"Typically for CPU, the top two items are frequency and memory latency. If the CPU has data, the faster it can process it, the quicker the result, but it also means that if it doesn't have the data, it sits there idle, so latency is a big component. On frequency, we pushed it up to 2.3GHz" explains Nick Baker "On the latency, a couple of the areas we tackled, one was all the queues coming back from the memory interface, we sped those up as well. Specifically, within the core, because we're running a virtualized OS environment, we wanted to optimize how memory translation operations happen so there are some key changes inside the core to speed those things up. The end result is that not only does the CPU run faster, it also runs more efficiently meaning more power for you at the end."According to Goossen, some performance optimizations from the upcoming AMD Vega architecture factor into the Scorpio Engine's design, but other features that made it into PS4 Pro - for example, double-rate FP16 processing - do not. However, customization was extensive elsewhere. Microsoft's GPU command processor implementation of DX12 has provided big wins for Xbox One developers, and it's set for expansion in Scorpio."We did multiple PIX captures from every single game and ran them on the emulator," Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow, Graphics, tells us - a process that proved invaluable for validating Scorpio's back-compat capabilities. "We did over 30,000 emulator runs, which is a big contributor to Nick's total cycle count because we had to make sure that we were going to land with that 100 percent compatibility [with Xbox One]."Source: Inside the Scorpio Engine: the processor architecture deep dive - NeoGAFBut to what extent do those customizations elevate Scorpio beyond a PC equipped with a notional, baseline Radeon equivalent to Scorpio's GPU - no customization but 'the same teraflops'. After the presentation, that's exactly what I asked Microsoft in the first of a couple of follow-up rounds of questions conducted over email.
"Our performance analysis and modeling were so core to the entire design process of optimization and adjustments that I don't have a specific example to call out," says Andrew Goossen. "We put every change we considered through the model. But in terms of 'more from your teraflops', I will point out that Scorpio has significant performance benefits relative to PC:
"Microsoft has made continual improvements to the shader compiler. We see significant performance wins for Xbox game content relative to compiling the same shaders on PC. [Secondly], 'to the metal' API and shader extension support allows the developer to optimize in ways that simply can't be done on PC cards. [Finally], PIX provides low-level analysis and insight that, in conjunction with 'to the metal' support, allows developers to make the most of the console GPU. These technologies are all already mature and familiar to developers, so Scorpio games will benefit from the get go."