Still Wakes the Deep feature

Still Wakes the Deep Benchmarks & PC Performance Analysis

Secret Mode has lifted the review embargo for The Chinese Room’s first-person narrative horror game, Still Wakes the Deep. Powered by Unreal Engine 5, it’s time to benchmark it and examine its performance on the PC.

For our benchmarks, we used an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, 32GB of DDR5 at 6000Mhz, 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 555.99, and the Radeon Adrenalin Edition 24.5.1 drivers. Moreover, we’ve disabled the second CCD on our 7950X3D.

The Chinese Room has included a respectable number of graphics settings. PC gamers can adjust the quality of Lighting, Shadows, Textures, Geometry Detail, Visual Effects and Post-Processing. The game also supports NVIDIA DLSS 3, AMD FSR 3.0 and Intel XeSS. Moreover, The Chinese Room has added an FOV slider in the Accessibility options. I’m mentioning this because a) a lot of you will miss it and b) the default FOV is really low for when playing on a PC monitor.

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Still Wakes the Deep does not feature any built-in benchmark tool. So, for our benchmarks, we used this custom scene. This should give us a pretty good idea of how the rest of the game runs.

Still Wakes the Deep - Native 4K vs DLSS 3 - NVIDIA RTX 4090 - Epic Settings - Unreal Engine 5

Before continuing, I should note some issues with AMD FSR 3.0 and NVIDIA DLSS 3. Right now, AMD FSR 3.0 Frame Generation is not working at all. On the other hand, NVIDIA DLSS 3 Super Resolution defaults to Balanced Mode. No matter what you select, DLSS 3 SR will be locked in Balanced Mode. We’ve already informed the devs about these issues, so hopefully they’ll be able to address them via a post-launch update.

Still Wakes the Deep is a GPU-bound title. Our NVIDIA RTX4090 was maxed out even at 1080p/Epic Settings. So, there was no point at all testing different CPU configurations. Most of you will be GPU-limited in this title. Despite that, we simulated a dual-core CPU (without SMT/Hyper-Threading) to see how it runs this latest UE5 game. I also lowered the resolution to 720p/Epic Settings. And, as I suspected, our simulated dual-core system had no trouble at all running the game. While it had some noticeable traversal stutters, it was able to push above 70fps at all times.

At 1080p/Epic Settings, you’ll need an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or an AMD Radeon RX6900 XT to get a constant 70fps experience. Keep in mind that Still Wakes the Deep uses Software Lumen and Nanite on Epic Settings.

Still Wakes the Deep benchmarks-1

At 1440p/Epic Settings, the only GPUs that could push framerates higher than 60fps at all times were the AMD Radeon RX 7900XTX and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090. As for Native 4K/Epic Settings, there is no GPU that can offer 60fps.

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As I’ve said numerous times, Lumen is a form of Ray Tracing, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. By enabling DLSS 3 Frame Generation, owners of the RTX4090 can get over 80fps at all times at 4K/Epic Settings.

It’s also worth noting that Still Wakes the Deep offers settings that can noticeably improve performance. By lowering the settings to High, we were able to get a constant 60fps at Native 4K on the NVIDIA RTX 4090. By lowering our settings to Medium and Low, we got an additional 13% and 27% performance boost, respectively.

Still Wakes the Deep benchmarks-4

Graphics-wise, Still Wakes the Deep looks overall amazing. The game’s lighting takes full advantage of Software Lumen and it looks great. It’s pretty incredible what small studios can achieve with UE5. Just look at the screenshots and the video. The lighting and the materials look incredible.

However, there are some graphical issues. For instance, I noticed some annoying noise artifacts and occlusion issues. These issues are mostly due to Software Lumen. It would have been great if the devs allowed PC gamers to enable Hardware Lumen. Hardware as that would fix them. Alas, there is no such setting in the game. I also spotted some pop-in issues on characters. So, my guess is that the devs used Nanite for the game’s environments and objects (as those don’t suffer from any pop-ins), and not for the characters.

All in all, Still Wakes the Deep performs like most UE5 games. The game uses Software Lumen and Nanite, and it looks amazing. Not only that but the game will pre-compile its shaders the first time you launch it, meaning that you won’t be experiencing any shader compilation stutters. As I said, the game also suffers from some visual artifacts. Still, it pushes visuals that can compete with the games of other triple-A studios. And yes, Lumen is demanding and you’ll need a high-end GPU, especially for gaming at native resolutions. However, contrary to some early UE5 games, you can increase the game’s performance by lowering its in-game settings. Or you can use an upscaling tech.


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