Dying Light Video Card Performance Review

Dying Light is out on the PC and we are liking it. Today we evaluate performance on many video cards to find out what kind of gameplay experience to expect. We will also compare graphical settings and find out which ones are the most demanding and what level of video card you need for this game.

Introduction

We were dying to dive into this game once we heard about it. Dying Light is a survival horror video game dealing with zombies but in a completely open-world environment with day and night cycles. When the light dies, and night comes, be ready, it gets crazy, and fun. Dying Light was developed by the Polish company Techland and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

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Dying Light was released on January 27th this year and hasn't undergone as many patches as some other recent games have. Three days after its release patch 1.2.1 was released. On February 3rd patch 1.3.0 was released. In this patch an interesting fix is worth noting: "Minor performance tweaks for GTX970 users." This no doubt addresses GTX 970 VRAM issues. This is the first time we've seen a patch directly address one single GPU.

Most recently, on February 14th patch 1.4.0 was released. This patch addressed many performance issues including the previously known memory leak. System RAM usage has been lessened. However, we still experience SLI and CrossFire issues which we will talk about. According to NVIDIA, game patching is needed to fully fix SLI performance issues. For all of our testing today we are using the 1.4.0 patch.


Graphics

Game Engine

Dying Light uses the new Chrome Engine 6. There are only two games right now that are using this new engine, Dying Light and an upcoming game called Hellraid. To see other games on past Chrome Engine versions check out this list. You'll find that the other popular zombie series Dead Island uses Chrome Engine 5. Therefore, Dying Light is using the latest next gen game engine compared to Dead Island which was itself a great looking game graphically. To learn more about Chrome Engine check out this page.

NVIDIA GameWorks

NVIDIA has put together a great Dying Light Graphics & Performance Guide that is worth reading.

Dying Light embraces two distinct NVIDIA GameWorks technologies to further improve image quality. It doesn't utilize the whole NVIDIA suite of graphical effects, but does incorporate two of NVIDIA's technologies. These graphical effects are run via DX11 and run on both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

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NVIDIA Depth-of-Field - Depth-of-Field is a graphical effect that can be used for different goals. It can be used, naturally, to bring focus to gamers in foreground or background objects. It can be used to add cinematic style gameplay to the game. For Dying Light it is used for up-close combat with zombies, cut scenes and other personal up-close animations. The NVIDIA method is able to provide DoF at a reduced cost to performance. In fact, you'll see that it barely makes any impact on performance at all.

NVIDIA HBAO+ - HBAO+ is getting around lately, many games have incorporated NVIDIA's HBAO+ for Ambient Occlusion recently. It provides more precise Ambient Occlusion at a lesser cost than standard HBAO. However, as you will see later on because of the detail world of this game it does affect performance to a greater degree than some other games.

A note needs to be said about SLI. Prior to the driver version GeForce 347.52 it was required to download GeForce Experience and perform a profile update in order to receive SLI profile support. With GeForce 347.52 however that SLI profile has been placed in the driver. However, even with this driver, and GeForce Experience, we were not able to receive any SLI performance improvements as will show you. CrossFire is equally broken.

We will dive into the graphics settings possible on the next pages.