The specs of Microsoft's next console, codenamed Project Scorpio, have been announced.

Scorpio is Microsoft's Xbox One successor, but it is fully backwards compatible with Xbox One games (including Xbox 360 games that run on Xbox One), and won't get its own exclusive titles.

Eurogamer's Digital Foundry has an extremely detailed breakdown of the console's capabilities, and also a simpler one for people like me whose eyes glaze over whenever anyone says "teraflops".

Simply put, it looks like Project Scorpio will pump out 4K ultra HD visuals with HDR, without upscaling the way the PS4 Pro does.

The full specs are in the table below, but of particular interest is the graphics processor (GPU), which is clocked at 1172MHz – much higher than expected, and about 4.6 times more powerful than that in the Xbox One.

Xbox Project Scorpio specs are beefier than expected

This GPU is cooled by a vapour-chamber mechanism – similar to that seen on high-end GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti PC graphics cards – and is paired with custom fans.

Scorpio also boasts a central processor (CPU) with eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz, which is about 30 per cent faster than the CPU in the Xbox One.

It has 12 GB of RAM, 4GB of which is reserved for the system (1GB more than Xbox One). That leaves 8GB for games – up from 5GB of much slower memory in Xbox One.

Elsewhere, Scorpio has a 1TB hard drive with 50 percent more bandwidth than that in Xbox One, an UHD Blu-ray drive, no external power brick, and no Kinect port. In fact, port-wise the rear of the machine it is identical to Xbox One S.

This amount of power allows Scorpio to capture gameplay at 4K and 60 frames a second with HDR.

It also features what Microsoft is calling "retroactive screen capture", which allows you to press screenshot, then cycle back frame-by-frame to select the best one.

Scorpio will also include support for surround sound via Dolby Atmos, and all existing Xbox One consoles will be upgraded with that feature, too.

So, those with 4K TVs will likely be in heaven. However, games will still look great on 1080p (standard HD) displays because Scorpio will super-sample 4K assets down to regular ol' HD.

"It's about delivering those pixels with no loss of frame-rate compared to the 1080p version of that title - that's super-important to us," said Xbox's Kevin Gammill.

Overall, Digital Foundry was very impressed with what it saw.

"Performance is remarkable," Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter wrote.

"We saw a Forza Motorsport demo running on the machine at native 4K and Xbox One equivalent settings, and it hit 60 frames per second with a substantial performance overhead – suggesting Scorpio will hit its native 4K target across a range of content, with power to spare to spend on other visual improvements."

"And while 4K is the target, Microsoft is paying attention to 1080p users, promising that all modes will be available to them."

Project Scorpio's final form factor, price, and games will no doubt be revealed at this year's E3.