Ghost Recon Breakpoint DX11 vs Vulkan Performance

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint was released in October of 2019.  In the last six months, this game has been very popular among gamers.  Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an online tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft.  This game is the eleventh game in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise and is a sequel to the 2017 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands.  Since its release, this game has had consistent patch updates and new content releases.  Just recently, it received a big update which gave the game an entirely new API path to run under. 

Game Engine

Let’s talk a little about the gaming engine first, and then we’ll go into what the new patch brought so we can then test its performance.  The gaming engine this game uses is the AnvilNext 2.0 game engine which is based on DX11.  The AnvilNext gaming engine was developed by Ubisoft Montreal for varied platforms, including what we are testing today, the PC version of the game.  Other games that use this same engine are the Assassin’s Creed games from Unity to Odyssey, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rainbow Six Siege and of course Ghost Recon Breakpoint. 

Some notable features include Global Illumination with Volumetric technology, Physically Based Rendering, larger landmasses, more objects, bigger buildings, improved AI.  One notable inclusion is the use of AMD FidelityFX Sharpening in Ghost Recon Breakpoint.  This is a new AMD technology that can improve image quality at little to no cost.  It can sharpen textures that get blurred by the use of temporal AA methods.  The newest feature to the game, which was just launched in patch Title Update 2.0.0 on March 24th is support for the Vulkan API!  This is where the fun really begins.

Title Update 2.0.0 – Vulkan API on PC

When Ghost Recon Breakpoint released in October of 2019 it only supported the DX11 API.  There was no DX12 or other API support.  However, we were all pleasantly surprised when it was announced the game would be getting an upgrade.  After five months of the game already being out, Title Update 2.0.0 added support for the much more modern and advanced Vulkan API.  It is interesting they chose Vulkan and not DX12.  This update was released on March 24th, only two weeks ago.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint API Selection

Please read the article here about Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint Vulkan API on PC for the full information about this new API inclusion.  They also give you a choice, you can still fire the game up in DX11 if you want, or you can choose to launch the game in Vulkan mode instead.  We love that the choice is there still.

Vulkan API Improvements

The developers state: “APIs such as Vulkan offers more flexibility and the ability to work more closely with the hardware’s capabilities, therefore requiring less CPU usage.”  And they go on to say: “Despite DirectX 11 API being more than 10 years old, it still delivers excellent performance but at the cost of high CPU processing.” They also say: “Vulkan offers benefits that will reduce both CPU and GPU cost while enabling us to utilize more modern GPU features that will bring exciting new things in the future.”

This sounds great, it’s a way to improve performance, remove CPU bottlenecks, and provide a platform for adding even more modern graphics features in the future.  Talk about really improving a game over its lifetime with such flexibility.  It is great they are going there, and not just leave it as is, but actually giving the game new improved life over the course of its life.

Some of the specific things the Vulkan API will be improving are things like improved texture streaming, dynamic buffer cache, and Async Compute support.  Improved texture streaming uses dedicated transfer hardware in your GPU and should allow improved smoothness at high-quality texture settings.  Dynamic buffer cache dynamic data is now heavily optimized for multi-threaded usage which boosts CPU frame times while reducing memory fragmentation.  Async Compute, of course, allows more graphical work in parallel reducing GPU frame times. 

The PC system requirements for the game also do not change, the same GPUs that worked before should still work.  Though you want to check for new drivers because both AMD and NVIDIA updated their drivers recently with Ghost Recon Breakpoint Vulkan API support.

Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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