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DOOM Eternal PC Graphics and Performance Impressions

One hell of a beast

Poorna Shankar Posted:
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It goes without saying DOOM Eternal deserves to be played on PC with a mouse and keyboard. This piece will take a look at how it runs on PC in a more general PC performance impressions. Just how well does DOOM Eternal run on PC? How many options are available to us PC gamers? All that and more lies below. And stay tuned for our PC review which hits later today.

This article will discuss a few pieces of information that I think will be most valuable to PC gamers:

  • My PC specs so you can (somewhat) gauge your own performance, and get an understanding of just how well optimized the game is.
  • Settings to tweak to gain performance – I’m placing this up front for those of you who just want to know what to turn down to save on performance, and may not necessarily care about various other options in the game
  • Graphics options
  • Key binding, mouse, and audio options
  • Conclusion

My PC Specs

First up, here are the specs of my PC. I list these so as to provide context for the rest of this discussion with respect to performance and visuals. Note, I am fully aware not everyone has access to such high end hardware. It should nevertheless provide comfort knowing that DOOM Eternal is incredibly well optimized, and running at very high framerates should be possible even on more mainstream hardware.

  • CPU: i7 8700k (OC)
  • GPU: Zotac Gaming RTX 2080 Ti (OC)
  • DRIVERS: Nvidia 442.74 (Game Ready driver)
  • MOTHERBOARD: Aorus Z370 Gaming 7
  • RAM: XPG Spectrix D60G 16 GB @ 3200 MHz
  • MONITOR: Acer Predator X34 3440 x 1440 Gsync @ 120 Hz
  • Game installed to 1 TB Samsung 970 EVO NVME
  • FOV maxed (120), all graphics enabled or maxed out

Settings To Reduce for Performance

In general, there are six total presets for graphics quality:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High
  • Ultra
  • Nightmare
  • Ultra-Nightmare

If you are looking to gain back some performance, there are four big ones to reduce right away (in order of how they appear in the graphics settings):

  • Texture Pool
  • Reflections Quality
  • Shadow Quality
  • Water Quality

Texture pool is reliant on how much VRAM (memory) you have on your graphics card. In short, if you have 8 GB of VRAM, you can get away with selecting Ultra. However, Shadow Quality is also reliant on VRAM. If you have a card with limited VRAM, you might want to tweak these two accordingly.

Additionally, Shadow Quality has an impact on performance directly. Low shadows still look acceptable, but honestly, you might be able to get away with High or Ultra shadows on a mainstream graphics card.

Reflections can be a bit intense as well, especially given all the blood and gore which gets piled up as you rip and tear. Turning this down one or two notches should help without a huge hit to visuals. The same goes for Water Quality. For mainstream cards, setting these to High or Ultra should do just fine.

Graphics Options

DOOM Eternal is utilizing the Vulkan API in their latest id Tech 7 engine powering the game. I’m a huge fan of Vulkan, primarily because it allows developers to create some seriously impressive looking visuals, while delivering extremely high performance. This notion of having our cake and eating it too is what I love about PC gaming. Unlike consoles, we really can have the best visuals and best performance.

id Software has really catered to us PC gamers. There are a metric ton of options for us to tweak. I won’t go through every single one, but see the images below on just what there is on offer:

There are a few things to note in the options available, and even in how these options are presented. For starters, it’s great to see extensive colorblind options. This is becoming the norm over the last few years, and it’s great to see id include them here.

Second, the tooltip text is extremely threadbare, and provides no real indication on what each graphics setting does, nor its performance impact. Additionally, while there exists a VRAM usage indicator, there are no tool tip images showing you a visual example of the settings you’re about the change. This is just a huge miss in my opinion. For a PC company like id, I really do expect detailed tooltips, image examples, and the impact to performance listed for each setting. The space on the right hand side is completely wasted and could have been used to convey this information to the user. It’s 2020 guys.

You’ll also notice that, unlike DOOM 2016, there is no antialiasing option. Fortunately, the temporal antialiasing utilized by id Tech 7 is actually quite good, but this is yet one more option that every PC game should have available. While the efficacy of the antialiasing solution is indeed great, it doesn’t excuse the lack of selectable options. This is a frustrating omission. Again, it’s 2020.

There are a few options I want to explore a bit further:

  • Motion blur
  • Sharpening
  • Depth of Field and Depth of Field Antialiasing
  • Performance metrics

I know most people hate motion blur. Most people are wrong, and I forgive them. The motion blur in id Tech 7 is excellent, providing a high sample count and adding to the already great sense of speed in DOOM Eternal. Both camera and per object blur are utilized to great effect. Here is an example of camera blur, the most typical motion blur you find in games:

And here is an example of per object blur.

Note the high sample count. In motion, both the camera and per object blur look excellent.

Next, there is a sharpening option in the game. Sharpening generally works by increasing the contrast between edges. By default, it’s set to 33 out of 100, and I find this is a great balance in image sharpness and detail without being overly sharp. I recommend most people just leave it at 33 as I find reducing this setting results in a very soft looking game due in part to the temporal antialiasing solution used. But again, maybe this wouldn’t be too much of an issue if we had antialiasing options to choose from in the first place, id. Just saying.

The depth of field setting used in DOOM Eternal does not have selectable options, instead presenting as a simple toggle. Fortunately, the depth of field here is of extremely high quality, producing some of the most beautiful bokeh shapes I’ve seen in a game to date.

The depth of field antialiasing toggle allows you to clean up the resulting bokeh shapes to provide a smooth, but still natural looking effect. I haven’t found any artifacting produced by the depth of field in DOOM Eternal, and honestly, I recommend most people keep it enabled as it really only kicks in during cutscenes, scripted animations like when you interact with key objects, and when bringing up the weapon selection wheel. Note the depth of field falloff on the objects farther away from camera, like molten light and bars in the center of the image, relative to the objects close up, like the pillars.

Finally, the performance metrics on offer are pretty good, comparable to what we received in DOOM 2016. On the Low setting, we have a simple framerate counter. On the Ultra Nightmare setting, you get this:

There’s a lot of information on hand if you want it, and I’m glad to see id continuing to provide this feature for PC gamers. This type of monitoring should become normal in PC games as I fundamentally believe it is a great troubleshooting tool if an issue should arise.

DOOM Eternal supports ultrawide resolutions like my native resolution of 3440 x 1440, uncapped framerates (I have to test this further to see how far I can push my PC), and a great FOV (max of 120).

From a performance perspective, DOOM Eternal runs magnificently on my PC. I have absolutely everything cranked, and my framerate is consistently well above 100fps. More often than not, I’m at my monitor’s refresh rate cap of 120 Hz. Good lord, ripping and tearing with a keyboard and mouse at 120fps in a game this devastatingly beautiful is just incredible. I still need to experiment to see just how I can push my framerate. That will be a fun project.

Key Binding, Mouse, and Audio

We have both primary and secondary key bindings in DOOM Eternal, unlike its predecessor. We can bind mouse buttons here as well, and the interface is pretty straightforward. Frankly, this is to be expected of a PC game in 2020.

Mouse and controller are supported, but as you can see, I’ve just outright disabled the controller. This toggle is honestly gratefully accepted, as too many games (I’m looking at you, PUBG) still present me with controller prompts even if I’m using my keyboard and mouse. Having this toggle is great as it allows people like me to just not worry about any potential UI issues or spurious inputs.

The mouse settings themselves are straightforward as well, providing independent X and Y axis sensitivities, in addition to mouse sensitivity scaling. The values you see below are the default mouse values and they work great for me. Although there are no options for mouse acceleration and mouse smoothing, I suspect they’re disabled outright. I’ll have to do more digging to confirm, but anecdotally, they feel disabled.

Finally, the audio settings are robust and provide plenty of options for the various volume sliders, including options for audio mix. Subtitles are included as well, including font size adjustments for those who need it. Overall, the audio sounds incredible in Dolby Atmos, and Mick Gordon’s soundtrack is simply glorious.

Conclusion

Overall, DOOM Eternal is one of the best-looking high-performance games I’ve played. This game is meant to be played on PC with a keyboard and mouse. The speed, accuracy, and chaos are all amplified on our platform, providing an experience you simply cannot get on console.

The graphics options are aplenty, but as I noted, more should have been done to provide users additional information to help them understand performance impact of the various options on hand. Just because I know what Volumetrics Quality is doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Additionally, odd omissions like a lack of antialiasing options are head-scratching to say the least.

Performance remains extremely high as id Tech 7 is a genuine jewel and crowning achievement of graphics technologies. DOOM Eternal is bloody, fast, gory, and beautiful. id Software have crafted something which I fundamentally believe will be a new benchmark in pushing both graphics and performance to a whole new level.

If you’re a fan of first person shooters, you owe it to yourself to play DOOM Eternal on PC.


ShankTheTank

Poorna Shankar

A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.