Xbox Series S vs PlayStation 4 Pro – the duel with four teraflops

We’re over two years into the current generation of consoles, but true current-gen software is few and far between. Instead, the vast majority of key games were released on both 8th and 9th generation consoles, spanning seven different hardware targets across two generations to maximize sales. At the same time, the Xbox Series S continues to cause controversy. Despite being a current-gen machine, it suffers from key GPU and RAM deficiencies that place it well behind the PS5 and Series X. Results in actual games are a bit mixed, and some titles suffer from issues unique to this system due to its reduced specification.

So we thought we’d take a look at a selection of the biggest releases and game updates of 2022 to see how well the most limited machine of the current generation stacks up against PS4 Pro. Sony’s improved machine offers an interesting point of comparison: it has a very similar GPU configuration on the surface. Both machines pack around 4 teraflop GPUs and both have around 220 GB/s peak transfer rates in their main memory pools. Architectural and configuration differences confuse the waters here, but by and large these systems have similarly capable graphics hardware.

While the GPU calculation is comparable, the Series S is way ahead in several respects. Its Zen 2-based CPU technology and NVMe storage allow for a faster, smoother, and more responsive experience. And of course, the GPU itself is from a more modern era, with more features and an increase in IPC instructions per clock. Still, the new Microsoft console is still in its infancy, while the Pro benefits from years of experience and more mature development tools.

This is how the duel discussed on this page is translated into video form.

The tests delivered today are an odd counter-argument to a similar article I did last year in which I stacked the Series S against the SSD-equipped Xbox One X. This was quite a struggle at the time – perhaps because last-gen systems still received a lot of focus from developers, while the One X’s GPU had enough brute-force horsepower to deliver tangible graphical differences. After a year and Pro as a point of comparison, there was a profound shift in favor of the new machine.

Take Cyberpunk 2077, for example, which infamously launched on the last gen machines, essentially because it’s an inherently next-gen game. The official “next-gen” upgrade has arrived and since launch, the Series S in particular has received a lot of love with 60fps mode and FSR2 upscaling support. The basic image quality between the Pro and S is quite similar, although the Series S seems to pull additional environmental resources, mainly small bits of additional layers of geometry and texture.

Performance has also been significantly improved – a shaky 30fps on Pro becomes a near-firm lock on Series S, while the 60fps mode (though imperfect) is a day and night upgrade. At normal viewing distances, image quality isn’t too far off Quality mode either, especially when you factor in Cyberpunk’s signature heavy post-processing. Load times are another game-changing improvement for Series S. For the record, while Pro was our point of comparison over the last gen, Series S is also a big upgrade over Xbox One X, resolution aside.

The Callisto protocol bears similarities to Cyberpunk 2077 in that it was clearly designed for the new hardware wave – and once again, Series S fares better than PS4 Pro and even Xbox One X, despite notionally higher rendering resolutions on devices of the last generation (1440p vs approx. 1080p on Series S). Temporal anti-aliasing upscaling – TAAU – effectively bridges the resolution gap in this case, and while the Series S has made cuts over the PS5 and Series X, it’s a far richer, less compromised rendition of the game with noticeably improved performance (the less about it it is said). 24fps last gen cutscenes the better). It’s another all-round win for the entry-level Xbox.

Much like Cyberpunk 2077, the Callisto Protocol is primarily designed for current-gen hardware – and despite a resolution advantage, both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X fall into the Xbox Series S experience in some ways.

Elden Ring is one of the bigger tech oddities of this generation. It’s undoubtedly a great game, and quite an attractive one in its own way. However, From Software has made very poor choices in terms of the game’s basic visual configuration, targeting unlocked framerates on the upgraded last-gen consoles and current-gen machines. It’s a slightly insane setup that’s made worse by the near-complete lack of improvements across consoles since the game launched almost a year ago.

PS4 Pro’s 1800p checkerboard presentation has an unlocked framerate that’s typically in the mid-30s. Dipping below that is possible, but typical gameplay is 30-35 fps – a jerky, unstable mess. The Series S has basically the same level of performance in 1440p quality mode, but the system offers a frame rate mode that operates at around 50-60fps most of the time, although it’s typically under 60fps and annoyingly can dip into the 40s and 30s , accompanied by a dynamic drop in resolution. However, system-level VRR saves the day and delivers a smooth presentation on modern screens. This is one of a few ways to salvage decent performance from the console versions of Elden Ring, and it’s effective, although it doesn’t work for everyone.

Elden Ring really requires precise setup to produce a smooth gaming experience, and neither Series S nor Pro offer a great out-of-the-box experience, but at least Series S fixes itself with a good display, and just in case that you have to play the game on a non-VRR panel, the overall frame-rate is at least respectably high, although the stuttering is unpleasant. So the Series S claims another win here, although neither machine offers a truly satisfying experience in the traditional sense.

A close look at the new version of The Witcher 3, pitting the Series S against current-gen counterparts and – yes – PlayStation 4 Pro.

The next-gen upgrade from The Witcher 3 once again shows the benefits of a more modern hardware design. If we had launched this game a month or two ago, we would have been stuck with the basic Xbox One Series S code path and had some less than ideal results. But Series S is now home to a native version that offers a quality mode with a target resolution of 1440p that beats the PS4 Pro’s checkerboard 4K. Series S looks less detailed overall, but CDPR’s use of FSR 2 handles aliasing much more effectively than the primitive anti-aliasing available on the Pro, producing a much more stable image. The performance mode takes another step down here as a by-product of its lower 1080p pixel target, although it still looks reasonably presentable.

However, every other aspect of the Series S version has been vastly improved over the Pro version. Foliage density, draw distance, and shading quality all make a big leap here, creating a much more vibrant natural environment. There are also improvements to model quality, NPC density in town, and shadow resolution – and performance is improved, if not perfectly. VRR again offers an excellent solution, although overall frame rate issues aren’t too severe, even on a conventionally refreshed display panel. The Series S beats the Pro in pretty much every meaningful metric here, although sadly lacking the advanced ray tracing of the Series X, PS5, and PC versions.

I was talking about the Xbox One X vs Xbox Series S duel I produced last year – embedded in video form on this page – which was much more even, but in early 2023 the situation is very different. With a variety of cross-gen software, the Series S is in a much stronger position, delivering significantly more powerful games than last-gen’s upgraded consoles. With generation-spanning improvements in CPU speed and storage, the Series S offers fundamental advantages that eighth-generation consoles simply can’t match. With a variety of titles, including some that didn’t quite make it into this video, consoles like the PS4 Pro lag behind.

Looking back at how the Xbox Series S fared against the Xbox One X this time last year.

And there’s another key factor that ultimately favors the Series S more than anything else: a number of games just won’t release on last-gen consoles. In 2023, most key software doesn’t have a planned eighth-gen console release. In 2022, PS4 Pro continued to deliver some great first-party exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7 and God of War Ragnarök, in addition to third-party prizes.

By 2023, big games like Spider-Man 2, Dead Space and Suicide Squad will be exclusive to current-gen consoles and PCs. While there are still a few big chunks of cross-gen games to come – most notably Resident Evil 4 and Diablo 4 – the overwhelming feeling is that older consoles are fast approaching their expiration dates and even first-party support is dwindling. The past two years have been generous to older hardware, with a frankly overwhelming volume of cross-gen software, but that’s about to end. Even in 2022, titles like A Plague Tale Requiem, Need for Speed ​​Unbound, and Gotham Knights never made their way onto last-gen machines.

And for a good reason. Netbook-class CPUs and slow mechanical memory have crippled last-gen consoles and severely limited the possibilities of cross-gen gaming. Series S has the CPU and SSD grunt to rival the premium current-gen consoles – systems like PS4 Pro and Xbox One X don’t. The graphics hardware between the Series S and last-gen machines isn’t a world apart, but the fixation on raw graphics calculations is a mistake, it’s just one aspect of a console design and arguably the most scalable. There’s no doubt developers will be challenged by its limitations, but cross-gen comparisons plus UE5 deployments like The Matrix Awakens and Fortnite prove the machine is powerful enough as we move from this extended cross-gen transition period into the next era for gaming . Xbox Series S vs PlayStation 4 Pro – the duel with four teraflops

Fry Electronics Team

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