Since I was one of those lucky individuals who got a copy of Watch Dogs shipped early I thought that I was going to do a thread for the curious and those who want to see how the PC version looks and runs, especially on 2GB cards.
How do you have Watch Dogs already?
I ordered from the Ubishop who happened to had shipped it Wednesday, the game arrived on Friday.
This is to debunk any "Piracy" comments which have been going around, yes there are pirated versions around but those who purchased physical copies, whether it be the Ded Sec Edition, Standard or uPlay Exclusives are able to install the game, input their code and play, everyone told me you wont be able to play uPlay copies but that doesn't seem to be the case, aslong as you have a Physical copy they work, other Ubisoft titles may be the same, I'm unsure.
Bare in mind that this game isn't officially released yet, drivers and patches are bound to follow.
I'm running on the latest Nvidia 337.81 drivers, and this install of windows is a month old.
Update:New drivers apparently hitting tomorrow, I'll most likely test it again with these drivers.
337.88 drivers are available!
Graphical Settings Graphical Quality
GPU Max Buffered Frames
Anti-Aliasing (OFF, FXAA, Temporal SMAA, MSAA, TXAA)
Wide Screen Letter Box (On/Off)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 B55 @4GHz
GPU: Nvidia MSI GTX760 Hawk (Onpar with GTX670)
Memory: 6GB DDR3 @1333MHz
Framerate 30-40 average, I dont think I've seen a dip below 30 and if it does something crazy has happened on screen and it usually shoot back up.
I'm overwhelmed by how well this game performs and how it handles the hardware, It's using all of my cores to the fullest (4 cores with really high utilization), something I've rarely seen from games, especially Ubisoft's recent Assassin's Creed 4, if this scales up-to 8 threads I dont know, but with the recent threads of requiring 9000 CPU score in Passmark that may be the case, and if so that's brilliant! Were finally starting to see 4+ cores getting used, and in an open world game which are CPU bottleneck prone.
Even now my CPU is a bottleneck, but it's coming close to the end of it's 4 year run, at various points I'm getting 30fps and utilization of around 79-80% showing blatant bottle-necking, with a more capable processor I think I'd be able to pull of 35-40+ average with my current "Optimal Settings" I've written below.
This game uses The Disrupt, a new game engine from Ubisoft, this game was supposedly built for PCs initially and scaled down to consoles
The 2GB Vram question, a couple of threads have blown up on OCN concerning the 3GB vram that is said to be required for Ultra textures, is this true or not?
From my experience this game in it's current state, whether it's in need of drivers or a patch can stutter on various setups, even cards with higher amounts of ram. Stutter prone settings
This is all based on my experience with my GPU, other setups which enable settings like these may not encounter stuttering as I do.
This is the killer right here, from my experience turned my game into a stutter fest. If you've got 2GB stick to the one just below this, "High".
For some reason once I apply HBAO+ High, the frame-rate is stable, however it'll begin stuttering,
Any application of Anti-Aliasing other than FXAA, and Temporal SMAA results in stuttering, this could be the game using 2GB of ram, or it could be smoothed out in a patch or driver, if someone had a 2GB and a 4GB card to test with that may help clear up this confusion.
When Ultra Shadows are applied once again stuttering can occur, and within my tests quite frequently at times, as I said before drivers and patches are to be expected so some of these problems which are happenning on various systems may become less severe after the first few patches of this game. Having all three of these settings, HBAO+ High, with Ultra shadows and Ultra textures will easily turn this game into a slideshow.
If this is currently affecting a vast majority of 2GB cards I suggest to those who have these cards to attempt to not enable those 3 settings if you're trying to max the game out, however if you're running lower resolutions or not attempting to run the game's settings full blast at Ultra you may be able to run the game with these settings enabled, this could be due to freed vram if these cards are hitting a vram wall. if requested I'll be happy to try it out. I'm almost 99.9% certain my card has the power to run these settings as It's performing as GTX670 (The MSI Hawk of the 760 lineup is among the top two performing 760s alongside ASUS's Striker, both are capable of matching the GTX670) which Johnathan Morin said is capable of running the game at Ultra as "90%" of the development team alleged ran GTX670s.
Has anyone else got a 2GB card to test these problems if you happen to have the game as well?
These are settings I've found to be the smoothest and closest to max settings.
GPU Max Buffered Frames: 2
Anti-Aliasing: Temporal SMAA (Higher AA applications lead to stuttering from my testing)
Level of Detail: Ultra
Shadows: High (Stutters on Ultra)
Ambient Occlusions HBAO+ Low
Motion Blur: On
Depth of Field: On
These settings are pretty close to the highest settings, the only settings affected are the Textures, Shadows and Ambient Occlusion, each by one notch, so If you're not so fussed about maxing the game but want something looking pretty good this could be a good option.
There might be minor hiccups in the recording, this is due to running shadowplay and possibly the stress on the hard drive.
337.81 Driver vs 337.88
I'm in the process of comparing 337.81 vs 337.88, it's unfinished as of now but will be updated.
Update: Added experience with new settings, these settings are not run in the benches below, the benches below are on the "Optimal Settings"
The runs consist of running from a Motel building to a pawn shop and exiting the pawnshop and looking across the street, this is performed whilst it is raining in-game.
Not much of a difference on my end, however I feel the game is averaging higher.
Other systems may have a different experience whether it be increased or decreased performance, I'll have to do some action and high-speed driving tests, I'm going to be experimenting with the settings again in the next few days, If I find anything interesting I'll be sure to update the thread.
Shadows and HBAO+
I am able to run Ultra Shadows and HBAO+ now, there's stuttering every now and again however, this could be a general problem with the game and may improve over patches and drivers.
Ultra Textures surprisingly runs alot smoother too! but it does still have it's stuttering issues but it's alot less severe, so i ran HBAO+ on low and shadows on high, basically the "Optimal Settings" again but with textures on Ultra, things have surely improved from my experience on my side, hopefully for others too.
I am able to apply MSAA 2X or TXAA 2X, no more stuttering caused directly by this it seems now.
Overall it seems this driver has had a positive impact on the game, the only real trouble is the Ultra Textures, however playing around with settings you might be able to get the game to run smoother with them, that and newer drivers and patches are likely to come and will hopefully improve the Watch_Dogs experience on Nvidia hardware, I hope the same for AMD too, their drivers are reportedly dropping tomorrow!
I'll try and find out if the GPU is being used more from these drivers too.
This section doesn't matter much with the graphics memory if you only came here for that, you can ignore this if you want, but if you've got a two cores or less than 4, or you're just generally interested in how this game uses the CPU you might find it useful. CPU Section:(Click to show)
Dual Cores are not listed in the minimum requirements for this game, the requirements are shooting for a minimum of quad cores, and I think for Ultra 8 cores/threads.
I think an I3 would perform well in this game if it crosses the 5000 score mark but I haven't got one to test so I'm not entirely sure.
Dual core performance is pretty obvious below, Tri core and Quad core looks comparable, however I feel Quad core is more stable overall, they may not be of much use to anyone but I though I'd post them anyway to represent scaling between 2 to four cores.
This test will be ongoing and I will attempt to compare the scores and results to my performance with 4 cores.
I'm performing this test by locking two of my processing cores through the bios and leaving my processor overclocked @4GHz.
PerformanceTest 8.0 (Passmark)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @4GHz
CPU Mark - 2759
CPU - SingleThreaded 1361
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 B55 @4GHz
CPU Mark - 4071
CPU - SingleThreaded 1380
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 B55 @4GHz
CPU Mark - 5198
CPU - SingleThreaded 1378
Okay, so with two cores enabled the performance got hit hard, I'd say it was averaging at 20fps and was an un-smooth experience jumping up and down with stutter, this doesn't happen with 4 of my cores enabled. GPU utilization was ranging between 30-60 with perhaps an average in-between 45-50, the cores are practically completely maxed out.
(The voltage is high because I'm running the same voltage I used for Quad Core 4GHz)
However this is a Phenom II, I would think a sandy onwards clocked at 3.2 upwards would perform better, I'm looking at the 4340 and 4360 I mentioned earlier. Warning: High Quality Images (Dual Core)(Click to show)
How one core works wonders!
Much more stable and playable than Dual core, it's running 30+ with utilization ranging between 67-99%, spending most of it's time in-between 75-85% however and pushing 30fps upwards.
Once again, the cores are maxing out, alongside high ram usage, the performance difference appears to be mild from 3 to four cores, it's not as massive as the jump from 2 to 3 surprisingly, however 4 cores may get higher max fps than 3 cores, I'll look at doing a fraps benchmark between all of them on or before Tuesday If I have time.
Core usage maxing out on 4 cores also, I'm going to upload a vid called "Action Scene" or something showing you what's happening in the scene with MSI Afterburner in the top left, but for now some screens of utilization.
Warning: High Quality Images! (Quad Core(Click to show)
GPU Utilization varies depending on the ongoing activity, in some areas it will be 80-99% and 35-45fps, often holding a stable 40, and in others it will be in-between 67-99% as activity and ranging between 30-40fps, and often 30fps when the CPU is hit hard.
Unlocked (I'm unhappy with how I performed this test, so I'm going to be redoing it, ignore the Unlocked one)
It looks pretty messy, the frames are going 30-40+ and up and down, this is the CPU bottleneck taking effect, as with most open-world games they are often CPU-bound in various situations, one moment you could be holding a solid 40fps and the next your jumping between 30 to 40, for more powerful setups something between 50fps solid and falling to 35-45fps. I'd expect hexa and octa cores to yield much better results on the CPU side, especially Intel i5s and i7s.
If you look between both graphs, you can see that the 35fps target is held successfully most of the time, this looks to be the sweet spot for processor, as if it it does dip it wont fall no more than 5 fps down to 30fps from my testing.
If you've got a Phenom II X4 or a similar performing processor, maybe a quad core piledriver you may find these results useful.
I wish I could do a better job at these CPU tests as between three to four cores the performance difference seems quite mild and this processor is aging, I'll have to do a fraps benchmark to compare better I think.
The GPU usage is not 99% so there's room for more frames if the CPU can deliver them, for those with tougher CPUs like I5s or i7s of Sandy to Haswell you're likely to have a CPU which can hold 35-40+ fps with a GTX670, like the 4670K for example which should be powerful enough. I did the CPU scaling to test performance between cores and usage and the game is scaling well from 2 to four cores.
Unfortunately I'm CPU limited to between 35-40fps stable but this was a test of CPU usage and core scaling on my "Optimal" settings.
However, for those 2500Ks-4670Ks I would expect a solid 40fps, as in a lot of cases my GPU isn't working at 99%, with the extra grunt of those processors I think they'd be able to easily pull off 40 fps stable with a comparable GPU, like a GTX670
Update: I may not be so CPU limited after-all if more-powerful CPUs are have trouble maxing their GPU most of the time too, OC'd i5 280X/7970 setups and 780 setups, this shows that this may just be a problem with the game itself and not solely the CPU, it seems Watch Dog's scaling with hardware can be unpredictable at times.
This was mostly intended to be a post about performance with 2GB vram but I decided I might as-well demonstrate how this game uses 4 cores and how it scales with them.
I hope the community find this useful and beneficial, this may give those with dual core chips, quad cores and similar performing graphics cards or processors to me an idea of what to expect from Watch Dogs on PC, In my opinion this is one of the best performing Ubisoft titles and it's one of the only, if not the only which scales between 4-6 cores as me and other OCN members have reported, not entirely sure about 8.
-Edit: I take this back, seems I'm one of the lucky few that can get the game to launch and not crash every two minutes, people have reported endless stuttering even when altering graphical settings, It's not looking too good for this game, AC3 was worse for me on the performance side, I ran the entire game in the 20s when I had a 6850 no matter the graphical settings, but If people can't even get this game to launch or are having problems with Uplay then this may just be worse.
Update: Oddly tougher hardware is having trouble keeping their frames up, along with GPU utilization.
There's something very wrong here then if tougher systems are brute forcing it with overclocked i5s, i7s 780s and 290s, at first I thought this game was a good performer but it seems different configurations have different troubles if the GPU is being constantly under utilized and stuttering is a regular occurrence on various setups, I hope they get a hold of this.
The alleged 2GB problems may worry a few, I think give it a few days for a patch or two and a driver from Nvidia before panicking, as even the 3GB cards have been said that they can get into some trouble with some applications of AA.
Update: It seems various setups are encountering different troubles, even 2500Ks and 780s are having stuttering problems, low GPU usage followed by frames.