Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Performance Review

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is out; this new game uses the id Tech 6 game engine and Vulkan API to give you a great gaming experience on the PC with today’s latest GPUs. We will compare performance features, see what settings work best, find what is playable in the game and compare performance among several video cards.


Wolfenstein II Async Compute

For our run-through in all the following tests we have played far into the game and ended up using the Manhattan level maps for the run-through. Naturally, we also make sure the game is playable throughout using the settings we find. The Manhattan area gave us a great location to test performance repeatable and consistently with plenty of combat. The run-through is about 7 minutes long.

Also note that because of the Vulkan API in use we have to use PresentMon to capture framerate data. It is the only took we have at the moment, it is not the best, but it works. This means that since it captures data in fractions of a second there is a ton of data to sift through. The graphs will naturally look a little "messy," but you should be able to make sense out of them and the average framerate is provided at the bottom.

Async Compute

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Now it is time to jump on Async Compute. As we stated, we cannot be sure Async Compute is actually working correctly with the method we are using to enable it. It is possible it is not working as intended, it is possible it will experience performance and stability improvements with further game patches. All we can do is explore how it is right now, as is, today, playing the game. It is noteworthy that the latest patch does say specifically: "Async compute temporarily disabled until driver fix available." But that could be just for NVIDIA GPUs, and not for AMD GPUs. It’s a big question mark. So, all we will do is use the method described on page 1 to "enable" it and try it out on AMD GPUs to see if there is any difference right now.

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In the above graph we are looking at the Radeon RX Vega 64 at 1440p with Mein leben! Settings. Well, Async Compute does seem to be doing something with Vega 64. The frametimes got a lot looser, there’s a lot more inconsistency, but the average FPS went up by a small 3.5%.

The framerate definitely looks different with it enabled in this method, but we can’t say that it helps gameplay. The performance increase isn’t noticeable, and with the more erratic frame times gameplay isn’t as smooth. Therefore, it is possible it is not working correctly here, or if it is not doing much to help gameplay. We will have to see how this develops with new game patches and drivers. For now, we suggest just leaving it OFF.

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In this graph we decided to push AMD Radeon Vega 64 up to 4K to see if there was any chance it could affect performance. As you can see performance is exactly the same at 4K with or without Async. We are not seeing the erratic framerates at this higher resolution like we did at 1440p though, so it is just a wash here.

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Finally, here is the Radeon RX Vega 56 at 1440p doing the same testing. We find the same result as Vega 64, the frame time becomes more erratic and there is a slight bump in the average FPS, 3.5% same as before.

This test of Async Compute was just to see if maybe Async Compute was working or not. It appears though that it is not really working to an advantage right now. We will have to wait for future game patches or drivers to maybe change that fact.

For now, even on AMD GPUs, it is best to just leave Async Compute disabled. If the option isn’t even present in your graphics settings, then just leave it be, that’s the best gameplay experience right now. If and when this ever gets updated, we will follow-up and see if it makes a difference.

One other thing, we did try this trick on the Radeon RX 580 but the game would always crash with Async Compute turned "ON" with that video card. The game would only play without crashing with Async Compute turned "OFF." Another reason to just keep it off, if you are having stability issues.