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Nvidia launches free FCAT VR Performance Analysis Tool

by Mark Tyson on 16 March 2017, 12:01


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Nvidia released the original FCAT performance analysis tool back in 2013. It sought to delve deeper into performance than pure FPS numbers by providing metrics which indicated the smoothness and quality of gameplay experienced on particular GPUs. With FCAT one could easily chart problems such as micro-stutters, dropped frames, incorrect multi-GPU framepacing, and more. Now Nvidia, as it had promised at GDC, has released the FCAT VR tool.

Setting out its stall for FCAT VR's utility value Nvidia says that previously "Virtual Reality testing relied on general benchmarking tools, synthetic tests, and hacked-together solutions, which failed to reveal the true performance of GPUs in VR games." With FDCAT VR, however, it is possible to direct read Nvidia driver stats, Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) events for Oculus Rift, and SteamVR’s performance API data for HTC Vive.

Nvidia's Tom Petersen, a Distinguished GeForce Engineer, described the value of the new FCAT VR tool with examples, in the video above. Peteresen highlights a VR experience issue called 'dropped frames', and says how 'synthesized frames' go some way to remedying this problem. Then he takes us on a tour of the FCAT VR interface and how it is used in a benchmarking session.

Several runs were executed with differing Multi Resolution Shading (MRS) setting applied. Then the data was opened in the FCAT VR Ananlyser desktop app. It is noted that the MRS3 setting was the optimum for Tom's system - "taking the guesswork out of VR testing" and configuration.

For those of you interested in this tool, Nvidia has written a blog post about it, and produced a thorough guide about how to install and use FCAT VR. You can download FCAT VR directly from Nvidia here.

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