Rockstar Games has finally unleashed its new update for Red Dead Redemption 2, unleashing NVIDIA's magic DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology onto the game.
I've been trying to keep up with benchmarking as many games with NVIDIA DLSS as humanly possible, with Red Dead Redemption 2 the next on the list. Rockstar's new DLSS patch made me drool, throwing RDR2 right onto the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3090 at 8K -- or 7680 x 4320.
The ultimate in gaming for me is 4K 120FPS+ but 8K 60FPS+ is a bigger nerd out for me... 33 million pixels per second, at as many frames per second as possible. The only way to do this is with upscaling technology like NVIDIA's DLSS (more so DLSS 2.x) and so far AMD's new FSR technology (which I benchmarked with Godfall @ 8K with FSR here).
There's no ray tracing here in Red Dead Redemption 2, so we're purely looking at DLSS boosting performance and image quality. You can choose image quality (DLSS on Quality or Balanced) or you can choose performance (DLSS on Performance or Ultra Performance).
For the purposes of 8K benchmarking, I'll use the Ultra Performance mode which was created for gaming at 8K by NVIDIA.
A Little Back Story
Rockstar kicked off development on Red Dead Redemption 2 during the development of Red Dead Redemption, which was released in 2010 -- at its peak, there were around 2000 people working on RDR2. The estimated development and marketing budgets for Red Dead Redemption 2 were reportedly a staggering $370 million $540 million according to analysts.
This makes Red Dead Redemption 2 one of the most expensive video games ever made.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was the very first game that Rockstar built specifically for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, with the developer having a goal of making RDR2 not feeling like they were just playing missions and watching cutscenes -- but rather playing in a living, breathing world.
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I think RDR2 achieved that goal, becoming one of the quickest-selling games of all time -- racking up $725 million in just 72 hours. The only game that has sold more than that in a short period of time is Grand Theft Auto V -- another Rockstar game of course, which made over $1 billion in 72 hours.
Red Dead Redemption 2 originally dropped in late 2018, but a year later we had the PC version of the game which had a plethora of upgrades. Rockstar cranked every visual dial that it could with the PC version of RDR2, with up to 8K resolution support, uncapped FPS, increased graphics across the board and more.
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC features
- Uncapped FPS
- 4K (and 8K) resolution support
- UltraWide, multi-monitor support
- HDR support
- Increased draw distances for better navigation
- Higher quality global illumination and ambient occlusion for improved day and night lighting
- Higher quality snow trails, improved reflections and deeper, higher resolution shadows at all distances
- Tessellated tree textures and improved grass and fur textures for added realism in every plant and animal
RDR2 Graphics Settings + Enabling DLSS
I'm not here to run 8K and low graphics settings, so I have of course cranked all of the visual settings up to maximum in Red Dead Redemption 2 at 7680 x 4320. Remember that RDR2 runs under the Vulkan API on the PC, and then on top of that I've run all of the NVIDIA DLSS settings.
This includes Ultra Performance, Performance, Balanced, and Quality settings for DLSS -- Ultra Performance is what we're here for at 8K -- which is the DLSS mode that NVIDIA recommends for 8K gaming.
You can run the other DLSS settings at 8K of course but the performance suffers, we want to get to as close to 60FPS as possible which is insanely hard at 8K. NVIDIA's magic DLSS technology makes this more than possible, but how close will we get with a flagship GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card and 24GB of ultra-fast GDDR6X memory?
We're about to find out.
Test System Specs
ASUS has been a huge help for my GPU test beds with the latest ROG Strix 43-inch gaming monitors sitting in front of me for 80 hours or more per week, offering 43-inch 4K 120/144Hz greatness for my productivity, and gaming.
Sabrent has been a gigantic help as well, providing kick ass Rocket 4 Plus and RocketQ NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDs -- with wicked-fast PCIe 4.0 storage with a huge 4TB in capacity -- as well as a huge 8TB SSD to store all of the games installed, and we all know how crazy big games are getting.
Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications
I recently built a new system in a collaboration build with MSI which is detailed in length here, where I compared the flagship MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X and MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X graphics cards against each other at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
I've used the same system for 8K benchmarking, ensuring we have enough CPU grunt to handle it.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-10900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: MSI MEG Z490 Unify (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: MSI MAG CORELIQUID 360R - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: G.Skill 32GB DDR4 Trident Z Royal Gold 4000MHz PC4-32000 CL19 1.35V Dual Channel Kit (2x16GB) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket NVMe PCIe 3.0 M.2 2280 (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A850GF
- Case: MSI MPG SEKIRA 500X (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - 8K
8K is always punishing no matter what graphics card, no matter what graphics setting -- it will reduce your GPU to dust, and your FPS, too. However, MSI's custom flagship GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM does a fantastic job with Red Dead Redemption 2 without DLSS enabled, providing 36FPS average at 8K.
But look at those DLSS @ Ultra Performance numbers... 60FPS average at 8K on the GeForce RTX 3090, absolutely fantastic results. Red Dead Redemption 2 is already a beautiful game, but man does it look even better at 8K. Sure, you're not rendering at native 8K but DLSS on Ultra Performance does a great job and making it look far better than stock 4K.
NVIDIA has far, far more games on its roster that are super-powered by DLSS compared to AMD and its fresh FSR technology... with Red Dead Redemption 2 yet another massive AAA game that gets super-powered by DLSS.
4K 60FPS+ is easy for the GeForce RTX 3080, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and GeForce RTX 3090 -- but 8K gaming is something special. It's reserved for the GeForce RTX 3090, as NVIDIA marketed it as the first 8K gaming GPU. I have spent months and months playing with 8K gaming on Ampere, and the RTX 3090 is what you want, and need.
- You can view a full gallery of uncompressed 8K screenshots of Red Dead Redemption 2 here.
8K 60FPS+ is not easy but Red Dead Redemption 2 is capable of running at those 33 million pixels per second, at 60 frames per second, on the GeForce RTX 3090. I did 90% of my testing on my MSI Z490 Unify + Intel Core i9-10900K system, but got virtually the same results on my AMD Ryzen 9 5900X system.
When you're gaming at 8K you're going to want one of the best CPUs you can buy, which would be any of the last few generations of Core i9 processors, or the new Zen 3-powered Ryzen 9 processors. I would recommend the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X as the perfect blend of price/cores/performance... and you get access to that juicy PCIe 4.0 goodness for a super-fast Sabrent SSD that can pump 7GB/sec into your OS and game loading times.
Red Dead Redemption 2 with NVIDIA's magical DLSS technology is an achievement worth bragging about, with up to 45% more performance at 4K with DLSS enabled... but 66% more performance with 8K enabled. Amazing results, but now I really want to go and play RDR2 all the way through at the glorious and GPU punishing 8K resolution.
8K 60FPS+ enabled in yet another game thanks to NVIDIA and its DLSS technology, and flagship 8K gaming GPU in the GeForce RTX 3090. Onwards to Lego: Builder's Journey for me for some 8K + ray tracing + DLSS tests... boy-oh-boy does that game look delicious with DLSS enabled at 8K... results on that soon.