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Forums - Microsoft Discussion - Series S vs Series X (resolution, performance, etc.)

On a side note, I anticipate next gen games will be more dependent on streaming from storage more than ever before. That could alleviate how much RAM is stressed in general.8th gen consoles already did a pretty great job not feeling limited by RAM outside of some games having muddy textures. If anything, pushing the complexity of open world games is probably more dependent on CPU, GPU and storage's ability to quickly stream in data. AC Unity had bigger problems with other specs mentioned, not RAM.Given a 1 minute load time in last gen can now be reduced to about 10 seconds on new storahe devices, this tells me the complexity of what is streamed can be improved greatly even without an increase in RAM. Also, the complexity of NPCs and number of them has generally been considered a drain on GPU and CPU.



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SvennoJ said:
Mr Puggsly said:

I hear ya, but what I am saying is the first compromises Series S would have to make is lowering asset quality and resolution. RDR2 on PC for example uses about 3-4GB more VRAM when in ultra vs low settings. Then lowering resolution can save about 1GB depending how low the resolution goes. My numbers might not be entirely accurate by the way.

Anyway, I am suggesting developers don't have to build for Series S' 8GB per se. You have to consider 9th gen games are already using many GB on textures, certainly more then 8th gen did.

Hence, the Series S will probably have texture quality that resembles 8th gen when memory is being pushed. While Series X and PS5 are expected to go well beyond that.

Now I am not arguing Series S memory will never be a problem. I am only arguing higher end machines will use more RAM just on visual polish. Some Series S games are considerably smaller as well because of the lower quality assets.

Minecraft is for machines that vary wildly in RAM. Vita, 3DS, PS360, X1, PS4, etc. Several platforms mentioned have less than 1GB of RAM. So not a great example.

World complexity also depends on how efficiently menory is used. I mean 7th gen games like Skyrim and GTA5 have impressive worlds using a fraction of memory 8th gen has.

I am a tad confused how much memory 8th gen consoles used. I've read PS4 used 4.5GB. X1 used 5GB, maybe a little more. Eitherway, multiplat games were bulit for whatever PS4 had. So saying 8GB is zero progress is incorrect. Series S still has several GB more along with SSD to stream data quickly.

So I agree that memory could be an issue, I think there should have been less compromise. But I am also considering Series X and PS5 are expected to use considerably more RAM just on visuals. Maybe the SSD could also help in some cases.

I'm looking beyond our current static world design. Yes, Skyrim and GTA5 have impressive words, but they are made with tons of repeating static elements. I'm thinking more in terms of From Dust like deformable terrain for the entire world. Spin tires like mud and water interaction. Weather that has a real impact on the world with seasons.

Graphical fidelity is currently way ahead of interactivity and dynamic changing terrain. Anyhthing that changes or can be moved needs more memory than a simple static object. Hence Minecraft is so dependent on available memory while textures and characters are a non issue. Think of new games like minecraft, terraria, from dust, spin tires, that don't rely on super high res textures. BotW with more world interaction. What impact will the limited memory of the S have on that. Visual downgrades are to be expected, yet what do you do when visual downgrades are not an option.

It seems the S and X are just designed to make the same static games prettier. I wish we could move on from static worlds.

I think my previous post kinda addresses things you're touching on.

I am not sure about deforamable terrain in open world games. Is that a RAM issue? Can't SSDs help with streaming that data? I think we need to wait and see how games handle that and what specs are stressed. Don't expect it to be a big focus in average game design either.

We've already seen games in previous gens handling gamea that remember items that moved, doors that have been opened, any NPCs that dead, etc. And it would stress memory, but that was less of an issue in the 8th gen given memory given a massive increase.

Weather impacting gameplay is more of a game design issue I think. Forza Horizon 4 for example could instantly change the weather and have it impact how cars control. Or a storm could appear in recent Gears games that impact physics and player movement. Innovative game design could happen on 8th gen specs still.

If next gen games are static, it might just be a design issue, not specs. These new could do content even more ambitious than AC Unity with ease.



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Shinobi-san said:
Pemalite said:
SvennoJ said:
Mr Puggsly said:

1. The Series S has less RAM, but its also going to use less RAM than PS5 and Series X by having lower quality assets and resolution, these two things combined can account for a significant amount of RAM. So the impact of less RAM isn't quite certain yet.

2. One X wasn't designed to innovate. The additional RAM helped with resolution and higher quality assets when developers opted to put them in.

3. Series X and PS5 are generally going to target 1440p+ and maybe 60 fps. With that said, Series S could opt for dynamic 1080p, lower graphics settings and even 30 fps if necessary. AC:Valhalla opted for reduced resolution and performance to maintain 9th gen visuals. Meanwhile DMC5 just disabled RT for Series S, while Watch Dogs compromised resolution with RT. There are many options developers have, kinda like when tweaking a PC game's settings.

Ram also puts a limit on world size and how dynamic/interactive a world can be. That's where the innovation is that will be held back by the the existence of a console with less memory. For example Minecraft, it works on everything, but not the full fat unlimited world experience. Different editions all have different limits on number of active 'actors' and world size. Fine for different systems, yet here game play parity is assumed to be a must.

You can't solve everything with lower resolution and assets and the fact remains, 8GB is zero progress from the current gen. XBox One had 6GB of RAM available to games (started as 5GB, got an extra GB to use later), Series S has 8GB available for games (or 7.5GB, some sources say the OS uses 2.5GB) so there is some more room. However https://gamingbolt.com/xbox-series-s-ram-is-a-major-issue-several-devs-speak-out-about-memory-bottleneck

16GB is already too little of a generational 'leap' imo. This gen should have had 24 GB total if it's going to last for another 7 or 8 years. 16GB is enough for higher assets and higher resolution, leaves very little for more complex dynamic evolving worlds.

My hope is developers can make good use of the SSD to expand working memory, like FS2020 can run on my 16GB laptop thanks to a 20GB pagefile on SSD. When the pagefile was on my hdd I went down to 2fps and total lock ups, oopsie. It still stutters, the game prefers 32GB system ram, but only crashes once every other day now after disabling the HDD pagefile, forcing windows to only use the SSD.

We need to look towards the PC as an example of how games scale with resolution and memory capacity...
And a good example of that is actually Doom Eternal.

At 1080P Ultra settings (The Series S will likely target Medium in the real world, let's be honest.) Doom Eternal will gobble up 5.230GB of Ram on the Graphics Card.
Bump that resolution up to 2160P/4k and that same game pushes it to 6.025GB of Ram used... That is a 15.2% increase in Ram usage accompanying the 300% increase in resolution.

Thus we can surmise that resolution alone has a negligible impact on memory consumption, it's there... But not a day and night difference.

But if you were to run Doom Eternal at 1080P Medium it will only use 3.500GB of Ram... That is a reduction of 66.9% in memory consumption by lowering detail settings... And that memory consumption discrepancy falls in line with the memory differences between the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.
Texture Resolution accounts for a *massive* amount of Ram consumption irrespective of resolution... And that is what will happen with the Series S.

On the resolution side of the equation... Resolution is only one aspect of the graphics presentation of a game... And one that I would argue is actually becoming less important with each successive console generation thanks to new post-process effects and frame reconstruction methods, granted I would prefer the full fat native resolution of my displays being met by the gaming hardware.

So whilst yes... Massive Ram limitations can have ramifications to things like world size, developers will likely cut back on things like texturing first and rely on the SSD as a "scratch pad" to retain world sizes.

I think a lot of people are under the impression that resolution will be the only cutback on Series S while retaining next gen visuals in other aspects. Personally I was hoping for this too, if I maintained a 1080p TV and wanted to expand on my gaming library.

Don't kill my dreams Pemalite! :(

Even if the Series S was just a 1080P machine, I still wouldn't buy one even for a 1080P display... You are missing out on a big benefit of the Series X, which is super sampling.
Not to mention the series X is just better for backwards compatible games, plus has more storage.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

Also the Series S has RT in Legion similar to the Series X but lower resolution RT. The Xbox One doesn't have RT at all.



I sold my Series X yesterday for £710 (I couldn't resist the ridiculous price inflation on ebay) but managed to scoop up a Series S for £290 which is only £40 over RRP. The big bonus is that I'm getting the S delivered to my college accommodation where I can actually use it smh.

Should be delivered tomorrow with any luck.I will hopefully be able to contribute to the gaps in the table, and will take requests to test any back compat games if I have them (I have game pass obviously). I got a 1080p/144Hz monitor so will hopefully have all graphics options available for testing except Dolby Vision. I don't think the Series S is aimed at me as a consumer since I value good graphics and performance.

That's why I bailed on base Xbox One for a GTX 1070 halfway through last gen for my singleplayer games. Seeing things like AC Valhalla targeting 30fps really makes me think that developers might think of Series S as basically the "Fortnite box" and assume that its users don't care about performance. I'll upgrade back the Series X next year once the stock comes back. But can provide hopefully useful info before then.

Last edited by AkimboCurly - on 15 November 2020

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Mr Puggsly said:

I think my previous post kinda addresses things you're touching on.

I am not sure about deforamable terrain in open world games. Is that a RAM issue? Can't SSDs help with streaming that data? I think we need to wait and see how games handle that and what specs are stressed. Don't expect it to be a big focus in average game design either.

We've already seen games in previous gens handling gamea that remember items that moved, doors that have been opened, any NPCs that dead, etc. And it would stress memory, but that was less of an issue in the 8th gen given memory given a massive increase.

Weather impacting gameplay is more of a game design issue I think. Forza Horizon 4 for example could instantly change the weather and have it impact how cars control. Or a storm could appear in recent Gears games that impact physics and player movement. Innovative game design could happen on 8th gen specs still.

If next gen games are static, it might just be a design issue, not specs. These new could do content even more ambitious than AC Unity with ease.

You're still thinking inside the box...

With weather affecting the world I mean forming puddles, mud, flowing water inside deformable terrain. Popolous a new beginning style tornadoes creating havoc on you or your opponent. Fires being permanent. Crackdown type destruction (as in the original trailers, not what came of it). You can store that on SSD but you still need enough RAM to avoid slow down with so many things to update.

I'm looking forward to living worlds, not better textures. However procedural texture generation also requires memory. Memory was certainly an issue in the current gen, for example https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2020/04/the_outer_worlds_was_held_back_by_console_memory_budgets. The start of last gen it was already seen as a bottleneck https://wccftech.com/crytek-8gb-ps4xbox-ram-surely-fill-act-limiting-factor/

Current gen games weren't static by design, it's necessity. And it looks like next gen is in the same boat. Still waiting for the resolution race to be over before games can advance in interactivity and dynamism.



Linus doesn't have the kindest impression of the S in head to heads with the X.

If the only tangible differences between the two boxes were resolution and price, the S would be a very compelling option. In practice though we're already seeing games with significant differences outside of resolution. Series S is an interesting concept that could still be successful, but I think MS missed the mark a bit in comparison to the well designed Series X and I don't think I'd recommend the S to any friends whom care at all about fidelity as their primary Xbox. Still a good option as a secondary box or cheap Game Pass machine, though.



I find it hard to understand how there are an overwhelming amount of games are still 30fps. I was never a graphics whore, but if the game ain't 60fps I ain't touching it. Good work on the list though.



TallSilhouette said:

Linus doesn't have the kindest impression of the S in head to heads with the X.

If the only tangible differences between the two boxes were resolution and price, the S would be a very compelling option. In practice though we're already seeing games with significant differences outside of resolution. Series S is an interesting concept that could still be successful, but I think MS missed the mark a bit in comparison to the well designed Series X and I don't think I'd recommend the S to any friends whom care at all about fidelity as their primary Xbox. Still a good option as a secondary box or cheap Game Pass machine, though.

Winner: the tv!

What I find standing out most is how he's sitting right on top of one of the best 4K screens in existence and doesn't notice much of a difference between 1440p and 4K. When he's sitting at 6ft, half the distance I normally sit at "I would be hard pressed to tell the difference"

Which just re-inforces my wish for games targeting max 1440p on ps5 and xsx and focus on interactivity and ray-tracing instead of wasting GPU and RAM to render 2.25x as many pixels. For me 1080p is enough, 12ft from 65" Psst Nintendo, a console version of the Switch pls, it would be the third I buy but my kids have the other two and I can never find them or they need to be charged lol.



SvennoJ said:
Mr Puggsly said:

I think my previous post kinda addresses things you're touching on.

I am not sure about deforamable terrain in open world games. Is that a RAM issue? Can't SSDs help with streaming that data? I think we need to wait and see how games handle that and what specs are stressed. Don't expect it to be a big focus in average game design either.

We've already seen games in previous gens handling gamea that remember items that moved, doors that have been opened, any NPCs that dead, etc. And it would stress memory, but that was less of an issue in the 8th gen given memory given a massive increase.

Weather impacting gameplay is more of a game design issue I think. Forza Horizon 4 for example could instantly change the weather and have it impact how cars control. Or a storm could appear in recent Gears games that impact physics and player movement. Innovative game design could happen on 8th gen specs still.

If next gen games are static, it might just be a design issue, not specs. These new could do content even more ambitious than AC Unity with ease.

You're still thinking inside the box...

With weather affecting the world I mean forming puddles, mud, flowing water inside deformable terrain. Popolous a new beginning style tornadoes creating havoc on you or your opponent. Fires being permanent. Crackdown type destruction (as in the original trailers, not what came of it). You can store that on SSD but you still need enough RAM to avoid slow down with so many things to update.

I'm looking forward to living worlds, not better textures. However procedural texture generation also requires memory. Memory was certainly an issue in the current gen, for example https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2020/04/the_outer_worlds_was_held_back_by_console_memory_budgets. The start of last gen it was already seen as a bottleneck https://wccftech.com/crytek-8gb-ps4xbox-ram-surely-fill-act-limiting-factor/

Current gen games weren't static by design, it's necessity. And it looks like next gen is in the same boat. Still waiting for the resolution race to be over before games can advance in interactivity and dynamism.

Again, the enviornment changing form and allowing water to realistically flow around it is more CPU and GPU intensive. But thank you for elaborating.

According to MS the Crackdown destruction was CPU intensive. Probably too demanding even for current gen CPUs.

So Outerworlds struggled with 8th gen RAM limitations, but it also works on Switch? Impressive. I guess what I was really trying to say is 8th gen has plenty of open world games with lots of activity and the Series S specs overall can expand on that significantly. Especially if the SSD can alleviate stress on RAM and quickly load in signifcant data given its apparently 40x faster.

That article about Crytek from 2014 shows you are grasping at straws. For two reasons, that studio has sucked this generation and games have become significantly more impressive on 8th gen hardware since 2014. Seriously, don't bother with crap like that.

Developers primary focus will be to keep making tradional games with improved visuals and maybe increase the scale. What you are asking for is more like tech demos that developers probably aren't aiming for.

But since Sony 1st party is not hindered by Series S, maybe they will develop this amazing project you have in your head.

Last edited by Mr Puggsly - on 15 November 2020

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