The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be one of the best-reviewed games of all time, but you’re going to want to play the game in portable mode on your Switch if you want the best possible performance. There are noticeable frame rate drops if you play on your television with the system connected to the dock.
“From a technical perspective, while Breath of the Wild is beautiful, playing the game docked on my TV often resulted in severe frame rate drops. It was never unplayable, but it was distracting,” our review stated.
So what gives?
The above video from Digital Foundry shows some of the graphical differences you’ll see when playing in the docked or portable modes, but in practice the game looks great in either version. The difference comes down to the very obvious hit in performance when the game is played on your television.
“This is only a theory, but it does make sense based on the data available,” Eurogamer explained. “Laying out the maths here, docking increases pixel count from 720p to 900p, a 56 percent [change] in resolution. However, memory bandwidth only rises by 20 percent, 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. Bandwidth concerns may also explain why resolution doesn't scale closer in line with the difference in clock-speeds (307.2MHz or 384MHz undocked, 768MHz docked).”
That’s a possible — and somewhat technical — explanation for the change in frame rate, but the end conclusion is clear.
“Suffice to say, if you're looking to play Breath of the Wild with minimal performance drops, running undocked is the way forward,” the article states.