We tested Resident Evil Village on recent GPUs, with and without ray tracing.
Reviews for Capcom’s Resident Evil Village have gone live, and we take the opportunity to see how the game runs on the best graphics cards. We run the PC version on Steam, and while patches and future driver updates could change things a bit, both AMD and Nvidia provided REV drivers for Game Ready.
In the Resident Evil series, this installment adds DirectX Raytracing (DXR) support for AMD’s RX 6000 RDNA2 architecture or Nvidia’s RTX cards Ampere architecture and Turing architecture. AMD promotes Resident Evil Village, and it’s also on the latest gen consoles, so Nvidia’s DLSS technology is not supported. In a moment, we’ll look at image quality, but let’s first hit official system requirements.
Minimum PC requisites
- Processor: i5-7500/AMD Ryzen 3 1200
- Memory: RAM-8GB
- Graphics: GTX 1050 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB
- API: DirectX 12, DirectX. (DXR) It is optional.
- OS: 10 Windows (64-bit)
- Processor: i7-8700/AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- Memory: RAM16GB
- Nvidia GeForce 1070/AMD Radeon RX 5700
- API: DirectX 12, DirectX. (DXR) It is optional.
- OS: 10 Windows (64-bit)
Capcom notes that the game targets 1080p at 60 fps, using the presets “Prioritize Performance” and presumably “Recommended.” Capcom does say the framerate “might drop in graphics-intensive scenes,” but most GPUs should be okay. We haven’t checked lower settings, but we can confirm that a lot of graphics cards will certainly reach 60 fps at 1080p.
The main pain point for anyone running a graphics card is VRAM, especially at higher resolutions. With AMD pushing 12GB and 16GB on its latest RX 6000-series cards, it’s no surprise that the Max preset uses 12GB VRAM. 1080p Max can be run on a 6GB card and 1440p Max on an 8GB card, but 4K Max definitely wants more than 8GB VRAM—we experienced inconsistent frame times in our testing. We omitted results on cards where performance on charts wasn’t reliable.
Anyway, hit the benchmarks. In these benchmarks, due to time constraints, we will not run every GPU under the sun, but instead focus on the latest gene GPUs, plus top and bottom RTX 20-series GPUs and a few others as we see fit. We used the preset ‘Max’ with and without ray tracing, and most cards we tested broke 60 fps. Turning on ray tracing disables Ambient Occlusion, since the ray traced GI and Reflection options are used, but every other setting is the highest quality choice (which means variable-rate shading is off for our testing).
Our test system consists of a Core i9-9900K CPU, 32GB VRAM and 2TB SSD — the same PC we’ve been using for our graphics card and gaming benchmarks for around two years now, as it’s still working well. With the current scarcity of graphics cards, purchasing a new high-end GPU would be difficult — our GPU pricing index covers information. Hopefully, you still have a pre-2021 capable GPU, back in the halcyon days when graphics cards were available at and sometimes below MSRP.
Turning on ray tracing drops performance, but it’s not too painful on many cards. Actually, that’s not exactly true—the DXR penalty depends significantly on your GPU. The RTX 3090 lost just about 13% of its output and the RTX 3080 fell by 20%. AMD’s RX 6900 XT and RX 6800 XT both lost 30-35% of their non-RT performance, while the RTX 2080 Ti, RX 6800, RTX 3070, RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3060 dropped 40-45%. Meanwhile, the RX 6700 XT finished running at less than half its non-DXR rate, and the RTX 2060 saw performance cut in half.
Memory and memory bandwidth seem to be major factors enabling ray tracing, and the 8GB and lower cards were hit especially hard. Turning down some settings should help a lot, but we wanted to concentrate on maxed-out graphics quality for this initial performance. In the comments, let us know what other tests you want us to run.
At higher resolutions, the efficiency patterns we saw at 1080p became stronger. Max 1440p certainly supported more VRAM and memory bandwidth. The RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 lost just a few fps of output compared to 1080p while operating without DXR, and the RX 6800 dropped 10%. All other GPUs dropped by about 20–30%, but the 6GB RTX 2060 fell by 55%. Only the RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 did not average 60 fps or more.
1440p and max settings Ray tracing really needs more than 8GB VRAM—which probably explains why the Ray Tracing preset (which we didn’t use) opts for modest settings elsewhere. The RTX 2060, 3060 Ti and 3070 all began having problems with DXR at 1440p, as you can see in the numbers. Some runs were much better than we present here, others much worse, and after repeating a few times per test, we are still not sure these three cards can reliably offer a good experience without further tuning the graphics settings.
On the other hand, cards with 10GB or more VRAM do not display nearly the decrease we saw while going from 1080p to 1440p. The RTX 3060 only lost 18 percent of its 1080p output, chugs along happily at just 60 fps shy. The higher-end AMD and Nvidia cards were also around the 15% drop mark.
But dawdling enough. Let’s just kill with some 4K checking…
Well, the word ‘destroy’ is probably too hard. Without ray tracking, most of the GPUs we checked broke 60 fps. But they’re very short of those who come up short. RTX 3060 is still usually playable, but Resident Evil Village seems to assume 30 fps or more as falling below seems to slow the game. The RX 5700 XT should be sufficient in a pinch, despite losing 67 percent of its 1440p output, but the 1070 and 2060 will need lower settings to even take a 4K crack.
Even with DXR, the RTX 2080 Ti, RX 6800 and above still offer 60 fps or more. Also, the RTX 3060 still manages a playable 41 fps — this isn’t a twitch action game, so sub-60 frame rates aren’t the world end. Of course, we don’t display cards that fall into the teens or worse—which is essentially all 8GB or less VRAM RTX cards.
The point is not how badly some of the cards did at 4K Max (with or without DXR), but how fast many cards remained. The DXR switch often imposes a massive 1080p performance hit, but at 4K the Nvidia cards with at least 10GB VRAM lost only about 15% of their non-DXR performance. AMD’s GPUs took a 25% hit, but it was very consistent across all four GPUs.
Resident Evil graphics settings
See the various advanced settings in the gallery above. Besides the usual resolution, refresh rate, vsync, and scaling options, there are 18 individual graphics settings plus two more ray tracing settings. Screen space reflections, volumetric lighting, and shadow quality are likely to have the greatest impact on performance, though other sums can also add up. However, for anyone with a reasonably high-end GPU, you should be able to play at the near-max quality (minus ray tracing if you don’t have a suitable GPU, of course).
But how does the game look? Capturing screenshots with different settings on and off is a pain, as there are only scattered save points (typewriters) and some settings seem to require a restart to take effect. Instead of worrying about all settings, let’s just examine how ray tracing improves things.
Resident Evil Village Image Quality: Ray on/off
Or don’t, I guess. Seriously, at best the effect is subtle, and in many scenes I couldn’t even tell you if RT was on or off. If there’s a powerful light source, it can make a difference. Sometimes a window or glass surface changes with RT enabled, but even then (e.g. in truck and van images) it’s not always much better.
For each pair of images, order the gallery above with RT off and RT on. You can click (on a PC) to get the images I compressed into JPGs (and they look visually almost the same as the original PNG files). Indoor areas tend to display subtle lighting effects more than outdoors, but unless a patch dramatically changes the way RT looks, Resident Evil Village will be another entry in the growing list of ray tracing games where you could skip it and miss nothing.
Resident Evil Village will be released on May 7th. Reviews are quite favourable so far, and if you’ve enjoyed Resident Evil 7, it’s an easy recommendation. Just don’t expect ray tracing to make a significant difference in how the game looks or feels.
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