DF Direct Weekly: ought to the following Steam Deck ship extra efficiency?

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Welcome to the most recent DF Direct Weekly – and whereas the 12 months is drawing to an in depth, there nonetheless appears to be sufficient gaming and know-how information to permit us to ship a packed present. We kick off with dialogue on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – now dated for ‘Fall’ 2023 – whereas we additionally share our ideas on the extent to which Dying Stranding’s content material would work for its transition to cinema.

The story that caught my eye this week was Sean Hollister’s interview with Valve on The Verge, the place the corporate revealed that any successor to the prevailing Steam Deck would consider high quality of life capabilities like battery life and an improved display screen, versus delivering a lot in the best way of additional efficiency. Improved efficiency is at all times a superb factor however on this case, I feel the choice is a sound one: it units a baseline for all Steam Deck customers, it retains the present {hardware} within the sport, and it addresses the important thing points have with the prevailing mannequin. Put merely, the display screen redefines ‘mediocre’ whereas battery life may be poor on the most recent video games, and even by ramping up settings on older titles.

Nonetheless, as you will see within the present, I had considerations over the extent to which Steam Deck can survive the cross-gen transition. It is unfair to evaluate the {hardware} primarily based on sub-optimal PC ports like The Callisto Protocol – the place the Deck struggles – however I used to be extra involved about whether or not the {hardware} has the efficiency to deal with Unreal Engine 5 options like Lumen and Nanite. I truly adopted this up after the recording by putting in Home windows on my Deck and working Fortnite. At 1280×800 decision with TSR medium on high quality mode, I can indeed use the high-end features and performance is in the 30-36fps region (sadly, the 30fps cap has frame-pacing points and there’s some shader compilation stutter in traversal). I used to be genuinely stunned by this taking into consideration how poorly UE5.0 demos ran on the Valve machine.

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DF Direct Weekly #91 is hosted and perpetrated by Wealthy Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman.
  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:01:00 Information 01: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 to launch in fall 2023
  • 00:08:51 Information 02: Dying Stranding movie within the works
  • 00:14:45 Information 03: Valve discusses Steam Deck successor
  • 00:26:45 Information 04: RX 7900 XT/XTX evaluation aftermath
  • 00:51:34 Information 05: Returnal PC necessities introduced
  • 00:57:39 Information 06: Excessive on Life launches with main points, shortly patched
  • 01:06:54 DF Supporter Q1: Which video games would you wish to get RTX Remix enhancements?
  • 01:10:51 DF Supporter Q2: Why would not DLSS considerably decrease VRAM use?
  • 01:12:22 DF Supporter Q3: Would you ever launch the DF efficiency evaluation instruments to the general public?
  • 01:17:05 DF Supporter This fall: Would you like to play a sport with nice ray tracing however with shader compilation stutter, or a sport with out ray tracing with no stutters?

One other attention-grabbing level to emerge from the Valve interview is that the designers stay proud of the customized Van Gogh AMD half they’re utilizing within the Deck, although extra highly effective APUs are rising – with a number of handhelds arriving utilizing the Ryzen 6800U, which packs in twice the quantity of bodily CPU cores together with extra RDNA 2 compute items. Valve believes that the 6800U’s specs benefit makes it much less appropriate from an effectivity perspective for a handheld. That is one thing I will be testing quickly because the AyaNeo 2 simply arrived on the Digital Foundry lair. I am unable to wait to present {that a} go – and a 15W energy restrict face-off in opposition to Steam Deck shall be forthcoming.

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This week, we additionally spend a while speaking in regards to the new AMD RDNA 3 GPUs, which I reviewed final week. On the face of it, Nvidia gave the Radeon staff a first-rate goal within the type of the excellent-but-too-expensive RTX 4080 – and it is clear that the RX 7900 XTX specifically can outperform it when it comes to rasterisation. Nonetheless, there’s additionally a good quantity of disappointment on social media in regards to the silicon failing to satisfy expectations – expectations arrange partially by AMD itself, promising 1.5x to 1.7x efficiency enhancements over the outgoing RX 6950 XT.


Steam Deck would not run Fortnite in SteamOS, however we put in Home windows to place Lumen and Nanite to the take a look at and located {that a} comfy 30fps was potential with broadly comparable settings to Xbox Collection S – and that is with minimal settings tweaks.

Per the evaluation, I feel the XTX is ok – however not precisely spectacular – for its price-point, whereas the XT sees AMD following in Nvidia’s footsteps by asking customers to pay extra for much less, comparatively, upending a long time’ price of precedent within the GPU market. What’s additionally clear is that whereas the RX 6900 XT might combine it up with its Nvidia modern – the RTX 3090 – in rasterisation not less than, AMD has been unable to repeat the trick as successfully with RDNA 3. Twitter is awash with theories on underbaked silicon and dodgy drivers, and whereas there shall be some enhancements, I consider we simply want to just accept that RDNA 3 is what it’s. Whether or not it is multi-chiplet design is a hindrance to efficiency as some have speculated, stays unknown however RX 7800 XT and different lower-end playing cards shall be primarily based on single-chip designs, so we could acquire additional perception then.

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We additionally focus on Excessive on Life, which launched in a little bit of a sorry state on Xbox Collection consoles, with a profound digital camera stutter downside that made 60fps look extra like a poorly frame-paced 30fps. The excellent news for avid gamers is that the developer fastened the problem – and has adopted by addressing a few of our different points, together with fixing the #StutterStruggle points that made the PC model objectionable. That stated, it did make our video protection totally redundant, so we ended up canning the entire mission – principally as a result of we merely did not have time to recapture all of the required b-roll. The video is on the market to all backers of the DF Supporter Program, nonetheless!

And sure, as at all times, supporters have a great deal of enter to the present – questions are posed each week, a choice of which find yourself within the ultimate present, plus there’s early entry to backers, who get to see the brand new Direct on Saturday, a few days forward of normal launch. Fancy becoming a member of us? I might like it in case you did, and listed here are some the reason why you may contemplate it!

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