Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Fallout 4 Performance and Image Quality Preview

Fallout 4 is out on the PC, in this preview we will take a look at performance between GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some in-game feature performance comparisons. We'll also take a look at some in-game feature screenshots and find out what settings are best for an enjoyable gaming experience.

Introduction

The long waited sequel to Fallout 3 is finally here. It has been seven years since the last game and now finally Fallout 4 is among us. Fallout 4 is an open-world action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.

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You of course know Bethesda quite well from the Elder Scrolls series of games with the last one being Skyrim. As such, Fallout 4 shares something in common with Skyrim that was published in 2011, and that is the use of the Creation Gaming Engine.

Naturally, this game engine has improved since 2011 and has been updated for Fallout 4. Notable new game engine features for Fallout 4 include physically based rendering, dynamic volumetric lighting, the ability to build structures in-game and advanced character creation That being said as you immerse yourself into the open-world of Fallout 4 you start to feel the similarities in world design and textures from Skyrim, this feels very much like a "Bethesda" game.


Graphics Options

In our full-evaluation we will go over what each graphic option does in-depth. For now understand that there are built-in global profiles you can set via buttons under the "Detail" section in the graphics options. There are: "Low," "Medium," "High," and "Ultra" global profile options. Note however that setting "Ultra" does not enable the highest possible in-game settings. You can actually go up one more setting in the advanced options called Godrays. Under Godrays when you select the default "Ultra" profile only "High" Godrays are enabled. You can manually bring down this menu and manually enable a higher "Ultra" Godrays option which further enhances image quality.

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In these screenshots above you will find the default "Ultra" global options represented, note that Godrays is on "High" at this setting.

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Here in this screenshot we have manually enabled "Ultra" Godrays taking the game one step further than the global profile allows.

Separately there is an Antialiasing option. When you select "Ultra" global detail profile it enables the "TAA" option. However, you can manually select FXAA instead. We highly suggesting using FXAA! TAA adds a massively negative blur to the entire scene; FXAA does not do this. At this time we don't have a lot of details on what "TAA" actually is, only that it does work on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, and looks equally as bad on both.

Today we are going to test at the default "Ultra" profile setting with FXAA, and also at the maximum in-game settings with Godrays at "Ultra."


No VSYNC?

This game has no in-game options to disable or enable VSYNC. Instead, VSYNC is forced ON no matter what. This is disappointing for a PC game not to have a simple option like VSYNC control. There is a way to overcome VSYNC and disable it on NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, but it is different for both. It is simpler to disable VSYNC on NVIDIA GPUs and a bit more complex on AMD GPUs.

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On NVIDIA GPUs all you need to do is go into the driver and force off VSYNC in the driver control panel. Alternatively you can setup a game profile that forces VSYNC off for this game. Once this is done this game will run with VSYNC off.

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On AMD GPUs going into the driver control panel and disabling VSYNC will not work here, it does nothing to the game. Instead what we must do is edit INI files within the folder for Fallout 4 settings under My Documents/My Games. There are two files you need to edit, the first is "Fallout4.INI." Look for the line "iPresentInterval=1" and change this to a "0." You then also need to open up "Fallout4Prefs.INI" and also change this line value to "0" as well. Once you do that VSYNC will be turned off in-game.

Here is the caveat. If you change in-game quality settings, or even just resolution it overwrites the "Fallout4Prefs.INI" file and sets iPresentInterval back to 1. You therefore have to go change that value to "0" every time you change graphics settings or resolution or change video cards.


Drivers

Once again NVIDIA has a game ready optimized driver (and WHQL at that) ready on day of this game being released, and AMD does not. When we complain about AMD driver support, this is the big difference we complain about, and rightly so.

For NVIDIA GPUs download GeForce 358.91 WHQL.

For AMD GPUs the latest driver is dated November 5th and is a Beta driver Catalyst 15.11 Beta. This driver mentions nothing about Fallout 4 optimizations, and this driver was released only 5 days before the launch of Fallout 4. Being that close to launch one would have hoped the driver would have supported Fallout 4 optimizations, but it did not.

These are the latest possible drivers, and we are using them today on this launch day of Fallout 4.

For our test system we are using our standard video card test system as outlined here. We are using Windows 10 Pro x64.