Halo Infinite PC Technical Review: The best settings, performance analysis and comparison with Series X

Halo Infinite PC Technical Review: The best settings, performance analysis and comparison with Series X

Halo Infinite PC Technical Review

Yes, it's a first party exclusive, and yes it will sell a lot on Xbox Series consoles, but Microsoft's policy of releasing PC versions of its flagship titles opens up Halo Infinite and leads to a myriad of different gaming hardware. We would like to say that the quality of the PC conversion is variable: the game itself is brilliant and it is thanks to this policy that it is possible to play this great experience without owning an Xbox console.

Having said that, it must also be said that PC conversion can be unexpectedly heavy on both the CPU and GPU: there are several technical issues that need to be addressed, and on the other hand 343 Industries fails to integrate any next-gen features that would work wonders on modern GPUs. So in the PC version of Halo Infinite there is no ray tracing, there is no AI super-sampling, and not even the VRS (variable rate shading) that is present on the Xbox Series. What remains is certainly a valid but not exactly special conversion. And it takes some finishing work, a lot of work.

The first technical problem we encountered even appears when starting the game, when the title screen appears. Just like it was months ago with the preview build, the implementation of v-sync to limit frame-rate in Halo Infinite is completely broken. No matter how powerful your GPU is, 60fps v-sync causes frame drops. Not many but enough to make you realize that something is wrong. By doubling the sync to 120fps, the dropped frame rate increases exponentially. And this problem occurs whether you're using a G-Sync display or a FreeSync display.

Optimized graphics options, Series X vs PC comparison, and performance analysis. All in our technical review of the PC version of Halo Infinite.

Watch on YouTube. You can of course remove the in-game limiter and use the forced limiter from the GPU control panel, but we still have a couple of notes to make. First of all, this problem had to be solved months ago: the user would not have to intervene to find solutions to technical problems in a final release. Additionally, dynamic resolution scaling (a key game feature) only works if the game's internal limiter is active. Too bad it doesn't work. If you use the external one instead, which works, then the game scales to the lowest resolution possible. This is really a shame because it forces you to choose between a visually compromised image and a DRS solution that makes the most of your GPU resources but having to live with stuttering.

Fortunately, the other graphics options seem to work just fine. and while there is a certain level of scalability in the game, we have noticed that the optimized options guarantee only meager performance gains, far less than those achievable in many other games. As is often the case in these cases, finding the best trade-offs between performance and quality for each graphics option reveals that matching console graphics options is often the most cost-effective solution. Halo Infinite on Series X offers a mix of high and ultra presets from the PC version. In the table below you can see the options we have chosen compared with the Xbox version.

If you want to know what each graphic option does in practice, it is all well explained in the in-depth video attached. The options that have the most impact on performance are probably cloud rendering and geometry quality, which pushes the render distance forward. As usual, the resolution impacts heavily on GPU resources and dynamic scaling does a great job of making the most of every teraflop of your graphics card but only works well with the frame limiter which is corrupt on its own.

You don't need to put all the details to ultra! Here are the best settings for quality-to-performance ratio, and the console equivalents. What we can say is that all the technical problems found in our analysis on Series X remain in the PC version, so they are not attributable to a lack of CPU or GPU power. So in the cut-scenes we have stuttering and erratic performance (which should be patched resolution). Facial animations still run at 30fps and Master Chief's weapon has glitches but only in the open world. However, this problem is more limited on PC, so perhaps it is due to the dynamic / lower resolution or VRS of the Xbox Series X version.

With optimized graphics options, the next thing to focus on is CPU performance , and things seem to be going pretty well in the open world. The evergreen Ryzen 5 3600 looks good enough to hit 60fps, but there are some frame-rate inconsistencies during fast travel, but only with the frame-rate unlocked. Even with our reference rig consisting of a Core i9 10900K we had trouble maintaining a locked 120fps frame-rate. Halo Infinite offers options that could improve CPU performance, such as the refresh rate of world animations, but we didn't see any major benefits by tweaking it. As with many other titles, to improve CPU performance you need to lower the quality of polygons and shadows.

Halo Infinite on PC offers better quality on the right hardware. The PC version of Halo Infinite lacks some features, such as variable rate shading, which is present in the Xbox version. Graphics can be improved on PC - the render distance set to ultra is higher than that set on Xbox Series X for example. Other settings offer minimal quality improvements, such as shadow quality. Moving on to the GPU, Halo Infinite is surprisingly heavy gaming at 1440p, and we've found that RTX 2060 Super and RX 5700-class GPUs can't maintain 60fps. There are also some interesting but annoying performance glitches. In some situations these GPUs offer similar results, but moving to combat the AMDs go 17% faster, and both suffer when moving fast around the world. This disparity is also found in higher-end GPUs, but it can be even wider: an RX 6800 XT can outperform the performance of an RTX 3080 by 20%.

In general our optimized options are similar to those of the X Series in quality mode, but there are some exceptions. For example, during cutscenes you will encounter fluctuating performances that find no logical explanation based on what is rendered on screen. We also witnessed a huge performance drop on the RX 5700 that occurred simply by reloading a level, and this required a full reboot of the game to fix. Ultimately, the RX 5700 and RTX 2060 Super are good enough to sustain 1080p60 locked with Series X equivalent options, a disappointing situation considering that with many other titles these GPUs are capable of much more.

John Linneman's excellent video analysis of the Xbox Series X experience.

Watch on YouTube. There is a feeling that the overall performance therefore needs to be improved through further patches, but we want more. Of course, bugs need to be fixed, and having a working frame limiter should be a minimum. We may forget DLSS as this is an AMD-supported title, but the upcoming Intel XeSS technology is less platform-sensitive and therefore perhaps should be implemented. Ray tracing? Absolutely yes: the PC is a naturally forward-looking platform and it is therefore physiological to expect more from a super-high budget project.

At the moment, Halo Infinite falls short of what it should be. Obviously it is playable and there are no disabling problems but only disappointing ones. Most likely some of them will have already been fixed after the writing of this article but apart from the bugs we want to see greater optimization and support for the features that only the PC is able to offer, in order to gratify those with high-end hardware. top, which is potentially able to go far beyond the capabilities of next-generation consoles. 343 Industries has a good reputation for responding to criticism, so we expect the game to be fixed quickly.

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