If you haven't been living under a rock over the past few days, you may have heard that the final specs of Project Scorpio, Microsoft's next Xbox console have finally been revealed by Eurogamer last week. Just like what Microsoft promised back at E3 2016, the new console will deliver 6 teraflops of computing power thanks to a CPU with eight custom x86 cores, a GPU featuring 40 customised compute units and 12GB of GDDR memory.
Project Scorpio will the most powerful gaming console in the market when it launches later this year, but there is one detail that had yet to unveiled, which is how the hardware will interact with displays: today, Eurogamer revealed that Project Scorpio will support AMD's Freesync adaptative refresh technology as well as HDMI 2.1, the latest version of the audio/video interface that will be ratified in Q2 2017.
These new details definitely shows Microsoft's forward-looking approach with Project Scorpio's hardware. Adaptative synchronization technologies such as Nvidia' G-Sync or AMD's Freesync allow a GPU to control the display refresh rate, which reduces screen tearing and enable smooth, low-latency gameplay. "Microsoft has actually implemented the FreeSync 2 standard, meaning compatibility with HDR and full support across the range of potential frame-rates," explained Eurogamer. "Paired with a supported screen, this will even eliminate tearing on games running with adaptive v-sync with frame-rates under 30fps, something not supported on most FreeSync 1 screens."
According to the report, Freesync 2 support on Project Scorpio will benefit all Xbox games right out of the box:
What we can say is that Scorpio's adaptive sync support is baked in at the system level - the developer doesn't need to worry about it (though they could enable higher frame-rate caps for VRR users if the overhead is there). And on top of that, it works across all Xbox content that runs on the new console - Xbox 360 back-compat titles and Xbox One games.
Of course, you'll have to use Project Scorpio with a TV set that supports Freesync 2 over HDMI 2.1 to see those benefits, but you can't find living room displays sets that support both as of today. It remains to be seen if TV manufacturers will be quick to adopt the new HDMI spec plus AMD's Adaptive refresh technology, but Microsoft is probably right to be an early adopter. The company put a great emphasis on HDR support for games and video with the Xbox One S last year, and we're likely to hear more about Freesync and variable refresh rates in the coming months.