Xbox One X Uses Checkerboard Rendering to hit 4K in Games Such as Assassin's Creed Origins

Written by Neil Soutter on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 5:15 PM
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In case you didn’t notice, Microsoft made quite the song and dance about the Xbox One X being “a true 4K console”, during E3 2017. Those were the words of Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer, who, in a battle cry towards Sony, said: “I look at PS4 Pro as more of a competitor to the Xbox One S than I do to the Xbox One X.” As it turns out though, the Xbox One X is actually utilising the very same checkerboarding and dynamic resolutions the PlayStation 4 utilises.

Dynamic resolutions have long been a solution for console developers, allowing the resolution to scale downwards on the fly in order to maintain a steady frame rate. A game may be in 2160p, yet drop down to 1800p during an intensive scene. Checkerboarding meanwhile is tech that came to prominence with the Sony and the PS4 Pro. It’s a technique designed to simulate 4K image quality, rendering at 50% of the native resolution before using advanced reconstruction techniques to effectively guess the missing pixels, eventually rendering at the target 4K resolution.

This is all fair enough, of course, there’s nothing wrong with checkerboard rendering and it does produce almost indiscernible image quality differences, however, it does fly in the face of the true 4K claims.

“This is a true 4K console,” said Spencer this week. “If you just look at the specs of what this box is, it's in a different league than any other console that's out there.” 

The Xbox One X is indeed more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, somewhere in the region of 40% faster thanks to the higher spec GPU and an extra 4GB GDDR5 memory. As Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Origins’ director said though, this doesn’t necessarily translate into a true 4K machine. AC Origins uses both checkerboard rendering and dynamic resolution in order to hit its 30 FPS target, the same as the PS4 Pro. The difference is that the Xbox One X will be running at higher resolutions more consistently, while PS4 Pro may have to take more dips. 

 

In practical terms, the end result isn’t going to make much difference to the gamer. Where checkerboard or not, Assassin’s Creed Origins is going to look fantastic on a 4K TV. But, if you do want to play AC: Origins in true 4K, there is only platform truly capable - the PC. I just dreaded to think of the graphics horsepower you may have to throw its way.

Our favourite comments:

No Console can compete with PC in matter of raw power now. But when it comes to gaming titles, have to say Sony has some best exclusive ones which even a PC fan like me wants to play those.

rk7987

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20:04 Jun-18-2017

The graphics card alone would have costed a minimum of 500 US dollars to get steady 4k gaming, that's if you consider 30fps or higher "steady". Shame on Microsoft for blatantly lying, but was anyone surprised?

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01:28 Jun-17-2017

I just hope that I can run AC Origins decently at 1080p.

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23:00 Jun-16-2017

LOL already tought this would happen soon enough when people realize that "True 4k" they promise is a big fat lie. Well played microsoft giving false promise to people by slapping native 4k in their "captured" video everywhere to people faces without the game being rendered by the console.

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18:20 Jun-16-2017

Microsoft should focus on 1440p and 60 fps instead of fake 4K and 30 FPS

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16:00 Jun-16-2017

Wow I literally called it... Posted a comment saying that it's probably upscaled or something yesterday... "TRUE 4K"

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13:36 Jun-16-2017

Well we all knew that if won't do 4K with the specs it has, even GTX1080 struggles on 4K. People who thought otherwise were living in a dream world.

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10:28 Jun-16-2017

buy xbox one x they said , u will get full 4k they said.
by the way why are they calling this 4k when it uses checkerboard rendering?
if its checkerboard then its not 4K , stop calling it 4K !!1

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09:11 Jun-16-2017

Phil Spencer, the good guy, the gamer, the saviour of xbox!


Typical Microsoft employee, full of ****.


And this xbox one x, who's going to buy it? True 4k or not it doesn't matter IF YOU HAVE NO GAMES!


I could run them better.

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09:08 Jun-16-2017

No Console can compete with PC in matter of raw power now.
But when it comes to gaming titles, have to say Sony has some best exclusive ones which even a PC fan like me wants to play those.

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13:40 Jun-16-2017

I agree with you bro, I ordered mine (PS4 Pro) today. I think this GEN PC and PS4 (for exclusives) is a way to go if you like PS4 exclusives.

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00:48 Jun-17-2017

i think the best combo is PS4/SWITCH/BOTH and PC

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08:11 Jun-16-2017

Most powerful console huh, true native 4k huh!? I don't ever want to hear those xbox fanboys or Phil talk about ps4 when xbox can't even deliver on true 4k.

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07:03 Jun-16-2017

when the game will be released the details will gone.....LOL Ubisoft

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04:48 Jun-16-2017

No duh, the Xbox One X is only 15% stronger than the PS4 Pro GPU and CPU-wise.

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03:18 Jun-16-2017

Someone should make a meme of this. The guy from Xbox saying this is a TRUE 4k machine and then a pcmasterrace face mocking it when it uses checkerboard to achieve 4k. I don't know, just any meme making fun of this would be nice.

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08:12 Jun-16-2017

So true, that needs to happen lolXD Remember when Microsoft was bragging about how the Cloud and DX12 would make their games better? Not a peep anymore lol:D

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02:49 Jun-16-2017

If the GTX 1080 barley hits 60fps in AAA titles on PC then there is a snowballs chance in hell that the Xbox running AMD hardware could do it too. Figured as much.

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04:26 Jun-16-2017

Dont underestimate amd hardware mate. Amd's hardwares r far better than inte'l and nvidia's. Recently amd beat intel with price friendly cpus. And the rx 580 is also beating 1060 in many games. Even more astonishing is that they r doing this with much low R&D budget compared to intel and nvidia.

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05:29 Jun-16-2017

but amd dont have a gpu that can compete with nvidia 1070 & 1080 thus why i brough 1080

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06:21 Jun-16-2017

As i said they have got low r&d budget, so to bring better higher-end product they need more time compared to intel and nvidia

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13:05 Jun-16-2017

Also, the majority of the market is the under $300 range. Would've been riskier to develop upper tier first.

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02:25 Jun-16-2017

Holdup, the new AC will run at 4K 30fps on the Xbox One X?! If there is not an option to render at 1080p 60fps I will laugh so hard I'll split my colon open.

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08:42 Jun-16-2017

It's always at 30fps locked like almost every console game

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22:22 Jun-15-2017

I know true high end PC gamers will disagree but, on checkerboarding and dynamic resolution... when are these going to be widely implemented for PC games? They are great technologies that improve the experience (ie higher more stable fps) for negligible hits to quality (at least in most cases).

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22:26 Jun-15-2017

And as long as theyre completely optional, no one gets hurt!! I actually plan to spend more on hardware going forward, but from what I understand, a lot of PC gamers stay on lower end hardware. These technologies will go a long way in providing a good gaming experience even while upgrading a lot less frequently.

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00:38 Jun-16-2017

I agree this would be a very helpful tool for people with weaker GPUs.

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13:08 Jun-16-2017

Sadly, I can't say I expect Nvidia or Intel to bring this to us budget gamers. The only hope is AMD. Plz Lord GabeN have AMD bring us this tech. I'm poor, I can't afford a GPU upgrade for a while

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22:12 Jun-15-2017

even though he said its a true 4k system, microsoft did say that it can and will use checkerboard rendering if needed. so it all comes down to the game. since ac:o is going to have a larger environment to be in with many people doing many different things, its only obvious that checkerboard would be the way to go.
as for comparing it to pc..no one from microsoft said it would be max (pc) settings at 4k all the time.
that means it could very well be 4k rendered xbone graphics, 1080/60 xbone graphics, or anything in-between. because one game did it, doesnt mean they all can or will.

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21:38 Jun-15-2017

I knew it wasn´t true 4k, hell even a 1080 ti struggles to get 45+ fps at full ultra settings :)

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21:35 Jun-15-2017

Would love to see the checkerboard option in more PC games aswell.

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20:13 Jun-15-2017

Does anyone remember that trailer where they say "Highest quality pixels" ?


This isnt news we all knew this thing cant do native 4k on most games, only fanboys were MISLEAD by MS with the whole "True 4k Uncompromised" marketing thing... just more lies.
ANTHEM is also checkerboard 4k (not native), DF confirmed.

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