Warner Bros has just released Avalanche’s third-person action-adventure Harry Potter game, Hogwarts Legacy. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, it’s time now to benchmark it and see how it performs on the PC platform.
For this PC Performance Analysis, we used an Intel i9 9900K, 16GB of DDR4 at 3800Mhz, AMD’s Radeon RX580, RX Vega 64, RX 6900XT, RX 7900XTX, NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti, RTX 2080Ti, RTX 3080 and RTX 4090. We also used Windows 10 64-bit, the GeForce 528.49 and the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 22.11.2 drivers (for the RX7900XTX we used the special 23.1.2 driver).
Avalanche has added a lot of PC graphics settings to tweak. PC gamers can adjust the quality of Textures, Shadows, Fog, Foliage, View Distance and more. Furthermore, the game features Ray Tracing for Reflections, Shadows and Ambient Occlusion. There is also support for all available PC upscaling techniques; from NVIDIA’s DLSS to AMD’s FSR and Intel’s XeSS.
Hogwarts Legacy does not feature any built-in benchmark tool. There is a “Benchmark” setting, however, that setting is simply measuring your PC system and recommends specific settings. So, for our GPU tests, we benchmarked the Prologue area. And as for our CPU tests, we benchmarked the Hogsmeade area. Moreover, for our CPU tests, we used the AMD Radeon RX 7900XTX.
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. Our simulated dual-core PC system was able to offer a smooth gaming experience at 1080p/Ultra/No Ray Tracing. Also, it appears that the game can take advantage of up to six CPU cores/threads. Unfortunately for owners of CPUs equipped with more than six CPU cores, Hyper-Threading does not bring any performance improvements. However, HT does not also negatively affect the game’s performance, so that’s at least good news.
At 1080p/Ultra Settings/No RT, you’ll need a GPU that is equivalent to the RTX2080Ti for gaming with 60fps. Furthermore, and as we’ve already reported, there is a huge DX12 driver overhead on NVIDIA’s GPUs. As such, the AMD Radeon RX7900XTX can be up to 40fps faster than the RTX4090 at lower resolutions on older PC systems.
At 1440p/Ultra Settings/No RT, the RTX2080Ti is unable to offer a constant 60fps experience. On the other hand, the RTX4090 manages to match the performance of the RX7900XTX (though the minimum framerates were better on AMD’s GPU). And as for native 4K/Ultra Settings/No RT, the only GPUs that could offer a smooth gaming experience were the AMD Radeon RX7900XTX and the NVIDIA RTX4090. At native 4K, the RTX4090 was able to beat the RX7900XTX, however, the performance gap between them was still relatively low.
As said, the game uses Ray Tracing in order to enhance its Shadows, Reflections and Ambient Occlusion. Their implementation, however, is not that great. Below you can find some comparison screenshots. The RT screenshots are on the left, whereas the non-RT screenshots are on the right. As you can see, RTAO looks awful and worse than SSAO. RT Shadows also suffer from major pop-in issues, and we suggest disabling them. Thankfully, though, there are ways to improve the game’s RT effects. Therefore, we highly recommend using these RT tweaks.
Do note that for our benchmarks, we used the vanilla RT settings, and not the tweaked ones.
At native 1080p/Ultra Settings/RT Ultra, the RTX4090 and the RX7900XTX were able to push over 60fps at all times. At native 1440p/Ultra/RT Ultra, the only GPU that was able to run the game smoothly was the RTX4090. And as for native 4K/Ultra/RT Ultra, there wasn’t any GPU that could come close to 60fps.
By enabling DLSS 2.0 Quality and FSR 2.0 Quality (for the RX7900XTX), we get some interesting results. At 1080p/Ultra/RT Ultra, the RX7900XTX was able to beat the RTX4090. NVIDIA’s DX12 driver overhead is once again causing bottlenecks here. At 1440p/Ultra/RT Ultra, the RTX3080, RTX4090 and RX7900XTX were able to run the game smoothly. And as for 4K, the only GPU that could run Hogwarts Legacy with constant 60fps was the RTX4090.
Hogwarts Legacy also supports DLSS 3, and we highly recommend using it. With DLSS 3, PC gamers can reduce the DX12 driver overhead, and improve overall performance. Seriously, this is a must-have feature. With DLSS 3 Quality, we were able to get over 100fps at 4K/Ultra/RT Ultra at all times. We also did not notice the extra input latency, so make sure to enable it if you own an RTX40 series GPU.
Graphics-wise, Hogwarts Legacy looks absolutely phenomenal. As I’ve already said, the game gave me some “Assassin’s Creed Unity” vibes. Its pre-baked Global Illumination is among the best I’ve ever seen, and there are a lot of high-resolution textures. Its character 3D models are also among the best I’ve seen. This is a PC graphical showcase, and it certainly justifies its GPU requirements.
Before closing, I’d like to note that I had no trouble at all with the game when using 16GB of RAM. I’ve played for over 8 hours, and I only got some traversal stutters (that will happen to everyone, no matter the amount of RAM you have). Speaking of stutters, the game will compile its shaders the first time you launch it. As such, you won’t experience any shader compilation stutters. The game also requires a lot of VRAM, especially when using its Ultra Textures. Since it offers a setting to reduce them, I highly recommend lowering it in case you own GPUs with less than 12GB of VRAM. So let your ego aside and use the game’s settings.
All in all, Hogwarts Legacy will run on a wide range of PC configurations, especially without its Ray Tracing effects. DLSS 2 also appears to be great, so I highly recommend its Quality Mode in order to improve overall performance. By using DLSS 2 Quality, RTX3080 owners can get constant 60fps at 4K with Ultra Settings and High Textures.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a perfect PC game. Yes, there is still room for improvement. For instance, the game’s RT effects are underwhelming without using any tweaks. Avalanche should also address the game’s traversal stutters. Additionally, NVIDIA should minimize its huge DX12 driver overhead. Still, and despite these issues, Hogwarts Legacy can run smoothly on a wide range of PC configurations!