Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

Dark Souls III is arguably the biggest game to launch this month and with few other major releases there probably isn’t much of an argument to be had, especially since the main competition wound up being a steaming pile (Quantum Break).

As with Dark Souls II, the third iteration has made its way to PC as a port from console, albeit with bonuses for the master race including enhanced graphics, better performance and higher resolutions.

Using the engine from developer FromSoftware’s Bloodborne, Dark Souls III looks quite impressive but you can certainly tell this is a console port after a few seconds in the menu system. The tweakable options are decent though the game gives no real explanation of what you are enabling. For example, anti-aliasing can only be turned on or off.

Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

The one real gripe we have however is the frame cap. That’s right, Dark Souls III has a 60fps cap and there doesn’t appear to be a way to circumvent it. Although the game plays fine when maxed out at 60fps, frame caps rarely sit well with the PC gaming community.

The good news for now is that most PC gamers along with professional reviewers seem to be giving Dark Souls III two thumbs up. PC Gamer awarded it a score of 94 out of a possible 100, while in TechSpot’s Product Finder that tracks reviews across the web, it’s got a metascore of 87 out of 100.

Testing Notes

As you might expect from a game that has a frame rate cap, Dark Souls III doesn’t include a built-in benchmark. Therefore, we will be using Fraps to record minimum and average frame rates of over 30 different graphics cards at three popular resolutions.

For testing the quality settings have been set to the ‘Max’ preset which sees every option set to its highest value. The game has been tested at 1080p, 1440p and 4K using the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers. This means the AMD Crimson Edition 16.4.1 Hotfix and GeForce Game Ready 364.73 drivers were used.

The benchmark pass was kept simple: we recorded 70 seconds of gameplay from the start of the first level, we took the same path each time and we simply ran past any enemies.

Test System Specs

Benchmarks: 1080p

Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

To max out the 60fps cap at 1080p with not only the average frame rate but also the minimum, gamers will want a R9 290/390 or GTX 970/780 Ti. Falling just short was the older GTX 770, 780 and Titan along with the more mid-range R9 380.

Those wanting to keep their minimums above 40fps will only require an old HD 7950 Boost or GTX 680. Meanwhile, more recently released graphics cards such as the R9 280 or GTX 960 will do nicely as well.

At the low end, for a 30fps minimum or greater PC gamers will get by with the R7 370 or GTX 950 — not bad given the quality settings used.

Benchmarks: 1440p

Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

Those wanting to game at 1440p while maintaining 60fps will require some serious firepower with the GTX 980 or R9 Fury. For a minimum of 40fps or greater, the R9 290X/390X or GTX 970 is required but it was still encouraging to see older generation graphics cards such as the HD 7970 keeping a minimum frame rate above 30fps.

Benchmarks: 4K

Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

The 60fps cap becomes irrelevant at 4K as here even the GTX 980 Ti drops to just 36fps with a 41fps average. Crossfire isn’t working currently but 4K gamers can extract more performance using SLI.

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Dark Souls III PC Benchmarks: Mind The Frame Rate Cap

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


  • Be nice if they’d fix it so a bunch of people, myself included, didn’t crash around bonfires anytime the lighting setting is above low.

    Thankfully I’m not in it for the graphics and the game has been a blast regardless, it’s just a tad annoying. Especially since my computer runs it fine with lighting bumped up… Just as long as I’m nowhere near a bonfire.

  • Wait what? Quantum Break is a steaming pile? I thought it was supposed to be quite good… Kotaku liked it in their coverage..

    • PC vs console i’d imagine. PC version is plagued with problems due to it being in the new windows store UWP format.

  • Knowing from soft, the frames are capped as weapon degradation is still most likely linked to frames, which caused weapons to fall apart in no time when DS2 was first released

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