Hogwarts Legacy is the first big hit of 2023. You can find our extensive technology test here, at this point it should only be about performance tips and some observations that can affect performance. Because the atmospheric adventure in the Harry Potter universe is a very demanding game, there is little to shake about at the moment. The patch that recently arrived as a surprise doesn’t change anything too serious about this fact, although some minor improvements are noticeable. The also recently released AMD driver Radeon Software 23.2.1 including WHQL seal has also received some fixes and optimizations for Hogwarts Legacy. The magic adventure based on Unreal Engine 4 now runs a little smoother on Radeons, and on top of that annoying graphic errors such as the whitewashed vegetation have disappeared. Nvidia currently only has the Geforce 528.49 WHQL, for which “initial support” for Hogwarts Legacy was subsequently added to the feature list – whatever that is supposed to mean.
For our test project, we studied a large number of problems from players in forums, on Steam and in videos. Testing every circumstance is beyond the reach of even the most dedicated benchmark artist, but let’s focus on a few interesting and weighty points. It is best to watch our video, there you can understand the measurement process and also see where and why jerks occur in the first place. We also present measurements with an RX 6600 XT and an RTX 3060 Ti in Full HD, both graphics cards are equipped with 8 GiByte RAM (already tight for Hogwarts in Full HD). We both ran through a variety of settings, including ultra detail, upsampling, and manually tweaked detail. We also check how realistic the use of ray tracing is with these two graphics cards. We are also examining a few other potential problem areas, such as performance with only 16 GiByte RAM, or what happens if the RX 6600 XT, which has already been limited by its PCI-E x8 connection, is slowed down again by PCI-E 3.0.
We also list video memory requirements, main memory usage and utilization, CPU performance and thread utilization, and other metrics to help you spot any performance bottlenecks, draw the right conclusions, and on your home computer choose the appropriate settings. In the video you will learn some details about streaming and where it particularly affects performance, where the graphics, memory or CPU requirements tend to be particularly high and how you can identify these bottlenecks. Pay particular attention to the memory-related data, take a look at CPU and GPU utilization on top of that.
To test the game across a range of load scenarios, we set out a 177-second benchmark course that ran through a variety of environments. This begins in the basement of the greenhouse. Note: The reflection there on the tank is not refined by ray tracing, even if this is switched on, as suggested in the video, but only the reflection on the water surface – those on the glass walls of the tank remain screen space effects even with ray tracing . The dropouts described are therefore still visible when using raytracing reflections. Note that the values in the video deviate slightly from our measurements because we use Radeon Software to record the scene from the GPU. The memory occupancy in particular is therefore higher and there are more streaming pauses (e.g. at the door at around second 40).
From the basement we move through several doors or streaming portals through the chic decorated Hogwarts, through several connected rooms, the small park inside and from there into the entrance hall. Two of these streaming boundaries are particularly interesting and conspicuous, on the one hand the door to the small garden in the courtyard (visible in the frame times at around second 40) and the large portal in the entrance hall (frame time: at second ~70).
With these, the streaming load is particularly high, and there are most likely to be dropouts if there is little memory, a reduced PCI-E connection, a hard drive that is too slow or too little processor power. Another notable outlier occurs when flying with the broom at around 114 seconds – this can be found in almost every measurement to a similar extent and could not be completely eliminated despite our efforts. Here you can see the frame times with native Full HD display without upsampling with ultra details and deactivated ray tracing.
Frametimes Full HD native, ultra preset, ray tracing off
And here are the frame rates – as you can see, the average frame rates are relatively high, but this is because the first part of the measurement (up to about second 75) takes place inside Hogwarts. The streaming and storage load is high here, but so are the frame rates. The graphics load is much higher when flying the broomstick through the nocturnal surroundings of Hogwarts shrouded in volumetric fog. Here, the frame rates drop below 50 fps in places with full Full HD resolution and ultra details. In order to achieve smooth framerates in both Hogwarts and the broomstick flight, we need to adjust the details.
Hogwarts Legacy – Benchmarks Full HD native, Ultra preset, RT off
1920 × 1080, TAA, native res (average fps)
It’s not enough to just rely on modern upsampling methods. FSR 2, DLSS and the like can reduce the load on the graphics card, but since the processing of the images also requires graphics performance and upsampling of raster graphics can often only save a relatively small amount of graphics memory despite the reduction in internal resolution (see PCGH issue 03 /2023 or [PLUS]article), upsampling alone will only get us so far. The two graphics cards with ultra details and quality upsampling.