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'Rise Of The Tomb Raider' Patch Adds Nvidia GameWorks VXAO, DX12 Support

Nixxes Software, the game studio that created Rise of the Tomb Raider, has released a new patch for the game that enables support for DirectX 12, making it one of the first games to make use of the recent API. The company said that DX12 increases performance of the game by sharing the workload across multiple CPU threads. Nixxes said, “The majority of the DirectX 11 related work is happening on a single core.”

With DX12, because it offers lower-level hardware access, that workload can be spread across all available cores, which should give processors like AMD's 8-core FX series and Intel's Core i7 an additional performance gain.

In addition to DX12, the new Rise of the Tomb Raider patch adds VXAO support, which is a newly announced Nvidia GameWorks technology. Nvidia said VXAO “is the highest quality Ambient Occlusion solution available in PC games today.” VXAO voxelizes the scene to achieve “superior image quality, smoother response to camera motion, finer details and greater accuracy than screen-space solutions.”

We ran some quick spot tests with an Asus GL551-J gaming laptop to see how DX12 improves performance. The system we tested features an Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor, 16 GB of DDR3 memory and a GTX960m GPU. We tested the game with FXAA on and the visuals set to the medium preset. Tests were performed at the native Full-HD resolution.

In DirectX 11, the in-game benchmark returned an overall score of 36.37 FPS. During the Mountain Peak scene, it averaged 42.96 FPS, in Syria the average FPS was 31.05, and in the Geothermal Valley it managed 34.20FPS.

With DX12 enabled, the overall score decreased to 34.12 FPS, Mountain Peak averaged 39.62 FPS, Syria scored 29.51 FPS and Geothermal Valley returned 32.10 FPS. We noticed moderate performance decreases across the board. At one point, the frame rate dipped to below 1 FPS, and the screen was visibly choppy. These results were mirrored by a desktop system we tested quickly to rule out system-related problems.

We haven't the chance to do a proper deep dive, but based on our results today, it would seem there's more work to be done before the kinks are worked out of DX12 support. 

DirectX 12 support may make the game run better (or not) on your system, but Nvidia said VXAO technology is very taxing on your GPU. The company said the process is “complex and computationally heavy” and recommends Maxwell GPUs for their geometry shader capabilities.  

The Rise of the Tomb Raider patch is available today through Steam and will hit the Windows store in the near future. To make use of VXAO, you will need the latest Nvidia Game Ready WHQL driver, version 354.61.

Update March 11, 4:49pm PT: The original story incorrectly stated we saw increases, when in fact, we saw decreases in performance.

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  • thor220
    Oh yay, DX 12 GameWorks is here. Is Nvidia ever ready to block AMD out of as many games as possible! What's the point of DX 12 if all it's doing is decreasing FPS?
    Reply
  • nitrium
    Wait, wait, isn't DX12 supposed to IMPROVE performance???
    Reply
  • billgatez
    Wait, wait, isn't DX12 supposed to IMPROVE performance???
    You don't see an improvement because this game was not built from the ground up for DX 12 and so it can not take advantage of it fully.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    Wait, wait, isn't DX12 supposed to IMPROVE performance???
    Dx 12 is supposed to take load off CPU, so it will really only improve performance if the CPU is the bottleneck.
    It also wasnt mentioned weather when they enabled dx12, they also turned on VXAO? was VXAO off in the dx11 test?
    Reply
  • Yuka
    It's easy to explain why the drop of performance for this in your tests... Maybe.

    Turbo sucks when you have even loaded cores. And maybe we're back to the old "HT sucks for games" era again!

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • anort3
    I just tested with DX11 and DX12 and I got about a 1 FPS increase with DX 12. 6700K and a 980 Ti at 1440p. Color me not impressed.

    VXAO on the other hand looks amazing but gives me a 5 FPS hit. VXAO doesn't work with DX12.

    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    17644256 said:
    I just tested with DX11 and DX12 and I got about a 1 FPS increase with DX 12. 6700K and a 980 Ti at 1440p. Color me not impressed.

    VXAO on the other hand looks amazing but gives me a 5 FPS hit. VXAO doesn't work with DX12.
    Out of interest, can you underclock your 6700k to like 2ghz and repeat the test and maybe drop the resolution really low, to try create a cpu bottleneck. Would be interested to see, I would assume you will see a much bigger difference in a cpu bottle-necked scenario. Also, AMD gpu's seem to respond a lot better to dx12 would like to see that done too.
    Reply
  • anort3
    If I get a chance this weekend maybe I'll try that.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Wow, is this the first real DX12 game out that's not all in beta and all? Sounds like Toms needs to do a benchmarking article now!
    Reply
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    Dx 12 is supposed to take load off CPU, so it will really only improve performance if the CPU is the bottleneck.
    It also wasnt mentioned weather when they enabled dx12, they also turned on VXAO? was VXAO off in the dx11 test?

    That's not entirely true. DX12 should alleviate CPU bottlenecks, but that is not all it does. It also incorporates things like asynchronous computing, and in general lower-level instructions. It's not just a CPU boost.
    Reply