Best Graphics Settings for Apex Legends
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About Apex Legends
Apex Legends is a Free-To-Play first person battle arena shooter. Released on February 2019, it is still one of the most popular games on Twitch and Steam, and most viewed game on YouTube Gaming.
From the developers of Titanfall 1 and 2, and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Apex Legends still looks great to this date after years from its release. Made from heavily modified Source Engine, Apex Legends has fairly low minimum requirement, requiring only 1 GB of video memory and 6 GB of RAM. We have a video with older components but still runs fine and still playable.
Test System and Requirements
|Test System||Recommended System||Minimum System|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-12100F|
4 Cores 8 Threads 4.3 GHz
|Intel i5 3570K or equivalent||Intel Core i3-6300 3.8GHz
AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz
|Memory||16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000 MHz||8 GB||6 GB|
|Graphics Card||GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6 Colorful Battle Ax||Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 |
AMD Radeon R9 290
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 640
Radeon HD 7730
|Video Memory||4 GB GDDR6||8 GB||1 GB|
The recommended system requirements for Apex Legends, in today’s standard, is now outdated and can be considered as entry level system. This means even if you have a new entry level budget system, Apex Legends will still run fine and playable with high settings.
Our Intel i3-12100F and GeForce GTX 1650 are entry level components targeting budget gaming systems. Surprisingly, the i3-12100F runs way faster than the recommended processor by 3X according to PassMark Software.
The GeForce GTX 1650, however, runs a little slower than the required graphics card GeForce GTX 970 and Radeon R9 290, both with 8 GB of video memory.
Good thing the developers put a ton of graphical settings to adjust the quality and performance. This where our article comes in, we will test each setting, see if there are significant improvement on image quality and how each settings affects the game’s performance.
We used FRAPS to benchmark the game for 30 seconds at the firing range map. Then the results were viewed on FRAPS Bench Viewer to get the average and 1% Low FPS.
The following were the settings we did to the system while benchmarking
- Remove the Apex Legends FPS limit
- Set the power plan to Ultimate
- Set all settings to default except Prefer Maximum Performance on Power Management Mode and Vertical Sync Off in nVidia Control Panel setting
Image Compare and Benchmarking Results
Field of View
Field of View setting controls the amount of viewable game world that can be seen on screen, usually in measured degrees. Lower values mean less viewable game world. 70 only shows us very narrow game world, which puts us in a disadvantaged position since we can only see very little of the game world. At 110 we started to see a lot of the game world but we can see fish eye effect at the edge of screen. 90 looks and feel more natural, it gave us enough of the game world.
At 70, the game averaged 97 fps while at 90 and 110 averaged almost the same at 109 and 110 respectively. All of their 1% Low fps are all above 60 fps. For competitive advantage, we recommend setting FOV at 110 since you can see a lot of the game world, but some gamers will feel dizzy after a while because of the fish eye effect. If you’re one of those, 90 is very well fine.
FOV Ability Scaling
FOV Ability Scaling controls the field of view when using abilities that increases your legend’s speed. Because not all legends has that ability, this setting cannot be applied to all legends. In fact, only Bangalore, Bloodhound, and Wraith has abilities that increases movement speed, it activates differently and has different effects in the game making it hard to compare its visuals and performance. We recommend disabling this setting.
Sprint View Shake
Sprint View Shake controls the shakiness on the screen wile sprinting. Normal setting has more shaking than Minimal setting, but in the actual game, the difference is unnoticeable.
Whether Sprint View Shake is set to Normal or Minimal, the average and 1% low fps are virtually unchanged. You can set this to either Normal or Minimal whichever you preferred.
Adaptive Resolution FPS Target
Adaptive Resolution FPS Target lowers the game’s resolution to meet and maintain the target fps. Setting it to higher fps than the normal fps (when disabled) will make the game blurry and even blurrier in demanding areas and during gunfights to maintain the target fps. Setting it to lower fps does nothing to improve the image quality.
Adaptive Supersampling raises the rendering resolution if the game is running faster than the target fps. This makes the game look a little sharper. Adaptive Resolution FPS Target should be enabled.
Setting the target fps higher than the normal fps (100) makes the game much more playable with steady fps. The fps took a little hit when the Adaptive Supersampling is enabled, but still the fps is stable.
Setting the Adaptive Resolution FPS Target lower than normal (60) gave us similar performance, like you would not know if it is enabled or not. Enabling Adaptive Supersampling makes the fps closer to the target fps.
We recommend disabling Adaptive Resolution FPS Target.
Anti-aliasing makes the edges of object looks smoother.
With TSAA on, the average fps is reduced by 6 fps and 4 fps on 1% low. The performance difference is minimal while making the game look better so we recommend setting this to TSAA.
Texture Streaming Budget
Texture Streaming Budget controls the amount of memory reserved for texture streaming. The game will load the maximum amount of texture on video memory (VRAM) based on the value set, if needed. If the VRAM of your graphics card is 4GB and the Texture Budget is set to 2GB, all of the needed texture will only be limited to 2GB and all will be loaded on VRAM. If the Texture Budget is set higher than the VRAM, e.g. 6GB with only 4GB of VRAM, if ever the game needed to load the 6GB of textures, the exceeding textures will be loaded on system RAM, which will cause a little delay in loading the textures resulting to frame drops.
The only difference in image quality is between None and 2GB where textures look like how it should be.. Starting from 2GB up to 8GB the image quality is stayed the same.
To measure the VRAM usage of each Texture Budget setting, we used the Firing Range and ran around the map. We measured the VRAM used before launching the game and after running around in the firing range. We restarted the game for each setting.
The None setting gave us the highest average fps of 109. As the setting goes higher, the fps is diminished slightly. If we are looking at the image quality for each Texture Budget, there is no point in setting the Texture Budget to its highest value since there’s no more visual improvement seen. We recommend setting this to 2 GB.
Texture Filtering makes the texture looks sharper and more visible at higher value. Mostly affected are ground textures.
The average and 1% low fps gradually decreases when setting to higher values. The fps impact is minimal so we recommend setting this to 8x.
Ambient occlusion adds “self-shadow” on objects, mostly visible on corners. It also makes the shadows look darker. The self-shadow starts to show at Medium and hardly visible
Ambient occlusion is by far has the highest fps impact among the settings we tested – from Disabled to High the average fps is reduced by 22fps and 19fps for the 1% Low. The highest reduction is from Low to Medium with 10 fps reduction on the average and 13 fps reduction on 1% Low. The visual improvement is so subtle and the fps reduction is considerably high we cannot recommend enabling this setting at all.
Sun Shadow Coverage
Sun Shadow Coverage increases the distance where some objects can cast shadows and also improving existing shadows. It also adds shadows to the weapon the character is holding.
The fps reduction caused by Sun Shadow Coverage is very minimal. We recommend setting this to High.
Sun Shadow Detail
Sun shadow detail improves the quality of shadows. The visual improvement is highly visible.
The average fps is only reduced by 6 fps and only 2 fps on the 1% Low. We recommend setting this to High since the fps reduction is minimal while the visual improvement is visible.
Spot Shadow Detail
Spot Shadow Detail add shadows from other objects. Disabling this setting makes a huge difference on image quality as it turns off all the shadows. The difference between low, high, and very high are only minimal.
The only significant fps reduction is on Low setting from disabled, reducing the average fps by 6 and 5 on 1% Low. Average and 1% Low fps between Low, High, and Very High were basically unaffected. We recommend setting this to Very High.
Volumetric Lighting adds sunbeam or God Rays from the sun.
Enabling Volumetric Lighting reduced the average fps by 12 and 1% Low fps by 11. We Recommend disabling this setting as it reduced the fps significantly.
Dynamic Spot Shadows
Dynamic Spot Shadows adds shadows on character in the character selection but none at all in game.
The average and 1% low fps are basically unchanged after enabling this setting. We recommend enabling this setting.
Model Detail controls the amount of details on the environment and objects.
The fps reduction is only minimal between Low, Medium, and High. Since the improvement on image will not be noticed on the actual game, we recommend setting this to Low to save some fps.
Effects Detail usually affects the explosions, smoke and other special effects, but not in this game. Low, Medium, and High all look the same.
Even though there’s no improvement on the image quality, setting Effects Detail to medium reduced the average fps by 9 and 7 on the 1% Low. Setting to High further reduce the average by 1 and 2 on the 1% Low. We recommend setting this to Low.
Impact marks are marks on surface left by bullets. Impact marks only show on High setting.
Even though the impact marks are only visible on High setting, the average fps still reduced by 9 on Low. We recommend disabling this setting.
Ragdoll adds physics to dead bodies, this means a dead body will still react on the force applied on that body. This setting is almost impossible to compare because when the player is killed, the character’s body turns into a crate.
Despite visual improvement is impossible to see, the average fps is reduced by a total 13 from Low to High and a total of 15 on 1% Low fps. We recommend setting this to Low.
The Best Setting
By following our recommendations on each settings, we came up with our Best settings or best preset for Apex Legends
|Lowest Setting||Highest Setting||Best Setting|
|Field of View||70||110||110|
|FOV Ability Scaling||Disabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|Sprint View Shake||Minimal||Normal||Minimal|
|Adaptive Resolution FPS Target||0||0||0|
|Texture Streaming Budget||None||8 GB||2 GB|
|Texture Filtering||Bilinear||Anisotropic 16X||Anisotropic 8X|
|Ambient Occlusion Quality||Disabled||High||Disabled|
|Sun Shadow Coverage||Low||High||High|
|Sun Shadow Detail||Low||High||High|
|Spot Shadow Detail||Disabled||Very High||Very High|
|Dynamic Spot Shadows||Disabled||Enabled||Enabled|
This is how our Best settings look compared to Low and Highest settings
Our Best setting looks similar to the highest settings except for lighter shadows due to the lack of ambient occlusion, and objects has little less detailed.
Our Best setting looks similar again to the highest settings, this time with a little less shadows and details on far objects.
For the third set of images, our Best setting again looks similar to highest settings, this time with one major difference – the lack of sunbeam to our Best setting due to the Volumetric Lighting being disabled. Another difference is the lack of ambient occlusion which is barely noticeable.
Despite looking very similar to highest setting, our Best setting is 24 fps faster on the average and 11 fps faster on 1% low. We were successful in making the game runs faster and maintain playable fps without losing much of the image quality, by disabling non-essential and resource hog settings.
May this article helped you a lot in making Apex Legends fun to play without having extremely high end and expensive gaming PCs.