The Division PS4 vs Xbox One vs PC Graphics Comparison: Close Match Between Consoles, PC Leads The Way

Our final verdict on The Division.

Posted By | On 14th, Mar. 2016 Under Article, Graphics Analysis | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Ubisoft’ s The Division on consoles is an interesting proposition for a couple of different reasons. The first is that in many ways it’s a perfect opportunity for us to test whether The Division pushes the PS4 and Xbox One to their absolute limits. The second is how closely do they match the PC version or in other words, what the PS4 and Xbox One versions offer in terms of visual settings compared to the game running at Ultra Settings on PC at 1080p.

As we noted during our beta analysis, the PS4 version runs at 1080p native resolution whereas the Xbox One opts for a dynamic 1080p resolution, a solution that we have seen used quite a lot in several Xbox One games. So in terms of image quality you may observe that the game on Xbox One feels a bit softer. Both versions employ a target render of 30 frames per second and albeit a few frame rate drops during heavy shooting scenes, we are most looking at the same level of performance that we witnessed during the beta. So it’s fair to conclude that performance and image quality wise, both of them have faithfully carried over their beta performance to final build which to be honest should come as good news for console gamers.

So what are the core differences between the PS4 and Xbox One versions? Before we jump into that let us talk about the similarities. Like the PC version, both console versions utilize a full physical based rendering pipeline and as such lighting plays a big role in the game. Both versions employ similar lighting effects, volumetric and alpha effects and there is very little choose between the implementation of skin shaders on both platforms. Both also utilize a post processing anti-aliasing solution in the form of  SMAA x 1 for removing unwanted jaggies resulting in surprisingly crisp image quality and just like the PC build, this solution goes through a temporal AA pass which then improves AA even further. Furthermore, TAA also keeps flickering of objects at a minimum when the player pans the camera around quickly, thereby keeping the AA solution intact when the game is in motion. It’s a smart solution but also an expensive one hence the developers decided to use the lower variant of SMAA on console versions. It’s also interesting to note that post processing effects such as depth of field, lens flare and motion blur are also one to one across the two consoles along with screen space reflections and global illumination methodology with light bouncing off surfaces remaining consistent as well.

Surprisingly the differences between the console versions are minimal but when compared to a high end PC, the differences become more apparent. Right off the bat, you will notice higher quality shadows on the PC compared to the PS4. Further differences include better ambient occlusion and self shadows on the PC build whereas on the PS4 and Xbox One, shadows are self casted but they come at the cost of dithering. Draw distance is similar across both versions but with the PC build you can adjust it even more thanks to the Extra Streaming Distance parameter. Level of detail is generally similar on both versions but the PC version takes the lead here with superior object detailing. This is one area where The Division on PC really differentiates itself compared to the PS4 and Xbox One. Pop-in is somewhat minimal on the PS4 and it seems that the Xbox One version suffers from texture streaming issues at times. If we have to state an estimate, the console versions range from medium to high settings of the PC build which is quite decent given Ubisoft’s ambition with the game.

I also wanted to briefly talk about the  graphical options in the console versions. If you remember the beta was supposed to be a taste of the graphical parameters that the final build will have. The PS4 and Xbox One beta versions allowed players to change the sharpness along with chromatic aberration. But then a week or two later, we reported that a Ubisoft developer confirmed that the final build will have more options such as improving frame rate performance by playing with the lighting settings. At the time, the statement was quite confusing because there was no way that this game was going to run automatically at 60 fps on consoles by just changing a few parameters. Secondly, the game itself is locked to run at a target 30fps. So either this is something that was dropped earlier in development or this is merely a case of miscommunication or Ubisoft are going to patch it later on. Technically speaking we no see no reason to have such options since the game’s target is not to render the image at 60fps. This is different in the case of Project CARS because the target renderer in that game was 60fps which is not the case with here. But we will be pleasantly surprised if Ubisoft brings it back and it affects performance on consoles in a big way. The possibility of this happening, however, is minimal.

So which version is superior? The answer is pretty obvious. If you have high end hardware which surpasses the recommended requirements then the PC version is the way to go. Superior draw distance, excellent level of detail, better AA solution and support for 60fps put it beyond what consoles can offer. On the console front, there is very little to choose from. Yes, there are differences between them but those are so minuscule that an average player won’t even notice them.

The SnowDrop Engine is off to a great start and it will be interesting to see how Ubisoft develops it and makes it even better. Ubisoft have expressed interest in using this engine for their other titles and there is massive potential here. The engine supports physically based rendering pipeline, dynamic weathers with heavy snow, day/night cycles along with a stream of impressive post processing effects.

We can’t wait to see what Ubisoft builds on SnowDrop Engine in the future.

For further reading check out out in-depth PC performance analysis of The Division.

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  • Hvd

    what they dont tell you is it takes a $1000 pc to beat the consoles…lol
    the article should read $350 vs $1000.consoles ftw

    • Chris Noblett

      I built my PC 4 years ago and it still is capable of slaughtering the consoles on this game.

      I’m running High settings @1080p and it puts the XB1 to shame.

      Consoles are great and I own two of them but there is not a single doubt that The Division is far and away superior on my PC. I took it in and ran on my 65 plasma the other day to enjoy the beauty.

    • Hvd

      lol a gtx 970 can barley hit 1080p/ ultra/60fps. so i know you are lying.
      consoles are comparable to pc high only ultra beats it.

    • Chris Noblett

      Obviously you dont know squat about building a computer then.

      I built my rig in 12.
      i7-3770k, AMD 7950 OC, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 320GB HDD
      It runs The Division high settings with AA 1080p @40-50fps.

      Also I played XB1 beta and compared to the pc on high there was a HUGE difference in visual quality.

    • Hvd

      you haver to over clock that 7950.whats in the consoles is 7870. that games are optimized for till the end of the consoles life cycle.

      oh and a gtx 970 can ultra/60fps this game here they are talking about it.

      so do i beleive you about your over clocked 4 to 4 year old card no.

    • Chris Noblett

      Jeeze dude you are dense.
      The consoles do not even have full 7870 power, its close but not quite. Also a 7870 is considerably less power than a 7950, then add on RAM limitations, slower CPU (by a huge margin), and that gets you much less capability in a console vs my 4 year old rig.
      My 7950 was factory OC’d so I did not have to touch it.
      You really are clueless about computers.
      This is the problem with people who don’t build PC’s they “think” they know what they are talking about but in reality they are clueless.
      Guess what these games that are “optimized” for consoles, are optimized for a graphics architecture to be specific.
      OH and guess what that graphics architecture is AMD the same one found on my 7950.

      Here is a hint, stop looking at online charts and start doing some actual play testing yourself.

      If you had done this you would know the difference first hand.

    • Hvd

      keep dreaming digital foundry has to over clock their 750 ti to beat the console your card is beyond old

    • Chris Noblett

      You really are clueless like I stated.
      Since you like to look at charts go here to Toms Hardware and look where a 7950 is in relation to a 750ti. It is 3 tiers above it. This is based off actual game fps testing.,4388.html

    • Hvd

      have fun with your old card that you havw to oc just to get 40fps.if you didnt over clock it you would be just getting 30fps.

    • Chris Noblett

      I’m missing your point.

      My point is my 4 year old PC plays The Division at a higher graphical setting than any current console.

      Consoles are great for some things but they are seriously under powered.

    • Paul

      Well from what I’ve seen, PC gaming is cheaper than console gaming in the long run, from cheaper games to no online subs, it all adds up, I tested this out with my friend, me PC and he had a PS3, we both bought a lot of the same games so checked out how much was saved by buying them on PC and taking into account online subs on console, I was shocked to not only find out that the PC ended up being cheaper but I ended up with a bit of money to do a graphic card upgrade (AMD 280x) and still be under by a few dollars and now it’s even worse with the new consoles because we can get dirt cheap PC’s that are better than consoles and it’s only going to get better with lower level access to the hardware coming to PC as well.

    • M Jay

      Yeah my friends has a new 60 inch expensive TV and division on ps4 its sweet slacking on the coutch big TV aned easy moves on the control. The TV and ps4 is far More expensive than my PC and steam link + xbox 360 controll in living room and using one of my old gx740 laptop wich i bought 2010 bit havent been used at all since 2013 as a steam home “you use steam on that PC to steam sound controlls picture on that steam in mac OS Windows or linux PC” and using that in my guest room or kitchen and fiture childrens roo. But with an 42″ cheap not using 1080p plasma and using 360 controlls chinese copies cost fem 6$ they are not far from real xbox Originals. Im using an display cracked macbook mod 13inch in my living room with an cheap edifer mini home cinema sound i bought on a 50% deal 2010 and my wife 32″ 2013 not so expensive smart TV and 2x cjinese 360 controlls is damn sweet having the fel of console playing in all rooms with faulty or old computers and using a steamlink with 5ghz wifi in it but im using 1gbot cable from hostcomputer and switch and dö on but för 50$ and using my eBay parts baught computer when my newer but faulty motherboard after rma they said and it took with it an fx8320 ram and 7070 GHz card they paid for it all but i bought a cheap motherboard an cheap xeon xeon x5660 costed like 28000$ 20102011 dont know but slöt of money but know i got mine from an chinese server company has a mäss sale of 20 000 of them i paid 40$ for mine and its working 1 in vcore orginal running it at 4400mhz 6cores 12 threads but yeah with so low amount of money they all över clock well and i got an 24gb Vram from a nice auctions on eBay they are all good heat sinked Kingston and another overclock memory mark but bought them at a price 8gb 1600mhz Kingston red new in Sweden would cost using a cheap c212 cooler with noctuna fans on it really quite the x58 rampage 3 exreme with slöt of other things i got for 35$ and i sold my i920 and 950 but every thing bought on big deals or thinking cheap and good bought my only new part exveptby 29 inch Phillips brilliance 29:9 screen was the asus 290 matrix that i bought as mostly things ive sold but doimg much big photos on paintshop or editing big most 2144p mp4 videos thats why möte CPU cores and gpu acceleration in opencl but wanted a present for my self played slöt gta 5 for a time and the gpu card i my own money did pay was 38$ did get avsteam controller as a chrismas present nice to use in like sin city but what i wanted to day is my computer did not cost much i living on pension but hobbies in picture coading and video 4k writing but my got mad dalage of diabetes in my body eating strong opioids called temgesic same medecinen they give herion abusers bit then called subutex. But mine is for cancer patiens just operating their stommic but they has the nine days only dosage i have eatwn it for 3 years for my severe pain but im not living up that is why im force sitting afront the computer but to the point so my ADHD not makes everyones eye bleeds from my text but cheap computer ability to buy a steam link and half working laptops cheap controlls digital 52 big screen TV and the ability to play höger resulotions have every söider on max makes a good think to know how to overcloc in the limits have those extra cored in the CPU used it as an plex server using 2 cores for compreswion orbsaving a movie ive recorded in uhd and still have the sliders all up i dont get stable 60fps but bemchmark in division shows 56avg fps lowest 32 then i has everythinkbon fullest so vetter gfx tham consoles knowlege ofboverclocking easy made the CPU faster than the 6700k and is around the same as the 5x60k on almost every bemchmarl from cinnebench to cpu-z futuremark hwbemchmark. But for 40$ and vetter resolution using steam big picture is nice to scroll. Can ADHD no steam games anyways and steam no extra internet cost play in every room in the house set upp virtual cpmputers or vr-t so you can conroll to woch virtual PC running AMD jownmuch or what component reserwate it to that. It can be a humane cost of the PC that can make many möte thimg s on AMD use it as server streaming with out cable låna tre aning in Dolby digital and full grapics and with steam controller choose different steam controller layout and uppgradeble. I love the PC much ppl online but wish i has an ps4 to just to play with some friends but slready half announchimg a new ps4,5 is funny no long livity there and what i has hate it. Buy my vore is IF you dont hate PC and has knoeöedge about network hardware overclocking has followed the it grönt look at the PC alternative my computer almost 7y old can kick the consoles butts at price and Möre things to use it to. But i dident wanted to flamewsr i love lying on the coutch playing mad maz sim city just causr 3 and ofx division every one has a way to play i love my PC cant livr with on but have has computer consoles AMD like c64 Nintendo 8bit sega megacast or what thrör colored bareable gameboy sega har and sega the one that co exsisted with Nintendo 8 bit jad 64 and 3 xbox360 gamecube Wii but i love now android Gales like order and caos 2 sint bad on my cheap oneplus one and i mean every one has its game gig the steam thing is a mewbie we will ser how it will work out i just hate every company has games just for their system its madness. Week ebough smoked for me and outch in my hands from the mobile and sorry for bow dots. No one even reads this i havent checked it out what ive write. Eish theitär ess division folks to play with. Contact me at im an ubisoft buyed player of the gamräe and check outbly blog soon will contain alittle computer consoles other geely things. Best easter to you all

    • Paul

      I have to admit, you’ve gone to a lot of effect with building PC’s, a lot more than I do, I’m planning on doing a full PC upgrade later this year and was thinking of getting the Steam Link and controller, not sure how much I would use them but it’s more out of curiosity that I might buy them, the rest of the computer, I’m waiting for the new microns on the gpu’s later this year and if on the cpu if AMD does good with that ZEN cpu I’ll be interested in that.

      Mostly when I do hardware upgrades I do it for games, if it can handle most games more or less maxed out then it’s likely can do anything, just a shame that progress has been a little slow on the hardware front the last few years but I’m hoping with the new Microns for AMD and Nvidia it might spring back to life, the PS4 and Xbox One have been a bit of a let down, too weak, if they just sold them for $100 more or Sony and Microsoft took the hit on them, that could of been enough to beef up the cpu and gpu.

      With all the talk that’s going on with crossplay from Microsoft and Sony, we might start seeing a lot more games we’re they play together on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, it’s now just up to Microsoft and Sony to play ball with each other, the PC shouldn’t be a problem, being open platform it will play with anything so we’ll see what they do.

      I also think with all this talk about upgradable consoles that Sony and microsoft gave been talking about lately is because of pressure from the PC at the top end and Mobile at the bottom end, PC’s are getting better, easier and cheaper to use and it says a lot that now we can build a PC for not much more than a PS4 and it plays the same games at similar graphics setting, something 10 years ago we couldn’t dream of doing, Mobile phones are going up in leaps and bounds, they could be a real threat to consoles unless consoles change there long upgrade cycle they have, 8 years on the last gen was far too long.

      I did my last computer upgrade around 2011 and apart from a upgrade I did about a year or so ago to 280x, my hardware beats the consoles in every way, so even though I don’t really need to do a upgrade later this year, I think I will just to refresh the lot.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have much of a problem with consoles but I do feel they are doing the gaming industry harm with their static nature, consoles should move like every other tech moves which is all the time, could you imaging if we only got a new phone every 8 years how bad that would be, consoles are out of step with the rest of the tech industry and likely will have to change if they want to compete in the long run with PC and mobile.

      That’s another thing I don’t like the way the industry has gone, games exclusives to one platform or another which pushys many gamers to buy 1, 2 or 3 consoles as well as a PC, it’s a waste of money when they all do the same thing, would be nice if all games are released on all platforms that can handle it but that’s not going to happen because the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo want to play games with us, in the end, the ones paying the price is the gamers themselves.

    • CripplingDepression

      His card while OC’d will absolutely tear apart a console and ahahahahahahahahahah lets think about my PC’s so I have this one right now in which I have a OC’d Gtx 970 which plays everything on ultra at 1440p generally around 75 FPS
      yeah btw I own a PS4 because some of my mates are on there and I’ve compared The Division on the PS4 to my PC and it looks like a different game

    • CripplingDepression

      I can play Battlefield 4 at Ultra at 1440p with my gtx 970 and have always > 60

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  • Truth™

    PC Gaming always wins, baby


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