Loading build...
Loading...
Your Shops
Death Stranding most important graphics options - every video setting benchmarked
By Chad Norton on July 14th, 2020 at 01:59pm - original article from game-debate

It's official, the long-awaited PlayStation 4 console-exclusive is finally coming to PC tomorrow, and whilst Death Stranding certainly looks very pretty, how exactly does it perform in comparison? And which graphics settings are the best to turn all the way up or all the way down? We've compiled a list below of the most demanding graphics options in the game, so you can get the perfect balance of visual fidelity and FPS performance in ¬¬g_id:23968[Death Stranding]¬¬.

Below you will see every graphics option listed and benchmarked against a minimum graphics setting used as our baseline benchmark. From there we see which graphics options have the highest performance impact on our hardware for the least visual improvement, and then we will see which options can be turned up to max and deliver the best visual improvement in Death Stranding.

If you want to look at some more graphics benchmarks with various gaming graphics cards running Death Stranding then you can check out our Death Stranding PC Performance Benchmarks article instead, or you can have a look at the various Death Stranding PC Graphics Settings that we'll be discussing here in this article.

Death Stranding PC system requirements

Death Stranding PC performance report and graphics card benchmarks

For the performance cost result baseline we used the recommended GPU  graphics card, an  processor, and 8GB of DDR3 memory. The tests were performed in one of the first areas of the game, where we hopped on a bike, drove around for a bit, trekked across a river and climbed up a small hill. On the whole we found this area to be pretty representative and similar to the rest of the game, when considering graphics options compared to other graphics options and their relative performance impact.

There aren't a lot of graphics settings available in Death Stranding, but we went through the 10 graphics options listed and tested each one in turn, recording the average frame rates for each and then comparing them to a baseline FPS that was recorded with all the graphics options either turned off or to their lowest settings.

As a side note, we didn't include the DLSS setting here as we felt like dedicating an entire article to it separately so we can see just how much the technology increases performance and how much exactly it affects image quality. 

Death Stranding includes 4 graphics quality presets including Low, Medium, Default, and Very High. These settings are rather self-explanatory, with the "Default" settings being the original graphics quality for the PlayStation 4 console.

NOTE: Additionally, screenshots captured in-game with the PC version are still under embargo and so we are unable to display any Low vs Ultra graphics comparison screenshots for each graphics setting just yet. This embargo releases on July 14th at 6am PDT, 9am EDT, and 2pm BST, at which point we will be able to upload all the image comparisons missing from this article.

¬¬advert¬¬

Death Stranding Graphics Options Performance Breakdown

The further to the right the bar goes, the more demanding the graphics option is.

Death Stranding graphics options performance breakdown

What are the most demanding graphics options in Death Stranding?

There isn't actually a whole lot of demanding graphics options in Death Stranding, taking a closer look at our performance benchmark results shows that there is little difference in frame rate between Low and Ultra settings. However, the most demanding graphics options in Death Stranding are Model Detail at 6.55% performance cost, Screen Space Reflections at 4.42%, and Ambient Occlusion at 3.66%.

Interestingly, the FidelityFX CAS setting is a technique for rendering the image at a lower resolution and then upscaling the image whilst adding some sharpening. This supposedly increases performance whilst preserving image quality much like DLSS, but for non-RTX cards as well. However this setting actually managed to decrease performance at 1080p resolution with 2.44% performance impact. Apparently this setting works better at higher resolutions funnily enough, gaining a few frames at 1440p when enabled. My guess is that it's easier to upscale an image from 1080p to 1440p than it is from 720p to 1080p as there are more pixels to accurately upscale with.

On the other hand, a dedicated Memory for Streaming actually does increase performance by 1.83%, though the performance impact demands on your graphics card and how much available memory you have. The higher your available video memory and the higher the setting you're able to select, the better the performance increase.

¬¬advert¬¬

All Death Stranding Graphics Settings Tested

Best Video Settings in Death Stranding

Model Detail

 

Model Detail graphics option Low compared to Very High

Death Stranding Model Detail_Ultra Death Stranding Model Detail_Low

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Model Detail setting do? Model Detail in Death Stranding doesn't necessarily refer to the actual detail of models, but instead refers to the amount of detail preserved when viewing models at a long distance. You'll notice this effect the most when viewing objects and structures from afar.

This is one of the best options to keep all the way high for the best image quality, but based on the performance impact it's not exactly essential. Though you will lose out on quite a lot of those wonderful moments of looking out into the vast landscape and seeing everything in the distance.

Performance Impact - 5/5

Priority - 3/5

------------------

Memory for Streaming

What does the Memory for Streaming setting do? Memory for Streaming is an option for allocating a dedicated amount of memory used for streaming data. The higher the amount of memory dedicated, the better the performance. However your GPU needs to be capable of allowing higher memory allocations. This can help increase FPS by shifting the performance to the VRAM on the graphics card.

This option is absolutely essential for all players, depending on your maximum VRAM capabilities of your graphics card. If you have the video memory available, turn this setting up as high as you can to maximize the performance benefits.

(Note: these figures constantly shift by .1, so they are just a rough guide)

VRAM requirements (in Gigabytes) 720p 1080p 1440p 4K
Low 2.3 2.4 2.7 3.3
Medium 3.6 3.7 3.9 4.4
Default 3.6 3.7 3.9 4.4
Very High 3.8 3.9 4.2 4.8

Performance Impact - 2/5

Priority - 5/5

------------------

Shadow Resolution

Shadow Resolution graphics option Low compared to High

Death Stranding Shadow Resolution_Ultra Death Stranding Shadow Resolution_Low

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Shadow Resolution setting do? Shadow Resolution refers to the detail or resolution of the shadows cast from objects and the character. Once again this effect is more noticeable when viewing shadows from long distances (though, admittedly, those moments come few and far between), and as you can see above barely makes a difference when viewing them from close up.

This setting is best kept at the maximum as the performance cost is almost negligible, and will retain immersion and graphical fidelity when viewing objects and structures at long distances.

Performance Impact - 2/5

Priority - 5/5

------------------

¬¬advert¬¬

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion graphics option Off compared to On

Death Stranding Ambient Occlusion building_On Death Stranding Ambient Occlusion building_Off
Death Stranding Ambient Occlusion rocks_On Death Stranding Ambient Occlusion rocks_Off

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Ambient Occlusion setting do? Ambient Occlusion is the process of rendering the light cast from objects near each other in Death Stranding. You can see above how this will affect objects like buildings or rocks on your frequent journeys.

Ambient Occlusion is one of best options to have turned on for increased immersion, as it simulates accurate shadows cast from neighboring objects. However due to the performance impact this is down to personal preference, but personally I think this option is essential for immersion and image quality.

Performance Impact - 4/5

Priority - 3/5

------------------

Screen Space Reflections

Screen Space Reflections graphics option Off compared to On

Death Stranding Screen Space Reflections_On Death Stranding Screen Space Reflections_Off

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Screen Space Reflections setting do? Screen Space Reflections is the technique of rendering reflections in reflective surfaces. In Death Stranding you can see this effect when viewing reflective surfaces at oblique angles, like the reflections of rocks in the water in the comparison images above.

Screen Space Reflections are great, as they add a lot of immersion and image quality to your game. However due to how taxing they are in relation to the other options they are not exactly essential. You won't be losing out on much by disabling them, but they are worth having on if you can spare the frames and want the best graphics fidelity.

Performance Impact - 4/5

Priority - 2/5

------------------

FidelityFX CAS

FidelityFX CAS graphics option Off compared to On

Death Stranding FidelityFX CAS_On Death Stranding FidelityFX CAS_Off

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the FidelityFX CAS setting do? FidelityFX CAS is the process of rendering the game at a lower resolution and then upscaling the image to a higher resolution whilst also adding some sharpening in order to increase performance whilst retaining image quality. This is essentially DLSS but for non-RTX cards as well.

Unfortunately in our tests we found that this wasn't the case at 1080p, which actually decreased performance. Interestingly the setting appears to work better at higher resolutions, gaining a few frames at 1440p when enabled. Likely due to it being easier to upscale an image from 1080p to 1440p than it is from 720p to 1080p, as there are more pixels to accurately upscale from.

If you're not using an RTX card, then FidelityFX CAS would certainly be good to try out and see if it increases performance. Just don't try and use it at 1080p, which might actually decrease performance without any visual improvements. You can adjust the level of sharpening yourself which you can see in the graphics option below. And do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below as we would love to hear them if they differ from this. 

Performance Impact - 3/5

Priority - 3/5

------------------

¬¬advert¬¬

Anti-Aliasing

Anti-Aliasing graphics option Off compared to TAA

Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing_FXAA Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing Off
Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing_TAA Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing_Off
Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing_TAA Death Stranding Anti-Aliasing_FXAA

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Anti-Aliasing setting do? Anti-Aliasing controls the smoothing of edges to reduce jagged or spiky lines. There are two techniques available in Death Stranding: FXAA, or TAA. Both work in slightly different ways with TAA being more demanding than FXAA, but producing better results at the cost of an ever-so-slight blurriness. The effect is less noticeable at higher resolutions.

TAA gives the best results at lower resolutions, and honestly the slight blurring isn't that bad if you have a suitable frame rate of 45fps+. However, if you're running below that fps, or at a higher resolution like 4K, FXAA will be more worth it for image clarity and performance.

Performance Impact - 2/5

Priority - 4/5

------------------

Sharpness

Sharpness graphics option 0 compared to 100

Death Stranding FidelityFX CAS_Sharpened Death Stranding FidelityFX CAS_On

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Sharpness setting do? Sharpness adjusts the level of sharpening applied from the FidelityFX CAS technology and is only available when that setting is enabled. A higher value means a much sharper image, but can introduce strange artifacts. ("On" = 0 sharpening, "Sharpened" = 100 sharpening).

Purely personal preference, sharpening is required a little bit when enabling FidelityFX CAS in Death Stranding. In our opinion, keeping the sharpening level around 20 will provide the best results without introducing weird artifacts. Though again we would love to hear your thoughts on this and let us know how much sharpening you prefer when enabling FidelityFX CAS in Death Stranding!

Performance Impact - 1/5

Priority - 2/5

------------------

¬¬advert¬¬

Depth of Field

Depth of Field graphics option Off compared to On

Death Stranding Depth of Field_On Death Stranding Depth of Field_Off

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Depth of Field setting do? Depth of Field is the process of simulating the amount of blur caused by viewing objects in the foreground or background. In Death Stranding this effect isn't used very often, and when it is it's usually very subtle, like for a brief second when zooming in on distance landmarks. The above image was one of the only times where the effect remains consistent.

Depth of Field is another one of those cinematic effects which barely makes a dent in your fps and is purely down to personal preference. You won't lose out on anything by disabling it, nor will you gain anything by enabling it. If you want your game to feel a bit more cinematic or filmic then turn on Depth of Field, otherwise leave it off.

Performance Impact - 2/5

Priority - 1/5

------------------

Motion Blur

Motion Blur graphics option Off compared to On

Death Stranding Motion Blur_On Death Stranding Motion Blur_Off

[Slide over to compare Low vs Ultra or click for enlarged image]

What does the Motion Blur setting do? Motion Blur is the process of blurring objects as they move on-screen. In Death Stranding, this effect is most noticeable on vehicles and their spinning tires, but is also present on all types of movement and the effect is stronger depending on how fast the object moves.

Just like above, motion blur is once again another cinematic effect that is down to personal preference. You can argue that it enhances immersion by adding that blur you get from fast moving objects at lower frame rates/shutter speeds, but it's also perfectly fine to disable the option if you think it looks a bit weird. Personally we don't mind it, and left it on without even thinking about it most of the time.

Performance Impact - 2/5

Priority -1/5

------------------

¬¬advert¬¬

Conclusion

Death Stranding graphics settings roundup and conclusion - Looking at all the graphics options available in Death Stranding and their performance impacts, there isn't actually a whole lot of settings that are particularly demanding.

The Memory for Streaming graphics setting is absolutely necessary especially on video cards that have the available VRAM as this option will actually increase performance by a small amount. Just make sure that you have the available video memory.

The addition of DLSS to Death Stranding is certainly welcome for those with RTX cards, as the setting will actually increase performance significantly whilst preserving image quality as best as possible. According to Nvidia, DLSS 2.0 will allow anyone with an RTX card to reach 4K 60fps performance in Death Stranding. We decided to dedicate an entire article to this technology as it warranted a deeper analysis into how much it affects performance and image quality, which we'll be able to publish shortly.