Checkerboard high settings vs native 4k medium - what would you prefer?

#1
Note: I do NOT want this thread to become a total war between Scorpio and PS4 Pro. That's not what this is about. Take fanboyism elsewhere please!

So by the end of November (probably) this year we will have two mid gen console refreshes from MS and Sony on the market. Both have taken a different strategy:

Sony have gone with a safer, cheaper option which uses increased GPU power and favours the rendering technique known as "checkerboarding" to help increase graphical resolution. They have done this while keeping the architecture of the PS4 Pro very similar to the original, which allows for very easy backwards compatibility with older titles. Pro is capble of running games at 4k native, however there is a clear emphasis on use of checkerboarding for most new, AAA games.

Microsoft have gone down a slightly different route - they have made much more radical changes to the OG Xbox One's architecture, changing it's RAM system from DDR3 and ESRAM to a big chunk of GDDR5, similar to that found in PS4 only more of it. They have also made various customisations to the Jaguar CPU as well as increasing the clock speeds. Exact details of how much faster the CPU is than the original Jaguar aren't exactly clear yet to my knowledge.

MS' goal is simple - focus on native 4k where possible and if there's any performance overhead then either use it to lock the framerate or add more bells and whistles. Sony clearly are betting heavily on checkerboarding as PS4 Pro has less raw graphical grunt and various bits of hardware which make checkerboarding more efficient.

Therefore, the question is going to be: Checkerboard 4k Vs native? Obviously native will be a sharper image, there is absolutely no denying this. How much more demanding is native 4k than CB 4k, however? Is the difference in image quality worth the performance loss?

Would you prefer a game which achieves 4k through checkerboarding and is then able to utilise better graphical effects such as sharper texture filtering / shadow maps etc, or which dials back some of these effects in order to reach a true, native 4k? If given a choice, which would you pick? Is Checkerboard 4k "good enough" in your opinion and so developers should focus on other effects? Or is truly native 4k, even if it means slightly fewer bells and whistles or slight frame drops, always the best option?
 

Savantcore

Unconfirmed Member
#2
As someone who doesn't want (read: can't afford) a decent 4KTV right now, I'd prefer a greater emphasis on performance over resolution. Overall I would just love a concerted effort from devs to make 60fps the standard.
 
#3
I thought it came out a few months ago that Scorpio would be using a form of checkerboard rendering as well. Or was that debunked?

I fully expect their internal projects to be native 4k though- that is what they have been promising. Third parties may have the option to use shortcuts, as MS isn't enforcing strict 4k native on them.

Honestly, I'm not sure my eyes would be able to tell the difference between native and checkerboard even if I did own a 4k TV. So either way is fine for me. Just make the frame rate solid, and make it look pretty.
 
#4
Checkerboarding is not without it's drawbacks, namely motion clarity and artifacting. These need to be mentioned because you aren't just getting close to 4K at no cost, it's a trade off.

I would always prefer a native image, but that doesn't mean other solutions can't be effective too. And MS have said some are using native, some CB, then some are lower than 4K native rez, with a temporal upscale to 4K.

I guess we will see all the different solutions used. I don't think we will see the one in your example, where the Scorpio is native but with worse graphics. My guess is the minimum standard will be the exact same graphics on Pro and Scorpio, with the latter going higher on resolution. For multiplats, obviously.
 
#5
MS has already said that devs are free to use checkerboard rendering on Scorpio if they want (and the GPU is fully capable of it), and instead use the power freed up for other things.
 
#7
As somoene (but that's just me) who thinks better iq doesn't mean better graphics, i'm absolutely against that need for native 4k, cause it guaranties next gen will have to output every game like that, and it has to be noted how much resolution upgrade diminishes massively the actual graphic boost for a new gen.

PS5 will have 4 times the resolution of the vanilla PS4. That also means it will be 4 times (maybe less i don't know exactly) less able to output better geometry, light, etc.. actual graphic upgrades. That's what people call diminishing return when a gen starts.
 
#9
I not only want checkerboard with the extra power going to more detail, I would like it to be more commonly available on PC too.

Much like shadows or alpha being rendered at lower than native resolution because it is a good compromise of power vs quality, I think checkerboarding is something that should become much more widespread.

Gaming realtime graphics are all smoke and mirrors anyway, this is simply another smart step along that road.
 
#10
Checkerboard + high settings is a good compromise for me at the moment. I did hook my computer up to my 4k TV and native 4k looks extremely good but so do the checkerboarded PS4 games I tried. Not sure if I could tell a difference unless I had to two screens right next to one another. Any sort of 4k looks fucking amazing on my KS8000 honestly.
 
#12
1080p Ultra, please.
As somoene (but that's just me) who thinks better iq doesn't mean better graphics, i'm absolutely against that need for native 4k, cause it guaranties next gen will have to output every game like that, and it has to be noted how much resolution upgrade diminishes massively the actual graphic boost for a new gen.

PS5 will have 4 times the resolution of the vanilla PS4. That also means it will be 4 times (maybe less i don't know exactly) less able to output better geometry, light, etc.. actual graphic upgrades. That's what people call diminishing return when a gen starts.
These.
Don't sacrifice too much just to achieve a PR bulletpoint. There's more to graphics than just the res.
If I can have 4k ultra, I'm not going to complain though.
 
#13
I guess native looks better, but not at the cost of performance. I could run Witcher 3 at about 30fps in 4k on my PC, but I vastly prefer running it at a lower res with 60fps.
 
#14
MS has already said that devs are free to use checkerboard rendering on Scorpio if they want (and the GPU is fully capable of it), and instead use the power freed up for other things.
This is what I was thinking too. As long as the devs are free to do what they want I would rather them go with checkerboard on the Scorpio also and improve performance and graphical effects
 

RoboPlato

I'd be in the dick
#16
Either checkerboard or temporal injection.

In fact, I'd like to see those carried on into next gen, especially for 60fps titles.

I do think Scorpio is going to focus on native though.
 
#17
I reckon its going to be 4k ultra, so there would be no reason to compromise.

Also Scorpio has built in 16x AF to make older games automatically look better and where games have adaptive resolution/framerate they will look better load faster and perform better.

so I would say that is the better solution of the 2, but I will need to see it in action before making conclusions.
 
#23
The title I find a bit misleading since it implies one machine will be locked at medium settings but in 4K while the other will be using checkerboard at high settings. How about we just rephrase it so that one system will be more powerful and developers are able to choose what they want to do with that extra power and leave it at that?
 
#29
Checkerboard high settings.
Cherkerboard is really unnoticeable in difference compared to native that i would always choose checkerboard plus higher settings
 
#30
The title I find a bit misleading since it implies one machine will be locked at medium settings but in 4K while the other will be using checkerboard at high settings. How about we just rephrase it so that one system will be more powerful and developers are able to choose what they want to do with that extra power and leave it at that?
Because thats not his question?
 
#32
Considering the current hardware checkerboard 4K is the superior option as you don't have to sacrifice visuals too much. Even on PC space you can't get 4K/60FPS consistently enough and have to resort to locking it down to 30 for quite a few games. I would rather play those games at checkerboard 4K/60FPS because the benefits consistent 60FPS bring outweigh the trade offs checkerboard rendering makes in terms of pixel accuracy (leading to artifacts, which can be mitigated to a degree mind you as it's all about the implementation)
 
#33
As someone who switched to PC has my main platform and haven't played anything at 30fps in years I would go with Checkerboarding or similar techniques in order to achieve good performance. With the games I play these days things like Overwatch, Rocket League I have grown to value graphics less and less because of the fast paced nature of these games and in general things still looking good at lesser settings than the game's maximum. Saying that I not opposed to 30fps but my experience has influenced me into favouring performance vs visual even in slower games.

I mean since overclocking my monitor to 75hz even 60fps looks "slow" now loool.

Still I would like to see first hand how Checkboarding looks vs a Native image.

MS devs with certainly favour 4K native because of pushing that "True 4K" marketing but as it's been said third party devs are free to do what they feel like and I would count on there being a fair few non native titles

TLDR: I would prefer if devs focus resources savings from techniques like checkboarding on performance than higher effects but to also OP's question - Checkerboard high settings for now.
 
#34
Excuse me if I sound stupid, but will games that run on DirectX 12 games run and look better?
Yes that is what Xbox and pc use prodimently for thier feature sets. Some devs are still using dx11 since they need to support windows 7 too for install base I believe. If a dev uses dx12 from the ground up in their engine they will get performance gains from Xbox and pc hardware
 
#35
As somoene (but that's just me) who thinks better iq doesn't mean better graphics, i'm absolutely against that need for native 4k, cause it guaranties next gen will have to output every game like that, and it has to be noted how much resolution upgrade diminishes massively the actual graphic boost for a new gen.

PS5 will have 4 times the resolution of the vanilla PS4. That also means it will be 4 times (maybe less i don't know exactly) less able to output better geometry, light, etc.. actual graphic upgrades. That's what people call diminishing return when a gen starts.
Yep. 4K is a total waste imo.
 
#36
Checkerboard high. I still think there's tremendous potential in 1080p even, we're nowhere near film quality so spending 4x the power on 4x the pixels seems a bit early to me. Spending 2x the power on pixels, checkerboarding, and having 2x more for prettier effects, would be ideal, as in a mishmash of both 8.5G consoles.
 
#37
Yes that is what Xbox and pc use prodimently for thier feature sets. Some devs are still using dx11 since they need to support windows 7 too for install base I believe. If a dev uses dx12 from the ground up in their engine they will get performance gains from Xbox and pc hardware
Cool. Thanks.
 
#39
I dont even have a 4K tv yet, And since it's all over the place in which one is capable and at the right price, I wont be getting one any time soon.

Give me 1080/60 at the highest settings possible please.
 
#40
Checkerboarding with higher settings or frame-rate. Even at 2-3 feet I have to really look to find any artifacts.
Yup, for me its frame rate, frame rate and frame rate.

Having a locked 30 or 60 is top of the bill, on all the pro enabled games I have played.... if you asked me if Game X is native 4K or 1800 checkerboard on my 55 inch 4K set I would have to google it as you just cannot tell

When you sit 8 ft away, at 55 inches & 4K, everything looks great above 1440 it does not matter unless your on a close monitor or taking still shots to analyse on a close monitor.

Its 2017 and we have already massively hit a visual limit of diminishing returns on 4K tv sets for normal living room viewing distances IMO
 
#42
Higher graphical settings are the better use of more graphical power. Going by Digital Foundry's assessment, native 4k is not going to be that big of an improvement over checkerboarding. If a checkerboarded 65-inch screen closer than two feet away looks "seriously good" then it would be a waste to use extra power just to hit native 4K instead of using it to improve the complexity, quality or framerate of the image.
I first took a look at the results in Days Gone, the open world survival horror title from Sony Bend. I observed the pixel structure on a 65-inch Sony 4K display from just two feet away, and then I moved closer. It looked good, seriously good. There is a slight softness compared to the pin-sharp precision of a native 4K presentation, but even close-up, the effect works well - in a living room environment, it should work just fine.

Digital Foundry: Three hours with PlayStation 4 Pro
 
#44
Higher graphical settings are the better use of more graphical power. Going by Digital Foundry's assessment, native 4k is not going to be that big of an improvement over checkerboarding. If a checkerboarded 65-inch screen closer than two feet away looks "seriously good" then it would be a waste to use extra power just to hit native 4K instead of using it to improve the complexity, quality or framerate of the image.
Yup I have 55 Inch 4K set, 8ft distance in living room, and everything over 1440 you cant really tell, so I agree with DF based on my usage experience.

When we get ZEN consoles we will one day be able to play games like Red dead 2 at 60 FPS. Not much chance on console this gen.
 
#45
WD2 on PC is a really great example of your hypothetical OP. In my own experience -- the difference in native 4k and CB 4k was so neglible, that in WD2 it only really effected clarity of objects far in the distance. Even then in my viewing environment, i would not really be able to tell were it a blind test.

But the performance gains are massive, and anything but negligible... almost close to double FPS by going CB 4k. This is at max settings across native vs CB. So my vote always will be CB 4k if not going that route means crappy performance.
 
#46
1440p is the sweet spot imo (e.g. Titanfall 2/Uncharted 4 on the Pro), it becomes a case of diminishing returns as you go higher then that taking viewing distance into account.
 
#47
I honestly think it's too early to tell yet as it'll come down to which ultimately allows better balance between graphics/performance.

For example Horizon ZD in 4K (checkerboard) looks amazing. You really would think you're looking at native 4K IMO from what I've seen of games on 4K TVs thus far.

While native is preferable in theory if you lose effects for native resolution due to additional processing overhead to get native 4K then the results won't necessarily outshine checkerboard (particularly in motion when having more effects on screen is more noticeable IMO).

Assuming well coded games on each Scorpio should mostly have the advantage of course: for example rather than 4K vs checkerboard it could be Scopio checkerboard with more effects vs Pro checkerboard.

It'll come down to the games of course and unless MS changes approach I do expect Sony to field more optimized exclusives (like Horizon ZD) that really work well with checkerboard.

For multi-platform titles where developers will likely target regular PS4/XB1 as baseline (due to larger install base) it'll depend how well the game scales up and just how well each consoles publicized methods of making it easy for devs to leverage additional power works in practice.

Right now though with zero evidence (certainly a peak of a custom vertical slice Forza build doesn't count) for Scorpio and only a few titles really being optimized well for Pro there really isn't enough to go on to determine which way produces best consistent results.
 
#48
Cartho your original post implies Sony's approach is the only way they allow games to render with the additional GPU / CPU power, when this is incorrect. There are 4K native games on Pro, games which uses checkerboard rendering, games that use temporal injection, and other methods still.

It also assumes that Microsoft only allows 4K native, which is also false. One thing to keep in mind, is that Xbox One games work with 1.3 TF, and while the architecture improves overall performance, going from 1080p to 4K is a 4x jump in raw requirements, meaning 1.3 x 4 which is 5.2TF and we are seeing even better results than this.

The fact of the matter is, that on Scorpio, developers will have the same freedom to use the resources as they please.
 
#49
Cartho your original post implies Sony's approach is the only way they allow games to render with the additional GPU / CPU power, when this is incorrect. There are 4K native games on Pro, games which uses checkerboard rendering, games that use temporal injection, and other methods still.
I did make this point.

Sony have gone with a safer, cheaper option which uses increased GPU power and favours the rendering technique known as "checkerboarding" to help increase graphical resolution. They have done this while keeping the architecture of the PS4 Pro very similar to the original, which allows for very easy backwards compatibility with older titles. Pro is capble of running games at 4k native, however there is a clear emphasis on use of checkerboarding for most new, AAA games.
I take your point on Scorpio being able to CB as well, though MS are clearly trying to push for as many native 4k titles as they can.

I think personally I'd rather devs focused on a good quality checkerboarding solution and then pushed the bells and whistles. I've seen Horizon on a 4k TV and to me that's definitely coming into the "good enough" camp when it comes to IQ. Now if they used future power upgrades to stick at that 4k CB image quality but massively improved the size, physics and overall interactivity in the world then that would be a massive winner in my eyes.
 
#50
I played TLOU on my Pro last night for the first time and wanted to create this thread. Native 4k is just so much more clearer and sharper than checkerboard it's worth the downgrade in graphics.

And I am a graphics whore who always wanted 1080p with all bells and whistles instead of an increase in resolution. Going back to 1080p games now feels off despite the fact that pretty much all the games i've played on the Pro are checkerboard 4k.

I love my Pro despite the fact that it cant do native 4k on all games. I mean it's great xbox fans are getting a native 4k machine later this year but i have played 10 of the biggest games of this gen in 4k, 4k hdr on a system that cost me $220 after trade in. thats phenomenal. Horizon, mass Effect, TLG, FFXV, BF1, TR have all looked stunning absolutely stunning on my KS8000. The fact that TLOU, Resogun, MLB:17,and Division are native 4k shows PS4 is capable of doing native 4k despite the memory bandwith and 4.2 tflop gpu. the devs just need to give us the option.


All i will say to Scorpio fans is that dont expect every game to be native 4k. If MS wants to make a game that looks like Horizon, it simply wont be a native 4k game on the Scorpio. I'd be surprised if multiplats like RDR and Battlefront 2 are also native 4k on Scorpio considering the fact that most multiplats ran at 720p or 900p or weird dynamic sub 1080p resolutions. The first things dev will do is create an image identical to OG PS4 which uses 1.84tflops to create a 1080p image with all bells and whistles.(you cant have a Scorpio game that has worse shadows, AO, and other effects than a OG PS4 game) Then use the rest to create a 4k image. It needs 7.2tflops to create a native 4k image and it only has 6, and thats when they will have to use checkerboarding. the games will still look better than PS4 checkerboard because of the extra horsepower but just dont expect every game to be native 4k. And lastly, enjoy. you guys are in for a treat. 4k hdr gaming is the best thing to happen to this gen and checkerboard or not, it makes every game look brilliant.