Feature Article

What is a Teraflop And What Does It Mean For The Xbox's Project Scorpio

How teraflops relate to Microsoft’s newly announced Project Scorpio console

By now, you might have heard that Microsoft’s newly announced Project Scorpio console has six teraflops (which is a whole lot more teraflops than the Xbox One’s 1.31 equivalent). But what is a teraflop? Simply defined, a teraflop is a unit of computing that represents a trillion floating-point operations per second.

Still don’t get it? Well, in simpler terms, the number of teraflops a system has can give developers a general idea of how much computing power they have to play with. The more teraflops you have, the more floating-point operations you can perform per second. With more teraflops, you can create larger, more complex virtual universes.

Having more teraflops, however, does not necessarily equate to faster performance. It’s analogous to a car’s mile-per-gallon rating, for instance. Just because a car has a 20MPG rating does not necessarily mean it will run fast. Project Scorpio’s six teraflops puts in it in the same range as Nvidia’s recently released GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card (which is a 6.5 teraflop $380 GPU). Just because Project Scorpio features a relatively close number of teraflops won’t mean it will perform on par with the GTX 1070. For instance, the GTX Titan X features seven teraflops, but performs worse than the GTX 1070 in most instances. There are many other factors to consider, such as GPU architecture, core speed, frame buffer size and speed, etc.

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Aside from claims of 4K performance, we won’t be able to accurately gauge how fast Project Scorpio will be until we at least get more technical specs. We’re also waiting to hear how fast the eight-cores will run, how much RAM the system will have, what its RAM is clocked at, what GPU architecture it uses, what manufacturing process it’s built on, and more.

You can rest easy knowing that we’ll be keeping you up to date on more Project Scorpio news as it breaks. In the meantime, stay tuned to GameSpot for more E3 coverage.

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Jimmy Thang

Hi! I'm Jimmy Thang and I'm GameSpot's Tech Editor!

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