GAMING BLEND

Will DirectX 12 Help Xbox One's Resolution Problems? Stardock's CEO Answers

By William Usher 2014-07-07 11:14:06 discussion comments
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After the XDK update to remove integrated Kinect support for the Xbox One following the new retail SKU that comes without the camera device, everyone questioned: will this help the Xbox One achieve 1080p? Well, the results won't be obvious until games release later in the year, but so far it hasn't been overly promising. Freeing up 10% of the GPU's processing and bandwidth has only had minor results for some games, and this has led members of the gaming press to question how well DirectX 12 will work with upping the resolution of Xbox One titles?

GamePur decided to pepper certain members of the gaming industry with questions about the possibilities of achieving the native resolution 1920 x1080p with the help of DirectX 12.

They questioned Stardock's CEO Brad Wardell – and just so you know, Stardock is the company behind Galactic Civilization and Sins of a Solar Empire – where he chimed in with a brief comment about the possibility of DirectX 12's helping hand in bringing the Xbox One up to par.

As noted in the Gamepur article...
Twitter user "Perpetual Coding" jumped in and replied: "I believe it's to do with memory bandwidth and not utilizing the ESram efficiently."

To this Wardell replied that "that's our take as well." and added that "MS cheaped out on the RAM."

By cheaping out on the RAM, Wardell is talking about the 32 megabytes (yes, megabytes not gigabytes) not being sufficient enough to fit 1080p into the framebuffer. This is an issue that has been repeatedly mentioned, even by Rebellion Games who commented that the eSRAM was too small to buffer 1080p.

Of course, many gamers are questioning: “How are some titles hitting 1080p and 60fps but others aren't?”

Well, that's a good question. A lot of it boils down to the game's core design. Some titles, like Wolfenstein: The New Order, use variable resolution scaling thanks to the id Tech engine. What this means is that the more action that happens on screen, the lower the resolution. This was pointed out in a detailed performance analysis by Digital Foundry.

In addition to the above, most games that are 1080p and 60fps on the Xbox One are either cross-generational ports or scaled for lower-end systems, such as Red Barrels' Outlast.

Whether or not DirectX 12 – which has already been noted to help boost CPU utilization first and foremost due to offering lower-level access to the hardware – could help the Xbox One in key areas may depend on the game itself. Gamepur explains Wardell's position as he replied on Twitter, saying...
"depends on the game. The more objects on screen the more boost you get. Will mean little for a typical FPS, but huge for RTS." [Wardell said]

When quizzed further: Does this mean resolution benefit will definitely come with DX 12? he replied: "there are no 'definite' it'll depend on the developer."

It looks like DirectX 12 may end up being another check on the list of items that will offer some performance benefits, but not really the sort of thing to make up for a lack of memory where it counts.
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