Nintendo Switch Technical discussion [SOC = Tegra X1]

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Alucardx23, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Apple also do this which some devs also complain about. Devs want access to tech early but want it well tested so they can rely on it. So devs don't want to be guinea pigs but nobody else should test it either. Brilliant! :runaway:

    Probably EA devs, we know how much they hate testing. :runaway:
     
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  2. TheAlSpark

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    Bazinga
     
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  3. Goodtwin

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    The never going to happen ports continue to come to Switch. The almighty dollar continues to win out, and ports of games that many people previously thought would never happen due to hardware limitations are making their way onto the Switch. This year alone, Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein Young Blood, and now the Witcher 3 are all releasing on the Nintendo Switch. The Witcher 3 on Switch is a pretty big deal, and while it is easy to see the visual compromises made to bring the title over to the platform, but it is still very much the Witcher 3 on a portable platform, and that is a very enticing proposition for many gamers.

    What developers have been able to do with a stock Tegra X1 chip in a dedicated gaming platform has been impressive to say the least. When it was discovered that the Switch would use a stock Tegra X1, many people were pretty disappointed, myself included, believing this would severely limit offering of AAA titles on the platform from third party developers. While it is true that Switch is a far cry from having third party parity with the much more powerful consoles, the lineup of titles is far more competent that I would have expected when the tech specs were originally known.

    It will be interesting what Nvidia creates for the Switch successor down the road. Portable platforms will always be at a big disadvantage in terms of performance, but if Nintendo keeps itself on a cycle that releases their new hardware 2-3 years after Sony and Microsoft release their new consoles, this give enough time for mobile hardware to close the gap, and like the current Switch hardware, at least makes current gen ports feasible.
     
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  4. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    This is surely going to run like ass and consume half a 128Gb memory card. If it runs as good as ARK: Survival Evolved I'd be impressed and that port is a janky mess where you can pixel count from across the room.
     
  5. Karamazov

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    60fps ports were already very compromised on the rez and framerate aspects, so it'll be interesting to see how this already 30fps demanding game on home consoles will do on the switch, let's hope it does not run at 15 fps !
     
  6. Goodtwin

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    I dont know, Digital Foundry was able to get some baseline test done on their underclocked PC to emulate the Switch as best they can. Tom also mentioned that he really didnt think CD Projekt would send out a shit copy of the game. The visuals have been paired back in a big way, resolution is a dynamic 720p docked and 540p portable. Tme will tell, but I am optimistic this will be a competent build of the game.
     
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  7. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Maybe they will have to make it a B&W sidescroller!!! Whatever it takes to cash more in! :runaway:
     
  8. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    @DSoup already confirmed it will come in 32GB cart. so the game will be less than 32GB

    @Goodtwin yeah from the trailer, the game looks like it got downgraded as huge as hellblade on switch. Probably looks great portable but horrendous on big 4K screen.
     
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  9. ToTTenTranz

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    Yeah that does not look good.
    Compared to what we saw in the 2013 consoles, it reminds me of that time around 15 years ago when people defaced Doom 3 to run on Voodoo 2 cards.
     
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  10. Picao84

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    It's not going to be THAT bad. At least Switch is running more or less with the same hardware capabilities level minus performance. Doom was a DX9 game running on DX7 (?) class hardware without shaders.
     
  11. ToTTenTranz

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    Well the hardware capability of running the same shaders is there, but if the resolution drops so hard that what you see in outdoor scenes (post FXAA) are blobs of color as if it was an impressionist painting, you're not really looking at the same game anymore:

    [​IMG]


    The game's minimum system requirements on the PC point to a GTX 660, a 1800 GLOPs GPU. People with mobile Raven Ridge have been able to run the game at 720p30 with the Vega 8 at 850MHz / ~870 GFLOPs. The Switch's GPU on mobile mode does 215 GFLOPs assuming they can continuously use the new boost mode.
    There's just no way the game is similar to the PC version at lowest settings, like CDPR has been touting.

    Sure it might still be somewhat fun to play the game on the go, but it's a really far cry from the cinematic and immersive experience that even the 6 year-old consoles provide.

    Playing this on the Smach-Z should be on a completely different class.
     
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  12. Shifty Geezer

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    Is that direct feed and not compressed to Betsy video?
     
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  13. Goodtwin

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    Witcher 3 was never going to be the most flattering game to look at on the Nintendo Switch, but its very existence on the platform is something that many people never thought would happen. The direct feed video footage holds up better than the single screenshot posted above. The argument that it looks significantly downgraded compared to 6 year old consoles is pointless, as it is being ported to mobile hardware that has been on the market since early 2017, and the Tegra X1 dates back to 2015. No game ported from the PS4 or X1 to mobile hardware, Switch or even the best $1000 cell phone on the market, isnt going to make the transition without compromise. Sales suggest that a very high number of consumers do not care. They like the ability to play anywhere, and are tolerant of the lesser experience on their large TV at home compared to the more powerful consoles.
     
  14. Shifty Geezer

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    However, as this is a technical discussion about the tech, sales don't really enter into it. ;) This is a debate about what compromises and solutions are employed to make a port, and comparing that mobile chipset to the last-gen and current-gen hardwares on a technical level.
     
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  15. Goodtwin

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    Certainly, but when a primary argument is:

    That's not really adding much to the discussion. The discussion dating back to the beginning of Switch's existence concerning third party ports circles around two conflicting opinions. There was essentially two sides to the argument, one side was of the opinion that ports would not happen because the Switch hardware was not capable enough to run those games, and the other side was of the opinion that if the console was successful enough, developers would find a way to port their games to the hardware, all the while conceding that the process would come with many compromises to make the transition happen. Doom and Wolfenstein 2 game along, seemingly debunking the idea that third party ports wouldn't/couldn't happen, but skeptics then pointed out that those games were 60fps games cut to 30fps and resolution cut in half as well. Now we have the Witcher 3, a 30fps game making its way to Switch. A 30fps AAA PS4/X1 title, something that was completely out of the question not that long ago.

    I have always admitted that 1080p 60fps games on PS4/X1 would be the low hanging fruit for Switch conversions. The ability to move to 720p 30fps frees up a massive amount of resources, making the conversion much more straightforward(still not easy). Witcher 3 will require the Saber Interactive to go through the game and make a ton of smart changes. The move to 720p docked and 540p portable isn't anywhere close to making for an easy transition. CPU workloads are going to need to see massive workarounds to keep the framerate from tanking.

    A question I have that I still haven't found an answer to, is just how beneficial is the ability to use half precision shaders on Switch? Has this been a big perk that helps the Tegra X1 punch above its weight, or is it something that is barely used, and is really just a marketing bullet point.
     
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  16. ToTTenTranz

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    Dude you think your side "won" the argument because of what it boils down to a handful of iterations on the same idtech engine and witcher 3?
    If your expectations were that low I would have agreed with you from the beginning.


    Half precision usage has been discussed and explained in detail within the Radeon Vega threads.
     
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  17. Goodtwin

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    Yes, I feel there is enough evidence now that ports are certainly possible if there is the financial incentive to go through the process. Way back when the discussion was in its early days, I fully believe if I had argued that Doom, Wolfenstein 2, Hellblade and the Witcher 3 would come to the Switch, you would have pushed back on that statement. Disagree?

    As for the half precision details, I will take a look at that thread. Thanks.
     
  18. Goodtwin

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    Found a good article that breaks down FP16 into real world utilization and the challenges that implementing it can bring on. Overall, a roughly 10% boost in performance seems rather modest compared to the doubling of the peak floating point performance used in marketing documentation, but that is still a nice perk just the same. I would think that Nvidia's development tools have utilized half precision shader support with similar results. Neat, just not as significant as I would have hoped.

    https://gpuopen.com/first-steps-implementing-fp16/
     
  19. TheAlSpark

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    Still, it's probably worth keeping in mind that Vega64 is not lacking for resources (in terms of potential bottlenecks) compared to TX1.
     
  20. ToTTenTranz

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    Yes, I 100% disagree.

    What mattered for the port discussion were the scarcity of AAA 3rd party franchises that move tens of millions across a generation, and those were effectively scarce.
    The huge gap in performance resulted in the Switch getting no Call of Duty, no Battlefield, Battlefront, no recent Final Fantasy, no Overwatch, no Far Cry, no recent Assassin's Creed, no Destiny, no The Division, no GTA, no Red Dead Redemption, etc.
    The list goes on and on.

    AAA 3rd party games are super scarce on the Switch, despite the financial incentive to port games to it. Devs need to take away too much of their 9th gen games to make it work on the Switch. Fast paced idTech 5 games need to run at 30 FPS with very low resolution and Witcher 3 needs to run at sub-Vita resolution with what looks like gouraud shading at places to be barely playable.

    And now we're 1 year away from another generation of consoles that will again be a giant leap from the 2013 models, and the gap between the switch and these new consoles will be so big you won't get anything but the eternally cyclical 3rd party sports games on it.



    Some factors to take into account:

    1 - On the PC, devs use FP16 only in cases where quality isn't affected when compared to using FP32. This is obviously not a limiting aspect for the Switch, as devs should be a lot more willing to sacrifice quality to make a game playable. FP16 pixel shaders are a lot more prevalent on mobile games and the Switch should be no different.

    2 - Vega 64 is known to have an excess of shader throughput, so using that GPU to evaluate FP16 gains isn't ideal. The best GPU to do that comparison should be a smaller one like the embedded Vega 8/11 vs a similarly sized one without RPM like the nvidia MX150 or MX130.

    So does it make a "big" difference? Probably yes, a lot more than the 10% you saw for the Vega 64. But the Switch needed a GPU some 3x faster to make a difference in the ports, and FP16 certainly doesn't provide that.
     
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