OnePlus x Fortnite: performance analysis on 90fps
Not long after Epic Games revealed it will release Fortnite on the Google Play Store, the firm formed a relationship with OnePlus in which the new OnePlus 8 series phones will be the first smartphones to operate the massively successful royal title fight at 90fps.
Fortnite on the mobile only ran at 30fps when it was first launched back in 2018 on Android. The game was patched later in 2019 to allow 60fps but for select Samsung apps only. That's been the case since, with Samsung's only Android phones capable of running Fortnite in 60fps, with all other Android phones limited to 30fps.
Epic Games also has another collaboration to render the 90fps feature accessible exclusively on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, this time with OnePlus. It is a big achievement, given that almost any other Android phone can only operate it game at 30fps and how much of an effect frame rate on gameplay has. So we've agreed to test the game on both computers, to see how it performs.
The first aspect you may have found is that on both, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, the game is 90fps. It is with the latter providing a 120Hz refresh rate monitor which has little added advantage in this situation over the OnePlus 8 90Hz.
OnePlus has made it simpler for its clients to get Fortnite on all of these phones with the new upgrade. The game will immediately turn up as a tile within the Game Space device and a 7 GB update is accessible from there. It's a little big for a mobile title, but unlike, say, PUBG, Fortnite has almost all its riches in this 7 GB update, so you don't have to update much else.
The first feature that you can see at the top is the frame rate selection, going over to the graphics settings. Although most other smartphones can show 20fps and 30fps here, with some Samsung phones still showing 45fps and 60fps, the OnePlus 8 smartphones can also show 90fps option along with both of the above ones.
Now here's the interesting part; choosing the choice 90fps will set the preset rate to the lowest level. This is the only resolution setting on this frame rate open. If you through the rate setting you should decrease to 60fps automatically. You may use 60fps up to the Epic standard preset as the frame rate but 90fps is limited to Poor.
The other relevant option here is the 3D Resolution slider, that sets the game 's internal rendering resolution. If that is adjusted to 100 percent, the game usually makes the same resolution internally as the show.
There it's a little deceptive, because the game 's actual internal rendering resolution is smaller than the display's resolution, and you don't get 1080p on the OnePlus 8 or 1440p on the OnePlus 8 Pro even with a 100 percent scaling. And we're still advising holding this at 100 percent or stuff will look tough. More later we will take a look at this setting.
One of the positive things about Fortnite is that it has an internal frame rate tracker and if you allow the choice from the settings, it can give you the actual frame rate that the game runs at the top edge of the screen. We can use this method to demonstrate the pace of frames moving forward in all the screenshots that follow. The frame rate often occurs at the top right side of the monitor except in the game 's central menu where it is at the bottom left corner of the panel.
Now let's push on to the real results. The research was conducted on both OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro and the results here are specific on both, unless otherwise stated. Our computers were set to 90fps with a rendering rate of 100 per cent and locked to Low Preset. All systems were both engaged in the Fnatic function.
First of all, when you are in the opening menu, the frame rate of the game is locked up to 30fps. It also tends to be locked to a higher level and render size and not all of the Configuration menu choices seem to fit here. But in some consistency or output review the key menu screen will not be taken into consideration.
We began a solo match beginning with the actual level, which lead us into the opening lobby that occurs before each round launch. This environment is a perfect stress check because at all times several players are milling about in the vicinity. Things weren't off to a fantastic start right off the bat, because neither system was able to hold a steady 90fps here. This quickly established one thing, that the 90fps thing was going to be a best-case scenario, and not something that you should always expect. Also, this is only the lobby, and any misgivings might be forgiven here because you're not playing seriously yet.
Next comes the bus drop (after, of course, the bus driver thanked you) and again, things aren't perfect here. The bit is fairly steady at about 90fps while you're already in the truck, but if you decrease and the game needs to make the structure and stream in the materials when you move lower to the road, the frame rate will chug a little, with regular drops below 70fps. This is another point of tension in the game, but you're still not playing in any major range, and this may also be excused.
When on the field, the cameras have done a good job at holding the frame rate while you sprint about, gathering ammunition and other paraphernalia. It varies on how much of the game environment you see; much of the time you hold to 90fps, but if you were, say, standing on a high place and aiming farther into the space, you might lower the frame rate down into the seventies.
The worst example of this we've come across is when you're using the helicopters scattered around the game world. Using one of these offers you a better view of the world but still involves adding more objects so that is where we had some of the lowest frame rates. Expect to be anywhere in the fifties and to slip regularly to 40s. For one case the lowest we had was around 30fps.
Those are not fantastic figures but it is worth noting that gaming with high frame rate is not easy. There's just so many you can do by reducing the display quality settings so eventually the CPU can slow you more than your GPU. While the scene is rendered by a GPU, the CPU still has to deal with draw calls, game logic, physics, and AI in a game, in addition to anything else related to running on your device that is non-game. When the GPU pushes out more frames, these activities are compounded, and the CPU begins to struggle to keep up.
We checked this by heading back to our old mate, setting the render size. The environment encourages you to go all the way down to 37 percent, something no one would preferably do because it looks terrible, but it confirms our case as the game will not reach 90fps throughout the helicopter sequence. With this resolution it is very doubtful that the GPU can push you off and it is the CPU that is the bottleneck now.
The ventilation is another product of high frame rate play. On smartphones, the principal source of heat generated is usually the CPU rather than the GPU. Because high frame rate games seem to stress the CPU even more than low frame rate games, the heat produced is substantially higher, too.
It is one field where our Units OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro varied. All smartphones have their Snapdragon 865 chipsets designed to be in touch with the device's aluminum frame with a thermal paste inside them for greater heat dissipation. There is no sophisticated vapor chamber here but instead, the heat sink is the metal frame itself. Because the OnePlus 8 Pro is essentially a bigger handset, its heat dissipation has more surface area.
As we were playing on both phones everything was quite obvious. Within only five minutes, the smaller OnePlus 8 actually becomes difficult to carry, and just before one game of Fortnite is finished. The skin temperature of the device, especially in the top half, is too high to be held comfortably. For contrast, although the OnePlus 8 Pro still got fairly dry, it never quite hit its smaller sibling's intolerable heights.
Oddly enough, although the OnePlus 8 managed to chug along even though it went thermonuclear, the cooler OnePlus 8 Pro was the one that gave us a temperature warning, which culminated in the display 's brightness being switched down. This also prompted the game to lock itself up to 60fps, and it stayed so until it was restarted.
The issue of overheating was something we noticed for iOS only in our analysis of the 60fps Fortnite patch. The iPhone XR got equally hot and then the system lowered its brightness and the app locked itself up to 30fps. On the OnePlus 8 phone, before the overheating alert turned up on the 8 Pro, neither fell frame rate.
We do not think that heating was a reason for the drop in efficiency, either. A bit of thermal throttling is anticipated even when we were artificially cooled, we run the phones to lower their temperature and they were still falling frames in the areas described above.
Going back again to the render size, we tried to play with the scale set at the lowest 37 percent weight. As expected, this also resulted in the heating of the phones, as although the GPU was not taxed as much, the CPU was still burdened with having to process each frame 90 times per second.
Here's the thing; the game sounds significantly better than 60fps playing, while operating at a steady 90fps. Fast refresh rate gaming, though, is not than only being smooth; it's about faster reaction times, lower latency and smoother movement. While some of these things are true, when you're straddled with touchscreen controls you probably won't benefit much from it. We have attempted to play several rounds with a wired in Xbox controller and although it was enjoyable, it is much less impactful with a mouse because analog sticks can only go so hard.
Essentially, the benefits of a frame rate of 90fps over 60fps in handheld games aren't as apparent as they are on a mouse-pc. The refresh rate is unlikely to be the aspect that keeps you off in these titles, about things like the buttons or even how low the screen is. Once we went back to 60fps only to play at higher settings for visual consistency, we had almost as much fun and the game looked even stronger. The game appears almost terrible at its lowest standard environment due to low-quality graphics, absence of realistic lighting, no atmospheric occlusion, incredibly near draw distance, diminished effects of water and fog, and a total lack of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering.
The game often plays dynamically at a relatively small rate. Doing some rudimentary pixel count, we measured around 480p internal rendering resolution when setting the scaling to 100 percent on the Low preset, and on a large 1440p display it can look pretty raw. The higher settings tend to render at a higher quality, but they do have improved post-processing to enhance their appearance.
Fortnite still has to focus on certain issues including the occasional hitching while pushing the camera around or traversing the globe. High frame rates are good but much more important are the short and consistent frame times. It would be good to make their incredibly limited menu more finger-friendly too. When the game was launched on a mobile phone, it looked like they just put their desktop UI on a phone screen and two years later it's just as bad. Also on the 8 Pro such buttons may often be challenging to click.
The start time is by far the worst thing about the game. It takes around ten seconds for the dedicated Epic launcher to open. It is then another 20 seconds before you can start the game. About one minute about 45 seconds have elapsed by the time the game is available. This is easily the slowest game we've tested to launch. There's still no escape option for the game and it can start to run in the background, until you push it to stop.
Sure, so what are the main takeovers here? The choice to get a high frame rate is a positive thing because even on these premium platforms the existing technical constraints prohibit the game from keeping the frame rate. Often you get around 90fps but not always and otherwise there is still enough hitching going on in the game. Epic Games might know one or two about improving Tencent's smartphone app and how to that file scale.
Second, with such taxing games, cooling on certain phones isn't enough. All phones are begging for a more sophisticated internal passive cooling system, or just a simpler active fan-like system. The above is not beautiful, but if you want to play at such fast frame rates, it is important and we are sure serious gamers wouldn't mind that.
Second, there might not even be much benefit over 60fps gameplay here because that may result in a significant reduction of picture quality. The 30 additional frames won't render you a great instant player and 60fps with Ultra or Epic levels was always a stronger overall experience. Moving from 60fps to 90fps (an improvement of 50 percent) may not sound as game-changing as moving from 30fps to 60fps (an improvement of 100 per cent). And given that most people are only stuck on this game at 30fps, even though you play at 60fps you 're still at a tremendous advantage.
Finally, on the mobile side, Epic has far more things to work on, such as output management, Design optimization and start times. Sometimes these factors bring a sense than the large frame rates.
Overall, while we want to see games making greater use of high refresh rate screens, there is still some research here that both Epic and OnePlus need to do.