During this year's E3, Microsoft tantalisingly teased Project Scorpio for 2017, a machine Xbox boss Phil Spencer called "the most powerful games console ever".

But as true as that statement might turn out to be, Sony has more recently pulled a fast one by getting a 4K HDR console out first. In fact, the PS4 Pro is available now - a whole year before Scorpio will debut.

That's why we thought it useful to look at what we know about both consoles to give you an idea of whether you should splurge your cash now or wait until next year.

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While it's hard to pin down the full specifications of one of the consoles - Project Scorpio - one thing we know for sure is that it will offer 4K HDR gaming, like the PS4 Pro.

Xbox promised as much during its press conference at E3 2016. What's more, it claims that the graphics chip in the new console will be not only capable of 4K resolutions, but at 60 frames per second to boot, something the Pro will find harder to achieve.

Its system on chip (SoC) will have 6 teraflops of computing power just to render 4K graphics - that's high-end PC graphics card stuff.

The PS4 Pro has 4.20 teraflops of graphics processing power, using an AMD Radeon-based GPU. It looks less powerful on paper, but we've seen it is more than capable of rendering games in 4K and with High Dynamic Range (HDR) colour and contrast processing too. They just seem to stick to 30fps, at least when run in native 2160p.

Both consoles are expected to play back 4K HDR video via streams, although the PS4 Pro does not have a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Considering the Xbox One S does, we expect Project Scorpio to follow its baby brother's lead.

During its E3 reveal, Microsoft confirmed that Project Scorpio will have an octa-core processor, although it didn't mention the clock speed.

The PS4 Pro also has an octa-core CPU, the x86-64 "Jaguar", which runs at 2.1GHz.

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It is thought that the Scorpio will offer 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, just like the PS4 Pro, but that's not confirmed by Microsoft.

We do know though that the memory sported by the Project Scorpio will have a bandwidth of 320GB/s. The Pro, in comparison, is restricted to 218GB/s.

This might not make much difference in general gaming, at least in a conventional sense. The higher the spec though, the more developers will be able to eek out of it in the future and the better the overall console experience will be.

One of the aimed digs Xbox sent PlayStation's way during its E3 press event was about virtual reality.

While Sony is already in the VR space with the PSVR headset, Microsoft delights in revealing that Scorpio will be capable of running better, higher-res VR devices. This was a claim backed up by Bethesda during E3, which said Fallout 4 is likely to be available through it.

One train of thought is that Microsoft will ally with Oculus for Rift support, which even today is a better spec'ed headset than PSVR. The PlayStation VR uses a single 1920 x 1080 OLED panel to serve 960 x 1080 to each eye, while the Oculus Rift (and HTC Vive) has an overall resolution of 2160 x 1200, so 1080 x 1200 for each eye.

To be honest, from our experiences with all three headsets, that doesn't matter that much when a game is good enough. It matters more that an experience is smooth than high resolution.

Maybe the Xbox team suggests an even more advanced headset for the future, one with a 4K screen. That would provide 1920 x 2160 to each eye and would be significantly sharper. But for that, the console would need to serve 4K at higher than 60fps, as previously stated. The Rift and Vive are both capable at running at 90Hz (90fps), while the PS VR can output up to 120Hz.

In terms of the PS4 Pro, one of the reasons for the upgrade is to better serve virtual reality. And even if there's no update to the PSVR next year, developers are being urged to present deeper, more detailed experiences for Pro owners running Sony's headset.

Either way, if things go to plan, VR will be a significant battleground for both manufacturers going forward.

This is where Sony wins hands-down. The PS4 Pro is already available.

The Project Scorpio on the other hand will be coming "Holiday 2017", giving Sony a clean run at securing dominance by almost 12 months. What's the betting Microsoft pulls the release date forward to halve the deficit?

The PS4 Pro also has the upper hand when it comes to price. It costs £349. Considering the top-end Xbox One S is similarly priced, it's amazing that Sony has managed to squeeze the cost down enough to make its market-leading console affordable.

Perhaps that will also force Microsoft's hand in ensuring its next machine is comparatively priced. Although it will be higher spec'ed, so maybe not.

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One of the things current-gen console owners will be most worried about is what the two new consoles mean for their machines.

Thankfully, both manufacturers have already stated that while their new consoles are better and higher spec'ed, all games released going forward will be compatible with the standard consoles too.

Think of it like a PC. Some people have the ability to play games at 4K, others in Full HD, and others still are capped at lower resolutions depending on their graphics card. They can still all buy the same games though, which scale at a software level to offer the best experience possible per computer.

The PS4 Pro is even able to play many archive games in higher resolutions and with HDR, thanks to a swathe of patches either applied now or coming soon. We expect the same to be true of Project Scorpio.

To be honest, at this stage it is impossible to judge which of the two consoles will be "the most powerful ever" thanks to only one of them being officially released. Microsoft has confirmed the existence of Project Scorpio but, unlike the PS4 Pro, we've not seen it in action yet.

The PS4 Pro is certainly the most powerful console currently available.

We will find out more in time for sure. And now that Sony has played its hand, we think Microsoft will ramp up the amount of teasing over the coming months.

One thing's for sure; it's an exciting time to be a gamer.