Digital Foundry: Faster hard drives boost Xbox One Fallout 4 performance

ElTorro

I wanted to dominate the living room. Then I took an ESRAM in the knee.
May 15, 2013
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#1
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/d...d-drives-boost-xbox-one-fallout-4-performance

Yesterday we reported on Fallout 4 console performance, finding that both PS4 and Xbox One target 1080p30 gameplay - with somewhat variable results. Both versions have issues maintaining their frame-rate targets, but it's the Xbox One version that has a tangible disadvantage - there's a 'macro-stutter' issue that seems to be related to the game's background streaming technology. Entering new areas can see second-long pauses, and even switching weapons sometimes causes problems.
After extensive testing, it does seem that the issue relates to a storage bottleneck on the Microsoft platform, but until this is addressed via a title update, there is a workaround - albeit a somewhat impractical one. Completely eliminating the issue - at least on the test areas used in our initial performance analysis - is possible, but it requires mounting an SSD into an external USB enclosure, then copying the game data onto that drive. This is not completely ideal for a number of reasons: SSDs aren't cheap, and the USB caddy required only adds to the expense. So we thought we'd try another couple of solutions - a 7200rpm hard drive and a hybrid SSHD. The latter consists of a 5400rpm drive paired with a smaller SSD cache. The results on both drives are intriguing.
More data on loading times in the article. TL;DR: All external hard-drives, from 5400rpm to SSD, mitigate the stuttering issue substantially up to the point where it doesn't stutter for over a second anymore. It's completely gone with an SSD.

Although it doesn't appear to have anything like the same problem, we also tested the PlayStation 4 version of the game running from solid state storage. There's a very small ironing out of performance, but nothing to write home about and that makes sense as storage bottlenecks on the stock drive appear minimal. Of course, loading times are improved with the move to faster drives and that's a situation common to both consoles.
 
Feb 18, 2013
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#8
I've played this for ten hours now on Xbox One, and haven't seen any of the microstutter Richard is documenting. I've got video captures too if he wants to see.

I've no idea why I don't see it.

Edit: my Xbox runs the Win10 OS, which launches Thursday.
 

TheOfficeMut

Unconfirmed Member
Aug 21, 2014
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#10
It would be so much worse

ps3ud0 8)
lol I mean, I imagine so, but I'd still like to see it tested!

The Xbox One doesn't run games from the disc. It does a full install.
I know. I'm just curious. I know that's why they're installed on hard drives, because they're read faster. But I'd still like to see the disparity through testing.
 
Apr 11, 2015
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#12
Hmmm it's nice there's a workaround I guess. Still getting this on Xbox one later today. Wonder if the elite Xbox one bundles built in hybrid ssd drive fixes this. Cause I'm picking that up as well and woul be more convenient.
 
Dec 30, 2014
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#17
lol I mean, I imagine so, but I'd still like to see it tested!
Bluray read rates are way too slow to allow for that, hence why games are installed in full and the PS3 moved to installs for games last-gen. HDD's typically are around 3x as fast reading than a Bluray disc.
 
May 9, 2009
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#22
I've played this for ten hours now on Xbox One, and haven't seen any of the microstutter Richard is documenting. I've got video captures too if he wants to see.

I've no idea why I don't see it.
I don't think anyone besides DF reported that. Looks like a problem with their storage.
 

Mutagenic

Permanent Junior Member
Aug 18, 2007
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#29
I've played this for ten hours now on Xbox One, and haven't seen any of the microstutter Richard is documenting. I've got video captures too if he wants to see.

I've no idea why I don't see it.

Edit: my Xbox runs the Win10 OS, which launches Thursday.
He said macro-stutter, and you might not be far enough along yet, who knows.
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
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#30
I don't quite understand why are loading times on PC still much quicker than on consoles this generation, when everything is installed on a HDD, despite using HDDs of similar speeds. I've been told before that it's due to the slow/shit CPUs on the consoles, but then the loading speed wouldn't get that much better with a SSD if the cpu was the bottleneck, would it?
 
Oct 13, 2014
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#31
Welp, I use a SeaGate 3tb external drive on my XB1 and I store all my games on it. I can't remember the exact stats of the drive, but I believe it is faster than the internal one, so I got that going for me, not that anyone cares.
 

Head.spawn

Junior Member
Sep 3, 2013
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#41
OP missed the most important part:
The 0 fps drop is completely eliminated on a external hdd, even a normal non-ssd.
Should be a thread to point that out.

It's probably why I didn't see it in my friends stream I was watching. I thought maybe he was just really lucky and missing the spots it occurs in.
 
Jun 7, 2014
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Pittsburgh, PA
#42
I've played this for ten hours now on Xbox One, and haven't seen any of the microstutter Richard is documenting. I've got video captures too if he wants to see.

I've no idea why I don't see it.

Edit: my Xbox runs the Win10 OS, which launches Thursday.
Yep. No issues on the Xbone that I've experienced. 5hrs+ of gameplay so far.

Have it installed on a Seagate external drive. Runs great.
 

ElTorro

I wanted to dominate the living room. Then I took an ESRAM in the knee.
May 15, 2013
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#46
OP missed the most important part:
The 0 fps drop is completely eliminated on a external hdd, even a normal non-ssd.
Not really:

Performance improves on both units, to the point where the 0fps drops we encountered are gone, but the stutter - though reduced - is still there, whether it's through standard traversal through the environments, or in accessing weapons you've not used for a while. Across our test clips, the 7200rpm drive seems to offer a small advantage generally over the SSHD, but there are hitches and stutters that seem to show more improvement on the hybrid drive. Both drives show a substantial uplift over the internal unit in that the 0fps macro-stutter is gone or massively reduced, but it's clear that only the SSD showed a complete fix in effect. And again, we should stress that owing to the sheer size of the game, our testing was limited to areas where we had existing data.
But I'll add more info to the OP. I didn't want to quote too much of their article and take away clicks.
 

RoboPlato

I'd be in the dick
Oct 29, 2006
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#47
Have there been any tests like this done on Witcher 3? I encountered much better performance overall in that game than many on GAF did and was wondering if my hard drive was the reason. I have a feeling there are several games where HDDs are responsible for more issues than one might expect.
 
Dec 4, 2014
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#48
Welp, I use a SeaGate 3tb external drive on my XB1 and I store all my games on it. I can't remember the exact stats of the drive, but I believe it is faster than the internal one, so I got that going for me, not that anyone cares.
A external is always gonna be faster then the internal SATA. :)