With the announcement of its G-sync technology, many believe that Nvidia may already have ousted the next generation of consoles before their launch. Sure enough, the GPU manufacturer makes a rather fascinating proposition, with the promise of gaming without annoyances like input lag, stutter, and screen tearing.
You would, of course, require additional hardware in the form of a display monitor specially equipped with the G-Sync module. And that’s only if you’re already equipped with an Nvidia GPU that is capable of supporting the feature. Nvidia’s solution will exist for PC gamers who wish to go all the way in terms of fulfilling the necessary hardware requirements. Such a technology does not exist on the console side of things, but Microsoft’s engineers have incorporated a rather smart and efficient solution into its forthcoming console, the Xbox One, in order to tackle some of the issues Nvidia intends to eliminate with G-Sync. There’s certainly no actual connection between either technique, however.
Spoken of briefly during a recent Digital Foundry interview with the Xbox One architects, the console’s scaler will allow developers to employ a dynamic resolution in games. In other words, the load on the GPU can be reduced by altering scaler parameters on a frame-by-frame basis in order to maintain the target frame rate of either 30 or 60 frame per second.
Theoretically, as mentioned before, this solution should tackle some of the issues Nvidia intends to eradicate with G-Sync. While G-Sync essentially allows a display screen to sync its refresh rate with the rate at which frames are being sent its way via the GPU framebuffer, the Xbox One’s scaler can supposedly maintain a constant frame rate to match the display’s refresh rate by dynamically scaling back on resolution whenever the GPU load exceeds the required performance budget. In turn, this could make screen tearing and frame stutter less of an issue on Xbox One games, much like Nvidia’s motto with G-Sync.
Dynamic resolutions have been implemented in the past with games like WipEout HD on the PS3, and more recently, Killzone Mercenary on the PS Vita. However, Microsoft’s solution appears to be available at a more fundamental level as opposed to being a software-driven solution entirely.
Of course, all of this is only in theory based on what the Xbox One architects have claimed. It remains to be seen if such favorable circumstances for game performance will actually be realized in games.
Stay tuned for further updates on the Xbox One’s hardware features.