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Quantum Break PC Performance Analysis (Page 1)

Quantum Break PC Performance Analysis

Quantum Break is a graphical masterpiece borne from years of development, but how does it play now that it's out?

By Jeff Williams | Apr 14, 2016 06:03 am CDT

Time is of the essence

Quantum Break (our review) is a game that we've been pining over for just shy of three years now. It was previewed at E3 to a huge applause and mouths that were agape at the level of fidelity and the very cool gameplay mechanics, never before done, that Remedy Entertainment was showing off. That was on the Xbox One? Yeah, it was, and it looked good. The time shifting paradigm itself was awesome, but damn if it didn't look good. But, as we know, the Xbox One is still slightly limited in total compute power, so whether it'll run as well as the demonstration when released, is always suspect.


The pretty visuals were developed using their internal Northlight engine built atop DirectX 12. They were aiming for a 30FPS framerate target on consoles, but the PC allowed them to increase the demands of the engine for those that have the hardware for it. Textures are works of art, the poly count for characters and set pieces are massive, which lend to a great deal of realism. The sub-surface scattering, physical-based lighting and smart use of tessellation makes for some very good looking graphics.

They've also implemented some incredible facial animation to better display the facial-capture technology they used. Another great piece of technology is the use of Digital Molecular Matter for more realistic destruction and better looking temporal effects. All of those combine for one of the best looking games of this generation. At least in pictures.

Due to the initial development on a memory-constrained platform, when compared to the PC, certain sacrifices have had to be made to elicit the best performance possible. Textures aren't rendered in their full size until you become close enough, which ends up resulting in a texture-popping like motion that can break the immersion and make the game look weird at times. That, unfortunately, is permanent. Performance issues otherwise are not; they just might take time to explicitly program for now that they've switched completely to DX12, which relies on explicit control as opposed to implicit control.


It was initially released with a few performance issues on the PC version, being a Windows Store only game, that made it difficult to benchmark. The performance wasn't indicative of the full potential of the engine, or the game. To this day, there's still some slight stuttering in some areas, even though VRAM usage isn't nearly reaching maximum, even with 4GB from the Fury X.

In their lessons learned, Remedy noted that memory management is absolutely vital during the entire process. The drivers no longer help in that regard, and you must specify what uses what. And they also learned that developing for different cards is not a trivial task, either - thus the disparate issues with brands that were initially seen. We've seen a few updates hit the game since that initial release, so we've seen some performance increases as a result. Let's take a look at where we're at with Quantum Break. We can't quite travel back in time, so we'll see how it performs right now.

Jeff's Video Game Benchmark Setup

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