Series S is 25%-35% the real world "power" of the much more popular counterpart and the inevitable industry standard, the PS5. Digital Foundry is already calling for Microsoft to stop mandating it, which is what I predicted before the generation started and got accused of "console warring" for it. Some of the same people who defended and glorified this thing will thank Microsoft for ditching it as a requirement down the road. Mandating it would only lead to more "moneyhatted" PS5 exclusives. The "power doesn't matter" crowd are in for a rude awakening. Microsoft isn't Nintendo and Xbox isn't a hybrid.
On the flip side, Switch 2's existence may future proof Series S to some extent, since its GPU power is rumoured to be around that level. In other words, some developers won't think "Series S is holding us back for a small return" but rather think "Series S and Switch 2 have too large of a combined active install base to ignore." In that sense, Series S and Switch 2 might assist each other.
Regardless, if Series S remains mandated all gen, expect more games to skip Xbox altogether in a similar fashion to PS4 games skipping Switch 1. Also expect a lot of horribly optimized games that just exist to meet Microsoft's on paper requirements. A Cyberpunk 2077 galore.
The Series S likely sits just below the Radeon RX 6500XT in terms of capability.
It has more single precision FP, Texture fillrate and bandwidth than the 6400, but less pixel fillrate.
It's basically lowest-tier discreet GPU capability. Still better than the One X.
I do think the Series S needs to stick around for the entire generation, developers just need to make deeper cuts to their game to shoehorn them on the console, it is possible, just takes some extra development time.
I would also like to see the Series S get a revision to increase the internal SSD size and potentially add a Bluray drive or release an external Bluray drive.
The Series S is Microsoft's best selling console this generation, it's also the cheapest next-gen console, so they do need to keep that around and capitalise on it, especially as many people start to tighten belts due to economic uncertainty.
We're already seeing games not have an option for 4k 60fps and the cross-gen period isn't even over yet so a game as huge and demanding as GTA 6 is gonna be will only run at 60fps on the PS5 and Series X at a resolution much lower than 4k. Because of that I highly doubt it'll run on the Series S at 1080p 60fps. Due to how anaemic it's gonna be a few years from now late gen there are gonna be cases of games that ran as badly on the Series S as games like Control and Cyberpunk did on the last gen consoles or at least close to that if Microsoft never stops mandating support for it.
As a Series S, X, PS5, PC and Switch owner... I would have absolutely zero objection if GTA5 targets say... 900P and 30fps on the Series S.
My expectation for the Series S is that it will be a console where games are compromised compared to it's bigger brothers. - Just dropping down to 30fps doubles your render time window.
For simpler titles like Ori or Rayman, I do expect true 4k or better on the Series S.
I would also like to see Backwards compat games run in their "One X" mode on Series S. (Except Xbox One titles of course due to the Ram difference.)
|Darc Requiem said:|
The CPUs were weak last gen. It's the reason for the lack of 60fps games. That said, the last couple years, multiplatform games on base Xbox One were struggling. It was almost meme. "I wonder how this will run on the old Xbox One VCR." The gap in graphical power between base Xbox One/S was generational. The One X had over 4.5 times the GPU power of the base model. By comparison the Series X had double the GPU power of the One X.
The CPU was the biggest hindrance.
But lets not pretend the bandwidth hungry Graphics Core Next GPU wasn't an issue either... It was a compute centric GPU architecture.
The Series X is more than twice the GPU power of the One X.
Graphics Core Next 4.0 vs RDNA2 remember. Night and day difference.
|Darc Requiem said:|
When it comes to the Series S, memory more than GPU power is the biggest problem. Not only is the memory pool of the One X larger 12GB to 10GB. The One X has a unified pool of RAM. All the RAM in the One X has 326GB/s bandwidth. The Series S has a split memory pool. Something frowned upon by developers to begin with. In the Series S, 8GB of RAM runs 224GB/S and other 2GB of RAM has only 56GB/s of bandwidth. That's slower than the DDR3 in the base Xbox One (68GB/s) that developers were complaining about that last gen. The slow memory pool of the Series X (6GB at 336GB/s) is 50% faster than the "fast" memory pool of the Series S. The biggest complaint I see from developers is having to go from the 13.5 to 14GB of memory available in the PS5 an Series X to the 8GB of much slower RAM in the Series S. The Series S has half the memory bandwidth of the PS5.
The Series S has a uniformed pool of Ram, it's using a clamshell memory design. The difference is, that a part of the mapped ram is running slower. That's it. - That memory is mapped to the OS, developers don't even need to worry about it, it won't even be used for games, the speed isn't important as it's not being used for bandwidth intensive scenarios anyway, it could have been 16GB/s and it wouldn't have mattered.
The Series S at 10GB and the One X at 12GB may seem significant... But we need to remember that the Series S only dedicates 2GB of that memory to the OS, where the One X had 3GB of it's memory to the OS.
So it's a difference of 8GB vs 9GB of usable Ram for actual games...
I don't know about you, but 8GB vs 9GB is fairly insignificant.
Dropping from 13GB to 8GB of ram is significant, which is why I would have loved to have seen the Series S release with identical Ram capacity and CPU clocks to the Series X so this would never be an issue.
But it is the hand of cards we were dealt with.
But also keep in mind that when you reduce textures, meshes, objects and more, the Ram requirement also reduces.
Game engines are extremely scalable, games have been scaling on PC GPU's that range from 4GB to 16GB for years now, mostly due to texturing demands.
|Darc Requiem said:|
As for developer optimization, it's always an issue. Most publishers are content with the bare minimum. It's why having multiple performance targets for a single platform is a problem. It leads to two scenarios. Games being built around the weaker platform and the stronger platform not being leveraged to it's capability. Or the weaker platform getting substandard versions of the games on the stronger one. The former was the case with the Xbox One. The latter is becoming the case with the Xbox Series. Developers that are allowed to go the extra mile are the exception not the rule. Giving them two significantly different performance targets for your platform compounds matters. It's bad enough most games require a day one patch to "optimize" game performance.
I think we need to put in perspective the reason why the Series S exists.
It's for people who want to play AAA games on a budget with no care about performance or graphics... Or for people who are more interested in mass-online games like Fortnite.
It's expected that more compromises will occur for Series S releases.
Also it does not loose 60% of the ram 10/16 is 62 % which is 38% lower not 60%
Check your math on that. I am talking physical Ram not usable Ram.
Memory bandwith need to be huge because at this point all assets are uncompressed. On memory bandwith a 4k texture will literally and exactly required 4x the bandwith of a 1080p one and texture are literaly what is bandwith hungry when rendering a game. So normaly the series S could get away with about 25% bandwith compare to the X but it have 40% meaning it has headroom when targeting 1/4 of the res. The lower bandwith ram part should be mostly used by the os reserved memory so no impact on game. You also find all other specs to have similar headroom to what they would required in this scenario. Dev can get away with minimum effort here by targeting 1/4 the res and having assets accordingly but great port to the S will try to tap into this headroom to target slightly higher res like 1200p when 4k on the series X.
So again the series S will be just fine for the entire gen.
The Xbox 360 had games that used 4k textures. I.E. 4096x4096 textures. Some games even higher resolution textures than that.
Xbox 360 has 0.5GB of Ram verses the Series S at 10GB. (8GB for games).
I think people get confused with texture resolution and output resolution of a rendered scene. They are actually independent.
And no, a 4k texture will not always require 4x the bandwidth of a 1080P one, delta colour compression will compress certain maps better than others based upon the frequency of predictable patterning in the map itself and can save a considerable amount of bandwidth.
|Darc Requiem said:|
That's not addressing two of the biggest issues with Xbox Series platform. The split memory pool and the fact that the API doesn't allow you to get as "close to metal" as the PS5. MS should but bit the bullet and put an extra 4GB of RAM on the Series X so that all of the RAM would have 560GB/s of bandwidth. By splitting the pool they've nullified their own bandwidth advantage because devs have to account some of the memory being restricted to 336GB/s. And that's leaving the elephant in the room, the Series S, out of the equation.
Considering that the biggest hindrance to older high-level API's was the number of draw calls... Direct X 12 was adopted with low-level API optimizations to reduce those impacts.
Mantle literally shook up the industry on that front... To the point there is really no point building games to the metal anymore, unless you are an engine developer.
And yes. Xbox has it's own low-level API. - Remember Mantle was essentially a copy of the Xbox API.