According to a report by Gamespot the GPU of the Xbox One has been upclocked from 800 to 853 mhz. To those unfamiliar with overclocking that may sound like a big deal, but is it?
About three weeks ago I expressed concerns about the safety of a possible upclock for the Xbox One. Luckily +53 mhz is just a 6.625% increase, and while it’s not under the 5% threshold that most overclockers consider the most safe value, it’s still near enough to be reasonably safe. Most likely Microsoft didn’t even need to raise the voltage of the card to achieve it, meaning that the risk of a second Red Ring of Death is probably negligible.
Of course more heat will still be generated, and this will cause additional wear and tear, whether it’ll be on the GPU itself or on the cooling solution, but it should not be anywhere near fatal. I would say it’s safe to shelve the worries about an impending meltdown of the machine.
That said, an upclock of 53 mhz will unfortunately look impressive only to those that aren’t familiar with overclocking, as the actual influence of that kind of relatively conservative increase on the performance of games is almost negligible.
Just to give you an example, I tried overclocking the Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 I currently use on my gaming PC by exactly 53 Mhz, and then ran the newly released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn benchmark. That kind of benchmark is perfect for this kind of test, as it’s coded to put the machine in conditions very similar to a game instead of just stress testing it.
The result, as you can see below, is unfortunately pretty underwhelming. Only a 2% increase on the overall score, and the difference in frames per seconds was between 2 and 4 across the board.
Even considering that the GTX 660 is quite a bit more powerful than the GPU of the Xbox One (the base clock of mine is 1033 mhz), the difference between the Xbox One’s GPU running at the original 800 mhz and upclocked at 853 is not going to be anywhere groundbreaking.
Just to cover all the bases I also tried an overclock of 69 mhz (which is about a 6.625% increase on my GPU’s base clock, in order to simulate the same rate of improvement) and the result was still a very slight improvement that you can see below, with increased FPS between 2 and 5.
Considering that just a few days ago Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry ran a series of test and estimated that the PS4’s graphical capabilities should be about 20% higher than those of the Xbox One, the newly announced upclock is most certainly a nice have, but it’s nothing that should allow the console to run even nearly on par with the competitor in terms of sheer horsepower.
Of course sheer horsepower is not all that matters in a console, but one thing is for sure: 53 mhz won’t do much in terms of competitive edge.