XBOX Scorpio: DX12 Built Directly Into GPU

Space_nut

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http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2017-project-scorpio-tech-revealed

This a a game changer for GPU tech

"We essentially moved Direct3D 12," says Goossen. "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."

Processing draw calls - effectively telling the graphics hardware what to draw - is one of the most important tasks the CPU carries out. It can suck up a lot of processor resources, a pipeline that traditionally takes thousands - perhaps hundreds of thousands - of CPU instructions. With Scorpio's hardware offload, any draw call can be executed with just 11 instructions, and just nine for a state change.

"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," adds Goossen.

Also :)

"The bottom line is that Scorpio's six teraflops will almost certainly go a lot further than an equivalent PC part. I asked Microsoft about this specifically, and they raise a number of good arguments that make the case strongly. Firstly, that their shader compiler is far more efficient than PC equivalents (think of shaders as native GPU code). Secondly, addressing the hardware directly via their API and with access to console-specific GPU extensions again adds to the advantage of a fixed platform box. And finally, they point to their optimisation software - PIX (Performance Investigator for Xbox) - as a tool that provides the path to console-specific optimisations that PC simply cannot get."
 

Ricerocket

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Thought consoles didn't have this problem (draw calls) before and that DX12/Vulkan for PC is trying to mimic that?
 

Jumeira

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Yeah, im interested to see how this improves/changes Frostbite games, based on DF video this could be substantial.
 

SmartWaffles

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This isn't much different to the already available low level API's and Vulkan is it?
This is much faster and more efficient, the GPU will be able to handle commands much faster, and the CPU will spend much less resources on drawcalls, which help tremendously considering the relatively weak Jaguar in these consoles. The driver layer would be reduced quite significantly, in a word, this is as "to the metal" as it can get when it comes to console GPU design.
 

amstradcpc

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How can you build an API(low level language to talk to the GPU) into a GPU.It programs itself...Skynet...
 

VincentMatts

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This is the type of stuff MS did well with 360. Making easy for devs to take advantage of the hardware. Seems like they took a page out of that book again. Smart.
 

The Jackdog

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so if games framerates have been bottlenecked by CPUs, and this makes it less dependant on the cpu, we should see better framerates?
 

Proelite

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I don't think the title is correct. It should be that new Command Processor in Scorpio improves CPU utilization, thus freeing up more resources for Kinect.
 

Steiner

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I'd love to get Thraktor in here to give his two cents on how big of a difference this will actually make. I'm a total layman, but I always come away from a Thraktor post understanding a little bit more. Hope to hear from you soon, thrak-attack.
 

JeffG

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The only "downside" is that if an engine uses a different API for rendering, it would get no benefit. (ie DX11.x would be the most common other supported API)

So developers still using an older API may have to embark on an API update for their engine (and maybe support 2 simultaneously )

I can see some smaller shops still just using DX11 (or lower) to maintain compatibility with the max number of devices out there.
 

Madness

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So the CPU is not Jaguar?
It is but it isn't. The way they talk about it and the way it is developed, it seems to be an all new customized CPU based off of Jaguar architecture. CPU will still be the bottleneck for Scorpio but it is allowing them full BC and yet also giving them enough to make games really shine.
 

marciocdb

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The only "downside" is that if an engine uses a different API for rendering, it would get no benefit. (ie DX11.x would be the most common other supported API)

So developers still using an older API may have to embark on an API update for their engine (and maybe support 2 simultaneously )

I can see some smaller shops still just using DX11 (or lower) to maintain compatibility with the max number of devices out there.
I'm guessing they'll adapt the SDK's to support only DX12 from now on.... I mean, Xbox One can run DX12 just fine, so no point in having DX11 and DX12 available...
 

DocSeuss

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How does this change the CPU?
The CPU is still Jaguar, but custom, and clocked higher than anything else on the market right now.

What this does is basically let the GPU handle this task, so the CPU spend its compute cycles on other things.

So the CPU itself isn't changed that much, but part of its burden has been shifted to the GPU.

It is but it isn't. The way they talk about it and the way it is developed, it seems to be an all new customized CPU based off of Jaguar architecture. CPU will still be the bottleneck for Scorpio but it is allowing them full BC and yet also giving them enough to make games really shine.
Presumably it's a situation like the 360's Xenos, which was based on the AMD Radeon 1800, but had tech from AMD's 2000 series.
 

KageMaru

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The only "downside" is that if an engine uses a different API for rendering, it would get no benefit. (ie DX11.x would be the most common other supported API)

So developers still using an older API may have to embark on an API update for their engine (and maybe support 2 simultaneously )

I can see some smaller shops still just using DX11 (or lower) to maintain compatibility with the max number of devices out there.
I've been under the impression that the XBO APIs share a lot in common with DX12 found on the PC and DX11 (or a variant of it) isn't used on the XBO. Figured this was especially true ever since the XBO OS was updated to the Windows 10 kernel. Is this not the case? By now developers have a low level APIs specifically optimized for XBO.
 

Jumeira

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This is the type of stuff MS did well with 360. Making easy for devs to take advantage of the hardware. Seems like they took a page out of that book again. Smart.
You go the right idea, thats exactly what Leadbetter said, the design & architecture impressed him like the 360 did back then.
 

Space_nut

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It is but it isn't. The way they talk about it and the way it is developed, it seems to be an all new customized CPU based off of Jaguar architecture. CPU will still be the bottleneck for Scorpio but it is allowing them full BC and yet also giving them enough to make games really shine.
Yup

The way the cpu is customized and how the WHOLE system is set up there won't be ANY of the bottlenecks like the previous consoles has in cpu with Scorpio.
 

LukasTaves

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This isn't much different to the already available low level API's and Vulkan is it?
In practice not much. But even with Dx12 and vulkan reduces the overhead for talking to the gpu that's the cpu job still, and that can use a significant amount of cpu time, specially on low powered ones like jaguar.

What Ms did was to move that to a dedicated processor, so the cpu is essentially free of that task and available to game code.
 

Geist-

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Damn, if this is $500 than it would be way cheaper to buy this than upgrade my PC to equivalent specs...
 

JaggedSac

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In practice not much. But even with Dx12 and vulkan reduces the overhead for talking to the gpu that's the cpu job still, and that can use a significant amount of cpu time, specially on low powered ones like jaguar.

What Ms did was to move that to a dedicated processor, so the cpu is essentially free of that task and available to game code.
Yep, an attempt to mitigate the fact that they had to use Jaguar cores. Should be interesting to see how the whole thing comes together in practice.
 

Krayz

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Is this really any different from how PC GPU's have FL 12.0 and 12.1, Features that are built into the GPU itself?
 

thelastword

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This is not as great as some believe, better for programming sure, but people expecting 50% boosts etc...it's not happening..Ms is pretty much catching up on improved hardware design evident in other consoles tbh...
 

Obliterator

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This is the most interesting part of the entire Scorpio Engine imo

Very interested to see what sort of results this has.
 

DocSeuss

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This means Xbox can do 1080p now?
If you read the articles: the Xbox can push native 4K (not checkerboard) in one of the most demanding games on the system, Forza, with all settings maxed, and still have like 30% extra headroom.

If the Xbox One was a Geo Metro, the PS4 was a Honda Civic, and the Pro was a Honda Accord, the Scorpio is a Dodge Viper.