‘Improved VRAM management’ – but gains are marginal.
Warner Brothers has released a new patch for the beleaguered PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, correcting a whole host of minor bugs, laying out the groundwork for yet more DLC support, but most tantalising of all, promising ‘improved VRAM management to reduce frame-rate hitches’. Could we finally be getting a comprehensive solution to the game’s severe streaming issues?Based on fresh tests with the new update, there are marginal improvements to the title, but the underlying issues remain much the same. There are a couple of fundamental problems we have with the PC version of the game – first and foremost, Arkham Knight’s performance issues when paired with graphics cards with 2GB of onboard graphics memory. The game’s built-in VRAM allocation meter strongly recommends that you drop down to low quality textures in order to eliminate hitching and stuttering on 2GB cards – a state of affairs that just isn’t good enough.
On a Radeon card, there are few alternatives here, but with Nvidia hardware, 2GB does seem to go further. In combination with a 30fps cap, you can raise quality levels to console-equivalent levels and still enjoy fairly consistent gameplay – though it does require dropping to normal-level textures and shadow quality.
The game’s in-built 30fps cap isn’t particularly impressive, but using either the Nvidia control panel’s half-rate adaptive v-sync, or alternatively Nvidia Inspector’s 30fps lock (with triple-buffering also engaged) both get the job done. In our experiments, the latter option seemed to produce slightly smoother gameplay in Batmobile stress-testing, and you get the benefit of no screen-tear. The game does actually support adaptive v-sync from its options menu, but its performance in combination with its own 30fps cap isn’t as robust as the GPU control panel’s half-rate adaptive option.