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Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience

Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience

Half-Life: Alyx has lastly arrived, marking Valve’s huge return to their most well-known sport sequence in addition to their first foray into the realms of VR. You can learn extra about wot Graham thinks of the sport itself in his Half-Life: Alyx overview, however right here I assumed I’d concentrate on Half-Life: Alyx’s VR efficiency chops, and specifically what sort of expertise you possibly can count on by sticking to the sport’s minimal PC necessities. Can a GTX 1060 actually ship the Half-Life VR expertise we’ve been ready for? Let’s discover out beneath.

Of course, testing a VR sport’s efficiency generally is a bit tough. There’s no body fee counter seen from inside a VR headset, for instance, and far of your expertise will rely on precisely which kind of VR headset you’ve got, as their respective shows all have completely different refresh charges. The Valve Index, for instance, can presently go all the way in which as much as 144Hz, whereas the Oculus Rift S is proscribed to 80Hz. The HTC Vive Cosmos headsets, then again, can do as much as 90Hz, and if you wish to play Half-Life: Alyx on the Oculus Quest by way of Oculus’ Link software program, then you definitely’ll should make do with a 72Hz refresh fee.

I’ll be doing a extra thorough VR headset comparability later within the week, evaluating how Half-Life: Alyx performs on the Valve Index, HTC Vive Cosmos, HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest by way of Oculus Link, however proper now I’m extra involved with how its uncooked efficiency compares throughout completely different graphics playing cards. Is a GTX 1060 highly effective sufficient to ship a clean, vomit-free VR expertise, for instance? Or would you be higher off upgrading your PC a bit additional to essentially maximise your headset’s refresh fee? Here’s what I’ve found.

Half-Life: Alyx PC necessities

Before we get began, listed below are the minimal PC necessities you must play Half-Life: Alyx on PC. As chances are you’ll bear in mind from my earlier Half-Life: Alyx PC necessities and VR headset specs information, that is truly a bit larger than a number of at present’s minimal VR headset necessities, as most headsets solely require an Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5-4590 / an outdated AMD FX CPU.

Half-Life: Alyx minimal PC necessities:
OS: Windows 10
CPU: Intel Core i5-7500 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) / AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)

Half-Life: Alyx, then again, wants a system that’s barely extra upmarket. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be too bang updated, as its minimal Nvidia GPU continues to be simply the 6GB GTX 1060, which, in accordance with Steam’s {hardware} charts has been the preferred graphics card for fairly a while now, and its CPU necessities aren’t loopy fashionable both. As a outcome, anybody who has purchased or constructed a PC within the final couple of years then you ought to be fairly set. The solely factor which may throw a spanner within the works is its excessive RAM requirement.

Half-Life: Alyx VR efficiency

To take a look at Half-Life: Alyx, I used my trusty Intel Core i5-8600Okay CPU working at inventory speeds, 16GB of RAM and my Asus GeForce GTX 1060 OC 9Gbps Edition (the identical GTX 1060 I exploit for all my sport efficiency exams) with all the newest Windows 10 updates, sport updates and graphics card drivers put in. I additionally used the HTC Vive Cosmos for the needs of this take a look at, on account of its larger refresh fee of 90Hz versus the Oculus Rift S’ 80Hz show.

Now, looking for out what body fee your VR headset is definitely working at is a little bit of a problem. Your typical Steam overlay doesn’t work in VR, nor does Nvidia Shadowplay. Instead, I used SteamVR’s Display Performance Graph, which you’ll both allow to point out in your desktop, or contained in the headset itself if you happen to go into SteamVR’s Developer menu. It doesn’t offer you a working body fee counter, sadly, but it surely does inform you its body time, which is the pace it’s rendering the sport at.

For the HTC Vive Cosmos, a 90Hz refresh fee equates to a body time of round 11ms. If the headset’s body time goes above this quantity, then will probably be working slower than its 90Hz refresh fee. If it’s quicker than 11ms (which reveals up as plenty of inexperienced squiggles beneath the central 11ms line), then you definitely’ll be hitting that 90Hz refresh fee superb and dandy. However, the upper you flip up the graphics settings, the more durable your PC’s going to should work to hit that ultimate body time counter.

Now, Half-Life: Alyx has 4 graphics choices: Low, Medium, High and Ultra. Here’s what all of them appear to be in apply – or not less than as near ‘in apply’ as we will utilizing SteamVR’s VR View possibility.

Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience
Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience

Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience
Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience

As you possibly can in all probability see, there’s not a enormous quantity of distinction between its 4 graphics choices, and I didn’t actually discover a lot of an uplift in visible constancy in-game, both. That’s as a result of all 4 high quality settings have their Texture settings ramped as much as High (even Ultra), making certain a way of visible parity no matter what graphics card you’ve obtained in your PC. There is an additional Ultra texture setting you possibly can allow by opening up the superior efficiency settings menu, all advised, however Ultra’s default possibility is ready to High like the whole lot else.

Instead, it’s issues like shadows, character element, fog, particle results, audio element and ragdoll rely that differ between every high quality setting. You know, atmospheric stuff. Low, as an example, has its Flickering Light, Soft Cloth and High Quality Hologram settings switched off (the remaining have all of them switched on), so Half-Life: Alyx in all probability received’t really feel fairly as spooky consequently – which can, in actual fact, be a boon if you happen to don’t do properly with horror.

Naturally, all these items take their toll on the headset’s body time counter, and as I progressively moved via all of them on my GTX 1060, the world began to turn into noticeably extra juddery. Low and Medium had been nearly inside the 11ms ball park, however High obtained noticeably choppier after I began trying round whereas transferring. It wasn’t so dangerous that it made me really feel nauseous, however I additionally wouldn’t advocate taking part in at this setting for lengthy durations of time, both.

As a outcome, GTX 1060 house owners will in all probability be superb if you happen to keep on with both Low or Medium once you’re taking part in on a Vive or Oculus Rift, however if you happen to’re in search of most environment, or are certainly taking part in on a Valve Index and need to profit from its 120Hz and 144Hz refresh fee choices, then you definitely’re virtually actually going to wish a extra highly effective graphics card.

Next, I attempted my EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti SC Gaming card, as I wished to see how one thing extra highly effective in Nvidia’s older GTX 10-series household dealt with the sport earlier than I went full RTX. Here, Half-Life: Alyx defaulted to High high quality settings after I booted up the sport, and for probably the most half appeared it appeared comparatively comfy there. It was nonetheless a bit borderline, admittedly, typically creeping up towards 14ms at its worst moments, but it surely positively wasn’t as juddery as my GTX 1060 card. Ultra, nonetheless, might be a bit a lot right here, as although it hovered round the same body time of between 13-14ms for many of my testing, digital camera actions turned noticeably jerky even in comparatively empty scenes.

As a outcome, these in search of the smoothest attainable High / Ultra expertise in Half-Life: Alyx ought to in all probability equip themselves with both an RTX 2070 or RTX 2070 Super (in any case, the GTX 1070 Ti is roughly on par with Nvidia’s newer RTX 2060, so it stands to motive to go one other step up the RTX ladder to get a extra noticeable bounce in efficiency).

When I booted up Half-Life: Alyx for the third time with my Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition card, for instance, it defaulted to High once more, however had a a lot decrease body time of simply 8ms. Indeed, you can in all probability bump all of it the way in which as much as Ultra if you happen to wished, as this solely made my body time counter rise to round 9ms. As a outcome, that is in all probability the kind of graphics card you’re going to wish to play Half-Life: Alyx on its finest graphics settings, and positively the form of calibre card you’ll must profit from the Index’s larger refresh charges.

As I mentioned above, I’ll be doing a extra thorough headset comparability of Half-Life: Alyx within the coming days, so be sure to be careful for that as properly. In the imply time, although, why not watch RPS Vid Bud Matthew play via the primary couple of hours of the sport (with further commentary by yours actually)? Below, we’ve obtained the sport working on an RTX 2080 Super and an Intel Core i7-8700Okay CPU, and we’re taking part in with the Valve Index. It’s a proper hoot, I swear!

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