Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Get Post-Apocalyptic At 1080p, 1440p And 4K

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

What may be the biggest game of 2015 is finally here with the launch of Fallout 4 this week. Set in Boston 200 years after a nuclear war, Bethesda's latest open world action-RPG is the Fallout series' fifth major instalment and along with touting a list of new features, the developer has teased gamers with details about the graphics technology in Fallout 4.

As expected, the game uses a modified version of the Creation Engine (first used for Skyrim in 2011), which now includes enhanced dynamic lighting thanks to a physically-based deferred renderer, allowing the developers to create natural reflections based on an object's material.

The updated Creation Engine includes a range of other new graphics features, such as an updated materials system and new cloth simulations, as well as dynamic post-process techniques and upgrades to the virtual camera including depth of field.

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

Rendering technologies such as tiled deferred lighting, screen space reflections, bokeh depth of field, height fog, filmic tonemapping, dynamic dismemberment using hardware tessellation, gamma correct physically based shading have all been used.

Fallout 4 also uses volumetric light effects from NVIDIA, which creates a natural atmosphere in the game depending on the time of day and the weather. This effect uses hardware tessellation and although it was developed in partnership with NVIDIA, Bethesda claims to have made it work great regardless of your platform.

Learning that Fallout 4 is a NVIDIA GameWorks title was a little cringeworthy, but developer Bethesda has remained adamant that there is no funny business going on here and that the game is also well optimised for AMD hardware.

Therefore, we don't expect the Fallout 4 launch to be anything like Assassin's Creed Unity, Batman: Arkham Knight, Project CARS or The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (with HairWorks enabled). Fallout 4 should be more similar to GTA V, a game that is well optimised for a range of hardware thanks to collaborative efforts with NVIDIA and AMD.

Bethesda has also stressed that Fallout 4 on PC won't be held back by the console versions, i.e. there's no frame rate cap and you can look forward to superior graphics.

Many eager PC gamers are undoubtedly waiting to see how the game looks and performs so we've put together our usual performance analysis to give you an idea of how Fallout 4 should play on your system...

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

Testing Methodology

Our test rig was outfitted with an Intel Core i7-6700K to remove CPU bottlenecks that could influence high-end GPU scores.

Using Fraps we recorded 120 seconds of gameplay starting at the gas station where you meet your new best friend "Dogmeat". We then walk down the road to the town of "Concord" where we did a lap of the town and ran through a skirmish with a few raiders, which is where the frame rate often fell to its lowest value.

Fallout 4 was tested at three resolutions: 1920x1080, 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 using the ultra quality preset. This means TAA was the anti-aliasing method used and anisotropic filtering was set to x16. "Bokeh" depth of field was used and ambient occlusion was set to SSAO (high). Additional rendering features such as screen space reflections, wetness, rain occlusion, motion blur and lens flare were also enabled.

Test System Specs

Benchmarks: 1080p

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

At 1080p we find that Fallout 4 in all of its ultra-quality glory isn't that dependent on the GPU. Mid-range cards of years ago are able to deliver playable performance, albeit just. For instance, HD 7870 spat out 43 FPS and never dipped below 34 FPS while the old GTX 660 Ti was even more impressive with an average of 49fps and a minimum of 38 FPS.

The modern budget graphics cards such as the GTX 950 provided very playable performance with an average of 51 FPS. The mid-range contenders such as the GTX 960 and R9 380 offered solid performance as well, though the GTX 960 was noticeably faster with an average of 63 FPS opposed to 55 FPS.

Benchmarks: 1440p

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

At 1440p we find that much of the field struggles to keep the minimum frame rate above 30 FPS and failing to do so results in very choppy performance. The HD 7970 GHz Edition and GTX 680 are borderline playable at this resolution. Ideally, 1440p calls for the GTX 780 or R9 290 -- both delivered similar performance to that of the GTX 970 and R9 390.

Benchmarks: 2160p

Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

Things get ugly at 4K -- even the mighty GTX 980 Ti struggles to provide perfectly smooth gameplay. While some would argue that an average of 45 FPS and a minimum of 34 FPS is perfectly fine, we noticed plenty of input lag that made the game feel much worse than it does at say 60 FPS. As usual, we'd say 4K demands multi-GPU technology for acceptable performance.

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Fallout 4 PC Benchmarks: Post-Apocalyptic Performance

Steven Walton is a writer at TechSpot. TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.


Comments

    My GTX680 defaulted to High and I've been lazy in testing it in Ultra. I guess I should actually do it now...

    There is absolutely no frame rate lock other than the 60FPS frame rate lock.

      People with 980s will disagree, they've had to do a modification of a file to get above 30, however that may also be due to incompatibility.

        I have a 980 and I don't disagree! If you modify it above 60 the game goes into turbo mode which while hilarious isn't very useful.

        If you are a PC player this mod is a must have as it lets you fix most of the current issues with the port.

        http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/102/?

        Last edited 16/11/15 1:00 pm

          Useful tool thanks man, Unfortunately I just found a huge bug that makes a decent size part of the map inaccesable, It just crashes when appoached. Anyone else with this problem? http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1546438-fallout-4-crash-in-specific-area/

            Yeah, it happens to many people , regardless of platform. We need to wait for a patch. I suggest not going to Monsignor Plaza so that the save files don't go corrupt (don't know if it's possible, but better avoid that place).

    Looks about right. R9 280X here and getting a smooth but not crisp 60fps experience. That is, the game is smooth and clearly running in the low 50's and never dropping below 40.

    Last edited 16/11/15 2:10 pm

      Seriously?! I have an R9 390X and when originally running Ultra settings, i'd get dips down to mid-20's when outside near large places (like Lexington)...

      I'm using Bilago's Config Tool now, which has disabled God Rays and applied FPS Boost parameters; I still get the dips, but only down to high-30's in bad areas.

      How are you NEVER dropping below 40 with a 280X?

        I don't know.. I just booted the game, it suggested Ultra.. I'd seen a youtube benchmark of R9 280X showing the difference between Ultra and High (not a lot of difference) and decided to go with Ultra with Godrays turned off. I didn't spend much time thinking about it.

        I am running a Sapphire R9 280X Dual-X 3GB card. Win7 64bit. 12GB ram. AMD Phenom II 1090T.. overclocked my CPU by about 15% too. All at 1920x1200.

        Yeah, I can't explain why you are experiencing that.. I am not a graphics card guru..

        Last edited 18/11/15 8:52 am

    Is this benchmark without godray for nvidia cards? I'm not getting that kind of frame with my 980 ti for 1440p. It actually lags around the goodneighbour area with tons of building that fps drop below 30. But I had godray on High.

    Anyone notice their GPU usage is not 100%? Mine is hovering around 60% and when the lag happens the usage drops to 20%.

      What speed is your ram? This game for some reason has massive frame rate differences based on how good your ram is.

      The difference between DDR3-1333 and DDR3-2400 was nearly 35 FPS and all of these benchmarks were done with DDR4-2400.

      Last edited 16/11/15 1:50 pm

        I'm using 16GB of DDR3 1600 ram. It seems extremely weird that so much difference of frame rate based on ram since ram is only used to store temporary data.

          Yeah, it doesn't seem to be normal behaviour, maybe they will fix it in a patch?

          Otherwise time to upgrade to Skylake/X99!

            T_T just upgraded to 980 ti couple of weeks ago. Next upgrade will be next year :(. My 3770k 4.5ghz is beast enough still.

    anti-aliasing etc not need it if 4k... So u get best of FPS.

    My 7870 is still going strong. It feels silky smooth at 1900 x 1200 (godrays off, high settings). I swear the game runs smoother when I use an xbox controller rather than keyboard / mouse.

      How do you turn Godrays off completely? Whenever I select that option, and save the options, it ends up on "Low" instead of "Off". I've tried multiple times to turn them off but whenever I go back into the Video Options menu it shows "Low" next to the Godrays option.. it simply doesn't allow me to turn them off :(

        Try bVolumetricLightingEnable=0 in the falloutprefs.ini or this tip on the steam community. http://steamcommunity.com/app/377160/discussions/0/496880503081151949/

        I used an app some guy had created that automatically applied the setting. Now I can't find it!

          Thanks! I'll give it a whirl!

          I haven't really suffered too much with it on Low.. but I'm eager to see if I can get a few FPS from not having it.. if I can keep the framerate above 50 almost constantly, I'll be much happier.

    I should be able to play it on high fairly well with my 7970 3GB OC which is good, just need my PC to turn up then a whole day of getting it setup

    Man I have the R9 270X and the game defaulted to the ultra setting for me I was super surprised.
    Might push it further and invest in another one and crossfire the bad boys see how things go then. Unless someone could give me reason to upgrade to a better card for around the same money.

    How is SLI support? I have dual 970s running at 1440p

      i've got 2 x original Titan's (so 700 series?) in SLI and am running it at Ultra @ 2160P (i7 @ 4.4Ghz also)

      every thing SEEMS ok and gorgeous, but i seem to think i'm getting slight stuttering depending on my mood - not a qualified statement, but so often this is the case

      time to pull out FRAPS and take a proper look i guess

        Is Sli working? I've got two 980tis and the second one is showing zero use so I figured they haven't released a profile yet...

          I'd really like to know this as well. I've seen no evidence that SLI is yet supported (Bethesda tend not to throw SLI support in until after release). I have a secondary monitor with constantly-running gadgets that monitor everything from each GPU to individual core (2 x 4) usage to physical core temperatures, and when any game is running, the GPU monitors show the usage and temperatures. With Fallout 4, only one GPU is ever running at full while the other is always idling.

          I'm running dual 780 Ti's in SLI at 1440p.

            Exactly. One gpu is maxed put at 99 percent and full clocks whilst the other one is idling at 135mhz with 1 percent usage. I have tried forcing sli using afr mode 2 but that actually lowers the fps. I would've thought that one of the biggest releases of the year would have a sli profile from the get go. Tbh I'm kind of disapointed. How are the 780tis holding up at 1440p any memory issues?

              I was actually debating whether of not to get rid of mine 780 TI's and throw down huge cash on dual 980 Ti's just so I could play Fallout 4 on high settings. But now that I've tried it, even if only one is being used, I'm quite happy with the 780 Ti's. I'm running on high for all settings except Textures, Shadows, and Lighting, which are all on Ultra, and I can't remember having any noticeable framerate drops or other graphical issues. The only "hmm"ing I've done is at the longer load times that some times occur. And since that's with only one GPU, I'm hoping that I'll be able to pump it up to nearly full Ultra once full SLI support is patched in (if ever).

              Edit: actually, I do remember a very slightly noticeable drop in high fog environments, like large tree-filled areas with volumetric fog, but then I also have Godrays on high, which may have something to do with that.

              Last edited 17/11/15 11:41 am

                I wouldn't upgrade the 780tis yet. They are the bomb for 1440p and you'll still crush games for a couple more years at least! If you definitely have the upgrade itch i'd wait till Pascal with hbm2 instead of the 980tis. Apparently a single card will come equipped with 12gb of hbm2 so hopefully we'll finally have consistent 60fps performance at 4k with a single card. That being said, i love my 980tis! I have them paired with the acer 4know gsync monitor and it is pure gaming bliss! God rays are a massive resource hog so lower them to medium the will reduce the frame rate drops as well. Anyway hopefully a sli profile will be released soon so we can get our moneys worth out of our gpus!

    Getting a 7970 for a good price 2 and a half years ago was a damn good purchase. It still runs everything very close to maxed.

    Last edited 16/11/15 4:48 pm

    I've got everything on ultra and god rays on high and I'm getting between 45 to 60 fps at 4k using a 980ti overclocked to 1340mhz. God rays is the biggest resource hog if you turn it down you get at least 10 fps increase. Can't wait till they release a proper sli profile so I can make use of my second gpu!

    Ooh. Look at my GTX 660Ti go. Go little 660Ti! Go!

    I didn't think it would have a snowball's chance of running any new titles in HD at 30+fps.

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