DF Direct Weekly on PS5 VRR, Steam Decks 40Hz upgrade and next-gen 900W GPUs

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It’s been a barren few weeks for gaming and tech news, but it looks like things are finally getting better! John, Rich and Alex share early results on PlayStation 5 VRR, discuss Valve’s new 40-60Hz display support for Steam Deck… and what to think of the PlayStation Preservation Group?

First up, the long-awaited arrival of variable refresh rate support, aka VRR, on the PlayStation 5. This technology has long been part of the landscape on PC and Xbox, but is making its PlayStation debut this week. The idea is to smooth out uneven image delivery, eliminate screen tearing and judder without the heavy input lag penalty of traditional V-Sync. Recent PS5 releases like Elden Ring have really underlined the need for this technology. So does this release bring the PS5 to feature parity with the other platforms? As always, the devil is in the details, and our testing has uncovered some unique quirks of the implementation that are worthy of a weekly gaming tech show to discuss.

Another big release comes in beta form for the Steam Deck: support for a user-adjustable screen refresh rate. Rather than opting for 60Hz, which the Steam Deck can’t deliver in all titles, you can now manually set the refresh rate to any value between 40Hz and 60Hz, making it easier to achieve smooth image delivery and therefore a visually smoother experience To ensure experience as a frame rate that oscillates between 30 and 60. 40Hz falls squarely between 30Hz and 60Hz when it comes to frame times (16.66ms -> 25ms -> 33.33ms), which is why we’ve seen it as an option in some Insomniac games on PS5 for example.

The 59th DF Direct Weekly, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman holding court.

The same beta update also adds variable-rate shading support, a PC technology that aims to increase frame rates by reducing the quality of shading in areas of the screen you’re unlikely to focus on. It’s a smart idea that’s proven itself on PC, but the Steam Deck implementation – which degrades the entire screen rather than just certain elements – seems a bit too clumsy and just robs performance a little, though battery life is at least improved.

  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:01:02 News 01: VRR support for PlayStation 5 released
  • 00:23:03 News 02: Steam Deck VRS, 40-60Hz updates
  • 00:32:26 News 03: PlayStation ‘Conservation Group’ revealed
  • 00:35:33 News 04: Timed Trials on PS5
  • 00:38:46 News 05: Shader compilation stutters again in Chernobylite
  • 00:52:58 DF Supporter Q1: 900W Nvidia Lovelace GPU Rumors
  • 00:58:12 DF Supporter Q2: Force v-sync on consoles?
  • 01:01:08 DF supporters Q3: plans to cover switch emulation?
  • 01:04:43 DF Supporter Q4: Is digital the best way to store games?
  • 01:08:56 DF Supporter Q5: Would a streaming service for emulated games be a good idea?

Outside of screen tech, a tweet this week revealed the existence of a shadowy, mysterious force – the PlayStation Preservation Group. Exactly what it is is unclear, but we can surmise that it’s related to backwards-compatible titles in Sony’s new PlayStation Plus tiers – or perhaps just ensuring current and past developments are properly archived for future use?

Just before our favorite section, the backer Q&A, Alex reports that he’s being dogged by shader compilation stutters—yet again—this time while evaluating the latest RT-enabled versions of Chernobylite. It’s becoming a recurring problem with DX12 titles, but it’s difficult to know how to solve the problem on a broader scale than on a game-by-game basis. Anytime look for a video on this topic and if you are a game or Unreal Engine developer then contact…

On a more positive note, there are some great supporter questions this week – including our take on the rumors of a whopping 900W Ada Lovelace GPU, the feasibility of enforcing v-sync on consoles, plans for Switch emulation coverage, and a digital-first approach to game preservation.

If you’re looking to change course at the next DF Direct with a great question, why not check out our Digital Foundry Supporter Program? You get unlimited access to our archive of high quality video downloads, bonus and early access material, access to the DF Discord and a host of other perks – including the ability to have your questions answered in video format for all to see. Join us!


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