VRAM usage and Concluding
Graphics memory (VRAM) usage
How much graphics memory does the game utilize versus your monitor resolution with different graphics cards and respective VRAM sizes? Well, let's have a look at the chart below compared to the three main tested resolutions. The listed MBs used in the chart are the measured utilized graphics memory during our testing. Keep in mind; these are never absolute values. Graphics memory usage can fluctuate per game scene and activity in games. This game will consume graphics memory once you start to move around in-game; memory utilization is dynamic and can change at any time. Often the denser and more complex a scene is (entering a scene with lots of buildings or vegetation, for example) results in higher utilization. With your max quality settings, this game tries to stay at almost an 8GB threshold. At high-quality settings, 6GB is the norm.
Mind you; the VRAM results are based on ultra quality in-game, not the benchmark scene.
With the GeForce RTX 3090 and 24 GB of VRAM, this is the card of choice to observe VRAM behavior. An interesting side effect is that Raytracing and DLSS resulted in overall up-to half a gig more graphics memory utilization. This varied a bit per scene. As you can see, without the HQ texture pack in ultra HD, we're now at 7GB, closing in at 8 GB graphics memory usage. Ergo this is why I call 8GB the minimum these days.
Wouldn't it be nice if Ubisoft could release a game that properly works on day one? Nope, crashes, poor performance on many cards, and a lot of agonized end-users had to deal with a weak day-1 release once again. It is what it is. As stated, we waited until the Friday update that solved many issues before continuing with this article. That remark aside, it gave me a couple of hours to play the game, and man, it is captivating. Not any different than the previous releases, but well .. it just works. Most graphics cards will run this game fine at very high-quality settings if you match up the display resolution towards the GPU horsepower available. As a game, the title is loved by many. Our tested Ultra quality mode does like 8GB of VRAM, and yes, you've heard me preach about that for two years now, modern age graphics cards up-to a gaming resolution of 2560x1440 need to be fitted with at least 8GB VRAM, in the Ultra HD domain, we're already passing that number. That's good news for AMD's recently announced graphics cards, but the 8GB on the RTX 3070 this already is becoming a limitation. I do say this in the light of this, you game on a PC to achieve the best image quality. Surely you can utilize less of it but at the cost of that same image quality. And at least for me, PC gaming is all about the graphics experience.
That said, it is an original and, above all, intriguing game. The addition of Raytracing and DLSS is, of course, very nice. NVIDIA surely has been on top of that. As to how important you deem hybrid Raytracing (really DX-R is raytraced reflections and shadows only) over tradition, shading can be discussed. Raytracing comes at a high cost in performance and money. And don't think for a second that DLSS is free performance; your graphics card is more expensive these days due to high transistor counts; yes, DLSS requires dedicated hardware, your Tensor cores. In the end, though, at least (hybrid) Raytracing will become the new norm for game rendering as it really can bring some shocking realistic quality effects to a scene; in this game, reflections in water puddles mostly, but man oh man, they do look nice. DLSS will help you to get some performance back, especially DLSS 2.0 brings merit as once activated, you will drop traditional AA and free up that shading engine to push better framerates. You can choose different DLSS and RT quality levels, but accept no less than the best setting; as why else even use it otherwise? In the end, Watch Dogs Legion is a game that will be appreciated by many; there are some very cool graphics quality settings to fiddle and play around with. Just don't expect 60 FPS Ultra HD performance with all eye-candy on your sub 500 USD graphics card. Heck, how nauseating is it that an RTX 3090 costing 1500 bucks can barely reach 60 FPS in UHD with RT and DLSS activated? I mean how is that even possible Ubisoft?
Have a good weekend! Oh, and yes, we'll be adding some cards and some CPU testing over the next few days. For now, as I write this at 7 pm on Friday, beer time!
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I'll leave you with a recording on the RTX 3090 DLSS and RT enabled. Especially the open-world scenery in London. Focus at puddle, car, and house window reflections, that's just gorgeous.