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Normal Witcher 3 performance is possible on AMD GPUs

by Ryan Martin on 21 May 2015, 17:21

Tags: NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacrlv

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The PC Gaming community has been consumed in a heated debate over the last few days about Nvidia's GameWorks program and how it has affected Witcher 3 performance for AMD users. This debate was triggered by an extensive Reddit post on the PCMasterRace sub-Reddit calling for an end to Nvidia's GameWorks program before it ends in vendor-exclusive PC gaming titles. While the idea seems far-fetched that post alone has attracted nearly 5,000 upvotes, 2,500+ comments and has commanded the attention of many gaming and PC hardware websites.

The crux of the issue centres on the fact that Nvidia GameWorks titles run better on Nvidia hardware compared to AMD hardware and even favour Maxwell GPUs slightly more than Kepler. However, amongst all the hysteria it turns out that AMD hardware isn't as adversely affected as you might have thought. A simple performance fix has emerged which dramatically improves frame rates for systems running AMD GPUs.

AMD users can set a Catalyst Control Center override for the Tessellation settings to 4x, 8x or 16x. This override marginally reduces visual quality and actually allows AMD users to get better frame-rates than Nvidia Kepler GPUs with HairWorks enabled. The main performance issues are largely attributed to Nvidia's HairWorks feature which uses an extensive amount of GPU processing power to render thousands of strands of realistic hair on various characters and animals in the game.

Alternatively, AMD users can turn the HairWorks features off at a loss of visual clarity on characters and animals. PCWorld discovered that enabling HairWorks causes a 47 per cent performance drop to an R9 290X but only a 16 per cent drop for a GTX 980. AMD is well known for its TressFX hair rendering technology, and one wonders why AMD didn't attempt to get TressFX built into the game as an alternative for AMD GPU users. Ultimately, many gamers are likely left pondering the real question - why do we care so much about hair?



HEXUS Forums :: 89 Comments

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So a driver fix… for a game that was developed for 2 out of 3 systems on AMD kit… blame Nvidia… blame CDPR… blame everyone but…

(and way to ignore the rebuttal from Slightly Mad Studios in reference to the allegations made against them in your above link)
I think people are also unhappy about its relatively poor performance on Nvidia cards previous to Maxwell too.

For example the 960 seems to be handily beating the 780. In fact, looking at some benchmarks myself, Kepler seems to fare worse than AMD (at least with HairWorks off)!

WRT AMD performance - how exactly are AMD supposed to get driver patches out when their access to the game is restricted until release, and even then still limited? That's what the controversy is about.
watercooled
I think people are also unhappy about its relatively poor performance on Nvidia cards previous to Maxwell too.

For example the 960 seems to be handily beating the 780. In fact, looking at some benchmarks myself, Kepler seems to fare worse than AMD (at least with HairWorks off)!

The same issues were more or less there when the last Tomb Raider was released, with the heavy emphasis on tessellation. And that surely wasn't an Nvidia created problem.

And Nvidia hasn't even released a game ready driver for the Fermi family.

The problem, to me, seems to be that people want to watch a movie, with animated characters that look so close to lifelike as to be next to impossible to distinguish, and they want to do it on a computer, where they manipulate everything. And for as good as computers are these days, they still aren't that good. At least not for everyone.
From my understanding cards that aren't very good at tessellation suffer the most, something I'm lead to believe cards before the GTX 680 aren't good at and all AMD cards aren't good at.

CDPR could have included TressFX if they wanted just like Grand Theft Auto V includes tech from both companies, they could have AMD GPUs use less tessellation.

AFAIK nothing prevented CDPR from working with AMD, its agreements with Nvidia didn't prevent them from working with AMD or any other company to implement its own tech or to optimise it for their hardware, you only have to look at the situation with drivers to see how many resources each company is dedicating to development.

AMD hasn't released a WHQL driver for six months, Nvidia release WHQL drivers on an almost monthly basis.
We seem to be going down the route where just like XBOX and PS , you have to have both nVIDIA and ATiAMD graphics cards in the same PC in the future to play the separate games supported by each card.