There has been several developments on this – for more info click here.
You might remember recent news I posted regarding the Xbox One and a supposed driver update which was on the cards. Ashan Rasheed, better known as Thuway hinted that a driver update was on the way. He also commented “Expect great things” from the update. He’s now elaborated a little more on this, and if his predictions are accurate the Xbox One should perform about 10 percent better than it currently does.
Someone had asked Thuway “do you think devs could make games like assassins creed 4 run in 1080p from 900p if they can get more performance from it? “: His response via twitter was: “I can’t say anything about that, but I’ve heard 10% performance boost should be on tap.”
So, expanding on this – how much difference will that 10 percent really make? Well, likely it’ll mean a lot to the minimum and average frame rates in titles. Capcom’s Dead Rising 3 is fairly notorious for frame rates which dip into their low 20’s when things start to get really busy. Although clearly some of this can be targeted at the game itself, the extra 10 percent performance can only help improve and maintain a more stable playing experience.
As for the 900P vs the 1080P situation (and this is purely a guess from my part), it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing that 10 percent make it move to the 1080P unless the game just missed the goal and they had to settle for 900P. Let’s use the example in the tweet directed at Thuway, Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag.
10 percent Faster X1 = 1080P?
Let’s assume that Ubisoft targeted the frame rate of 30FPS average for the game, and at the resolution of 1080P instead the the title on the X1 only managed to achieve 25 – 27FPS. Therefore the developers were just slightly out of the butterzone of 30fps. Ubisoft therefore had to drop down the internal rendering resolution to 900P. 10 percent extra performance could possibly help in those situations. But, 900P vs 1080P is a larger difference than 10 percent more pixels.
Using the math of 1600 * 900 gives us the figure of 1440000, which is the number of pixels in a 900P image. 1920 * 1080 meanwhile gives us 2073600 for the total number of pixels, in a 1080P image. Rather obviously, that is a larger gulf than 10 percent. In situations where the Xbox One is missing out on performance by quite a lot, 10 percent isn’t going to help as much. Obviously it’ll still have issues with a GPU that’s considerably slower than its rival, the Playstation 4.
Can new drivers really improve performance that much? Well, let’s take an example of Nvidia’s Geforce drivers. Back when Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite were first released, Nvidia’s cards performed far worse than they should. Shortly after, Nvidia released a new driver and performance shot up in the games. See image below or this link for more info.
In console terms, it’s a lot harder to get that huge level of optimization performance, but it does go some way to demonstrate how simple update can make performance go up with drivers. Look at Tomb Raider at 2560×1600 and you can see that the update has allowed the game to go from low to mid 20’s to just over 30FPS.
It will on the other hand, at the same resolutions help maintain a stable frame rate, both in terms of a higher average and a higher minimum FPS. This will clearly help make for a smoother gaming experience. It’s also obvious that the 10 percent won’t provide a boost from 30FPS to 60FPS. 30 to 60 frames per second is quite literally double the amount of work that the GPU has to perform. The Graphics Core inside the Xbox One (based on the GCN architecture from AMD) would have half as long to draw each frame in a 60FPS environment compared to 30FPS game.
. We’re also not fully aware yet what this driver update for the Xbox One actually does. Is it merely an update for say the GPU. or is it also for other parts inside the machine. Will it improve access / performance of the Xbox One’s ESRAM. It’s possible it might help to improve access / performance of the ESRAM by making it easier for developers to use. We know from previous comments that the ESRAM inside the Xbox One wasn’t simple to get the most out of.
It’s also likely that Microsoft would likely to update the performance of the UI and interface, especially since certain uses have reported issues with it being slower than it should be. The Xbox One also had the issues regarding the UI / system slowing down after long periods of time, with the leading theory of the cause being that the Xbox One’s cache became full. This meant that the UI could slow down to a single frames per second. Microsoft have gotten around to fixing certain issues with the system, but clearly still have work to do. It’s still not completely clear if this driver update will contain anything else (such as be part of a larger system update), or just specifically for the Xbox One’s drivers.