If you had any doubts that Nintendo's new Switch transforming console and handheld hybrid would scale its performance across its two modes, then we have some actual hard evidence for you.
Since the Nintendo Switch supports Unreal Engine 4, one sleuthing NeoGAF user thought to check UE4's master .bin for any mention of the Switch...and lo and behold, they discovered the Switch's UE4 display profiles. The profiles tell us quite a bit about the Nintendo Switch's overall power, indicating that the Switch will indeed be more powerful while docked in its cradle, and with the GPU downclocking to reduce fidelity and graphical settings while in handheld mode to reduce heat and battery drain.
The UE4 profiles not only scale down graphical effects and settings, but also reduce the screen size to compensate for the display switch from a 1080p HDTV to the Switch's portable 6.2-inch 720p display.
This corroborates Eurogamer's reports that the Nintendo Switch's Tegra GPU hits 768MHz while docked, and drops down to 302MHz while on-the-go, and further corroborates our reports gleaned from the patents on the Switch's variable perf. But now we have an idea of what graphics settings will be downgraded in that jump.
According to the display profiles (see below) we can expect the Nintendo Switch to hit rough relative performance of 1080p Medium settings while docked, and 720p low settings while in handheld mobile mode. For comparison's sake, the PS4 and Xbox One typically render games at High graphics preset.
The GAFfer mentions that the Switch's UE4 console settings are "a notch lower than the UE4 defaults used on PC, PS4 and XB1. They probably serve as a good starting point to get a PS4/XB1 UE4 game to run acceptably on the Switch."
Nintendo Switch Unreal Engine 4 Display Profiles:
Note on typical number code: 1 is low settings, 2 is medium, 3 is high and 4 is ultra.
Other notable points:
- The Switch seems to be using the full blown UE4 deferred renderer path, not the "mobile" renderer
- UE4 defaults to use "faster FXAA" in handheld and "FXAA" in console mode.
Also remember that games won't always hit these settings while docked: devs can downscale games while in docked mode to 720p and low settings too, thus matching the performance in handheld mode.
I postulated this is how the company would authenticate Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima's affirmations that the Switch will "deliver console-quality gameplay on the-go."
It'll be interesting to see what other information devs and tecchies can glean from the Nintendo Switch's Unreal Engine 4 display profiles, and we'll be sure to update you if we dig up any more tidbits.
The Nintendo Switch launches in March 2017, possibly at a $249 and $299 price point, with a major reveal including full specs, launch lineup and more being held on January 13-15, 2017.
Check below for everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far, including confirmed details, analyses, rumors, specs and more.
Everything we know about Nintendo Switch so far:
- Nintendo Switch certified for Vulkan and OpenGL 4.5
- Nintendo Switch portable GPU speeds halved to 302MHz, docked GPU speeds only hit 768MHz max
- Nintendo Switch has higher GPU, CPU perf while docked?
- Nintendo Switch may support head-tracking mobile VR
- Nintendo Switch switches to full 1080p while docked
- Nintendo Switch to have Gamecube Virtual Console games
- Nintendo Switch listed at $245, to release March 17?
- Porting games over to Nintendo Switch might be easy
- Nintendo Switch to get full HD Pokemon Sun and Moon port
- Nintendo Switch price to start at $249, deluxe at $299
- Nintendo Switch launch games teased, 2017 will be huge
- Nintendo Switch to let you play modded Skyrim on-the-go
- Zelda Breath of the Wild may not be a Switch launch game
- Nintendo Switch may have 4GB unified memory pool
- Nintendo Switch handheld delivers console-quality gaming
- 3DS won't be cannibalized by new Switch console, Nintendo President confirms
- Nintendo Switch to have wide array of hardware add-ons
- Nintendo Switch may use USB Type-C for power
- Nintendo Switch has 6-inch 720p display with 10-point capacitive multi-touch
- Nintendo investors hate the Switch hybrid
- Everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo's new transforming handheld console hybrid
- Nintendo to reveal Switch pricing, specs, launch games and more on January 12, 2017
- 3DS won't be cannibalized by Switch, says Nintendo
- Nintendo Switch gameplay graphics and features are subject to change
- Nintendo Switch is single-screen only, says Nintendo
- Nintendo Switch to launch only as complete bundle
- Nintendo expect 2 million Switch console sales at launch
- Nintendo Switch may have extra power while docked
- Nintendo Switch isn't backward compatible with Wii U games
- Nintendo Switch's battery may only last 3 hours?
- Nintendo won't reveal full Switch console specs until 2017
- Nintendo Switch gets a much-needed splash of color
- Nintendo's new Switch console powered by NVIDIA Tegra
- Nintendo Switch may sport dedicated game video recording
- Skyrim hasn't yet been confirmed for the Nintendo Switch
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