Mafia 3 – PC Performance Analysis

As you may already know, the initial version of Mafia 3 was locked at 30fps, something that frustrated a lot of PC gamers. Thankfully though, Hangar 13 was quick to react and released – in a matter of days – a patch that removed that ridiculous framerate lock. Therefore, it’s time now to see how this title performs on the PC platform.

As always, we used an Intel i7 4930K (turbo boosted at 4.2Ghz) with 8GB RAM, NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti, Windows 10 64-bit and the latest WHQL version of the GeForce drivers. NVIDIA has not included any SLI profile for this particular title, so there was no point testing our GTX690. And given the game’s high GPU requirements, we strongly suggest avoiding this title if you own GPUs equivalent to a GTX680.

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Mafia 3 is one of the few titles that stresses both the GPU and the CPU. As we can see below, our hexacore was used to its fullest in towns. The game was using all of our six CPU cores, something that really surprised us (considering there was nothing mind-blowing happening on screen). In fact, there were some scenes – during the first night mission – in which we were majorly limited by our CPU. As such, we expect a lot of i5 or i7 owners to be CPU bottlenecked, and to experience low framerates.

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In order to find out how the game scales on various CPUs, we simulated a dual-core and a quad-core CPU. In this particular scene – in which we were CPU limited – our hexa-core ran Mafia 3 with 53fps, our simulated quad-core system ran it with 44fps, and our simulated dual-core system was unable to run it.

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Things got a bit interesting when we enabled Hyper Threading. In that very same scene, our hexa-core ran the game with 44fps, our simulated quad-core system ran it with 43fps and our simulated dual-core system was able to offer a constant 30fps experience.

We also found out that the game is optimized for hexa-cores. As we can see below, the game mainly scaled on six of our twelve threads. This basically explains why our hexa-core and our simulated quad-core systems performed similarly (when Hyper-threading was enabled).

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As we’ve already said, Mafia 3 also requires a high-end GPU in order to be enjoyed. Our GTX980Ti was simply unable to offer a constant 60fps experience (at 1080p with Max settings) as we had various drops to 50fps, even when we were not CPU limited. Yes, most of the time the game did run with more than 60fps, however the game’s visuals do not really justify these ridiculous GPU requirements.

This basically means that PC gamers will need a really high-end system in order to enjoy this title at 60fps. Hangar 13 has included a limited amount of options to tweak, however all of them have an effect on the GPU side. As such, there is no way to improve performance if you are CPU limited (apart from overclocking your systems).

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PC gamers can tweak/adjust the quality of ambient occlusion, geometry detail, shadows, reflections, volumetric effects and anti-aliasing. PC gamers can also enable/disable Motion Blur and Depth of Field, and there is also an option to adjust your Field of View.

The differences between Low and High settings are really minimal (only reflections are easily noticeable when driving), so we strongly suggest lowering some if your systems are unable to offer an acceptable performance. On Low settings, our GTX980Ti was able to push 100fps and was used to its fullest (when we weren’t CPU limited). We also suggest using Low Anti-Aliasing as the higher options blur the entire image (unless you’re using a Reshade to counter this side effect). Below you can find a comparison between the game’s Low (left) and High (right) settings. Spot the differences.

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Graphics wise, Mafia 3 is a big disappointment. Even though the game requires a really powerful GPU, its visuals do not justify these requirements. The game already looks dated and does not come close to other open-world titles, like Grand Theft Auto V or The Witcher 3. While the characters are made of a high amount of polygons, they look like plastic dolls. There is noticeable pop-in of objects, and the lighting effects did not impress us at all. What also surprised us was the fact that there is no option to adjust the game’s textures. Not only that, but the game is filled with low-resolution textures.

All in all, Mafia 3 is a huge letdown. While the game performs and looks better on the PC than its console brother, it’s nowhere up to what we’ve expected. Furthermore, the game comes with some ridiculously high and unjustifiable PC requirements (regarding 60fps). Mafia 3 already looks dated, ugly and so blurry, and that’s a real shame!

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John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities.Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email