Gaming in 4K: GTX 1080 Ti vs. PS4 Pro

Fresh Video Game News 2022

Over time I have noticed that some of the most accessed articles published on Go4games are dedicated ones system requirements required to run certain games properly. And it is understandable: the gamer wants to know the necessary system to be able to enjoy his favorite games, even if he will have to give up some details or lower the resolution to run them fluently. And yet, considering that we have entered the Ultra-HD era, we thought to look at the problem from the opposite perspective: gaming in maximum detailinto the 4K resolutionwhether we’re talking about PC or consoles.

Safe until a few years ago from question marks related to resolutions or level of details, consoles have become closer and closer to PCs and from this point of view: the new PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X they reach their target resolutions using ingenious ways, with some titles going so far as to offer multiple display options, such as 4K with a framerate of 30 frames per second or 1080p with 60fps. In other words, more options offered to users, so an experience as close as possible to their tastes. However, for this “experiment”, we aimed to reach the maximum point in terms of graphic quality, always relying on the display modes of the console that prioritize the resolution at the expense of frames per second.

And because it’s still about consoles, their “camp” in this test is represented by a model PlayStation 4 Pro with a 1TB hard disk (CUH-7016B model), by far the most popular console capable of 4K resolutions officially sold in our country. Some of you will argue that the actual hardware power that Sony has included in this PS4 model is not enough to play demanding games in native resolution 4K (3840×216)and this is as true as it gets.

However, as we have seen with games like God of War or Horizon: Zero Dawnmanufacturers have become accustomed to using certain upscaling methods ingenious, such as playback checkerboarded (imagine the pixels of the screen as a chessboard, where only the white squares are rendered by classical methods, the information displayed in the black squares being estimated based on the previously displayed frames), particularly effective to approximate the quality level of a native 4K image .

Before taking such an alternative method of achieving high resolutions out of the equation, you should take a look at the not-too-distant past, when, also through console games, they were introduced antialiasing methods performed by image post-processing (such as MLAA in God of War III), these replacing, almost entirely, outdated methods such as MSAA or FSAA (based on rendering images at higher resolutions and then scaling them down to display resolution). Through such intelligent optimizations, relatively limited resources can be used to achieve a higher visual level.

Of course, there is also the “no compromise” option, represented by the extremely powerful hardware available on the PC. In other words, brute force can overcome almost any software “obstacle”, such an approach being however quite expensive. For example, for our test system, we used a CPU Intel Core i7 6700, 16GB of RAM and a video card GIGABYTE AORUS EXTREME EDITION GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. However, we did not set out to analyze the costs, but the high-end experience offered by such a configuration, compared to what a console can offer.

Also, far from us the thought of comparing framerates, loading times or other elements of this type “to the millimeter”. We focused on the concept gaming experience at 4K resolution, with all the details pushed to the maximum. Thus, we chose four of the most popular, but also good-looking multiplatform games of the moment (Rise of the Tomb Raider, DOOM, Final Fantasy XV and Star Wars: Battlefront II) and I ran them at the maximum level of detail offered by the two platforms (I also enabled NVIDIA GameWorks where applicable). In the case of the PC, I did not resort to external tools that allow the “injection” of other types of antialiasing or post-processing effects, preferring the standard experience designed and offered by game manufacturers. For both platforms we have used the latest software updates and drivers currently available.


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PlayStation 4 Pro 4K

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PlayStation 4 Pro 4K

DOOMDOOM

DOOMDOOM


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PlayStation 4 Pro 4K

Final Fantasy 15Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy 15Final Fantasy 15


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PlayStation 4 Pro 4K

Star Wars Battlefront 2Star Wars Battlefront 2

Star Wars Battlefront 2Star Wars Battlefront 2


IMAGE QUALITY AND LEVEL OF DETAILS

It was clear that native 4K picture will always be superior to one built by an upscaling method, regardless of its complexity. This is especially evident in DOOM or Star Wars: Battlefront IIwhere the console displays an upscaled 4K signal from o internal resolution 1440potherwise respectable, but incomparably lower in quality than native 4K on PC.

However, in Rise of the Tomb Raideryou can see how effective the method is checkerboard upscale, managing to produce results comparable to native 4K. Especially when they are admired from the usual viewing distance of the TV, significantly larger than that of a monitor placed on the desk.

Also, in addition to the appearance of some additional effects (such as the vegetation shadows in Star Wars: Battlefront II), another obvious advantage of the PC is represented by higher resolution texturesas well as by the level of anisotropic filtering theirs. For example, the road from Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition it’s much more detailed and clear, even at a distance, than the PS4 version of the game.

A console like the PlayStation 4 Pro, however, remains a decent option for those who want to touch a higher visual level, without making a very expensive investment. Another advantage of the console could be the support for HDR (High Dynamic Range)but disabled in this test to obtain comparable images, but also due to the fact that this technology has not yet been standardized on PC, there are neither very many compatible monitor models nor adequate software support (Windows itself still has problems with HDR display ).

But when it comes to maximum graphics level possible in today’s games, the PC has no rival, provided you invest in quality components. In other words, the saying “a thin face is kept at an expense” is as valid as possible in this field as well.

PERFORMANCE

Without detracting from the merits of the image quality, in the absence of a framerate considered playable, reaching resolutions like 4K may prove useless. Fortunately, our PC setup fared decently, titles like DOOM or Star Wars: Battlefront II being perfectly playable. Things did not go as well in Rise of the Tomb Raiderwhere, using the maximum level of graphics settings offered by the game, the framerate fluctuated disturbingly long ago even when G-Sync technology was used. However, things are not so bad, lowering the antialiasing level by one notch from the game resulting in an adequate framerate.

From this point of view, the console was a more constant idea, that’s all DOOMand also Star Wars: Battlefront II while maintaining the smooth framerate characteristic of titles designed to be played at 60 frames per second, even if, occasionally, small framerate drops also appeared. Into the Final Fantasy XV and especially in Rise of the Tomb Raiderthe framerate of only 30fps leads to a much more consistent gaming experience. Both games also benefit from performance-focused display modes, but analyzing them was not our goal.

In other words, getting an optimal gaming experience, at maximum detail and in 4K resolution, can prove a particularly demanding task even for a PC system composed of high-performance components. Obviously, however, the PC is versatile, always having the possibility of disable certain graphics (such as advanced levels of antialiasing) to achieve the ideal compromise between an enviable image quality and a suitable framerate. Also, while current consoles are limited to a framerate of 60 frames per second, PC can go higher thanks to higher refresh rates present on current gaming monitorsoffering a clearly superior experience in certain titles.

ULTRAWIDE ALTERNATIVE

On PC, an alternative to current 4K displays (expensive and mostly limited in terms of refresh rate) are ultrawide monitorswith aspect ratio of 21:9 (compared to the classic 16:9), such as ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q, tested by colleagues at Go4it. Of course, such a display does not offer native 4K, but the resolution of 3440×1440 may come with other benefits: increased performancekeeping the maximum details in games (~5 million pixels are easier to process than the more than 8 million related to 4K resolution), as well as a wider field of view, very advantageous in certain games (as you can see from the images below). The ultrawide aspect can be particularly useful when you have work (not all of us just play), as several windows and tools can be accommodated on such a monitor.

However, and not only when it comes to gaming, the fact that there are still many must be taken into account applications not optimized for such a display: for example, YouTube clips will be displayed fullscreen with black bars on the sides. As far as gaming is concerned, most of the current titles (including the four tested by us) offer support for such an aspect ratio, but this, often, is incomplete. For example, even if the actual gameplay does not suffer, cinematic sequences from games like Rise of The Tomb Raider, Star Wars: Battlefront II or Final Fantasy XV will also be displayed in 16:9with black bands.


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 3440×1440

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 3440×1440

DOOMDOOM

DOOMDOOM


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 3440×1440

Final Fantasy 15Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy 15


PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 4K

PC (GeForce GTX 1080 Ti) 3440×1440

Star Wars Battlefront 2Star Wars Battlefront 2

Star Wars Battlefront 2Star Wars Battlefront 2

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