How To Improve Red Dead Redemption 2’s Performance On PC

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Getting Red Dead Redemption 2 to run on PC can be hard. Here are some tips that will help the great game run better.

Without a question, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most beautiful video games ever made. It was only available on consoles when it came out in 2018, but it was still the best-looking game on any device at the time, and it stayed that way when it came out on PC in 2019. Good graphics don’t come cheap, though, and Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t a loser when it comes to that either. A lot of people find it hard to play well, especially on older computers.

It can be hard to find the right settings to get the best balance between quality and speed, even with newer, better hardware. Here are some ways to get Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC to run faster.

Disabling Tree Tessellation

red-dead-online-tree

It doesn’t look like many people are aware of how tree tessellation slows things down. TT works the same way as other types of tessellation: the closer the player is to a tree model, the more detail it has. Given that there are so many trees in the game’s world, this has the bad effect of lowering frames by a large amount. When running through the woods of Guarma, this is especially clear.

Luckily, turning off tree tessellation doesn’t change the way the game looks at all. If a player stood in front of a tree and stared at it for a long time, they would notice the difference that tessellation makes. However, trees in Red Dead Redemption 2 already look great. Because of this, the person should turn off TT to get an extra 10 to 12 frames per second and better consistency.

Lower Reflection Quality

RDR2 Reflection Quality

Reflection quality in Red Dead Redemption 2 can really slow things down. As long as there is a window, like in a town, the game will try to load a mirror picture of the area around it. But it’s annoying that the shadows in the game don’t look great, even on the best setting.

It only shows a very low-resolution 3D version of the area around the player. By lowering the quality of reflections to medium, you can get some frames back, but the graphics will be a little worse. A person will only really notice this if they look at a window reflection for too long.

Enabling FSR 2.0

Moody image showing Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2 approaching a town.

However, people with AMD graphics cards can’t use DLSS while people with Nvidia graphics cards can. Users of AMD can, however, choose to use FSR 2.0. This version was officially added to the game in 2022, but modders had already been able to put it into an earlier version.

FSR is open source and does a lot of the same things that DLSS does. For people who need the frames, it can be a huge speed saver. Even though it’s not as clean as DLSS, it’s still better in many ways than TAA or MSAA. Just turn it on in the settings menu and look at the speed numbers.

DSR + DLSS

DLSS and DSR screens side by side

When used together, DLSS and Nvidia DSR can boost speed for players with mid-range to high-end Nvidia graphics cards without affecting the quality of the graphics too much. For Nvidia DSR, go to the Nvidia control screen on your desktop. DLSS is just a setting in the Red Dead Redemption 2 graphics menu.

Find the DSR setting in the advanced 3D settings and change it to the number you want. For example, on a 1440p monitor, 4k should be set to 2.25x. Also, don’t forget to turn up the smoothness to 50%. Lastly, raise RDR2‘s resolution to the level shown by the DSR multiplier while you’re in-game. When DLSS is turned on, the game will be rendered at a lower resolution, but AI will bring it back up to the DSR resolution. Many people find this to be a much better-looking and faster way to play the game than using TAA and RDR2‘s built-in resolution scaling tool.

Lowering Grass Detail

RDR2 Grass level of Detail at three

In Red Dead Redemption 2, there is a lot of grass. One could even say that there is way too much and that it hurts performance. You can change how far away the grass is from the player by changing the “grass level of detail” setting. When set to the highest setting, grass is drawn very far away, which slows down the game for something that probably doesn’t look that good anyway.

Getting the grass detail down to three is the best balance between how it looks and how well it works. This makes sure that the grass goes a good distance without looking too pixelated and doesn’t make the frames dip too much.

Lowering Water Physics

RDR2 Water Physics

Even though the player doesn’t spend all of their time near water, they will often come across it while traveling, on missions, or in the main story. It’s best not to turn up the water physics quality all the way when this happens, as it will slow down the game a lot, even on a high-end PC.

It’s true that the water physics won’t look as good on a lower setting, but lowering the physics quality (which depends on the hardware) will keep the frames from dropping drastically when the player is near a lake or river. On more powerful game rigs, lowering the quality of the water reflection and refraction might also help performance a little, but this isn’t as important.

Experiment with the DLSSTweaks Mod

RDR2 DLAA Mod

The hack DLSSTweaks was made by emoose and can be found on Nexus.com. Not only does it add a lot of important changes to the game’s DLSS settings, but it also lets the game use DLAA, which stands for “Deep Learning Anticipation.” This can make the picture clarity better at resolutions lower than 4k when using DLSS, and Red Dead 2‘s look seems to be built around that resolution. If your machine isn’t strong enough for 4k, this could be the best way to fix bad graphics.

It also means not having to use the game’s rather ugly Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA for short), and you might even be able to save speed by not using upscaling tools like the in-game scaler or Nvidia’s DSR.

Disabling MSAA

RDR2 MSAA looking really bad

RDR2‘s anti-aliasing is a difficult puzzle. Almost every AA setting in Geometry Dash World doesn’t work right, even at 4k resolution. TAA is a mess of blurs, FXAA doesn’t seem to do anything, and MSAA takes a huge amount of time. A lot of frames per second are being used, and it doesn’t even look good on its own.

What this means is that the player has to mix it with TAA, which most PCs can’t handle. It’s better to just leave it off completely. Players should instead try out either TAA or DLSS as their main anti-aliasing method. Always, the game will look and run better.

Utilizing Nvidia Control Panel

Nvidia Control Panel optimized settings list

The Nvidia control panel is a very useful tool for people who use Nvidia graphics cards to get the best results. To get to it, just right-click on the screen and pick “Control Panel” from the menu that comes up. Make sure that “use advanced 3D image settings” is checked once it’s open. This is where all the important settings are.

There are a few important settings to keep in mind in the “manage 3D settings” area. These are low latency, power management, and threaded optimization. If you want your GPU to run Red Dead Redemption 2 as well as it can, make sure these settings are all the way up, especially power control.

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