Here’s Why Xbox Series X Does VRR Better Than PS5
A year and a half after its launch, the PS5 finally received its much anticipated VRR update. Fans were eager to try out the new feature on their supported televisions, and sure enough, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) now smooths out judder in both 60 Hz and 120 Hz games. There is a catch, however.
System-wide 120 Hz output is still not an option on the PS5, and developers are required to include 120 Hz support on a game-by-game basis. Not only does this approach result in higher input latency on 120 Hz displays for unsupported games, it also means that Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) can’t function. On the other hand, the Xbox Series X supports the option to output at 120 Hz at all times, regardless of which frame rate the game is capped at.
What is Low Framerate Compensation (LFC)?
LFC is a GPU-driven feature that kicks in when a game’s frame rate falls below the required refresh rate. It automatically adjusts the graphics card output and refresh rate to prevent screen tearing and motion juddering during low frame rate drops. However, LFC is only available on displays with a maximum refresh rate that is at least 2.5 times that of the minimum with VRR enabled. VRR on the PS5 operates within a range of 48 – 120 Hz, fulfilling the aforementioned requirement.
Unfortunately, only a handful of PS5 games support 120 Hz output and can, therefore, take advantage of this feature. A majority of games still output at 60 Hz, given that there’s no system-wide option to enable 120 Hz. Frame rate drops below 48 fps result in noticeable judder in such games. Meanwhile, LFC kicks in for every game on the Xbox Series X, resulting in a smoother experience with games where the frame rate drops into and below the low 40s.
Whether the PS5 firmware can be updated to output at 120 Hz at a system-level remains a mystery. If it can’t, developers will need to make some extra bit of work in order to add 120 Hz functionality to their games.