With the advent of the next generation of consoles, it is inevitable that the hardware requirements for computer software will increase as the graphics quality and complexity increase. The baseline resets with the advent of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and we wanted to get an overview of what kind of graphics PC kit is needed to fit or even outperform the console hardware. To do this, we spoiled the visual makeup of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, responding to the PS5 and PC in terms of quality settings – getting good control over the optimized settings in the process, where we measure the impact for each preset suggest the most optimal settings for computer users.
First of all, it is worth noting that we can see very different results for many different games. Assessing the Watch Dogs legion, I came to the conclusion that the Xbox Series X could match a computer running the Nvidia RTX 2060 Super – largely because of the huge beam detection requirements, an area where GeForce hardware has a clear advantage. With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we see something very different. First of all, the game does not seem to be going so well on the Nvidia kit and there is no RT in use, nullifying the key advantage of GeForce. Meanwhile, AMD seems to be doing significantly better. According to our calculations, the Radeon RX 5700XT should be closer to the PS5 experience.
It is worth noting that part of this comparison work is theoretical because there are no similar settings between the console and the computer. For example, the dynamic resolution scaling system is very different. The PS5 spends most of its time between 1440p and 1728p in our pixel count measurements, with many areas and screen scenes locked at 1440p. The computer is different – it may be bizarre, the anti-aliasing system is also a DRS system, with the adaptive setting giving 85 to 100 percent resolution on each axis, depending on the load. Simply put, the computer has a lower DRS window. So to get an idea of the relative performance between PC and consoles, I used a game area that falls below 60fps on the PlayStation 5, and I do this while rendering at 1440p resolution.
So what are the equivalent PC settings used on the PlayStation 5? You can see my process in the video directly above, but it basically starts with ultra-high setting shadows, too high for world detail, and which can be ultra-high, very high, or high for setting up expensive Assassin’s Creed volumetric clouds ( all look more or less identical where they can be directly compared). Meanwhile, perhaps not surprisingly considering the unusual memory allocations, the consoles use maximum quality textures, while the water setting is closest to the tall computer.
So far so good, but this is where things get a little more complicated. The clutter option actually increases the density of the greenery, until I discovered that the PlayStation 5 presentation actually exceeds a very high PC maximum, with even thicker vegetation in my test scene. This is one of the few PC settings without an ultra high equivalent, so I guess this is developer supervision. This setting has very little effect on performance – with only a four percent difference between very high and low, even though they seem separate from the worlds, which is something we’ll look at later: a lack of scalability in the PC version of the game.
There are other inconsistencies. First of all, the whole fabric physics in the game work at a sub-natural frame rate on the PlayStation 5: 30fps or even lower. At the highest PC settings, you will get a full frame rate and something similar only if you adjust the detail settings for the secondary environment. So, basically, we lack granularity in the settings to get the exact console to match the computer through the dashboard. There also seems to be no exact match in the quality of fire rendering which seems to work at full resolution on PC but much lower on PS5. But with that, there are still some intriguing comparisons and conclusions we can draw.
In the end, it’s clear that this is a very difficult computer game, but what struck me most was the lack of scalability – some settings like depth of field actually do nothing, while the dynamic scaling option is arbitrarily limited and no utility. There are some other annoyances: the quality of the tessellation cannot be increased, and even at the highest setting, the terrain is visibly deformed in front of you, something that happens on all platforms. The second conclusion is that the relatively low resolution of the PlayStation 5 makes sense because it works with the maximum of most PC settings.
Choosing a certain stress point on the PlayStation 5 – which drops below 60fps and hits the minimum resolution of 1440p – I can run the PC version fixed at 1440p as close as possible to the equivalent settings. And here we see a division of action Nvidia vs AMD. First, the RTX 2060 Super is 20 percent slower than the PlayStation 5, dropping to 10 percent with the RTX 2070 Super. Based on the 2080 Ti tests, it looks like the 2080 Super or RTX 3060 Ti will be needed to match or surpass the PlayStation 5 scores. However, based on my tests with the Navi-based RX 5700, I expect 5700 XT to be found at an incredibly significant distance from the power of the console. This assumes very high clouds – performance improves if you fall high.
Looking at the overall wins delivered by my optimized settings, the scalability of the game is disappointing. Falling from ultra high through the dashboard to my chosen stabilizations, I saw a 14 percent increase in performance on the 1440p RTX 2060 Super. Indeed, the biggest gain can be seen in the inclusion of an adaptive resolution setting that increases the optimized performance of the ultra settings by about 28 percent. But once again, the DRS solution is missing – the resolution change is not flexible enough to keep you at 60 fps in many scenarios, limiting its effectiveness.
All told, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla may not be the best way to compare consoles and PCs, especially given the difference in performance between AMD and Nvidia GPUs, but it’s certainly an interesting data point. This, of course, emphasizes that despite the relatively high prices, console users are getting a big dose – when the PS5 and Xbox One launched in 2013, the фу 100 graphics card could match the console experience, at least for a while. Seven years ahead and you see much more expensive computer parts needed to achieve console parity – let alone to overcome.