High Dynamic Range: Improving Performance and Input Latency
Nvidia’s previous-generation Pascal architecture needed to do some processing on high dynamic range content moving through its pipeline, resulting in a quantifiable performance hit with HDR enabled. Turing incorporates support for this processing and tone mapping natively in the pipeline. The implication, of course, is that GeForce RTX-class cards don’t incur the same penalty.
To test this theory, we forced our Acer Predator X27 to 60 Hz and set Windows to run at 10-bit RGB output (confirmed through the display’s OSD).
Interestingly, turning on HDR10 in Battlefield 1 eliminated a lot of the stuttering we’re used to seeing at the beginning of our benchmark run. As a result, all three cards demonstrate a higher 99th percentile frame rate in HDR mode than when they’re in RGB-SDR.
This also helps push average performance up a bit on the GeForce RTX cards. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti benefits as well. However, because its frame rate in HDR mode is lower through most of the test (as evidenced by the gold line in our percentile chart), average performance lags the SDR result slightly.
In the case of GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, GeForce RTX 2080, and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, using HDR exacts a notable slow-down in Destiny 2. With the featured turned on, all three cards range between 93% and 94% of the frame rates we measured in SDR mode.
Far Cry 5
The hit isn’t as severe in Far Cry 5, though both GeForce RTX cards are affected slightly.
Forza Motorsport 7
Minor performance impacts on the GeForce RTX cards contrast sharply with what happens to GeForce GTX 1080 Ti when you turn on HDR in Forza Motorsport 7.
The influence of HDR affects each of these games differently. Battlefield 1 and Far Cry 5 are great showcases of brighter whites (at least in our outdoor benchmark scenarios), while Destiny 2’s intro scene exhibited notably more depth in its contrast between fire and shadow. Regardless of whether Turing handles HDR content better than Pascal, don’t underestimate the experiential difference high dynamic range has on gaming (this applies to you too, Radeon owners).
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