BoneBoost

Microsoft’s next-generation console, the Xbox One, is widely believed to be just that little bit less powerful than Sony’s PlayStation 4. Recent increases to both the GPU and CPU clocks have lessened the gap, and according to Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, in future the gap could be even smaller. They reveal that a full 10 per cent of the of the system’s graphics capability is currently reserved for Kinect and apps, but that it could be unlocked to game developers in the future.

“Xbox One has a conservative 10 per cent time-sliced reservation on the GPU for system processing. This is used both for the GPGPU processing for Kinect and for the rendering of concurrent system content such as snap mode,” Microsoft engineer Andrew Goossen told Eurogamer in an interview on the Xbox One’s innards.

“The current reservation provides strong isolation between the title and the system and simplifies game development – strong isolation means that the system workloads, which are variable, won’t perturb the performance of the game rendering. In the future, we plan to open up more options to developers to access this GPU reservation time while maintaining full system functionality.”

What he’s saying then, is that Kinect is holding the Xbox One back? Well no, not really – but it does mean there’s some untapped power in the Bone, just waiting to be unleashed. so, if there’s all that extra power under the hood, why are games like Ryse and killer Instinct running at sub1080p resolutions? It doesn’t matter, ‘cos they look great anyway, thanks to the next generation scaler on the One.

“We’ve chosen to let title developers make the trade-off of resolution vs. per-pixel quality in whatever way is most appropriate to their game content. A lower resolution generally means that there can be more quality per pixel. With a high quality scaler and anti-aliasing and render resolutions such as 720p or ‘900p’, some games look better with more GPU processing going to each pixel than to the number of pixels; others look better at 1080p with less GPU processing per pixel,” replied Goossen.

“We built Xbox One with a higher quality scaler than on Xbox 360, and added an additional display plane, to provide more freedom to developers in this area. This matter of choice was a lesson we learned from Xbox 360 where at launch we had a Technical Certification Requirement mandate that all titles had to be 720p or better with at least 2x anti-aliasing – and we later ended up eliminating that TCR as we found it was ultimately better to allow developers to make the resolution decision themselves. Game developers are naturally incented to make the highest quality visuals possible and so will choose the most appropriate trade-off between quality of each pixel vs. number of pixels for their games.”

What do you think? Freedom for developers on resolutions a good thing? would you prefer a 720p game, upscaled, that packs as many effects and as much detail in to each pixel, or games running at higher resolutions?

Last Updated: October 3, 2013

1.1
was reviewed on PC

44 Comments

  1. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 3, 2013 at 09:20

    Well it makes sense to separate the game from all the other crap to limit possible performance issues.

    Reply

    • Mark Treloar

      October 3, 2013 at 11:04

      or they could just buy PC’s

      Reply

  2. MacDoodle

    October 3, 2013 at 09:31

    They really trying hard aren’t they

    Reply

  3. Umar Jaeger

    October 3, 2013 at 09:39

    Using GPGPU for Snap Change, yet it looked pretty laggy in the earlier video demos, that said, We should expect it to be quite a smooth experience, 10 percent, while a small figure is quite a Lakker portion for offloading some of the work

    Reply

  4. TiMsTeR1033

    October 3, 2013 at 09:41

    how much extra power will 10 % really give you? I mean sounds like a yours is bigger than mine battle again… The games will matter in the end.

    Reply

  5. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    October 3, 2013 at 09:55

    You know, the tech/archi is somewhat fairly well known to devs. They have likely done PC titles or at least worked with the architecture before. My concern is, that at such early stages if they are already aiming to make use of the reserves? How long will these consoles actually last? PS3 had it by the beans because it was running the powerpc cpu and sure it was pretty much unknown at that stage, but as the devs worked more and more with it the games had more fidelity and depth. That being said it was a computational powerhouse with the limitation being the coding. Now the limit, off the bat, is going to be the hardware? Methinks it will end in tears eventually

    And on the note of anti aliasing and filtering, it honestly makes a gigantic difference to performance, with little to no actual visual difference (specially on small res’s like 720p) Why spend more power doing the same image with almost no visible fidelity differences, where as you could skip the entire quad work per pixel to just jumping up to 1080. Better texture and lighting appearances, volumetrics and physics will take a hit sure, but over all the image will still look infinitely better.

    As an experiment, for yall with not so high end pc’s, load up a fairly intensive game where you can set everything high on a medium resolution (eg 1280*720) now, chop off all the high effects for a medium to low setting and bump up the resolution. See? You still get your fps you had on the prior resolution and somewhat more clarity at the cost of some shaders and tesselation.

    See this is my point, why is it that “new” gen consoles need to ALREADY make this sacrifice??? I honestly dont know what the lifespan of the next gen will be, but considering you can build a pretty decent rig for +- the same price, my faith is dwindling in un-modulated hardware

    Reply

    • TiMsTeR1033

      October 3, 2013 at 10:04

      I think Ms blowing steam out their ass man, Saying wow “we have 10 % extra power which will be used one day!” but in same breath say ins needed for kinect and apps, could be a bullshit story, I mean for they know they use that 10 % and console overheats and dies! plus ontop of the the whole snapping feature crashes and no kinect.

      Reply

      • Brady miaau

        October 3, 2013 at 10:13

        he he.

        You said blowing steam. That funny.

        Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          October 3, 2013 at 10:14

          I was gonna go with smoke but steam sounded right at the time.

          Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 3, 2013 at 10:36

      Its not about the graphics. Give me amazing games that look and feel amazing, and I honestly won’t care if the graphics don’t improve by much. Improve the games.

      Reply

      • Devourer of Small Bunnies

        October 3, 2013 at 10:48

        See the thing is, why do we have to choose? We have oodles of computational power, we’re now forcing the devs to code better. Which, I guess is probably the best option, I just dont believe they need to be limited even before day one. Dont get me wrong, good code beats any amount of computing, its just, sigh, it just seems that the threshold of these consoles is looking like its already being met even before release

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          October 3, 2013 at 11:39

          Because with this next gen, the increase in graphics will be incremental, not very noticeable – so instead of spending so much effort on eaking out a 2-4% better looking game, how about a 10-20% better playing game? Seriously, next gen looks amazing already – why put so much effort into such a small gain in the long run? This “limitation” you speak of, isn’t much of a limitation at all. The new “limitation” will take a while before PC truly outdoes it. 8 years, most likely.

          If you want upgrades every year, buy a PC. That’s definitely their thing.

          Reply

          • Devourer of Small Bunnies

            October 3, 2013 at 12:24

            Couldnt agree with you more dude!

          • Brian Murphy

            October 4, 2013 at 05:27

            Well, in theory, I completely agree with you. In practice, games like STALKER, which had amazingly detailed environments, vast sandbox areas, everything was in motion all the time (whether you were there or not), the AI was top notch, the physics were top notch, and the game had a very very deep storyline (with 7 different unique endings), factions you could join/leave etc… And that launched in 2007.

            So, having both is 100% feasible, the problem is people settling for bullshit, and giving developers the impression it smells like roses.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      October 3, 2013 at 12:36

      Agreed. 1080 no AA > 720 full AA

      Reply

  6. Pieter Kruger

    October 3, 2013 at 09:59

    If this can add value to the Games AND Kinect, snap mode, Top box TV integration etc. experiences, then go for it. Diversity, that’s why I’m getting the Xbox One anyways. But if it’s only to make games look prettier at the cost of maybe penalising the rest of the functionality, don’t even bother! I’ll say it again, I’m getting the Xbox One BECAUSE of the Kinect, Top box TV integration, Skype etc. If I only wanted pretty games I’d play them on the PC!

    Reply

    • TiMsTeR1033

      October 3, 2013 at 10:44

      How would you feel if you saw the red ring of death on your xbox one? lol

      Reply

      • Pieter Kruger

        October 3, 2013 at 10:54

        That’s the only thing re next gen that I’m 110% sure of, the Xbox One will never overheat! It was designed not to! It was only the earlier models that overheated anyways. Still bringing it up these days are like saying all new Fords still have oil leaks! ????

        Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          October 3, 2013 at 11:46

          I hope for your sake they fixed the Red ring of death. Was heart breaking! Came outta no where!

          Reply

          • Pieter Kruger

            October 3, 2013 at 12:19

            LOL! My whole point is that it has been fixed, loooong time ago! Just like the PS3’s YLOD.

        • saneman

          October 3, 2013 at 15:30

          That statement was made based on the first specs released running at X MHz.

          So they can say for definite its been tested at X and will never over heat.

          fast forward to the ps4 specs being released.

          overclocking to try and play catch up bring it up to X + 10%

          now do those same claims hold true?

          I don’t think so.

          In fact because Ryse has been dropped to 900p it means that they have seriously effed up. M$’s next gen cant even hit full hd….

          Are you joking? and its $100 more expensive.

          Can I have what M$ is smoking please

          Reply

          • Yoshi

            October 3, 2013 at 16:18

            Seriously?? Did you notice the size difference between the Xbone and the Hostmigration Staion 4? If anybody should be worried about overheating it’s the more powerful Hostmigration Station 4 in the even smaller housing surely???

      • FoxOneZA

        October 3, 2013 at 11:34

        The same as you would feel when your PS3 gives you a YLOD?

        Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      October 3, 2013 at 12:28

      I definitely hope for your sake that RROD isn’t a feature of the bone….

      Reply

      • MacDoodle

        October 3, 2013 at 14:00

        Be a great feature to have while they gathering data for the NSA

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          October 3, 2013 at 14:29

          Hahahah! Much better than a bunch of laser points aimed at my head.

          Reply

  7. eXpZA

    October 3, 2013 at 10:01

    Turn it up to 11!

    Reply

    • veggiesaurus ZA

      October 3, 2013 at 10:05

      Once bitten, twice shy. My garage is an xboxen graveyard.

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        October 3, 2013 at 10:14

        I’ve had 2 360’s die on me.

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          October 3, 2013 at 10:35

          Mine’s been going for 4 years, and no hassles.

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 3, 2013 at 10:40

            I had 2 red ring and third had for 5 years.

    • Otto_ki

      October 3, 2013 at 10:07

      Needs more RAM

      Reply

  8. Yep you are wrong! Shush

    October 3, 2013 at 10:18

    Reply

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      October 3, 2013 at 12:39

      Today in yoga we do the downward facing kitty

      Reply

  9. ToshZA

    October 3, 2013 at 10:29

    More detail per pixel imho is way better. Scaling up from 900p with amazing graphics is fine with me. IF doing it at 1080p would lower the overall quality.

    Honestly though, frame rates. Be smooth. That’s the best outcome. 🙂

    Reply

  10. ElimiNathan

    October 3, 2013 at 10:58

    “There’s still some untapped power in the bone”, that’s what she said

    Reply

    • Devourer of Small Bunnies

      October 3, 2013 at 11:34

      Hee hee

      Reply

  11. Martin du preez

    October 3, 2013 at 11:36

    So the Bone will only be 40% weaker than the quad?

    Reply

  12. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    October 3, 2013 at 12:22

    That’s not even it’s final form!

    Reply

  13. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    October 3, 2013 at 12:27

    Neogaf absolutely shredded Digital Foundry (Microsoft’s unofficial PR firm), and one of the points that came out was, if 10% was allocated to Kinect, then the Bone was even in worse shape. As for how it compares to the PS4, there’s actually no change.

    Reply

    • Brian Murphy

      October 4, 2013 at 05:32

      “This reduction in GPU processing may in effect drop the Xbox One’s1.31 TFlops down to 1.18 TFlops.”

      Yeah I read the same thing.

      Reply

  14. Graham V

    October 4, 2013 at 07:47

    Yes MacDoodle they are

    Reply

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