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Note: this guide offers optimal graphics settings for Tier 4 graphics cards. You can find more information about graphics card tiers here.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is a 2017 action-adventure stealth game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the tenth main installment in the series and it is a predecessor of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey that was released in October 2018. Origins is visually one of the most impressive games in the series and one of the most demanding video game titles in last couple of years. In this article I will explore Assassin’s Creed Origins graphics settings and game’s system performance on PC platform. I will provide optimization guide for owners of AMD Radeon RX 580.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is powered by Ubisoft’s internally developed AnvilNext 2.0 engine that also powers up other Ubisoft’s titles such as For Honor and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Unlike those titles, which provide solid PC performance, Origins is a very demanding title that might turn down PC gamers that strive only for 60 FPS lag-free experience. In order to examine game’s performance, I have used my standard PC rig with the following components:
Testing Rig Specifications
In order to measure how many frames per second can my system achieve according to specific settings, I have used game’s built-in benchmark that runs a scene through streets of city of Memphis, which is a very graphically intense area. After finishing the benchmark run I would write down my average FPS results and later compare it with results from other runs.
Since Assassin’s Creed Origins offers plenty of adjustable graphics settings with which you might not be familiar with, there are six image quality presets at your disposal to choose: Ultra High, Very High, High, Medium, Low and Very Low. Here are my average frame rate results at 1080P resolution for each of the mentioned presets:
As you can see, game’s performance on Radeon RX 580 is pretty disappointing. Average frame rate difference between Ultra High and Medium preset is only 10 FPS, while there is no difference between Low and Very Low presets. Playing the game at Low preset will ensure around 62 FPS on average, however, there will be dips and stutters that will occasionally drop frame rate to 40 FPS area or even below. Playing on Low and Very Low settings is hard to recommend since image quality is noticeably worse compare to Medium settings. Visual difference between Ultra High and Very High presets is hardly noticeable, but if you are hoping for stable and enjoyable frame rate, then there is no difference in choosing between Very High, High or Medium preset since all of them will provide inconsistent frame rate that will average below 60 FPS. If you use Radeon RX 580 or GTX 1060, it would be ideal to use FreeSync or G-Sync compatible monitor that has variable refresh rate support below 45 Hz or is LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) capable. With that kind of hardware you would surely experience smooth gameplay and be able to enjoy game’s visuals without erratic frame rate spikes.
Since Assassin’s Creed Origins is such a demanding title, playing this game with mainstream graphics cards on resolutions higher than 1080P and with all graphics settings set to high is not recommendable. Even though, I was still curious how would game preform on those resolutions with my Radeon RX 580. Here are the results:
Obviously, Assassin’s Creeds Origins achieves pathetic results on 1440P and 2160P resolutions on RX 580. Keep in mind, though, that these results refer to ultra quality settings. Performance on 1440P isn’t actually too bad, and if you have a monitor with variable refresh rate that stretches to 30 Hz, you might even enjoy playing this video game on such high resolution. Also, if you have a TV that supports HDMI input at 1440P resolution at 30 Hz, playing this game in such condition might be a feasible option.
After examining overall image quality presets, I decided to analyze all of the graphics settings in Assassin’s Creed Origins and determine their impact on system performance. This phase of analysis consisted of running the game at ultra preset, but with each separate image quality setting disabled or maximally lowered. After I acquired the results with each of the settings off, I had the ability to compare them with the results while they were on. Thus I had a chance to determine performance impact of each of the graphics settings on overall frame rate. As a baseline, I used ultra quality preset. Here are my results:
If you look a bit closely to the chart above you might notice some very interesting results. Turning off or lowering graphical options didn’t increase frame rate too much. Most surprising results are those related to shadows. Shadows are frequently one of the most demanding graphical options in video games and turning them down usually increases frame rate significantly. Setting shadows from very high to very low setting increased frame rate only 2 FPS on average. Same thing is with the ambient occlusion and screen space reflections. Only lowering environment details increased frame rate significantly, but only for a small margin. Activating dynamic resolution setting for 60 FPS optimization increased frame rate by 4 FPS but it in turn made image a bit more blurry.
Overall, lowering down settings didn’t seem to increase performance at all. Clearly, this indicates that Assassin’s Creed Origins is a very poorly optimized video game and as such isn’t very well made for PC environment. Of course, it is worth to keep in mind that I tested the game on AMD graphics card. Origins seems to preform better on Nvidia cards, however, GTX 1060 is only 10% faster than RX 580 and also struggles to maintain stable frame rate that is close to 60 FPS on ultra high settings. There is no doubt that Origins favors Nvidia cards, but performance is still rather disappointing.
Frequent stuttering is a strong signal that this game is very CPU bound. Mainstream quad core processors without hyperthreading will have a hard time maintaining stable performance. Even with beefier CPUs that utilize hyperthreading, game will still eat up a lot of processor’s resources. Only processors with six or more physical cores will be able to tackle this game more easily. Taking that into consideration, it might be said that Origins functions like a bad console port, since relying upon CPU power is more specific to console hardware environment rather than PC platform. It is hard to pinpoint the reason why the game preforms so bad. Game’s engine might be also inefficiently coded. In terms of relative measures here is how much each graphical settings impacts performance:
As you can see, neither option impacts performance too much to stand out. Only exception are environment details. All in all, what this actually means is that there is no significant difference between low and high settings which makes thing pretty odd. However things might been, there is no doubt you will need to use a very powerful GPU and CPU in order to achieve stable 60 FPS in all conditions.
In case you don’t have enough money to build yourself a powerful rig to play this game, your only option to easily increase frame rate is to tweak resolution modifier settings. What this basically does is that it lowers overall internal resolution quality, but you still keep the option to play at your native resolution. It basically downscales game’s resolution and increases overall frame rate pretty well. However, the more you lower resolution modifier, the more blurry and pixelated image becomes. Even at 90% image is rather fuzzy, and at levels below that there is hardly any sense to play the game with these settings. Here are the performance results:
Lowering resolution modifier to 90% increased average frame rate by 4 FPS. Going lower didn’t boost performance much, but it worsened image quality significantly. If you don’t mind looking at blurry image, then consider tweaking this option at your own preferences, otherwise, just leave settings on default.
If you have an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card here is my recommendation which settings should be enabled and which should be disabled in order to achieve optimal 60 FPS experience at 1080p resolution:
|Dynamic Resolution||60 FPS|
|Screen Space Reflections||High|
|Character Texture Detail||High|
|Depth of Field||Off|
I didn’t modify any of the display settings, which means that I kept my resolution modifier on default 100% and didn’t change field of view settings at all. With the above settings I managed to achieve pretty enjoyable gameplay experience while retaining optimal graphics quality. When I ran again built-in benchmark with these settings my rig scored very favorable 58 FPS on average. Keep in mind that the benchmark scene is set in the city of Memphis, which is probably one of the most graphically intense areas in the game, so your frame rates will probably be higher in deserts and wilderness. In short, with these settings my average frame rate in cities was around 45 to 50 FPS on average, while in the wilds was around 60 to 65 FPS. Since I have FreeSync monitor, my gaming experience was for the most of the time smooth, but occasional stutters made it choppy, so it wasn’t 100% silky smooth.
All in all, there is not much space in improving Assassin’s Creed Origins performance on PC. Whether you run the game on very high or medium settings, there is practically no big difference. In deserts and at sea you will easily achieve more than 60 FPS, but in cities and densely populated areas frame rate will fluctuate between 30 and 50 FPS at best. Origins is a very poorly optimized game that is heavily CPU dependent. To really enjoy the game it is just best to buy yourself a powerful high-end graphics card or LFC capable monitor, or simply play the console version which will secure you mediocre but stable 30 FPS on average.