Seven years later Testing new graphics cards in The
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Seven years later – Testing new graphics cards in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The last part of the Witcher series was released on May 18, 2015 – and still doesn’t want to be a thing of the past: it’s still being played. Unsurprisingly, after the controversial and frankly failed Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED will in some ways return to the franchise that brought it global fame.

Well, we return to testing graphics cards in The Witcher 3. When the game was released on PC, the hardware of the time (we’re talking the GeForce 900 series and Radeon 300), without NVIDIA’s flagship graphics cards, was simply destroyed by The Witcher. But in the past seven years, the computing power of the GPU has increased many times over, and the Witcher 3 graphics now have to bow to affordable solutions. At least that’s what we expect. And what happens in reality, the test results will show.

Graphics quality settings

We carried out all tests with the preset detail settings, which determine the graphics profile on the one hand and the post-processing effects profile on the other. Graphics cards with sufficient headroom were tested with the Ultra graphics profile and the High post-processing profile. The medium profiles are suitable for weaker devices, and finally we used the low profiles when testing the lowest-performing GPUs.

Graphics settings in tests
Low quality Medium quality Ultra high quality
NVIDIA HairWorks out of out of on
NVIDIA HairWorks AA 0 0 4
HairWorks preset low low high
Number of background characters low Middle Ultra
shadow quality low Middle Ultra
terrain quality low Middle Ultra
water quality low Middle Ultra
grass density low Middle Ultra
texture quality low Middle Ultra
Foliage Visibility low Middle Ultra
detail level low Middle Ultra
motion blur out of on on
Blur out of on on
anti-aliasing out of on on
bloom on on on
sharpening out of low high
surrounding occlusion none SSAO SSAO
depth of field out of out of on
Chromatic aberration out of out of on
annealing on on on
light wells out of out of on

The screenshots below show how the image changes depending on the settings you choose. As you can see, even seven years after the release, The Witcher 3 still looks great with the parameters close to the maximum. The age is still noticeable, but note that we ran tests on the original version of the game without the Blood and Wine expansion, while the new locations feature improved, and therefore more sophisticated, graphics.

Additionally, we remind readers of the drama involved in setting hair mosaic using the HairWorks API. On 2015 hardware, the HairWorks option did not cause problems for NVIDIA GPUs, but revealed weakness in the geometry pipeline of AMD chips and severely impacted the performance of Radeon 300/Fury series graphics cards. Thankfully, those Reds issues are a thing of the past, and there’s no longer a need to disable HairWorks to put both manufacturers’ GPUs on the same footing.

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Post Processing, Graphics Low

Post processing, medium graphics

Post processing high, graphics ultra

Test bench, test methodology

test bench
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (4.4 GHz, all cores fixed)
motherboard ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming (included in resizable bar)
Rome G.Skill Trident Z RGB F4-3200C14D-16GTZR 4 x 8GB (3600MT/s, CL17)
Rome Intel SSD 760p, 2048 GB
power adapter Corsair AX1200i 1200W
CPU cooling system Corsair iCUE H115i RGB PRO XT
frame stand outdoors
operating system Windows 10 Pro x64
AMD GPU software
All graphics cards AMD Radeon Software Adrenaline 2020 Edition 22.4.1
NVIDIA GPU software
All graphics cards NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready Driver 512.15

Performance tests conducted using the OCAT utility at the Caer Morhen site. The average and minimum frame rates are derived from the array of individual frame render times that OCAT writes to the result file.

The average frame rate in the charts is the reciprocal of the average frame rendering time. To estimate the minimum frame rate, the number of frames generated in each second of the test is calculated. The value that corresponds to the 1st percentile of the distribution is taken from this number field.

test taker

  • AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT (1825/2250MHz, 16Gb/s, 16GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (1825/2250MHz, 16Gb/s, 16GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 (1700/2105MHz, 16Gb/s, 16GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT (2321/2581MHz, 16Gb/s, 12GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT (2064/2607MHz, 16Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6600 (1626/2491MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT (2420/2825MHz, 18Gb/s, 4GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (1605/1905MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 (1465/1725MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT OC (1420/1750MHz, 14Gb/s, 6GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (1235/1620MHz, 12Gb/s, 6GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT (1607/1845MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT (1607/1845MHz, 14Gb/s, 4GB);
  • AMD Radeon VII (1400/1750MHz, 2Gb/s, 16GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 LC (1406/1677MHz, 1.89Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (1247/1546MHz, 1.89Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (1156/1471MHz, 16Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 590 (1469/1545MHz, 8Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 580 (1257/1340MHz, 8Gb/s, 8GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 570 (1168/1244MHz, 7Gbps, 4GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 560 16CU (1175/1275MHz, 7Gb/s, 4GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 560 14CU (1090/1175MHz, 7Gb/s, 4GB);
  • AMD Radeon RX 550 8CU (1100/1183MHz, 7Gb/s, 2GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (1395/1695MHz, 19.5Gb/s, 24GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (1365/1665MHz, 19Gb/s, 12GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (1440/1710MHz, 19Gb/s, 10GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (1575/1770MHz, 19Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (1500/1730MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (1410/1665MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (1320/1837MHz, 15Gb/s, 12GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (1550/1780MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition (1350/1635MHz, 14Gb/s, 11GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER (1650/1815MHz, 15.5Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition (1515/1800MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER (1605/1770MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition (1410/1710MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER (1470/1650MHz, 14Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (1365/1680MHz, 14Gb/s, 6GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (1500/1800MHz, 12Gb/s, 6GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER (1530/1830MHz, 14Gb/s, 6GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 (1530/1785MHz, 8Gb/s, 6GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER (1530/1770MHz, 8Gb/s, 4GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (1485/1725MHz, 8Gb/s, 4GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (1480/1582MHz, 11Gb/s, 11GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (1607/1733MHz, 10Gb/s, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (1607/1683MHz, 8Gbps, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (1506/1683MHz, 8Gbps, 8GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (1506/1708MHz, 9Gb/s, 6GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (1506/1708MHz, 8Gb/s, 3GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (1290/1392MHz, 7Gbps, 4GB);
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (1227/1468MHz, 6Gbps, 2GB).

Note. In parentheses after the names of the graphics cards are the base and boost frequencies according to the specifications of the respective device. Graphics cards with factory overclocking are adjusted to the reference parameters (or close to them), if this is possible without manual adjustment of the clock frequency curve. Otherwise the manufacturer settings are used.

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About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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