Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

PC System Requirements and Optimised Settings

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

PC System Requirements and Optimised Settings

Red Dead Redemption 2 was designed to extract all of the performance that today's console has to offer, delivering some of the best visuals of this generation and more than what many thought was possible on today's hardware. 

On PC, Rockstar can push things to even higher levels, using the Vulkan API and DirectX 12 alongside one of the most generous graphical options menus that we have ever seen on a PC game. 

Red Dead Redemption 2's minimum PC system requirements are designed for 30FPS gameplay, recommending a Radeon graphics card that is not much better than what's available on Sony's PlayStation 4 console. With this in mind, PC gamers shouldn't expect to use Red Dead Redemption 2's highest settings if they are using hardware that's similar to the game's minimum requirements.  

Minimum specifications:

OS: Windows 7 - Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD FX-6300
Memory: 8GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB HDD
Space: 150GB
Sound Card: DirectX compatible

Recommended specifications:

OS: Windows 10 - April 2018 Update (v1803)
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
Memory: 12GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
HDD Space: 150GB
Sound Card: DirectX compatible


Optimised Settings

While Red Dead Redemption 2 offers gamers quality presets, these presets are not the same for every graphics card. "Balanced" means a different thing for every graphics card, and only Red Dead Redemption 2's Maximum preset was the same for every GPU we tested. Beyond this, lies some higher graphical settings that Even Rockstar won't turn on, such as MSAA, though our guess is that many of these settings are engine-level features that Rockstar didn't feel like removing. MSAA and Reflection MSAA are both available in Grand Theft Auto 5. 

We decided to create what we'll call "Optimised Presets" for Red Dead Redemption 2, all of which will deliver PC gamers a great visual experience. If your graphics card has more than 4GB of VRAM, you will be able to run this game with Ultra Textures and almost all PC gamers will be able to utilise X16 Anisotropic Filtering without any issues. These two features will prevent Red Dead Redemption 2 from looking like a blurry mess at lower settings. 

At 4K, we used our Custom Low settings to get 50-60 FPS gameplay from our Radeon RX 5700 Red Devil at 4K while maintaining some great graphics. Yes, it doesn't look as good as our higher settings, but it still looks excellent on our 4K screen, even when compared to the game's console release. 

Below are the settings that we used during our testing. We made sure that all of these settings were in place before and after every benchmark run to ensure the validity of our results.  

If we were to change anything, we would enable SSAO in our Low Preset and use Medium Volumetrics Quality at High. This would help to maintain a better balance between performance and graphics in both cases. 

 Low MediumHighMax PresetMaxed Out
Quality Preset LevelCustomCustomCustom20/20Custom
Texture QualityUltra
Anisotropic FilteringX16
Lighting QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Global Illumination QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Shadow QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Far Shadow QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Screen Space Ambient OcclusionOffMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Reflection Quality LowMediumHighHigh Ultra 
Mirror QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Water QualityLowMediumHighHigh Custom 
Volumetrics QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Particle QualityLowMediumMediumMedium Ultra 
Tessellation QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
TAAMediumMediumHighHigh High 
Advanced Settings Unlocked
Graphics APIVulkan
Near Volumetric ResolutionLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Far Volumetric ResolutionLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Volumetric Lighting QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Unlocked Volumetric Raymarch Res.OffOffOffOffOn 
Particle Lighting QualityLowMediumMediumMedium Ultra 
Soft ShadowsOffOffHighUltra Ultra 
Grass ShadowsLowMediumHighHigh High 
Long ShadowsOffOffOnOn On 
Full Resolution SSAOOffOffOnOn On 
Water Refraction QualityLowMediumHighHigh High 
Water Reflection QualityLowMediumHighHigh High 
Water Physics Quality1/42/43/43/4 4/4 
Resolution ScaleOffOffOffOffOff
TAA Sharpening20/20
Motion BlurOn
Reflection MSAAOffOffOffOffX8
Geometry LOD2/53/54/5 5/55/5 
Grass LOD4/106/108/1010/10 10/10 
Tree QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Parallax Occlusion Mapping QualityLowMediumHighUltra Ultra 
Decal QualityLowMediumHighHigh Ultra 
Fur QualityMedium High 
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Most Recent Comments

07-11-2019, 14:31:24

If Nvidia don't release a driver that massively improves performance, I can imagine when AMD release their RTX 2080 Super competitor whenever they do, it could actually match a 2080Ti. It's interesting considering GTA V has been one of AMD's worst games. It's one of the most popular of all time yet AMD could never catch Nvidia.Quote

07-11-2019, 15:03:47

I am just surprised he got the game to launch let alone testing it Quote

07-11-2019, 15:12:27

LOL, yeah I hear this game wreaks havoc on certain antivirus software.Quote

08-11-2019, 08:59:59

BIG Congrats TOM with getting out this guide , it's the first I found !

That's the way to do it alive and kicking Kudos.Quote

08-11-2019, 09:09:25

Another fantastic article, thank you Mark !

Nice to know that with reduced settings I can play this at 4k on pretty much any of the three rigs I will have shortly. Whether I will get it though? IDK. I'm not a fan of Rstars games really. Well, apart from Max Payne 3.Quote

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