Quantum Break Graphics Analysis: The Xbox One Version Is Surprisingly Better Than Its PC Counterpart

Quantum Break on the PC is an un-optimized port of the excellent Xbox One version.

Posted By | On 06th, Apr. 2016 Under Article, Graphics Analysis | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Quantum Break is an excellent action game and in many ways is one of the best looking games on the Xbox One right now. Other than the complex resolution techniques and slight performance dips, Remedy Entertainment did a great job with the console version, one which should be commended from a technical point of view. However, Quantum Break is also available on the PC and this gives us the perfect opportunity to see how the PC version performs and what kind of improvements it has to offer over the Xbox One build.

There are also a couple of other reasons why the PC build intrigues us. The Windows 10 store isn’t exactly user friendly with a number of restrictions in place such as v-sync issues and the lack of any overlays. Furthermore, just like Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Quantum Break on the PC is a Windows 10/DX12 exclusive title. Gears of War Ultimate Edition had a number of performance issues at launch on Windows 10 and it was in no way a title that could show us the capabilities of DX12. Before heading into the analysis, we were skeptical about how the PC build of Quantum Break will hold up given that the game had reportedly shorter development time compared to its Xbox One counterpart.

Before jump into analyzing the performance, what kind of graphical parameters we can expect from the game? Well, not a lot to be honest. There are four graphical presents ranging from low to ultra, advanced options such as volumetric lighting, shadow resolution, shadow filtering, texture resolution, screen space ambient occlusion and lighting, effects quality and global illumination can all be changed. Anti-aliasing can simply be toggled on and off. To be honest, we were expecting far more options given that this is a mainstream AAA production title but well, nothing can be done about it now.

The hardware required to run this game at its recommended and ultra settings is quite hefty. You would need an Intel Core i5 4690 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 390 for running this game at recommended settings or if you want to max out everything, you would need an Intel Core i7 4790 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti/AMD Radeon R9 Fury X.

So the big question is, how does the game perform on the PC? We tested the game out on two builds along with the latest GPU drivers. The first build consisted of an Nvidia GTX 970, 16GB of Memory and Intel Core i5 4690 which you may notice is the same as the recommended requirements. Running the game at 1080p with ultra settings, performance for the most part was okay but in no way did we got a consistent 60 frames per second experience. Performance was much better indoors; however we witnessed drops in the more open areas whenever there was a lot of shooting or physics involved. Switching over to our second build which is in line with the Ultra requirements of the game, we tested the game on an Intel Core i7 4790 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Performance was surprisingly a bit disappointing. We were largely stuck with mid-40fps performance at Ultra settings. We are not quite sure what the issue is here. Frame pacing inconsistency seems to be the culprit. Overall, we are not pleased with how the game performs on the PC. The requirements are hefty and this is a clear cut case of an un-optimized port.

So how does the PC version stacks up against the Xbox One version? Well to be honest, we are quite surprised as to how well the Xbox One build holds up against its more powerful counterpart. To begin with, the game looks like it’s using the same resolution reconstruction technique that we saw on the Xbox One version. Basically what is happening is that when you are running the game at 1080p resolution, the game engine is still using the previous 720p MSAAx4 frames to convert it to 1080p using a shader program. According to reports, when you select 1440p resolution, the engine then utilizes 1707×960 MSAAx4 frames to output into 2560×1440. Lastly if you are running it at 4K, 2560×1440 MSAAx4 frames are reconstructed into 3840×2160 resolution. Now, there is nothing wrong with this methodology but as we reported in our initial analysis, this method results in shimmering and generally blurry image quality. We can understand the need to implement such a methodology on the console version where the developer needs to optimize the game around limited resources, but on the PC, this kind of solution simply does not pay off.

We are also quite surprised by the lack of any major differences between the PC and the Xbox One builds. Other than better shadow quality and slightly better reflection quality, there is absolutely nothing to choose from between the two versions. Core assets such as texture quality, volumetric effects, alpha effects and skin shaders all remain remarkably similar. We also wanted to note that we have doubts whether the in-game effects such as ambient occlusion are running at 720p resolution. This is something that we cannot confirm at this point but given the reconstruction methodology that Remedy hasdeployed, it won’t be a surprise if this indeed turns out to be true. Furthermore, some of the problems that plagued the console version are also present in the PC build. Level of detail issues on some objects and pop-ins in areas which have vegetation and dense foliage are found in the PC version as well.

Overall, we are not really happy with how Quantum Break has turned out on the PC. Given that there is hardly any major difference between the Xbox One version and the PC build, the need for such high end hardware requirements is questionable. This is clearly a game that has been rushed on the PC and simply pushed out for launch. Furthermore, Microsoft really needs to fix the Windows 10 store. We faced a number of issues while downloading the game. At one point, we had downloaded around 23GB of the game only to come back and see that it had been switched back to 0.1 GB.

Microsoft’s commitment to PC gaming is appreciated but they won’t win many hearts if they don’t get their priorities right with the Windows store. This further complicates things since Quantum Break is only available on the Windows 10 store and at this point, PC fans are probably getting an inferior version of what is actually a very good game. We were expecting a true spectacle utilizing the power of PC hardware and DX12 but in the end we were left with unimpressive results. So yes, our final verdict; stick with the Xbox One version if you can. That is the best version to experience the game on.

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  • Fweds

    I’m in no rush for optimization updates for the PC version as I got it Free when I Pre ordered the Xbox One version.

    Great game, take a look at it being played Live on Twitch if your on the fence whether to buy it or not.

    • Doggystyle

      On the fence? LOL. There is no fence. There is no yard, no patio, no swingset, no apple tree, no hammock, no…

      Let’s just be honest, lets just be real. This game is a Redbox rental.

    • Fweds

      Let’s just be really honest, let’s just be real, you are a Sony fanboy and would be telling everyone it was the best thing since sliced bread if it were on the PS4 especially if it was exclusive to it.

  • Shebua


  • bxwhiterabbit


    • theduckofdeath

      Come on, that is like a guy in a Hyundai gloating because a station attendant put sugar in your Ferrari’s gas tank.

    • William Fenton

      I’m sure people do such things.

      It’s what’s known in the business as insecurity. Oh, there shouldn’t be any reason– we all chose how much we want to spend on things, but there are these small numbers of simple console gamers who seem to actually believe the marketing nonsense fed to them about how consoles have some ‘special sauce’ that makes them somehow better, regardless of hardware.

      These websites don’t exactly help, because I suspect they know people like the OP don’t have the ability to read beyond the title, and actually think somehow the game is inferior to console, which it isn’t. The truth is it looks and runs like turd given the hardware it’s running on, not it runs worse or looks worse than console.

    • omarcominyo

      Here we go, another article descending into playground taunting!!

  • Riggybro

    “Windows10 family” off to a good start… :o/

    • Paul

      Yep and this is Microsoft trying to get back into the good books of PC gamers lol, no wonder that pirate eye patch in the game is such a big hit, I wonder how many did that thanks to it not being on Steam.

    • Mark


  • William Fenton

    “Quantum Break Graphics Analysis: The Xbox One Version Is Surprisingly Better Than Its PC Counterpart”

    What an amazingly misleading title. It’s better optimised for the platform it’s on, but it doesn’t LOOK better.

    • Paul

      I know, whats funny just looking at the video they’ve posted shows the PC is better, beside the Xbox One version looks washed out, Eurogamer did a better job at this.

    • Doggystyle

      LOL, Its better optimized on the platform they are still trying to SELL

      Here’s a hint: Microsoft is not trying to sell you a PC.

  • jacksjus

    Makes perfect sense. When you think about it in what world will a company sell you and inferior product, while packaging the superior product for free?

    • d0x360

      The PC version isn’t free unless you bought it on Xbox pre launch and this article is full of crap. The game looks better and runs at 60fps maxed on my 290x just fine. In dx12 cpu is just as important as gpu. I’m running a 5820k over clocked to 5ghz. Core i5 CPUs won’t be very good with dx12 because it loves cores and threads and the i5 series can’t multi thread.

      Dx12 is like a new console generation. All those pc users who bragged for years now need to upgrade and they don’t like it or they don’t understand why.

      If you want to take advantage of modern tech you need modern tech and on PC with high end games that means high end hardware. The goal posts have to be moved at some point and this game is one that moves them even if only a little.

  • lagann

    I’m sure this game will get a patch just like Gears UE did….and from what i read online is that Gears UE runs fine now.

    The biggest problem for most people is how even on the pc version, the game is using the resolution reconstruction thing they are using on the X1 version….which is totally not needed on powerful pc’s. We’ll just have to wait to see what the eventual upcoming patch fixes or not fixes.

    • d0x360

      Gears ran fine after a single driver update as which is no diff from any pc game ever. People are making a fuss because its dx12.

      Guess what folks its gonna take time for devs to get a handle on dx12 just like it did DX9. Its not a magic bullet that makes visuals better just by existing.

  • d0x360

    Well this article is wrong lol. I play maxed out at 60fps on a 290x and it looks better than the Xbox version… Shadows are better. The texture pop issue is Gone, non cinematic textures are better and load in quicker and at greater distance (the ones shown by digitalfoundry are from cinematic). Anti aliasing and texturing filtering is also better on PC.

    First off the game looks absolutely amazing on Xbox one but on amd hardware with the drivers released today the game runs smooth and looks amazing.

    • Paul

      I’m surprised about this as well, it’s running slick smooth on my hardware, as well as that, I checked up at Eurogamer and there are quite a few areas where it looks better on PC then the Xbox One, beside, does the Xbox One version look washed out compared to the PC version in the video above?, also, for people having problems, it will likely get fix with a patch or two, in any case, I’m surprised how well it’s running considering I have the same gpu as you and getting 60fps, this is after the driver update from AMD.

    • d0x360

      The Xbox version doesn’t looked washed out but it does have some ghosting caused by what I assume is their use of previous frames to help lower jaggies.

      Its hard to notice unless you look for it though. The Xbox version genuinely looks better than I ever expected and its only real drawback is shadows.

      That being said the PC version still looks better in game (outside in engine cinematics) and it runs faster. It also loads ALOT quicker.

    • Paul

      It’s very noticeable, just look at the faces, they are whiter, it was the first thing I noticed and didn’t really have to look for it, I suspect it’s just the way it’s been captured because I don’t recall it being like that at Eurogamer.

      I’m surprised many others are having problems with the game, not had any issues with it so far on my PC, they seem to be having a hard time with DX12 and there Windows Store at the moment, funny really considering Microsoft is trying to get back into PC gamers good books, they are making a right mess of that so far.

    • d0x360

      The whole windows store thing is gonna take time. It wasnt designed for games like this but you can bet your last dollar Phil Spencer is constantly checking in on them. Most of the issue which let’s be honest are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things will probably be fixed sooner than people think.

      Dx12 also has some bugs to work out just as DX9 did but people LOVE to attack Microsoft. Its been the cool thing to do for 15 years and no matter how many awesome things they do people will take any chance they get to go after them.

      I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m a little older than the average crowd here and alot calmer but I’m willing to give it some time. Like I said I have a 290x which is low end for dx12 and I’m getting great performance. I can prove it as well on my YouTube channel for the trolls. 60fps max settings in every yes every dx12 game so far. The time will come soon when I’ll need a new gpu and I already have my eyes on what it will be and its an absolute monster from AMD. I’d have no issue going team green but they just don’t seem to have dx12 down quite right yet and that’s the future so I’m going amd who’s proven they can do it. If that changes before I buy again then I’ll consider nvidia but I dont see them catching up in dx12 performance quick enough.

    • Paul

      With the experience that Microsoft have and with how well Steam is doing, they should of done much better with the Windows Store then they did, considering how they are trying to merge the PC and Xbox console together, I find it hard to believe the Windows Store didn’t take games into account, it just seems really poor from Microsoft at a time where they really need to get into the good books of PC gamers with how the market is rising, but I do agree with you that I suspect most of the problems will be fixed likely this year but Microsoft should’ve known better.

      DX12 is a different story, I expect once developers get a hang of it and games are done from the ground up with the engine as well then we’ll really see how much better it is, same for Vulcan, late this year at the earliest but more likely next year, good news is that Windows 10 is being adopted pretty rapidly with gamers and with the Xbox One being DX12 as well, the adoption rate of DX12 and Vulcan are likely to be much faster than previous ones.

      I’m likely going AMD again with the next upgrade, just waiting to see what they do with the new microns and I’m hoping that cards from both AMD and Nvidia are fully featured with DX12 and Vulcan, no cards on the market are at the moment.

      As for the Windows Store, I’m open minded about it but there are only so many storefronts people want to deal with otherwise people are just going to turn back to piracy, Steam was a big plus to the PC because it was one store for most game and was easy to use, most gamers don’t like the idea of one store after another and where does it end, a store per developer or publisher?, it would be a big mess and would only help piracy.

  • Brian


  • Charles – The Great and Powerf

    I think you guys are a bunch of idiots. Talking like you know something doesn’t mean you know something. You guys are morons.

  • Mr Xrat

    Not surprising considering the PC port is a rush job greenlit after an underperforming 2015 for the Xbone.


  • crizz1066

    Well guess with such a crap port, I’ll happily play with the eye patch on 😉

  • andy

    Haha. its the equivalent of the PC version of Max Payne back in 2001 actually being worse than the atrocious console ports. Think about that for a minute.
    Of course this is only if these claims are true, we are on Gamingbone after all.

  • hiawa23

    Enjoying the X1 version. Hilarious the stuff gamers argue about..

    • Doggystyle

      And you came here to comment only because if you had continued playing the game, it would be over already, and youre trying to stretch it out the full 10 hours. Hilarious.

    • JC

      Still longer than The Order:1886 and it’s sub-6hr campaign.

  • Jeronimo66

    The lead platform is the Xbox One. QB was built with the capabilities of the Xbox One. All you can expect from the PC version is a better framerate and higher resolution, don’t expect higher resolution textures and additional effects like improved smoke, fire, fog and lighting.

    Hopefully in the future, the lead platform is PC and then a properly optimized port to Xbox. That is the way all PC/Xbox games should be handled.

  • Dre’ Reavis

    Wait. Does the xbox version run at 60fps? I’m still trying to see how the Xbox One is better simply because the PC version is the same technically.


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