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Baldurs Gate 3 PC performance report - Graphics card benchmarks and API comparison
By Chad Norton on October 8th, 2020 at 09:30am - original article from game-debate

The time has come, and Baldur's Gate 3 is officially here in Early Access form. It's already done pretty well in terms of sales, but its still early days in terms of raw PC performance. So how well does BG3 run at the moment? Is it acceptable? Or is there room for improvement during Early Access? We take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for ¬¬g_id:20906[Baldurs Gate 3]¬¬, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end RTX 2080, the lower-end R9 380 which is close to the minimum required GPU, as well as the mid-range GTX 1060 which is the recommended GPU for 60fps High graphics settings in Baldurs Gate 3. Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Baldurs Gate III really is.

Baldur's Gate III unfortunately does not include any sort of in-game benchmarking tool, so for these performance benchmark results below we started a new game, ran around in one of the early areas and fought a couple enemies. Overall, we believe this segment is pretty representative of most of your experience in Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access.

Additionally, upon starting Baldurs Gate 3 you will be greeted with the official launcher, where you may choose between using the Vulkan or DirectX11 API. Vulkan is recommended to use for Baldur's Gate 3 and so all results listed below were done using the Vulkan API.

However, we found that the FPS performance between DirectX11 and Vulkan to be pretty significant, and as such provide a detailed look between DX11 and Vulkan FPS at the bottom of this article, looking at the performance differences between the two APIs on the RTX 2080, GTX 1060, and R9 380 graphics cards.

With that in mind, let's jump into the performance benchmarks for Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access...

Baldurs Gate 3 PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run Baldurs Gate 3 system requirements

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Baldur's Gate 3 minimum system requirements

Baldur's Gate 3 recommended system requirements

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CLICK ANY IMAGE IN THIS PAGE TO EXPAND THE IMAGE

Baldurs Gate 3 RTX 2080 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Intel i9-9900K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 Nvidia RTX 2080 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 164.9 164.3 133.5 109.5 107.6
Min FPS 151.3 154.8 124 94.9 90.7
Max FPS 192.1 174.5 151.5 123.4 130.1
1% Low FPS 96.4 94.9 93.3 74.6 62.2
0.1% Low FPS 87.5 45.8 71.9 59.4 52

The FPS performance for the RTX 2080 in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access is unsurprisingly really good at 1080p resolution, reaching above 100fps performance even at Ultra graphics settings. In the end, the RTX 2080 is perfectly suitable for playing Baldurs Gate 3 at 1080p.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 121.7 115.5 101.6 81.7 72
Min FPS 107.4 110 92.8 68.9 63.1
Max FPS 135.1 127.3 111.5 94.2 81.6
1% Low FPS 91.1 74.1 68.6 53.3 49
0.1% Low FPS 27.3 61.1 58 9.9 39.3

At 1440p, the FPS performance for the RTX 2080 in Baldurs Gate 3 is also really good, achieving more than 70fps at the Ultra graphics settings. Making the RTX 2080 also perfectly suitable for playing Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access at 1440p resolution.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 117.2 111.1 95.1 80.9 68.9
Min FPS 104 99.3 87.9 58.8 64.3
Max FPS 127.3 123.7 101.7 89.8 75.2
1% Low FPS 88.9 79.9 75.1 47.9 47.9
0.1% Low FPS 68.9 26.8 53.5 7.6 39.6

Finally, the FPS performance for the RTX 2080 at 4K resolution in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access is also really good, reaching just under 70fps at Ultra graphics settings. So the RTX 2080 is also great for playing Baldurs Gate 3 at 4K resolution as well.

Interestingly, there's not much of a performance difference between 1440p and 4K resolution, so if you have a higher resolution monitor you may as well keep it at 4K resolution instead of 1440p. Overall, the RTX 2080 is perfect for playing Baldurs Gate 3 at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions at the highest graphics settings.

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Baldurs Gate 3 GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 Nvidia GTX 1060 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 88.9 88.4 74.3 55.9 53.3
Min FPS 66.6 73 64.1 50.6 47.2
Max FPS 106.1 105.1 84.9 66 63.5
1% Low FPS 39.8 71.7 64 50 46.4
0.1% Low FPS 3.9 68.9 63 49 45.6

At 1080p the FPS performance in Baldurs Gate 3 with the GTX 1060 is pretty good, reaching just over 50fps at the Ultra graphics settings. The GTX 1060 is the recommended GPU for Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access and achieves deent performance even if under 60fps at the highest graphics settings and is still comfortable to play at Ultra.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 84.5 82.2 71.7 54.3 51.5
Min FPS 68.7 66.6 60.4 44.4 42.8
Max FPS 96.1 92.6 77.6 60 58.3
1% Low FPS 68.1 65.5 59.5 43.9 42.5
0.1% Low FPS 66.4 63.7 57.7 42.8 15.1

At 1440p, the GTX 1060's FPS performance in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access is still pretty good, once again delivering just over 50fps at Ultra graphics settings. All in all, the GTX 1060 is perfectly playable at 1440p resolution in Baldurs Gate 3.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 79.9 77.3 67.2 50.9 48
Min FPS 72.1 70.7 64.6 49.2 45.8
Max FPS 101.1 97.8 81.9 64.5 62.3
1% Low FPS 71.5 69.5 63.5 48.8 45.1
0.1% Low FPS 68.5 66.8 61.6 47.9 44.3

Finally, the FPS performance for the GTX 1060 in Baldurs Gate 3 is still good even at 4K resolution and Ultra graphics settings. Whilst it reaches just under 50fps at the highest graphics options, its still comfortable and playable at this framerate.

Overall, the GTX 1060 is perfectly suitable for playing Baldurs Gate 3 at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions at the highest graphics settings. Being the recommended graphics card for Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access, this is great performance for the GTX 1060.

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Baldurs Gate 3 R9 380 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 AMD R9 380 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 59.7 59 46.2 36.9 21.3
Min FPS 44.9 50.1 39.3 31.9 18
Max FPS 74.5 73 55 41.9 25.9
1% Low FPS 19.2 49.9 39.4 31.7 15.3
0.1% Low FPS 3.1 36 29.8 16.6 8.3

The FPS performance of the R9 380 at 1080p in Baldurs Gate 3 is okay, whilst it only just reaches above 30fps at the High graphics settings this is still perfectly comfortable to play at. Though Ultra graphics settings dips below 30fps and started to become quite uncomfortable to play.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 53.1 52.7 44.6 31.9 18.6
Min FPS 43.5 44.1 38.1 26.4 15.8
Max FPS 63.8 61.8 50.7 36.1 22.3
1% Low FPS 43.4 44 37.9 27.3 15.4
0.1% Low FPS 42.4 43 37.2 6.2 14.2

The FPS performance at 1440p for the R9 380 in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access is still okay, and still comfortable to play at High graphics settings. Once again Ultra settings here aren't that great and became quite uncomfortable to play, so its not recommended to play on those graphics settings at 1440p resolution.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 51.7 51.1 44.3 27.8 17
Min FPS 45.1 44.8 38 22.9 14.1
Max FPS 65.7 61.7 54 32.9 20.7
1% Low FPS 44.1 44.1 36.6 15.6 13.4
0.1% Low FPS 28.6 29.5 25.9 5.9 12.2

Finally at 4K resolution, the R9 380's FPS performance is surprisingly still pretty good, though its recommended to stay at Medium graphics settings here instead as High or Ultra settings result in sub-30fps performance and can become quite uncomfortable to play.

Overall, the R9 380 is close to the minimum required GPU of R9 280X, and as such is a pretty decent card to play at 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K resolutions. If you want to play Baldurs Gate 3 at 1080p or 1440p resolutions, its recommended to stick to High graphics settings, and at 4K is better to play at Medium settings to stay at a comfortable performance.

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Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access DirectX11 vs Vulkan API performance comparison

Upon launching Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access, you will be greeted with the official launcher that asks whether you want to use the Vulkan or DirectX11 API. Vulkan is selected by default as it is also the recommended API to use when playing Baldurs Gate 3, but how much of a performance difference is there between DirectX11 and Vulkan? We take a look at the benchmark results between each API and compare them against the Vulkan results for each GPU above.

Baldurs Gate 3 RTX 2080 DirectX11 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Intel i9-9900K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 Nvidia RTX 2080 DirectX11 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 215.7 210.9 188.9 138.6 130.7
Min FPS 198.4 173.5 146.8 105.7 111.8
Max FPS 236.4 241.7 218.8 179 154.8
1% Low FPS 131.2 83.3 100.4 59.2 88.8
0.1% Low FPS 61.3 9.6 11.3 4.3 11.4

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 163.3 139.5 112.7 87 83.8
Min FPS 138.8 119.5 95.9 79.9 70.3
Max FPS 191.2 161.3 123.8 96.2 93.8
1% Low FPS 98.5 98.5 78.7 74 49.7
0.1% Low FPS 51.1 64.1 10 59 7.4

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4022[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 80.8 79.3 70.4 46.4 44.5
Min FPS 63.3 62.8 53.4 40.2 40.7
Max FPS 117.9 105.9 82.8 55.2 54.6
1% Low FPS 59.8 60.8 51.6 39.3 37.5
0.1% Low FPS 50.7 56.3 49 36.1 2.9

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Baldurs Gate 3 GTX 1060 DirectX11 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 Nvidia GTX 1060 DirectX11 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 104 101.4 85.4 63.2 60
Min FPS 89.4 90.4 76.6 57 52.4
Max FPS 122 116.1 99.8 77.1 73.8
1% Low FPS 84.2 87.4 76.1 56.1 51.7
0.1% Low FPS 18.5 71 74.2 54.8 11.2

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 65.4 63.4 52.5 40.3 39
Min FPS 57.7 57.3 47 36.4 34.8
Max FPS 77.5 76.3 60.5 47.6 47.8
1% Low FPS 56.4 56.3 46.7 35.5 34.3
0.1% Low FPS 55.1 55.1 45.2 34.8 33.5

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 33.3 32.3 26.6 20.4 20.2
Min FPS 29.1 28.2 23.4 17.9 17.6
Max FPS 40.4 39 30.7 24.7 25
1% Low FPS 28.9 28 23.3 17.7 17.5
0.1% Low FPS 27.6 26.6 22.9 17.5 15.9

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Baldurs Gate 3 R9 380 DirectX11 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Baldurs Gate 3 AMD R9 380 DirectX11 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1080p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 69.1 68.3 57.3 40.2 38
Min FPS 61 56.6 50 35.3 32.8
Max FPS 84.8 83.2 65.1 45.7 45.3
1% Low FPS 16.5 16.6 15.7 13.7 26.5
0.1% Low FPS 16.1 15.4 14.9 13.4 13.1

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 1440p using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 45 43.8 34.4 25.9 24.9
Min FPS 37 35.6 28.5 18.2 20.1
Max FPS 55.9 55.3 41.2 29.8 28.6
1% Low FPS 14.3 14.3 13.1 11.1 11.3
0.1% Low FPS 13.5 13.5 12.2 10.2 10.8

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Baldurs Gate 3 @ 4K using DirectX11 API

Baldurs Gate 3 Very low Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 22.3 21.7 17.8 12.6 11.9
Min FPS 17.9 15.2 14.1 10.2 9.7
Max FPS 29.5 28.8 21.5 15 14.6
1% Low FPS 8.1 8 7.8 6.3 6.1
0.1% Low FPS 7.9 7.2 7.4 6.1 5.9

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Is there a difference in FPS performance between the DirectX11 and Vulkan API?

Looking at all these results above, we can see that there is a significant difference in performance between the DirectX11 and Vulkan APIs, though it is dependent on what resolution you are using.

For instance, at 1080p resolution, DirectX11 has a significantly higher FPS performance than Vulkan, but this switches around at 4K resolution where Vulkan tends to take the lead instead. This reveals that the DX11 API is best suited for lower resolutions and Vulkan for higher resolutions like 4K.

DirectX11 average performance increase over Vulkan API:

  R9 380 GTX 1060 RTX 2080
1080p 28.58% 14.19% 29.74%
1440p -7.99% -24.46% 17.75%
4K -51.78% -58.96% -32.74%

At 1080p, DirectX11 achieves 28.58% better FPS using the R9 380 GPU, 14.19% for the GTX 1060, and 29.74% for the RTX 2080.

At 1440p, DirectX11 actually achieves -7.99% FPS when using th R9 380, and -24.46% for the GTX 1060, achieving worse FPS results overall than the Vulkan API. However, the RTX 2080 actually achieves 17.75% better FPS at 1440p over Vulkan.

Finally, at 4K resolution, DirectX11 performs -51.78% compared to Vulkan when using the R9 380, -58.96% using the GTX 1060, and -32.74% with the RTX 2080.

When should you use DirectX11 API in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access?

DirectX11 API seems to be best suited for lower resolutions like 1080p, so if you're going to be playing Baldur's Gate 3 at 1080p resolution then it is suggested to use DirectX11 instead of Vulkan.

When should you use Vulkan API in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access?

On the other hand, Vulkan appears to be better suited for higher resolutions like 4K, so if you're planning on playing Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access at 4K resolution, Vulkan would be the best choice of API over DirectX11.

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Conclusion

Overall, Baldurs Gate 3 is not a very demanding game, even if it doesn't hit a stable 60fps with the recommended GPU the GTX 1060 it is still pretty good performance and still comfortable to play at that frame rate.

The FPS performance scaling across different resolutions also doesn't seem to affect performance that much, and so most players with higher resolution monitors may as well up the resolution to either 1440p and 4K as the performance hit isn't that much.

There are some stability issues with the Early Access version, but overall we found these to be few and far between. We didn't experience any crashes whilst benchmarking, but the FPS performance would sometimes be a little off unless we alt-tabbed out the game and back in or reset the screen resolution and reloaded our last save. If you experience some performance anomalies with Baldurs Gate 3 you should try those steps first to see if they fix them at all for you.

Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access also recommends using the Vulkan API when launching the game, and in terms of DirectX11 versus Vulkan, performane seems to vary depending on resolution and the graphis card you are using.

In order to achieve the best FPS results at 1080p resolution, you should absolutely use the DirectX11 API over Vulkan. Whilst at 4K resolution you should instead use Vulkan to achieve the best FPS.

In order to achieve the best FPS results at 1440p, you should try these tests yourself, as at this resolution the difference in FPS seems to vary based on the graphics card being used. As the Vulkan API is best used for the R9 380 and GTX 1060 GPUs at 1440p resolution, whereas DirectX11 is best suited for when using the RTX 2080.

Let us know if you notice a significant difference between the DirectX11 and Vulkan APIs in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access, and at which resolution and what graphics card you are using! That way we can all see what's the best option to get the best FPS performance depending on our hardware and resolution preferences.