The Nintendo Switch is an interesting console in the sense that gamers can play games at home while the console is docked, or on the go while the console is undocked where it’s kind of like a tablet. However it seems that in terms of gaming performance, there’s a difference when it is docked and where it is undocked.
This was discovered by the folks at Digital Foundry where they realized that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild apparently seemed to run smoother when it was undocked versus when it was docked. They theorize that this could be due to the difference in resolution versus memory bandwidth, where they both don’t increase by the same amount.
Digital Foundry writes, “This is only a theory, but it does make sense based on the data available. Laying out the maths here, docking increases pixel count from 720p to 900p, a 56 per cent in resolution. However, memory bandwidth only rises by 20 per cent, from 1331MHz to 1600MHz. Bandwidth is shared between CPU and GPU, so the higher resolution in the home console mode may be sapping memory bandwidth away from the main processor cores, making us more prone to slowdown when the CPU is under load.”
It is a bit technical but basically the takeaway from this is that perhaps developers need to take note of these differences when developing their games, or at least they should if they want to ensure a consistent experience across the board.