Battlefield V Ultra DXR Patch and Driver Performance Analysis

This DXR patch and driver performance analysis is the follow-up to BTR’s Battlefield V PC Game and Performance Review.  We found that the Ultra DXR reflections looked incredible but unfortunately, they killed performance and made the War Stories largely unplayable in some sections of the game.

Earlier this week, NVIDIA released a new Game Ready 417.22 driver which we will compare performance with the 416.94 driver from our original BFV review.  Two days ago, DICE also released a large content update with a new War Story, “Tides of War Chapter 1: Overture”.  This update promised a substantial increase in DXR ray tracing performance for Battlefield V.  NVIDIA claims the patch is supposed to increase performance by up to 50%.

The optimizations include the following which are referenced in DICE’s official patch notes:

• Made stability improvements while running the game with DXR Ray Tracing on.
• Improved performance of several components of the ray tracing implementation.
• Improved ray tracing performance against foliage and vegetation.
• Using frame buffer data, where applicable, to increase overall ray tracing quality.
• Removed inactive geometry from ray traced scenes.
• Fixed medium quality setting not applying correctly.

We shall compare the latest 417.94 drivers pre-patch with the 416.94 drivers from our original review to see what kind of performance increase NVIDIA’s driver team could achieve before the patch was applied.  We will also compare using the same new 417.21 drivers post-patch to differentiate how much improvement that DICE made with their update/DXR patch.  We have also created a new benchmark that focuses on the “Tirailleur” War Story with heavy reflections to supplement our original even more demanding benchmark that has noticeably less reflections.

Our original benchmark is taken from the most performance demanding section of War Stories, but it is set in an area with less visible reflections and almost no foliage since DICE claimed that the reflections on the foliage was a performance-killing issue.  Our second benchmark is set at the beginning of “Tirailleur” where there is a lot of foliage and many reflecting surfaces, so we now have two benchmarks to compare with each other.

DXR Ray Tracing On versus Off Visuals

Our review focuses narrowly on Ultra DXR because we believe it offers the most immersive experience.  Unfortunately, that means that the RTX 2080 Ti is the only card that can achieve above 60 FPS with Ultra DXR enabled at 2560×1440 resolution.  However, we want to see how well the RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 will each fare especially at 1920×1080.

First of all, let’s compare some scenes with Ultra DXR On versus Off.  It is almost impossible to capture identical screenshots since the scenes are dynamic, but these captures by Ansel are similar.  First check out the screenshot without DXR.


It looks great with a lot of detailing and it makes use of traditional rasterization techniques to achieve the effects that improve on the realistic look of the battlefield.  Now let’s turn DXR On.


When DXR is On, the fire from the burning vehicle is ray traced on the muddy ground and in the water puddles to reflect far more realistically.  Now let’s look at a second example, first with DXR Off.


Again, it looks great with DXR Off.  The shadows are well done, and there are pseudo reflections using traditional rasterization techniques which help to increase immersion.  Now let’s turn DXR On.

The reflection of the soldier becomes much clearer, and the fire of the burning vehicle is now reflected on the muddy ground, and especially by the water, even at a long distance from the fire.  It is important to note that screenshots do not fully capture the DXR effects as well as with the camera and the player in motion.  After playing with DXR On, this editor really misses their effects when they are turned Off.

Let’s check out our Test Configuration before we look at performance, pre- and post-patch, and with NVIDIA’s latest Game Ready 417.22 versus 416.95 drivers, and especially with our new benchmark.