F1 2020 in the technology test – ComputerBase : Test |CUP | Specs |Config

F1 2020 in the technology test – ComputerBase
: Test |CUP | Specs |Config

tl;dr: Just in time for the start of the Formula 1 season, the official F1 2020 game will also be released to the public. ComputerBase put it to the test and, as usual, focused on the technology of the PC version. In addition to numerous benchmarks, there is a closer look at DirectX 12, among other things.

Update 07/16/2020 2:43 p.m.

Update 07/13/2020 10:59 a.m.

Update 07/10/2020 10:57 a.m.

It took a long time for the 2020 Formula 1 season to start. And so it happens that physical and virtual sports begin almost simultaneously. Because just a few days after the first race of the season, the game F1 2020 is now also on the dealers’ shelves. Developer Codemasters does not want to have rested on the laurels of its predecessor. The test clarifies whether this is true. As usual, the focus is on numerous graphics card benchmarks and the comparison between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12.

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Major playful changes, fine-tuning of the technology

In terms of play, it has some changes compared to F1 2019 against. A lot has happened, from founding our own team for the first time to making several changes to driving behavior and the AI ​​to the simple but long overdue virtual rearview mirror. And the technology has also gotten better with F1 2020, although the progress is significantly less than in the actual gameplay. But that’s not bad, because F1 2019 is still looking very good these days.

F1 2020 still uses the in-house EGO engine. The greatest visual differences can be found in the details of the surfaces as well as the texture details, because these are visibly more detailed than with the predecessor. In connection with the slightly better lighting, F1 2020 has again managed to become the graphics reference of racing games. The unprecedented replay function has also remained, which has little to hide behind the TV quality.

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A standard menu with many options

F1 2020 doesn’t offer a spectacular graphics menu on PC. There are no descriptions of each option, nor are there any sample screenshots. Accordingly, trying out is the order of the day. It is therefore of little help that the game has to be restarted for many settings.

So there is a lack of comfort, but not a variety of options. F1 2020 offers, among other things, an FPS limiter that can be freely configured between 30 and 250 FPS. There is also a dynamic resolution function that automatically reduces the resolution if the frame rate falls below a certain value. This can be configured with 30, 40, 60, 120 and 144 frames per second.

In addition, there are several presets and anti-aliasing settings and the obligatory benchmark function is also included again. What is still missing, however, is the game’s own up- and downsampling.

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Five presets and a lot of anti-aliasing

The visual difference between “ultra high” and “high” is not too pronounced, but it is clearly visible. For example, “high” reduces the shadow quality and the surrounding obscuration a good deal. In addition, the graphic display in the rear-view mirrors is simplified. The middle preset, on the other hand, differs significantly less from “high”. Primarily, the shadows show fewer details, but the details are also reduced from a larger field of vision.

“Low”, on the other hand, is a clear step backwards. This is not due to the turned back shadow and the lack of vegetation, but rather to the lack of volumetric fog, which costs a lot of atmosphere, especially when driving in the rain. With “Ultra Low”, F1 2020 then continues to turn the usual adjusting screws, and there are hardly any texture details. Then suddenly the racing game is downright ugly.

The high preset brings a big boost in performance compared to “ultra high”. The frame rate on the GeForce RTX 2070 Super increases by 44 percent, on the Radeon RX 5700 XT it is even 50 percent. After that, the jumps become significantly smaller. The middle preset, which still offers acceptable graphics, brings a further plus of 10 and 17 percent. “Low” then achieved another 14 or 9 percent, while “Ultra-low” is almost as fast, at least on the test system.

A decent anti-aliasing with options

F1 2020 offers several options for anti-aliasing. There is Intel’s post-processing anti-aliasing CMAA2 and a classic TAA, which has a temporal component and thus ensures image stability. TAA is much more popular in practice, but it is far from perfect. The anti-aliasing creates a clearly visible blur in low resolutions such as Full HD. The image stability of TAA is good, but there is hardly any flickering until WQHD.

If the picture is too blurry, FidelityFX can help. Because Codemasters has integrated AMD’s re-sharpening filter CAS, which has a clearly visible effect in F1 2020. However, FidelityFX turns the controller properly, which looks really good in places, but sometimes also causes more flickering. Here it would be nice to be able to adjust the sharpening manually according to your own wishes.

But that’s not all. If you want more performance, you can also use “FidelityFX upscaling”. Then the game is rendered internally in a lower resolution and the quality is improved by resharpening. However, this function is not recommended because the graphics are significantly worse. Checkerboard rendering, which works differently but has the same goal, is also not advisable. The process delivers a better result than upscaling, but it doesn’t look nice either.

Problematic shadows and the virtual rearview mirror

The ultra-high preset uses Nvidia’s HBAO + to cover the surroundings. If you want, you can switch up to ASSAO, which is more appealing. ASSAO adds more intense environmental obscuration – which is not necessarily better – but also works on surfaces that HBAO + ignores. Therefore, ASSAO is the ambient occlusion of choice.

It is all the more practical that ASSAO runs even faster than HBAO +. The increase in the frame rate is minimal, but both an AMD and an Nvidia graphics card with ASSAO deliver 1 percent more images per second.

ASSAO vs. HBAO+ – 2,560 × 1,440

The SRT shadows are probably defective

The F1 series has always offered the option for SRT shadows (“Screenspace Raytracing”, which has little in common with modern raytracing in games), which also conjures up more beautiful shadows in F1 2020. In the previous parts it hardly cost any performance, but in F1 2020 the frame rate drops massively. In some sequences, SRT hardly costs any performance, in other places the frame rate is almost threefold. Presumably this is a bug. The SRT shadows should remain deactivated until this has been resolved.

The test scene used in Monaco is still running reasonably normally with the SRT shadows and is slower by a quite acceptable 11 percent on the Radeon RX 5700 XT and 20 percent slower on the GeForce RTX 2070 Super. But this is still a best-case case; the service costs are significantly higher on other routes.

SRT shadow – 2,560 × 1,440

    • SRT shadow off

    • SRT shadow on

    • SRT shadow off

    • SRT shadow on

A worthwhile FPS loss through the mirror

In F1 2020 there is finally a virtual rearview mirror, so that you can see what’s going on behind you in every situation and camera setting, even when looking ahead. Unsurprisingly, this costs a bit of performance. The frame rate falls by 5 percent each on the GeForce RTX 2070 Super and the Radeon RX 5700 XT when the rearview mirror is activated.

Virtual rearview mirror – 2,560 × 1,440

    • Virtual rearview mirror off

    • Virtual rearview mirror on

    • Virtual rearview mirror off

    • Virtual rearview mirror on

The new virtual rearview mirror
The new virtual rearview mirror

On the next page: GPU and CPU benchmarks, frame times and DX11 versus DX12

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