Xbox One: DirectX 12 To Increase GPU Performance, But Can It Match The PS4?

Will the Xbox One DirectX 12 update increase the Xbox One GPU performance enough to match the PlayStation 4 GPU?

In a related report by The Inquisitr, even the mighty PS4 GPU is relatively slow and cannot handle ray tracing methods like path finding.

In general, DirectX 12 will show the largest benefit on the PC and mobile platforms. The main focus has been on optimizing multi-threading efficiency in order to make better usage of multi-core processors, which even low end smartphones use nowadays. For the PC gaming side, if we base our expectations on the results shown by AMD Mantle, then it’s possible we may see large performance improvements in scenarios where the CPU is the bottleneck instead of the GPU. Some reports claim one of these optimizations involve offloading normally CPU-based threads to the GPU, which in some cases can split the amount of time taken for a task.

During the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft development manager for graphics Anuj Gosalia made this claim:

“Xbox One games will see improved performance, and we’ll bring the same [DirectX 12] API to all Microsoft platforms.”

Unfortunately, Microsoft chose to use Forza Motorsport 5 as an example of this speed increase, and it appeared to run smoothly. But since the game was already capable of running at 1080p with the Xbox One DirectX 11.2 API this isn’t much of a shocker. So how much improvement should we expect?

An earlier rumor claimed a Xbox One patch may increase GPU performance by unlocking a section allegedly reserved for the Kinect 2. In addition, an AMD Mantle PS4 and Xbox One GPU patch was hoped for by console fans since both consoles happen to use APUs manufactured by AMD. Besides the fact that consoles already have low level APIs designed to offer functionality and performance “close to the metal.” Microsoft has already shot down that idea even though game developers might enjoy having the same Mantle API on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Linux for the purposes of porting. Regardless, based upon these recent comments about the Xbox One it seems there is still room for improvement.

Still, to be blunt, the DirectX 12 software optimizations are unlikely to help the Xbox One win a graphics comparison with the PlayStation 4. The raw hardware numbers don’t lie and the difference in maximum theoretical performance between the two GPUs can literally be measured by the capabilities of almost two Wii U GPU units (sorry, Nintendo). Sony will of course be optimizing their own graphics API, as well.

Microsoft knows this, but won’t publicly say it. For example, Xbox director of development, Boyd Muller, claimed that developers simply needed to figure out how to pull that GPU rabbit out of the hat:

“The [graphics processing units] are really complicated beasts this time around. … The hardware is basically baked, and what comes next is people discovering better software techniques to take advantage of it, especially in the ordering of the data so it flows through all the caches correctly, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.”

In the end, this will probably means we’ll see a higher minimum framerate and for certain titles the native resolution may be slightly higher.

What do you think about Microsoft’s claims about the Xbox One DirectX 12 performance improvements?