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FCAT VR: GPU And CPU Performance in Virtual Reality

The Effect of Quality Settings on Performance

How much difference is there, really, when you switch between quality presets in a VR game? Thus far, we’ve limited our benchmark runs to Chronos and its Epic settings. If you own a mainstream graphics card, though, that’s probably not ideal. We dropped a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB into our test system, unhooked the hardware-based capture machine, and compared the title's four available detail levels.

Surprisingly (to us, at least), a GeForce GTX 1060 is playable using the Epic options. An unconstrained frame rate just under 62 FPS is enough to facilitate a perfect 45 FPS output with every other frame synthesized by ASW (that’s 7290 total frames, 3645 of which are real). Not a single frame is dropped this way.

By simply toggling down to High quality, we get 6455 out of 7203 real frames from Nvidia’s GP106 processor. There’s a particularly demanding passage in the middle of the run where ASW flips on to deliver 729 synthesized frames. Then, when the algorithm determines it’s safe to jump out of ASW mode, it does so.

See those red dips sprinkled intermittently through the run, though? We register 19 dropped frames, which correspond fairly well to spikes in the frame time chart. They happen outside of ASW mode when a frame takes too long to be displayed in the current refresh interval.

Dialing back to Recommended detail circumvents the need for ASW altogether, and our GeForce GTX 1060 renders 7189 real frames out of 7196 total. The seven missing frames are dropped, though you can see this issue is far less prevalent when the graphics card isn’t teetering between ASW on and off. If Oculus wanted to be a little more aggressive about when it jumped into ASW mode, some of those drops could probably be avoided. But then it’d face the complexity of getting back out of ASW, which isn’t inconsequential.

The Low detail run doesn’t look good at all on-screen, but the relaxed graphics quality is great for performance. An unconstrained frame rate of 181+ makes it easy to sustain 90 real frames per second. Dropped frames still happen, but they’re not noticeable.

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