This summer, on the eve of the E3 videogames show in June, Microsoft will officially unveil Project Scorpio - its new Xbox console set to be the "most powerful" games machine yet.

It's probably not going to be called that, more likely Xbox Scorpio or something similar, but it will undoubtedly put the cat amongst the pigeons in this generation of console gaming.

For a start, we already know a lot of the internal specifications, which put it very much as a premium machine over the existing Xbox One S. We look at just how different the two are to give you an idea of which you might want to adopt come this Christmas.

One of the major differences between the two machines comes with graphical hardware and the ability to render full 4K visuals.

The Xbox One S is capable of up to 1080p graphics running at 60fps (as on games such as Forza Horizon 3). Not all games achieve those heady heights, but its 12 GCN compute units, running at 914MHz can reach it. The console also upscales all video output to 4K for compatible TVs, but games do not run in Ultra HD natively.

Project Scorpio, on the other hand, will be capable of full 4K visuals running at 60fps, thanks to new graphics processing that consists of 40 customised compute units running at 1.172GHz. That's much more powerful and faster than the currently available machine.

The new console will also be compatible with games featuring HDR (High Dynamic Range). The Xbox One S already has that functionality.

Like with the graphics, Project Scorpio will be much more powerful than the Xbox One S in central processing. It will run on eight custom x86 cores, clocked at speeds of 2.3GHz. The Xbox One S also has eight cores, which run at 1.75GHz.

The Scorpio also bosses things in RAM. There will be 12GB of GDDR5 RAM with bandwidth of up to 326GB/s. The Xbox One S has 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 32MB of ESRAM, with bandwidth of 68GB/s and 219GB/s respectively.

The upshot of this is that developers get far more memory and speeds of processing to play with on Project Scorpio.

The great news for Xbox One S owners is that, at present, Microsoft is committed to making the same games for Xbox One S and Project Scorpio (and the original Xbox One come to that). You buy an Xbox game and it'll work on all three consoles, albeit with different grades of performance.

Scorpio versions, therefore, will be far better graphically than their Xbox One S counterparts - with greater resolution, draw distances and the like. However, the gameplay will technically remain the same. As will the price considering the game is the same bought copy.

It's a similar deal with the PS4 Pro. All PlayStation 4 games work on Pro and the standard PS4, they just look better on the Pro - for the most part.

By doing this, Microsoft also ensures that the Scorpio launches with an enormous back catalogue of Xbox One games available from the off. There is a rumour it won't support Xbox One Backwards Compatibility for Xbox 360 games, but that's still just a rumour for now.

The Xbox One S was the first games console to offer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, with HDR picture tech to boot. It's still the only one currently on the market too.

Project Scorpio will follow suit when released later this year.

All other major streaming apps and services are expected to be on board too.

Here's the million dollar question - almost literally: how much will Project Scorpio cost?

We don't know right now. It might be revealed during the Xbox Media Briefing ahead of E3 2017 on 11 June. One thing's for sure, the best console ever, as it is tagged, will not be cheap.

The current Xbox One S can be bought for around £200 with a game (the 500GB version anyway). A version with a 1TB hard drive can be snagged for around £250.

Popular thought is that the 1TB HDD-sporting Project Scorpio will weigh in at around twice that, up to the £500 mark. After all, it's essentially a gaming PC in console form.

Obviously, the Xbox One S is already readily available. But the Scorpio isn't too long from launch. We have already been told that it will hit stores this holiday season, so around November we expect. Pre-orders could even be available from around E3 time.

There is little doubt that Project Scorpio - or whatever it ends up being called - is a more powerful, more graphically competent games console than the Xbox One S. But you will be expected to pay a premium price for such a premium machine, that's for sure.

If you are content with Full HD gaming and want something to play games on right now, the Xbox One S is an excellent games machine and 4K Blu-ray player for just £200. Hardcore gamers might want to hold on though, at least until more is known in June.

Sections Microsoft Games