Forza Horizon 5 PC: Can Graphics and Performance Be Better Than Xbox Series X? - comparative analysis

Forza Horizon 5 PC: Can Graphics and Performance Be Better Than Xbox Series X? - comparative analysis

Forza Horizon 5 PC

We've established Forza Horizon 5 scales beautifully across all new and older Xbox consoles, but how did developer Playground Games manage to handle the same quality on PC? And secondly, we ask ourselves: can the PC version go beyond the quality standard set by the Xbox Series X and offer better graphics and higher frame-rates? And finally, what graphics settings do you need to set to have the same console experience? Most importantly, which GPU serves as a requirement? In this article we will try to answer all these questions that arise spontaneously to those who want to play Forza Horizon 5 on PC.

First of all a few words about the initial Forza Horizon 5 setup and its general accessibility in changing settings . In the first loading of the game there will be quite a long wait due to the compilation of the specific shaders for your graphics hardware. The process takes some time even on high-end PCs, but the wait is worth it as it ensures a smooth and smooth experience. In fact, stuttering seems a frequent and common situation to many PC titles today, especially those that use Unreal Engine 4, since it happens that the shaders are compiled on the fly only when needed. Forza Horizon 5 instead uses an initial compliation technique on the first load ever, and is the best way to overcome these stuttering.

The aspect in which we find Forza Horizon 5 burdensome is in the process of restarting the game after changing some settings. The problem is that it breaks the process of fine-tuning the settings, as there is no way to know the performance impact of various option changes. What's more, the compilation of shaders comes into play, and even if shorter than the first, you have to wait every time.

Everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 PC graphics settings, console equivalent values, performance, and more.

Watch on YouTube. Apart from that, there is a feeling that the general graphics settings are downsized compared to previous chapters of the series, in fact we no longer find the dynamic adjustment of the settings that worked so well in Forza Horizon 3 and 4, and key features of the console versions such as dynamic resolution scaling are absent. What is offered is a fairly basic resolution adjustment which is not very useful: the ultra quality mode is basically a 1656p upscaler which drops to 1440p if you select the quality mode; the resolution drops again to 1296p for the balanced preset and finally the performance mode runs at native 1080. There is no evidence of pixel reconstructions with techniques such as TAAU, DLSS or XeSS. Ultimately the graphics options are good, but difficult to use and certainly more could be done. On the other hand, the benchmark is well done as it represents a very heavy area of ​​the game that stresses both the CPU and the GPU.

There are some important settings and it is necessary to understand how they impact on performance: for example the level of detail of the geometries and the rendering distance of the objects that are affected by the chosen internal resolution. This means that the game, when set at a lower resolution, also has a lower LOD. This makes sense on a technical level as high resolutions also require a higher level of detail for polygons and textures, but this also implies that the CPU performance scales with the internal resolution in this game (e.g. the game weighs more on the CPU at 720p. than at 4K). What we can say is that getting 4K60 is feasible on high-end CPUs like the Ryzen 5 3600, but pushing beyond 60fps or sustaining 120fps becomes a challenge for even the most powerful CPUs.

In the advice on settings we differ slightly from Playground Games, which gave us the values ​​to set to get results that are as close as possible to those of the quality and performance modes of the Xbox Series X. These are optimized to get the most if you are looking for performance or quality. We tweaked them slightly, based on the changes made by the day one patch, but it is interesting to note how similar these values ​​are to the maximum presets. So going beyond the level of loyalty offered by the Series X will be a difficult undertaking. You can improve the quality of the MSAA up to 8X and increase it with the FXAA, which helps, and it is also possible to increase the quality of the post-processing thanks to an additional option related to the quality of the shaders. The problem, however, is that the visual advantage in elements such as volumetric effects, screen-space reflections and SSAO is minimal and impossible to notice in the driving frenzy.

Performance scaling on an RTX 2060 to 4K - settings at maximum vs Xbox equivalents in quality and performance modes. Equivalent Graphics Options Console Performance Mode Quality Mode Anisoptropic Filter High High Quality Ultra Extreme Shadows Night Shadows Off On High Motion Blur Quality Ultra Ultra Ultra Ambient Texture Quality Ultra Extreme Environmental Geometry Quality MSAA 4x 4x FXAA Off Off High High High Quality SSAO High High Reflection Quality High (dynamic) ) High Quality LOD Auto Ultra Ultra Quality Terrain Deformability Ultra Extreme SSR Quality High High Ultra Lens Effects Ultra Shader Quality Ultra Quality Particle Effects High Ultra Quality Ray Tracing Off High A discrepancy in these equivalences with the Xbox Series X graphics options in quality mode is that night shadows are set to on, but on Series X these are off in racing and active in the open world. On PC, on the other hand, they are always forcibly active, consequently increasing the realism of the races at the cost of performance. Ultimately, we think Playground chose the options to get the best balance, but we would have preferred more freedom to maneuver. The MSAA is fantastic at 8x, but it can't effectively process elements like foliage, which are quite crude on both console and PC. We would also like to have had an option for temporal AA. In addition, there is no reason why ray traced reflections should be limited to Forza Vista and the garage and not also applied to the open world on PC (our follower has made a mod to apply them to the open world and it works). The crowd has a 30fps refresh on both consoles and PCs, and for a game that focuses so much on quality and performance it would have been ideal to synchronize animations with the game's refresh rate.

We also hope Playground you fix some options that don't work properly. The texture quality of the world on Series X is equivalent to the ultra PC preset according to the developer, but the PC to ultra option handles distant objects with ultra-low textures instead and must be set to extreme to fix this bug. Also, the quality of the reflections does not work smoothly. By setting the extreme preset, there are scenes where the quality is similar to Series X (which uses the high preset with some refinement), while in other scenes the cubemap reflections seem completely broken. And the MSAA also has similar problems, leaving annoying blue halos around vegetation in some scenarios.

The performance mode on Xbox Series X operates visible downgrades below the high preset on PC to increase the frame- installments, but at the same time considers some options. The goal here is to provide 4K60, but consoles have the advantage of dynamic resolution scaling, which operates between 1600 and 2160p on Series X. wooded areas, as well as the quality of the shadows going from extreme to ultra, thus losing the diffuse shadows in dim light (which are great but have a big impact on the frame-rate).

Speaking of general scalability, here as Playground has juggled six different modes and two and a half generations of Xbox consoles.

Watch on YouTube. So what class of GPU does it take to match or improve the performance and quality modes of the X Series? Achieving intent is complex for performance mode as PC lacks the option to enable DRS, but by isolating the area where the Series X idles the DRS window, it seems like RTX 2070 Super / RTX-class GPUs are enough 2080, while going further with RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070, 4K60 can also be managed without problems.

Comparisons to the Series X in quality mode are perhaps more interesting as PC users usually seek the highest possible quality reproduced at 60fps or more. In this case the work is much easier for the GPUs, being the quality mode at 30fps on the Xbox Series X. In fact, an RTX 2060 Super is enough to match the flagship console, but what if we went to 60fps with the same quality? Here you have to level up and a factory overclocked Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition or AMD RX 6800 XT fares well. But remember that we have chosen a light section of the game for the test, so as not to bring the DRS into play, so in other areas the fps may drop below 60fps.

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The conclusion is therefore that to match the performance mode of the Series X you will need a GPU of the level of RTX 2080 Ti or RTX 3070, which also manage 1080p at 120fps. If, on the other hand, you intend to play at 1440p and 60fps, you can go down to RTX 2060 Super / RX 5700 class GPUs. For the quality mode, however, you will need RTX 3080 Ti or RX 6900 XT for the 4K60, and RTX 2080 Ti / RTX 3070 for the 1440p60. To play 1080p120 in quality mode, you need the power of the RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti or RX 6900 XT. Expensive and hard to find stuff at the moment.

In conclusion, we think the PC version of Forza Horizon 5 is a good release, but there is obviously room for improvements and some bug fixes, to add the resolution dynamic and to restore the options present in the previous chapters and omitted in this sequel. We appreciate the ability to enable MSAA, but it should be combined with image reconstruction techniques such as DLSS or XeSS, and we don't understand why ray tracing hasn't been extended to the entire game world on PC at least.

The tests also suggest that there is room for improvement for the Series X version as well: we currently have two 4K options, but a dynamic 1080-1440p 60fps mode at quality presets seems like a possible thing. We will come back to that soon, but at the moment we can say that the PC version is good and built on the solid foundation laid by the previous chapters.

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