It’s time to decide if you’ve waited long enough to upgrade to a new GPU
With the pending release of Alan Wake 2, could PC hardware enthusiasts have another Crysis on their hands? By now you have probably heard that this new game requires a feature – Mesh Shaders – which is not supported by graphics cards as recent as AMD’s Radeon 5000 Series and NVIDIA’s GeForce 10 Series. At minimum you will need a card from the AMD Radeon 6000 Series, NVIDIA RTX 20 Series, or Intel Arc.
It may be hard to believe, but it has been five years since the launch of RTX, with the RTX 2080 introduction back in September of 2018. And while the advantages of real-time ray tracing have been pretty hotly contested (let’s face it, enhancements to reflections or shadows aren’t always so easy to notice in real time), once you have seen a fully ray traced title you might just become a convert. Path tracing is the future (and it’s very, very hard on hardware).
I’ve only watched video and looked at screenshots so far, and the performance numbers – even with an RTX 4090 – make this an obvious DLSS showcase, but in spite of my pessimistic outlook I’m feeling actual excitement about the visuals in AW2, and I rarely get excited about anything in this industry anymore. We will have to wait until the official release to hear feedback beyond influencers and reviewers, naturally, and I’m eager to hear some real-world feedback from those equipped to run the game on PC.
You are not seeing things – that’s an NVIDIA slide showing 32.8 FPS (DLSS off) with an RTX 4090. DLSS will be a must at 4K
Even if this title doesn’t appeal to you, it’s only a matter of time until more PC games start to require features that 5+ year old GPUs just can’t provide, and that’s the way it always was. Sure, there isn’t the explosive growth in PC hardware that we saw in the 1990s through the early 2000s, but it is promising that, perhaps, we are seeing another shift. Perhaps this is a good sign for the hobby.
While not a given, it would be nice if game developers continue to make use of new PC hardware features. The hobby hasn’t felt exciting in years, and gamers aren’t the problem. Extravagant hardware prices aren’t worth it for lame console ports, and if a game runs best on a $500 console then what sense does spending thousands on hardware make?
Enough of my editorial rambling. You can read NVIDIA’s post on Alan Wake 2, with additional screenshots and interactive RTX on/off comparisons, by following this link.