CONTROL PC Performance Explored – All In On RTX

Aug 26, 2019
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RTX Is On & Conclusion

Remedy's Northlight Storytelling Engine has been updated specifically with DXR in mind and it shows in this game. Not only does Control have support for RTX functions it's one of the first games to put more than one feature along with DLSS to the task. Remedy and NVIDIA have several on the move here that all meet up to have a very worthwhile improvement on the game.

Opaque Reflections, Transparent Reflections, Contact Shadows, and Indirect Diffuse all combine in a way that makes the world come to life and look more like a movie than what a video game traditionally looks like. And thanks to the almost grainy look of the game we're able to implement the use of NVIDIA's DLSS and the image stays intact without much scrutiny while bringing the performance back up to a very smooth level across the board. The options go beyond an RT On/Off toggle and have two presets: 1) Medium, which enables RT Reflections and Transparent reflections. 2) High, which enables those two along with RT Indirect Diffused Lighting, RT Contact Shadows, and RT Debris.

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The Opaque and Transparent Reflections make the office windows pop with the world around you reflecting, but you can still see through them rather than just making every reflective surface a mirror. This is an especially welcome aesthetic in areas where there are fluids spilled on the floor as it just looks natural. The Indirect Diffused Lighting and Contact Shadows soften the shadow areas and allow for colors to glow off of things in the game world and while it isn't as striking of a change as the reflections while you're playing it helps the mood and atmosphere more than I expected. The last two were very noticeable to the gameplay experience when you turned them off as artifacts from using screen space methods started becoming apparent in areas.

Below is a listing of the settings for Ray Tracing Details along with a listing of the DLSS options as this game allows for some control of the DLSS Render Resolution so that you can target higher fidelity or greater performance. For all of the testing below, we used the same settings as with all the other tests and performed them in the required DX12 mode to have access to the DXR functions.

Ray Tracing Details

Ray Tracing PresetMediumHigh
Ray Tracing ReflectionsXX
Ray Traced Transparent ReflectionsXX
Ray Traced Indirect Diffuse LightingX
Ray Traced Contact ShadowsX
Ray Trace DebrisX

DLSS Options

ResolutionDLSS Render Resolution
1920x1080960x540
1280x720
2560x14401280x720
1706x960
3840x21601920x1080
2560x1440
High No RT
RT Medium
RT High
RT High W/DLSS

Full resolution.  In this scene, you can see just how stark of a difference the reflections make as with nothing in the scene for something like Screen Space Reflections to work with you're left with a blank window while the RT Reflections show all the pieces of the environment not seen that are in the room. But the chair and the phone serve as great examples of the diffused lighting and contact shadows that are in this game.

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Full resolution. This scene is a bit more on the subtle side with showing the benefits of the RT Contact Shadows and diffused lighting restricting the visibility of objects that have very little or no light going to them along with shadows around the piping in the bright area appearing more accurate and what you would expect to see.

Full resolution. This scene showcases a good mixture of all the features and how the opaque reflections on the ground can make the wet parts of the ground more obvious as well as the shadows around the equipment and floor grates appearing more accurate. If you look across the way in the background you can even see the reflectivity of the pipes running along the ceiling adding to the scene.

RTX 2060

RTX 2060 SUPER

RTX 2070 SUPER

RTX 2080 SUPER

RTX 2080Ti

Conclusion

This conclusion is going to be split into two parts; one for the traditional rasterized performance and the other for the RTX enhanced versions.

Wrapping this one up with the traditional rasterized version.  Is it easy to run? Not when cranked up, if you're running a mainstream GPU then you're going to want to turn some settings down and possibly work with the rendered resolution. The inclusion of the render resolution along with the screen resolution was a very smart move by the team at Remedy, as this game has a very unique style to it to where that the game actually has a bit of a grainy look to it, to begin with, and it's not impacted negatively by dropping down a resolution class to get the performance back up. That said, this is a game that plays very smooth at 45 FPS or higher and if you've got a wide range variable refresh rate monitor then you'll likely be in for a treat, as this is a very fun and beautiful game. If the way the game presents itself with its already soft appearance bothers you, then I would recommend dropping the game to the Low preset and applying MSAA 4x as that will make the game look like a well, more traditional sharp-edged game but it will lose some of its character.

Now on to the real star of the visual of this game, RTX. In the past, I've seen the arguments that the RTX functions, whether it be shadows or reflections, didn't impact the game that much. The best-received implementation so far has been in Metro Exodus and for good reason as the Ray Traced Global Illumination changed the way the game felt from an atmospheric standpoint. Well, I firmly believe that Control has snatched that title and ran away with it as this game is best played and enjoyed with all of the RTX features enabled. And if you've paid attention to the performance graphs you'll see that even those running the entry to the RTX lineup with the RTX 2060 non-SUPER will not be left out on this one if they're willing to turn on DLSS then at 1440p they can comfortably play with RT set to Medium and if they're at 1080p they can crank everything and get around 60FPS. Without the help of DLSS, there is a pretty significant performance impact but most people can easily get away with RT set to Medium without using DLSS and enjoy the benefits of the reflections that make this game pop. From my experience the use of RT at Medium is a must, and if you have the horsepower or have a hard time telling that DLSS is enabled then crank it to RT High and have the icing on the cake and eat it too. I've been playing it at 1440p on my Ryzen 9 3900X with an RTX 2080 and everything cranked to High along with RT on High and DLSS, I have enjoyed every minute of this game and there's just something that you can't capture in screenshots and comparisons and that is sense of atmosphere this game brings when it is in motion.

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Products mentioned in this post

GTX 1060
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GTX 1080
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