Forza Horizon 5 is the latest part of the Forza Horizon series that has already met commercial success. Powered by ForzaTech Engine, it’s time to benchmark it and see how it performs on the PC platform.
For this PC Performance Analysis, we used an Intel i9 9900K with 16GB of DDR4 at 3600Mhz, AMD’s Radeon RX580, RX Vega 64, RX 6900XT, NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti, RTX 2080Ti and RTX 3080. We also used Windows 10 64-bit, the GeForce 496.49 and the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 21.11.1 drivers.
Playground Games has implemented a lot of graphics settings to tweak. PC gamers can adjust numerous options; from Textures, Shadows and SSAO to Reflections, Shaders and LOD for environments and cars. The game also offers unlocked framerates, resolution scaling, and various FOV settings.
Now while there are a lot of settings to tweak, we did experience an issue when using a sub-native resolution. For whatever reason, the menu was getting semi-transparent whenever we were selecting a sub-native res. We could work around this issue by pressing “Alt+Enter” and running the game in Window Mode.
Forza Horizon 5 comes with a built-in benchmark tool. This benchmark features a really demanding scene, meaning that if you can run it smoothly, you will be able to enjoy the game. Since this is a demanding scenario, we’ve decided to use it for both our CPU and GPU benchmarks. Just keep in mind that this is a stress test.
In order to find out how the game scales on multiple CPU threads, we simulated a dual-core, a quad-core and a hexa-core CPU. And, surprisingly enough, the game does not require a high-end CPU. With Hyper-Threading enabled, our simulated dual-core system was able to provide a constant 60fps experience at 1080p/Extreme (with Performance Resolution Scaling so we could avoid any possible GPU bottleneck).
At 1080p/Extreme Settings, the only GPUs that could run the benchmark smoothly were our top three GPUs. To be honest, we were really shocked by the awful performance of the GTX980Ti and the Vega 64. Thankfully, and by using the High preset, both of these GPUs can run it with more than 60fps. Again, this is a stress test, however, things felt really weird.
Things got even weirder when we tried running AMD’s GPUs at 1440p/Extreme Settings. As you can see, the performance difference between 1080p and 1440p is only 5fps for the Vega 64, and 3fps for the RX 6900XT. Both of these GPUs were used at 98% at both 1080p and 1440p so no, we weren’t CPU limited. The only thing I can think of is that the benchmark has some issues with AMD’s GPUs. Still, and if that’s the case, a really demanding in-game race (especially at later stages) may also have the same issue.
In the benchmark scene, the AMD Radeon RX 6900XT also performed similarly to the NVIDIA RTX3080 in 4K/Extreme Settings. Both of these GPUs were able to provide a smooth gaming experience (although not a locked 60fps experience). The RTX2080Ti was also able to provide smooth framerates. Thankfully, those with 4K G-Sync monitors/TVs will be able to enjoy the game without noticing these drops.
Graphics-wise, Forza Horizon 5 looks absolutely stunning. We’ve already shared a video showing the game in 8K, so you know how great it looks. Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out its amazing textures (thanks mainly to photogrammetry). The game also has way less pop-in than other open-world games, and its jungle environment can look better than modern-day FPS games. Yes, a racing game can produce jungle environments equal (or even better) than COD: Vanguard or Far Cry 6. My only gripe with FH5 is its noticeable specular aliasing. You can easily notice this aliasing in the metal surfaces of the cars (when using the behind-the-car camera). Unfortunately, MSAA cannot address this issue, and FXAA is not strong enough to eliminate it.
All in all, Forza Horizon 5 looks incredible, has really low CPU requirements, and demands a high-end GPU for its Extreme settings. To be honest, we were disappointed by the performance of AMD’s GPUs and NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti. Thankfully, though, PC gamers can reduce the settings in order to improve overall performance. We also encountered some technical issues that Playground Games will have to address via some post-launch updates (the sub-native res bug is truly awful. Some users have also reported texture streaming issues when using the Ultra setting). So yeah, Forza Horizon 5 is plagued by some issues that Playground Games will have to resolve.