Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (2024)

Avatar is a beautiful game that pushes technology hard to enable some truly amazing visuals - but how can we scale that experience down to a solid 60fps experience that still looks good on older and slower PCs? To figure out optimised settings, I'll discuss the game's PC user experience, compare the game against the PS5 version for some performance optimisation hints and evaluate some of those 'Unobtainium' settings intended for future hardware.

Before I get into the settings themselves, let's talk about the user experience on PC - as it's a highlight of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The first thing you'll notice is that the game doesn't have a noticeable shader pre-compilation step when you play it for the first time, but it does occur according to my conversation with developers. When playing the game, it's easy to notice that there are no frame-time issues with the game - and indeed the frame-time graph is smooth. With good settings for your GPU, you'll have a fluid experience in Avatar - something a lot of modern games get wrong.

The graphics menu also offers a wide range of tweakables to make the experience your own with a classic Ubisoft-style menu - similar to those in Far Cry and Assassin's Creed titles. The descriptions here explain what each setting does, how it affects VRAM usage, how many setting there are based on the visible pips and how each visual change will look with a preview image.

To back it all up, the game also provides an in-game benchmark which reminds me of the one we saw in Returnal on PC, but perhaps even more in-depth. I love this benchmark, and though it doesn't use a pure gamplay camera, it is representative of the higher load the game can have at its most intense and taxing moments. You can even run the benchmark from the command line for automated testing - nice. Based on the user experience then, this is the best PC port I've had the pleasure to review in 2023.

As I mentioned in my initial Avatar PC analysis, the developers have a 'Unobtainium' extreme graphical preset locked away with a command line argument (-unlockmaxsettings). When entered via the Ubisoft Connect launcher, this unlocks a 'max' quality option in the menu for a variety of graphical options.

Before I explain what these max settings do exactly - and whether they're worth enabling on high-end hardware - I want to discuss the philosophy of this decision. Usually I'm against removing options from the menu, but Ubisoft Massive may have saved themselves a lot of grief by hiding these options.

Here for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora PC optimised and PS5 equivalent settings? We've got you.

SettingPS5 Performance ModeOptimised Settings
Motion BlurOffOff
Depth Of FieldLowLow
Shadow QualityHighHigh
Sun Contact ShadowsMediumMedium
Spot ShadowsHighHigh
Spot Shadows ResolutionHighHigh
Shadow ProxiesOffOff
Specular ReflectionsMediumMedium
Diffuse ReflectionsMediumMedium
Environment Reflection QualityHighHigh
Volumetric CloudsMediumMedium
Volumetric FogHighHigh
Extra Streaming Distance55
Object Detail99
BVH QualityHigh (but worse)High
Microdetail QualityUltraUltra
Particle DetailHighHigh
Scatter DensityHighHigh
Dither FadeOnOn
Spotlight Projection Resolution256256
Destruction QualityHighHigh
Terrain TessellationHighHigh

After all, people with less technical knowledge may expect good performance even with the highest settings, not realising that these options are intended to let the game scale gracefully to future hardware rather than being a performant option on mainstream hardware in the here and now. This happened with the first Crysis title and left a lasting scar on the game industry in terms of how PC versions are developed.

With that said, let's move onto what these unobtanium settings actually do in practice. The biggest visual difference comes primarily in resolution increases. For example, when fog volumetric lighting is set to max, we see far greater detail in the lighting and shadowing on intermediate fog volumes in near to mid-field of the camera, greatly enhancing realism. It's a similar story with cloud quality; at max, the amount of noise that can potentially occur in the clouds themselves is greatly reduced, although admittedly it already looks nice at high.

With shadow maps from the sun, the increased resolution is keenly seen with it set to max, where I thought the previous highest setting really didn't hit the heights it ought to have done. You can see the same with indoor spotlight shadows as well, with max reducing the aliasing that is seen on the lower settings.

The least important Unobtanium setting is the one for transparency, which subtly adds a few more objects into the game's cubemap reflections which partially update in real-time. These differences are scarcely visible even in side-by-side comparisons, and once again, I'd love to see transparency RT reflections instead of cubemaps in the future here.

For the RT settings, the max setting for diffuse lighting primarily upgrades the resolution of the effect. On the medium setting, for example, it looks like we are seeing both axes of the RTGI (ray-traced global illumination) effect being halved in resolution, which leads to fuzzy edges and weirdness occurring in the GI itself on top of a greyer, less defined look. At high, it almost looks like only one of the axes is half resolution, which leads to a lot of aliasing on vertical edges on top of a less defined look. The max setting looks to use the native input resolution here, making for pristine GI.

For specular GI or reflections, the max setting does not seem to increase resolution beyond that which is already offered by the ultra mode - in my testing, the amount of specular aliasing as we see here seems to be roughly the same as the ultra setting. When looking at very mirror-like reflections out of screen space, they resolve with identical levels of clarity, while very high is quite obviously lower resolution by comparison. However, the max setting for reflections does add skinned objects to reflections, which means things like soldiers, mechs, animals, Navi and more actually show up in reflections when not in screen space. This makes for fewer screen space errors in general and is a neat bonus for higher-end machines.

Altogether then, the unobtanium settings pump up quality level for a number of key effects - I only recommend them really for RTX 4080/4090 and RX 7900 XT/XTX class GPUs.

Beyond the unobtanium settings, there are two other things I want to mention. The first is that the game has a software path for its ray-traced effects for GPUs that don't have support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR). To see what this looks like, you can disable DXR on Nvidia GPUs by using the nvidiaProfileInspector utility and disabling the RT flag.

When put side-by-side, the software RT path actually seems complete in terms of features and fidelity - quite a contrast to Epic's approach with UE5 where software RT has visibly inferior image quality. Of course, there's a sizeable performance advantage to having dedicated ray tracing hardware; I measured an 18 percent frame-rate advantage in a simple scene and a 66 percent frame-rate increase in a more complex forest scene.

Finally, before moving onto the PS5 comparisons and optimised settings, it's worth discussing Avatar's image reconstruction and frame generation options. The title supports FSR 3, which has been upgraded to be compatible with VRR - though frame-times remain erratic, with mixed short and long frames that affects visual smoothness even with VRR engaged. I noticed the issue gets more intense in open world, combat and traversal scenarios, while indoor areas or less intense cutscenes have smoother frame delivery with VRR. Ultimately, I still recommend using v-sync and trying to maintain a frame-rate that matches your monitor's maximum refresh rate with FSR3 for a completely smooth experience.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (1)

With regard to image reconstruction, it's clear that we see some familiar differences between FSR and DLSS. Moving objects with FSR exhibit fizzling reconstruction artefacts behind them and a kind of fuzzy look that is not there with DLSS. Additionally, FSR has a kind of ghosty pixelated look with particle effects that is improved with DLSS, while aliasing on movement is also not ideal - especially at night or when it rains.

With that said though, DLSS has its own issues, with volumetric clouds exhibiting stability issues, most likely due to the sample positions misaligning with DLSS - I imagine XeSS when integrated in the game could have similar issues. FSR doesn't exhibit this issue. Similarly, though admittedly less noticeable, is the small amount of visible jitter in water reflections with DLSS at lower resolutions, once again probably due to sample positions misaligning.

More significant is the choice of the default DLSS 'D' model for Avatar, which causes some smearing in certain light and movement scenarios. If you experience this, you can try using the 'C' preset instead using nvidiaProfileInspector with this XML file placed in the Profile Inspector directory - or, alternatively, by replacing the default DLSS .dll file in the game's install directory with version 2.5.1 available at TechPowerUp. I'd love to see the 'C' preset become the default option in a future game patch, along with a fix for the cloud and water issues.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (2)

Beyond these relatively minor issues, the user experience in Avatar is incredible: great settings, great menus and genuinely great frame-time delivery.

Now it's time for optimised settings. The PS5 version of the game running in its 60fps mode is a great starting point for optimised PC settings for older low to mid-range GPUs, which is what the PS5 is in 2023. (Note that the game on PS5 does have additional lower-level optimisations as my tech interview with Ubisoft Massive details.)

Resolution seems a natural place to start, and the PS5 in performance mode outputs at 1440p using FSR 2 with dynamic resolution scaling down as low as 720p, according to my counts. On a mid-range GPU then, definitely look to use DLSS or FSR 2 as it is a key way that consoles maintain performance and something that ought to mimic on PC.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (3)

Beyond a reduction in resolution, a number of the key effects in the game have had settings reductions to keep the performance up and we'll want the same on PC.

For example, we can drop the quality of specular reflections, accepting a noisier and less stable image for better performance. Similarly, the roughness cutoff is also reduced, which means fewer objects have reflections. Here, PS5 is closest to the medium setting on PC, which I also recommend for optimised settings - as it increases performance by a solid five percent versus very high, as measured on an RTX 3070 at 4K in DLSS performance mode.

Following that same line of thinking, PS5 also reduces diffuse reflection quality in a similar manner and again looks closest to PC's medium preset. On the RTX 3070, going from high to medium increases performance by eight percent, so I recommend medium.

One example of a PS5 RT setting that cannot be matched perfectly on PC is BVH quality. In side-by-side comparisons it's easy to see that the PS5 has the same geometry roundedness and detail as PC's high setting, but when you look closer, you can see that some triangles are just completely missing on PS5 - which tends to leave little black holes in geometry in more mirror-like reflections, something not seen on any PC setting. Here, I find high to be perfectly cromulent for optimised settings.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (4)

Moving over to post-processing, the PS5 in performance mode cuts out both per-object and screen motion blur, and I'd recommend the same for optimised settings on older GPUs. Depth of field quality is another good setting to turn down, with the PS5 looking to use the low preset. This produces a noisier result with distinct halos around objects, but it's hard to notice this in gameplay.

Another good PS5 optimisation is volumetric fog rendering quality, which uses a lower internal resolution for a less temporally stable result - plus less obvious light beams as the resolution is to low to capture these small details. When lined up with PC, we can see the quality level correlates most closely with the high option. As in many games, dropping volumetric fog quality is a simple performance win on mid-range GPUs, where the RTX 3070 sees five percent better performance over ultra in this scene.

Following the trend with volumetrics, spot shadow quality - shadows indoors and from artificial lights - is also reduced on PS5's performance mode from the very high setting, showing a bit more aliasing on edges, but still looking really respectable for shadow maps at normal camera distance. Here the RTX 3070 gets three percent better performance on high, so it's definitely advisable for optimised settings.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (5)
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (6)

One PS5 setting that is hard to pin down is cloud quality, but given the amount of noise and edge flicker it looks most like medium - and here I recommend medium for optimised settings.

One of the most important optimisations is the extra streaming distance setting, which determines the range at which large objects like trees transition from real geometry to imposters. PS5 seems to use the '5' setting, and I also recommend this for optimised settings. Similarly, the object detail setting on PS5 appears closest to '9', and we'll adopt that on PC for our optimised settings too. This claws back 14 percent of extra performance versus the highest '15' setting, while still offering minimal pop-in while exploring Pandora on foot.

That rounds off the most critical settings, and these form a good basis for optimised settings on something like an RTX 2070 Super. If you have more GPU performance available, I'd recommend upping internal resolution or specular reflection quality if possible.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (7)
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (8)

Versus ultra settings - not even the unobtanium preset - our optimised settings on the RTX 2070 Super at 1440p with FSR 2 performance mode increase performance by an incredible 61 percent. There is admittedly less precise RT and long-range distance detail, but the game is still handsome.

If we visit a spot where the PS5 is bottoming out at a 720p internal resolution with FSR 2, the RTX 2070 Super has a minor five percent performance lead - though, as discussed above and in our Avatar developer interview, the PS5 deploys extra optimisations to reach its frame-rate target.

With all said and done then, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an excellent PC release. It runs well with no shader compilation stutter, features clear menus and offers very scalable graphics options, as our optimised settings reveal. I do have a few minor requests to make the game even better, like improvements to the DLSS implementation and the inclusion of XeSS upscaling and DLSS frame generation. Otherwise though, Avatar is just about everything I could ask for from a modern PC release.

I am an expert and enthusiast-based assistant. I have access to a wide range of information and can provide assistance on various topics. I strive to provide helpful and reliable information, and I am here to answer any questions you may have.

Now, let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a game that pushes technology to enable visually stunning graphics. The article discusses how to optimize the game for a solid 60fps experience on older and slower PCs. It mentions the game's PC user experience, performance optimization hints from the PS5 version, and the "Unobtainium" settings intended for future hardware.

User Experience on PC

The user experience on PC for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is highlighted as a positive aspect of the game. The article mentions that there is no noticeable shader pre-compilation step when playing the game for the first time. It also states that there are no frame-time issues and that the frame-time graph is smooth. The graphics menu offers a wide range of customizable settings, allowing players to tailor the experience to their preferences. The menu provides clear descriptions of each setting, including information on VRAM usage and visual changes.

In-Game Benchmark

The game includes an in-game benchmark that provides a representative load of the game's most intense and taxing moments. The benchmark can be run from the command line for automated testing purposes.

"Unobtainium" Settings

The article mentions that there are hidden "Unobtainium" settings in the game that can be unlocked with a command line argument. These settings offer maximum quality options for various graphical effects. However, the article suggests that these settings are intended for future hardware and may not be performant on mainstream hardware at present.

Optimized Settings for PC and PS5

The article discusses optimized settings for both PC and the PS5 version of the game. It suggests that the PS5 version running in its 60fps mode can serve as a starting point for optimized PC settings for older low to mid-range GPUs. The article recommends reducing resolution, adjusting key effects such as specular reflections and diffuse reflection quality, and making other settings reductions to maintain performance. It also mentions the use of DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) or FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) for performance optimization.

These are the main concepts discussed in the article regarding Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and its optimization for different platforms. If you have any specific questions or need further information, feel free to ask!

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - PC optimised settings and graphics comparison vs PS5 (2024)


Is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora better on PC or PS5? ›

While high-end PCs will obviously offer the best experience here, the PlayStation 5 holds up this vision remarkably well. The PS5 manages to run Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora at a fairly consistent 60fps while in Performance mode, and the game's visuals barely take a hit at all.

Does PC have better graphics than PS5? ›

In addition, PC games have multiple graphics options while PS5 games generally come with a small number of performance modes (high resolution or high frame rate in most cases). There's a lot more opportunity in PC games to tune them to achieve the performance you want, and you can't do that tuning on the PS5.

What is the graphics mode for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora PS5? ›

In terms of image quality, both modes run on the premium consoles with dynamic resolution scaling. The 60fps performance mode runs at between 864p and 1260p (40 to 58 percent of native 4K) and the quality mode runs at between 1296p and 1800p (60 to to 83 percent of native 4K).

How do I make Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora run better on PC? ›

Graphics tab settings
  1. Motion Blur: On (set to off if you can achieve 60fps minimum)
  2. Depth of Field: High.
  3. Shadow Quality: Medium.
  4. Sun Contact Shadows: Low.
  5. Spot Shadows: Medium.
  6. Spot Shadows Resolution: Medium.
  7. Shadow Proxies: On (this degrades quality of all shadows, but saves on performance)
  8. Specular Reflection: Medium.
Dec 6, 2023

Is PS5 4K same as PC 4K? ›

At native 4K where PS5 games cap out at 30 frames per second (fps), the PC is able to achieve between 35 fps and 50 fps. Similarly, the PC jumps ahead into the 70 fps to 80 fps territory with a bit of upscaling, while the PS5 mostly stays locked at 60.

Is PlayStation Graphics better than PC? ›

Comparing PC Gaming and Console Gaming

Graphics: High-end gaming PCs offer the best graphics available. However, console graphics are still impressive and improve with each new generation. Performance: PCs generally offer more powerful hardware and are able to run games with higher frame rates and shorter load times.

Are graphics better on PC or console? ›

PC gaming has a few advantages, such as better graphics and customization options. Although there are many great things about PCs, these systems also have disadvantages, especially regarding the overall cost of building and maintaining a PC.

What is the GPU performance of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora? ›

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 1440p GPU Performance. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora starts to struggle at 1440p ultra, at least without upscaling. Now, only the RX 7900 XT and above break 60 fps, and the RTX 4060 technically manages 30 fps but really you'd want something faster.

Does Avatar frontier of Pandora have Ray Tracing? ›

Avatar Frontiers of Pandora - PC Performance Review Screenshots. Snowdrop has evolved over the years, and although many of those core elements have remained, the team has embraced the current generation with new features as well. The current big-ticket item is ray tracing, which is now included on the toolkit.

Is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora CPU intensive? ›

Throughout our testing, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora appears to be a game that is primarily GPU-limited. The game makes efficient use of CPU resources, and runs well on our i9-13900K under all our test configurations. This game ran well with just 4 P-cores active.

Is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 30fps or 60fps? ›

Overall, we recommend you use the Favor Performance mode in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. 60fps gameplay makes the first-person viewpoint much easier to aim and traverse with, while offering an overall smoother, more fluid visual experience.

How to make Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora look better on PS5? ›

In Avatar Frontiers of Pandora, using the Favor Performance Mode is the best choice. Opting for this allows for 60 FPS gameplay that enables better traversing and aiming from the first-person viewpoint, making the entire visual experience smoother and more fluid.

Which graphics card is equivalent to PS5? ›

RX 7600: Equivalent to PS5

The AMD Radeon RX 7600, despite packing 21.75 TFLOPS (much more than PS5's 9.2 TFLOPS), is a great PS5 GPU equivalent.

How big is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora PC? ›

How big is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora on PC? Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora requires 90GB of storage space on PC. It's important to remember that both the first installation and any post-launch game updates may require more storage space as the update file size could be bigger.

How big is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora PS5? ›

PS5 – 7.1 GB. Xbox Series X/S – 9.4 GB. PC – 9.6 GB.

What are the quality levels in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora? ›

Changes the scaling factor for the resolution at which the game is rendered before upscaling. Available options are: Ultra Performance, Performance, Balanced, Quality and Ultra Quality. Lowering the scaling quality setting can dramatically improve the frame rate encountered in the game at the cost of rendering quality.

Is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora going to be on Steam? ›

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will most likely come to Steam at a later point. Between 2019 and 2022, Ubisoft opted to only release their games on their own storefront, Ubisoft Connect, and the Epic Games Store, as Vikki Blake for Eurogamer explains.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Neely Ledner

Last Updated:

Views: 6440

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Neely Ledner

Birthday: 1998-06-09

Address: 443 Barrows Terrace, New Jodyberg, CO 57462-5329

Phone: +2433516856029

Job: Central Legal Facilitator

Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.