With the design of the Xbox One X, Microsoft paid a lot of attention to the delicate balance of processing power and power consumption in its latest game console. One of the more interesting in Scorpio's technical design is the Hovis Method, a hardware design process that customizes the amount of power needed for each individual One X console. Now that the console has been out for a few months, I've had time to test multiple units and see the results of Microsoft's engineering efforts.
When CPUs and GPUs are manufactured, it's impossible to get a yield of 100%. No process for making silicon parts is infallible. For companies like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia they've adapted their product lines to accommodate for the imperfect manufacturing process. Processors are organized, or "binned", based on how much of the CPU is actually usable. For example, AMD's Ryzen 5 1600 has 6 usable CPU cores, but it's actually an 8-core chip with two of those cores deactivated. AMD didn't specifically design and manufacture a 6-core CPU. Instead they took 8-core chips that couldn't reach required clock frequencies, maintain certain voltage levels, and/or operate within desired temperatures and "binned" them for a lower tier computer product. Even then, not all of the same parts are made equal. You'll often hear the term "silicon lottery" in the overclocking community. This refers to the imperfections in the manufacturing process. An Intel Core i7 8700K with fewer imperfections needs less voltage to overclock to a certain frequency than another 8700K with more imperfections, even though on paper they're the same.
The processors put into video game consoles are subject to the same imperfections as desktop and laptop processors. However, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo typically make their consoles to a single, one size fits all specification and the hardware isn't as flexible as a desktop computer. One of these specifications is power consumption. Measure the power draw of any original Xbox One console and you'll get the same value. The Xbox One X bucks this trend though, and Microsoft's implementation of the Hovis Method means that different One X consoles can consume significantly different amounts of power. The variance in power draw also has implications for how the cooling system performs.
Rather than have a single power profile for all consoles manufactured, which would result in some generating excess heat by taking more power than components require, each Scorpio Engine processor has a custom power profile programmed onto the motherboard it's paired with in the factory. This process is referred to as the Hovis Method, named after Xbox engineer Bill Hovis. This means that Microsoft is able to net better yields of chips as opposed to a standard building process. Every system is highly power efficient, and the processors that require just a little more extra juice are now usable. For the consumer, this means that any two Xbox One X consoles quite literally aren't the same. Yes, they will all of course hit the same clock frequencies, data speeds, and everything else needed to run games identically. Some consoles however will draw more power than others, including my own.