Dying Light PC Performance Review



Company: Techland
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Sean Ridgeley
Date: March 5th, 2015

Framerate, frame time latency, system usage, conclusion

Framerate

First we measure general performance by framerate. The graph below shows Dying Light scales very well across all settings, with the exception of the difference between maximum framerate between Max and Balanced, where it dips by 7 fps (an anomaly, no doubt).

A minimum framerate of 70 and high of 295, even on a powerful GPU like the R9 290 is extremely impressive, and shows Dying Light has been very well-optimized, particularly after patching. Although I enjoyed performance quite a bit beforehand (60-110 on maximum settings with a little stuttering), post-patching is even better (70-170 with less stuttering).

Frame Time Latency

While framerate benchmarks are useful in determining how well a game runs, they don't show how little or much stuttering a game has. A game may run at 90fps average, but that doesn't necessarily means it's smooth - stutters can plague an otherwise great experience regardless of framerate.

The frame time latency graph below illustrates how much stuttering can be expected from Dying Light. Only the one test under Max settings is done, as assuming capable hardware, results will vary little between different presets.

In the first chart, the frames rendered below the 16.7ms line indicate 60 frames per second or higher at that time, and those above it indicate less than 60. The tighter the groupings and the more they are below the 16.7ms line, the more quickly and consistently frames are delivered to from the GPU, and so performance is smooth, with little or no noticeable stuttering. If there are consistent, large spikes, that means a lot of frames are being rendered much more slowly than others, and so you see a lot of uneven performance/stuttering.

The graph shows almost all frames are rendered well below the 16.7ms line. Although the rendering times could stand to be much tighter in the first half of the test, because the spikes so rarely reach above 16.7ms, gameplay is still very smooth.

The second chart is the 99th percentile test, which depicts the figure (in ms) at which 99% of frames were rendered. What you're looking for here is a consistent line that deviates above 16.7ms only at the last 1% section of the graph, indicating consistent, low-latency frames.

Here we see significant deviation at about 90%, which shows that about 10% of frames are not rendered as consistently as the rest - this is in line with our first chart, which is a little erratic. Still, we have a very desirable 99th percentile frame time figure of 14.9, meaning 99% of all frames are rendered at 14.9ms or below, or roughly 67fps.

The 99.9th percentile frame, meanwhile, depicts the figure (in ms) at which all but 0.1% of frames were rendered faster than -- in this case, 17.6. Because the 99th and 99.9% figures are close together with respect to minimum frames per second (67, 57, and 70), it can be concluded stuttering is rare and isolated, and not a consistent problem with Dying Light. In short, gameplay is very smooth.

RAM, CPU, GPU

RAM usage is extremely consistent, but maxes out at about 43% usage (3.4/7.9GB). CPU usage is very consistent and scales very evenly across all four cores, although peaks at about 60% usage. GPU usage, meanwhile, is consistently at 100% or near, indicating this is a GPU-limited game.

Conclusion

Dying Light is extremely well-optimized for the GPU, and while it makes consistent, even use of the CPU and RAM, they do much less of the legwork. That's not to say you can get away with any old CPU - a quad-core is definitely recommended here. In the end, the result is superb performance, assuming your GPU is up to the task.