Series S raytracing for fun via Watch Dogs

Tom Warren’s channel is a ‘must subscribe’ at this point, there’s loads of videos on there showing what the new consoles can do.

Raytracing on a £250 box. Superb!

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It has its limits all though! Even in series X.

  1. PC

  1. Series X

  1. Series S

Still worth it for the price :+1:

Edit: correct pic upload


For a moment, I thought you were suggesting its not as good as more expensive hardware. :wink:

It is not as good as the expensive hardware.

But worth it for the price.

Both statements are true😉


True. :grinning:

Impressive for a launch 3rd party game. I think this console’s performance will surprise a few people. Makes you wonder what 1st party studios can do with this ‘cute’ Xbox (my niece’s description, not mine). :grinning:


Now I wonder how PS5 will fare. Based on what Ubi said themselves it sounded it had even more limitations.

They said hardware accelerated raytracing for Xbox (both X and S right?) and reflections and what not. And none of that was mentioned for PS5.

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Everyone is pointing out that it will be same as X.

‘Negligible’ difference.

Apparently, no one tells what ‘negligible’ is!

People with both systems said that about WDL?

Someone from DF said it in a reply thread on tweeter ( that’s what they expect, have not tested it yet on PS5). Also, people have been saying that difference between two consoles is ‘negligible’.

Interesting. I wonder if they mean the loading times too.

I do expect a change once devs fully utilize the RDNA2 features of X.

Negligible is that you won’t be able to see the difference in a quick glance, especially not on a smaller screen. The screen that Little Timmy has in his bed room, he doesn’t have an 1800 Freedom Points OLED in his bedroom. He has a 299 one, if he is lucky, usually Little Timmy gets the hand me downs. On that screen you will not even be able to tell the difference even if it is “4K!! SAYS SO ON THE BOX!”. The color bleed, color range, contrast, refresh rate, ghosting… it’ll make sure you won’t see much of a difference. So yeah… negligible, and in a quick glance (especially to the untrained eye when at the Walmart), it’ll look the same. So what do you think the parental units will get for Little Timmy and the rest of the family?

I have a hint, it is not the one that costs 2 weeks of groceries more!

Both have all features, it’s mostly a resolution thing. Please don’t stare blindly at flop counts. They are actually just how many pixel operations and vector operations you can do. It is why you can run 60FPS at 1080p on a Geforce GTX 2060 (with almost all settings on high) but can’t even reach 4K at 60fps on a 2080 with the same settings. The "flop"numbers of those two are: GTX 2060 about 6.5 teraflops GTX 2080 about 10 teraflops.

This is because almost all assets and rendering requires 4 times the requirements on a 4k resolution. So 4 times as much memory bandwidth, 4 times as many raster operations, etc, etc.

A good example is the One X: This console has slightly more than 4 times of the rendering capacity on it’s graphical area of the silicone. This is needed if you are to go from the 1080p target of an Xbox One S to a 4K resolution. Now you can do it a bit more efficient (Sony’s approach with the PS4 Pro), but it will be visible unless you have one HECK of an scaler.

If you like I can DM you some of the articles I have written regarding this, they are old though… but it touches on this exact subject.

Now back to the Series consoles: When you have a 4K game running at a 12 teraflop console (with the assets that one can handle at that resolution and frame rate). You can also scale that back to 1080p (the main target for the Series S, 1400P will be an outlier). If you make sure you don’t load the 4K textures and render at that resolution then 1/4th should be “enough” (it is not as there are some other factors that come into play).

The Series S is about 1/3th of the “power” (I really don’t like to call it “power” as that doesn’t cover the material well at all), so it has a bit to spare. Which it needs for doing the Machine learning and Ray tracing at that resolution and art asset.

Sure if you have a big screen and are an enthusiast, you’ll see the difference. But on a 299 bargain bin TV? Big chance you won’t and if you do? Then you know what to look for.

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Looks good enough and very encouraging that the S can do it in a launch game. I think we will see some fine developments with raytracing techniques over the next years when every new console and GPU from NVidia and AMD supports it.

So all subjective :person_shrugging:

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No, not subjective, it is a fact that you need a big screen and a good screen to truly take advantage of 4k HDR. If you have a cheaper TV that you sit further away from that is also smaller than the 4K OLED that you use? You won’t see the difference at all. The TV simply can’t display it well. Even if it says so on the box, that just means it accepts that resolution, and maybe it can display it (Well even that is not always true, as the subpixels are often screwed up on those, so a lot of colorbleed).

Really for your average consumer, that doesn’t get an OLED in the living room even, let alone a gigantic screen? The Series S will be more than fine and you won’t be able to tell the difference on that screen fro were they are sitting.

Now in your enthusiast set up? Yeah, you might see that difference, but consider how much you paid for your set up? And now consider how much Tom from across the street, who works in an Iron Mill, will pay for his set up? Tom’s wife Jane also has a job as a cleaner, at the same mill, she also gets a vote in the family spending. Both aren’t Gamers as a hobby, and really only care about their phone’s “Candy Crush” if they are into a game at all.

Now little Timmy wants an Xbox, Tom, Jane and Timmy go to the store. They see almost no difference in visual fidelity on the screen sizes on display (often the same size they have at home. They don’t want a gigantic screen that takes over the living room, plus they cost a lot these OLED screens, about 12 weeks of groceries vs 4 weeks of groceries (I don’t blame them, I think that way as well).

When they then realize that the Series S is 2 weeks of groceries cheaper? Guess which one Timmy will get on his Birthday that he’ll have to share with his little sister Tammy?

And yes, you might think I’m joking, and talking down, that I’m making fun of ordinary Tom; But I AM NOT. This is how most people think (and have to think), they have to get by every month. It is something people tried to explain on other ERA as well (often until they were banned for being “Bernie Bros” or “Console warring” or some other excuse like that, were fanboys abused the mods).

For normal people, the non enthusiast crowd, 100 Freedom Bucks is a lot of money, 200 even more so. They don’t have a 1200~1800 dollar TV, they have Walmart’s black Friday deal of 399~499. And on that TV, you will NOT see the difference, sorry.

If you say you can, then please do a double blind test. On a cheap Walmart TV, with a Series S and a Series X with multiple people. You’ll be surprised by the outcome. Heck, future Digital Foundry articles will also surprise you.

Please keep in mind: Consoles are toys first.

This is nuts, a $300 console with RT.


Watching Tom Warrens stream he says he hasn’t got Watch Dogs on the PS5 but that from what he’s seen and heard it’s going to be very very similar to series X.

His gut feel is that over time the series X will show its power a little more by comparison but not at launch. He doesn’t think there is a very big difference between the two machines and he’s using them. Given he’s a PC gamer I think we can pack up any idea of glaring performance differences between the machines especially at launch.

Also worth noting Tom said there were some egregious dips in WDL on Series X and it’s far from a locked 30. Hopefully another patch will improve that performance, sub 30 will be slated by likes of DF.

That’s subjective because you aren’t comparing hardware capabilities but wheather some ‘Timmy’ wants it or not or needs it or not.

Objectively, difference can be (just assuming for conversation sake )

  1. 1440p vs 2160p

  2. 1680p vs 2160p

  3. 1800p vs 2160p

  4. Or no difference

TimmyA might not see difference between the two in worst case scenario (1) but TimmyB might see difference between the two in scenario (3).

Now let’s keep TimmyB out of this and focus on TimmyA.

If developer choose to put same resolution on both consoles, there will be a power left on the better console. Which developer may use to apply heavier effects or better frame rates on the better console.

If performance difference is as per scenario (1) it could result in 60 vs 30 fps improvement at same resolution.

As per scenario (3) it could just be an improvement of better shadow at same resolution.

I think this is better way of telling what differences two consoles may have. Using something as subjective as ‘Timmy’ or ‘negligible’ doesn’t make sense. For someone there maybe no difference between 1440p and 2160p but someone may notice the difference of higher shadows.

Note: i don’t know what difference may occur between the two consoles. That’s why i am asking for it rather then telliing it. But i am asking for it in an objective way rather then subjective.

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No it’s factual, most people do not have a tv that can show the details you mean, especially not in the bedroom of their kids. Please understand that. Resolution is more than what the console can output, the panel in question also must be able to display it. And for the price ranges we are talking about with the series S, most can not.

This is not a subjective difference, but a factual one. I mean why else would you choose for the screen that you did? Most of my relatives look to price first and then image quality. The latter is subjective yes, but at the price we are talking about here, the series S’ image quality will be near indistinguishable for the screen size and panel quality that we are talking about.

You are kind of chosing to ignore a big part of the image equation, the screen itself.

I was talking about what kind of difference ‘negligible’ means but you want to talk about price and wheather one will use it on a 4k panel or 1080p panel.

Ofcourse i mean for the full utilisation of the system. Don’t know why you are putting price stuff in it.

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