Upcoming Alan Wake 2 patch drastically improves GTX 10-series performance

March 3, 2024
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Alan Wake 2 was one of the most visually stunning games of 2023 – but also one of the most demanding for older hardware. Owing to its use of DX12 Ultimate mesh shaders, the game could run on older hardware but often delivered an unplayable experience, especially on Nvidia’s GTX 10-series GPUs built on the Pascal architecture. This is an issue because so many of them are still in use: around nine percent of the Steam Hardware Survey’s GPUs are 10-series cards. Last week, Remedy approached us with the chance to preview a PC patch going live on March 6th, which radically improves matters for Pascal users. At the same time, it’s a golden opportunity for us to revisit Remedy’s other work on the game since launch.

Nvidia’s GTX 1060 remains one of the most oldest and popular GPUs still in use, so it’s a good initial focus for this piece. Its lack of mesh shader support is its undoing in Alan Wake 2. Mesh shaders give developers greater control over how much geometry is rendered on screen at any given moment, potentially allowing for much greater level of detail. Alan Wake 2 is a mesh shading showcase, with some incredible, highly detailed assets that look great viewed from far away or in extreme close-up.

The game does function on GPUs that don’t support mesh shaders, but poor performance and visual errors are the problem: the GTX 1060 at 1080p on FSR 2 quality mode, married up with PS5’s performance mode quality presets delivers a game typically running under 60fps, more usually hitting circa 15fps. Game frame-rate is so low, even game speed and audio playback are compromised.

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