorpio dev kit. But just like with Xbox One and Xbox One S, you'll be able to head on over to the Universal Dev Center to unlock devkit functions for your retail Scorpio. It will also give you some more of the system's power to work with.
It has more front USB ports
The Xbox Scorpio dev kit has three vertically oriented USB ports on its front side. For any other console, I'd say there is no way in heck the retail model will have that many; Xbox One S only has one, after all. But Microsoft is trying to sell Scorpio as a premium console for 4K-enabled power users, and power users like gadgets, so you never know. The report also confirms that retail Xbox Scorpio units will have an HDMI IN jack on the back side, meaning it will still be able to pass-through your live TV signal.
For more on the future of Xbox, check out our in-depth comparison of Xbox Scorpio's specs to other consoles (opens in new tab) and our list of upcoming Xbox One games (opens in new tab).