Witcher 3 Results

Witcher 3 is an action role-playing video game set in an open world environment, developed by Polish video game developer CD Projekt RED and released on May 2015.
Our test uses a real world timed benchmark that consists of three minutes of game play during the ‘Beast of the White Orchard’ quest. This section of the game incorporates everything from grass, to water, to hair, to numerous NPCs. An average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are either Ultra display settings but with Vsync disabled, at a resolution of 2560×1440 and 1920×1080 (“HW ON”); or Ultra display settings, but with HairWorks off and Vsync disabled, at a resolution of 2560×1440 and 1920×1080 (“HW off”).

w3 10 - HairWorks Reviewed

w3 14 - HairWorks Reviewed

w3 hw 10 - HairWorks Reviewed

w3 hw 14 - HairWorks Reviewed

Understanding the Results

sum 10 - HairWorks Reviewed

sum 14 - HairWorks Reviewed

As you can see HairWorks is a bear to run. This one feature turns a fairly hard to properly drive game into one that is all but impossible to run properly with only one video card. If you want to run this feature at any resolution you had better have the cash to run dual – or better still tri – SLI Titan X’s or 980Tis. Anything less is going to result in game play that is simply to variable to be truly enjoyable.

So where does this leave consumers and the whole rumor about 960 vs 780? Technically the rumor is (partially) correct. While some people love to say technically correct is the best kind of correct, the fact of the matter is a 960, or 780…or even a 980 will not be enough to run this game with HairWorks on. This is not because of the average frame rates but because the bottom falls out of the minimum frame rate results. At higher resolutions even a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 980 can’t even come close to our personal minimum of 30 frames per second. To put that another way turning this one feature on basically guts your minimum frame rates while noticeably reducing the average frame rates as well.

In other words this rumor is a tempest in a teapot and it’s not like consumers using 960s will be able to laugh at 780 owners who struggle to get decent frame rates. More importantly the 960 vs 780 conspiracy theory hinges on comparing highly overclocked 960s to stock 780s at only lower resolutions and considering sub 20 frames per second to be ‘good enough’. That is a lot of variables that have to align in order for the much cheaper 960 to ‘outperform’ a GeForce GTX 780 card.

Now would we be overly happy with the state of the marketplace if we only had one GTX 780 and didn’t want to upgrade? Probably not, but then again expecting a card that was released two years ago to be able to run the most demanding game released to date with all the eye candy turned on is not very realistic either. Plus its only one feature that makes the 780 turn into a turtle….and that selfsame feature turns all video cards into turtles. If it really bothers people that much, use these results as justification for a new card, or ignore that one small feature all together. In either case we consider this ‘rumor’ to be firmly planted in conspiracy theory land.