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Watch Dogs 2 PC Performance Benchmarks – Results Show NVIDIA GPUs in Lead Over AMD, GeForce Performance Guide For PC Users Published


The Watch Dogs 2 PC performance benchmarks are in from various tech sites such as Computerbase and PCGameshardware. The results give us a good look at how NVIDIA and AMD based GPUs perform in the latest open-world AAA title from Ubisoft.

Watch Dogs 2 PC Performance Benchmarks Revealed - AMD and NVIDIA Graphics Cards Tested

Watch Dogs 2 was launched on consoles earlier this month and received really good reviews. The PC release came in yesterday and adds a lot of graphical improvement over gaming consoles. Some of these enhanced features include higher graphical fidelity through the use of high-resolution 4K textures, ray-marched volumetric clouds, uncapped frame rates, multi-monitor support and FOV sliders.

Aside from these, Ubisoft has also been collaborating with NVIDIA to add GeForce features which include HBAO+, HFTS, PCSS, TXAA and ANSEL. GeForce users would also benefit from NVIDIA DSR, Gamestream, GeForce Experience Share, SLI and Surround technologies in Watch Dogs 2.

So talking about the game itself, we are based in a virtual yet realistic recreation of San Francisco. We take on the role of Marcus Holloway who works with the hacking group known as DedSec to take down the city-wide CTOS system and the people behind it. The game is jam packed with hacking tools and gadgets and does get pretty intense as the game progresses.

AMD and NVIDIA Release New Graphics Drivers With Watch Dogs 2 Support

Before taking a look at performance numbers, users who have purchased the game on PC should know that AMD and NVIDIA have launched the latest graphics drivers with Watch Dogs 2 support. The drivers are now available to download from the respective websites. Users should download and install the latest drivers for best experience and optimizations in Watch Dogs 2. Download links are given below:

The Watch Dogs 2 PC Benchmarks - What Do You Need To Play The Game?

Watch Dogs 2 is a really graphics intensive title and features an open-world settings which requires lots of geometry and texture rendering performance. Following are the requirements needed to run Watch Dogs 2:

Minimum System Requirements:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400S @ 2.5 GHz / AMD FX 6120 @ 3.5 GHz
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 660
  • VRAM: 2GB
  • RAM: 6GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • HDD: 50GB free space

Recommended System Requirements:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 @ 3.2 GHz / AMD FX 8120 @ 3.9 GHz
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 780, GeForce GTX 970, or GeForce GTX 1060
  • VRAM: 3GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • HDD: 50GB free space

Watch Dogs 2 Official Performance Numbers From NVIDIA GeForce

Official numbers from NVIDIA reveal that the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti barely plays the game at 30-35 FPS at 1080P with max settings while the GTX 970 manages around 45 FPS. The GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB and GTX 980 do reach 60 FPS so these should be the most ideal solution to play at 1080P. At 1440P, the GTX 970 and GTX 1060 3 GB manage a little over 30 FPS but the ideal cards for this resolution are the GTX 980 Ti that averages around 51.2 FPS and the GTX 1070 which averages around 55.3 FPS. The GTX 1080 and new Titan X (P) reach beyond 60 FPS with ease.

Finally, we have 4K performance tests. The GTX 980 Ti and GTX 1070 manage around 30 FPS with maxed out settings. The GTX 1080 falls around 36.8 FPS while the Titan X can manage up to 50 FPS even with maxed out settings and 4K resolution.

The game uses a feature called Temporal filtering which in its latest revision, increases the performance output while avoiding any kind of IQ deficit.

The Watch Dogs 2 PC Benchmarks - Temporal Filtering A Game Changer (Via GeForce.com)

If you're interested in graphics technology, you've probably heard a lot of talk about "checkerboard rendering" in relation to the PlayStation 4 Pro in recent weeks. This new, upgraded PlayStation 4 is promoted as being capable of 4K graphics, and given a lower-fidelity game it most certainly is. In high-fidelity games, however, it has to use a clever workaround called "checkerboard rendering" to achieve a higher-resolution image without tanking the framerate.

In simplified terms, checkerboard rendering upscales the resolution from 1920x1080 to 3840x2160, and uses data from the previous frame to create new detailed pixels that fill in the blanks between the pixels that were upscaled, avoiding the blurriness that would otherwise occur. The result is then further improved with other techniques, and smoothed out with anti-aliasing.

This same principle was already achieved in a similar fashion in last year's Rainbow Six Siege, which introduced us to what Ubisoft calls "Temporal Filtering". This first-take on the idea rendered the same number of depth samples as a full-resolution 1920x1080 picture, but only a quarter of the shaded samples, improving performance at the expense of image quality. This manifested as a reduction in the quality and visibility of Ambient Occlusion shadowing, increased shader aliasing, decreased lighting and shading fidelity, and a loss of fidelity on smaller game elements, such as leaves, grass, visual effects and minute pieces of geometry.

In the year since Ubisoft has greatly improved their implementation of the technique, avoiding almost all of the previously-observed pitfalls. Such is the level of improvement, in fact, and the performance of the game with Temporal Filtering enabled, you can increase the resolution from 1920x1080 to 2560x1440 whilst simultaneously benefiting from a faster framerate and improved image quality.

Watch Dogs 2 PC Features and Performance Tweaking Guide:

Following are some of the features that can be disabled or lowered for improved performance in Watch Dogs 2. List courtesy of GeForce.com!


  • Bloom: Save a frame per second by switching off the subtlety-used Bloom - every little bit counts!
  • Depth of Field: A few scenes and cinematics will look less stylish without DoF, but during gameplay you'll save nearly 2 FPS
  • Extra Details: The most CPU-intensive setting in the game will seriously strain older and slower CPUs, heavily bottlenecking your GPU's precious performance
  • Headlight Shadows: Having extra shadows cast from 2 cars instead of 4 will save you nearly 2 frames per second, and switching to "Your Car" will save a total of 3.5 FPS
  • Motion Blur: Switching off this divisive setting will save you a frame per second
  • Multisample Anti-Aliasing: If you lack the horsepower or hardware for TXAA, it's best you skip straight to post-process SMAA to save a ton of frames
  • San Francisco Fog: It's a shame to cull the full-density, full-quality fog, but it costs 30 FPS. When it's the other types of fog and haze, improvements will range from 3-20 FPS
  • Screen Space Reflections: The cost of the setting varies wildly depending on conditions, and setting it to Very High instead of Ultra will save you a bit of performance every now and then
  • Shadows: If NVIDIA HFTS and Ultra are too demanding, look to Very High, the last detail level before shadows lose a considerable degree of detail
  • Terrain: High runs 1.6 FPS faster than Ultra, and the difference between the two is imperceptible during gameplay in almost all locales
  • Vegetation: Low-quality trees look fine, and save you 1.4 FPS


The Watch Dogs 2 PC Benchmarks - Give Me The Benchmarks Already!

Computerbase concludes that current generation GPUs such as NVIDIA's Pascal and AMD's Polaris perform really well in the game compared to their predecessors. The GeForce GTX 1080 leads the benchmarks while the Fury X manages to perform just around the same as a GTX 1060 (at most with a 4 FPS lead). The Radeon RX 480 shows better performance than the Radeon R9 390 and at $199 US, it's a really impressive feat for the Polaris 10 based card.

The only card that can manage a playable frame rate at 4K resolution is the GTX 1080. The R9 Fury X does deliver 30 FPS so we can expect the GTX 980 Ti and GTX 1070 in the same range.

On the other hand, we have PCGameshardware who report similar results in their tests. The GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and GTX 980 Ti maintain over 60 FPS at 1080P while the R9 Fury X falls below the GTX 980 and RX 480 at the same resolution. We see a similar scenario at 1440P but at 4K, the Fury X finally manages to cross the RX 480 and GTX 980 but doesn't cross the ideal 30 FPS mark. The GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and GTX 980 Ti do manage to get more than 30 FPS with minimums of 28-32 FPS.

Overall, we can see that Watch Dogs 2 is a graphics hog that demands a lot of power over 1080P resolution. The game looks great and has a great story line backing it. Newer cards such as AMD's Polaris RX series and NVIDIA GeForce 10 Pascal series offer the best performance in the game but Maxwell and 300 series can still play the game at 1080P and 1440P resolution with a few graphics tweaking.